24 December 2016

Movies: Frankenhooker (1990)

I'm 'busy' prepping for christmas dinner, so while the pavlova is cooking...it's time for some sleazy horror, Frankenhooker. I know on title alone, how can it fail.
We open with a chap slicing into a brain, which has an eye attached, encouraging it to follow his hand. this is done on the kitchen table. There is some terrible over acting, so this is starting well.

Jeffrey likes operating on things, he's a part-time doctor, kinda. An automated mower, has just killed Jeffrey's fiance Elizabeth, 'reduced to a tossed human salad', although parts of her are missing! I think we suspect Jeffrey !! Mainly because he's been designing an electric circuit for a human, with Elizabeth's head at the top.
Jeffrey is concerned he's becoming amoral, his mother offers him a sandwich.
'To new beginnings...' to Elizabeth's head and various body parts. He's a hopeless romantic, and is awaiting a storm to make her a whole new her. Even the weatherman says the storm will be ideal for mad doctors out there. He's now drilling a hole in his own head, to get in the mood to abduct a hooker. But he wants 6-7 women, who he measures to create his perfect body - sadly the crack he'd made, which they took, makes people explode. With very cheap effects, brilliant.

Elizabeth, reanimated, reconstituted, appears to have the personality of a hooker. So she's off to town. Things don't go well. Ohhh evidence body parts can self-assemble. Elizabeth then saves Jeffrey.

Overall? Quality entertainment here.

21 December 2016

Movies: Van Nuys Blvd

Van Nuys Blvd [1979]: We open in a sunny car based US city, funky music, cuts to woman getting ready, while a lad drives his van across vaguely rural countryside. Soundtrack is getting better and better.  She loses her clothes, and cracks him a beer. He doesn't seem very interested in shagging her. He watches a news article on Van Nuys Blvd, and expresses his displeasure at this small tin pot town, and takes off for VNB. In his van.
We're now enjoying a very extended sequence of people cruising up and down VNB. Thankfully the tune is good. Oh look a drive in restaurant.
"no-one calls chooch a creep" - stunning dialogue between guy the cop pulled over, and the cop (the cop is crooked, and called Zass).
Those kids, all that car racing. Crooked cops. All happening here.
It all appears to be an excuse for dance routines, drive in restaurants, and beach parties.  It's pretty damn bad, and although there's lots of sun and nipples, basically everyone seems to be whining at each other. But the kids do get one over the cop, or 'the man' as they adorably refer to him. In what may have been an amusing metaphor to the directors, a pig is released and runs around the beach. Yes. There are a number of vignettes of this type.

Here's the theme song. It's great.
And now, the full movie

11 December 2016

Movies : Scorpion [1986]

Scorpion opens in a mexican/spanish? village. With a ferrari. We move into a bar, there's a lot of hairy angry looking men. They exchange meaningful glances, a fight breaks out. More tragically a beer is spilled, and they switch the jukebox off.
The credits are rolling with suitably epic synth led music, also we're in Spain. For some reason we're now in Amsterdam. We learn the president has allowed pre-emptive strikes. OMFG, coincidence or what, but there's been a sky-jacking! Our top man, Scorpion, is going on the plane (it's on the ground), the hijacker has the worlds worst German accent. Which isn't nearly as offensive as Scorpion's very short shorts.
Oh he won. He beat all the terrorists. Amazing.

Now he's on the hunt for the big bad terrorist. People keep getting shot, synthtastic.
Hospital scene had the classic soundtrack "Dr. Blair, Dr. Blair, Dr. J. Hamilton, Dr. J. Hamilton" - sadly the guitars didn't kick in. Our hero is sad now, his friend is dead. He's now passing through the stages, is on anger. But the bad guys are in the hospital now, our hero has sprung into action. As has a slowly pulsing bass synth.
This movie is not rocking along. Our German is trying to escape, slowly. More people are dead, and yet the plot hasn't moved. I know i'm expecting too much. But really, moody shots of a grumpy hero are wearing a little thin now.
Oh bollocks, I'm only an hour in, there's another 38mins !
I think we've reached the penultimate fight scene, it's dire.
For some reason we're on a boat now. Chasing someone. For some reason. Everything is moving so slowly, the editor needs a serious talking to. But anyway, we get more synth heavy tunes, so it's not all bad.
A solid 2/10.

4 December 2016

Cabal Strikes Back : we hit SMWS

Half of the cabal reunited to drink whisky, solve world problems, and argue over flavours. We decided SMWS London was the location, and Saturday afternoon the time. It also gave us opportunities to swop xmas gifts, all booze based, and for me to collect my Bruichladdich MP5 (Port Charlotte) from Alec. Google Keep provided the note taking, and the open fire, the relaxing ambiance.

1.202 Delightfully delectable 22yo d. 23/9/93 53.8%, virgin oak hogshead
Nose - green grass, bourbon prickly, wood polish, lemons, malt loaf
Palate - sweet, honey, fruit salad - melons,
Finish - med long

Add water, brings out bourbon and makes it v prickly.
A very rare Glenfarclas from SWMS, really nice and would be great to have sitting in the cupboard.

35.168 Essence of BFG, 15yo d.17/5/2001 60.4% virgin toasted French oak butt
Nose - odd, sweet marshmallow, Parma violets, deep complex, old house, cherry, burnt sugar
Palate - warm, butter, tingly, salted toffee, caramel, liquorice at end of palette
Finish - long, tingly, salty caramel
8.5/10 this is quite odd, and quite lovely

With water, warmer and smoother on palate possibly with ginger.
Glen Moray? why yes, I will try some of that. We both really liked this, interesting and a lot happening in the whisky (contrary to someone else's review on the web). Definitely recommend.

36.111 Benrinnes
Nose - light manuka, medicinal, star anise, hay
Palate - sweet at finish, prickly, sherbet at start, bourbon, not quite ripe kiwifruit, hint of tea??!!
Finish - med
Could be more complex, but interesting 7/10

3.286 Islay Village Peat-Smoke Haze , 17yo, d.25/09/1998, 57.8%, refill ex-bourbon barrel
N - medicinal, big, smoke, hospital bandages,
P - throat clearing, bacon, salt, honey,
F - massive, salty
8.5/10 it ain't subtle but it is brilliant, more evidence Bowmore indie bottlings are better than their own.

Lovely wee tasting, with two standardouts (Bowmore and Glen Moray).

27 November 2016

Movies : House (1986)

House was on the HorrorChannel the other night, so I'm watching it on Sunday morning. I haven't seen this for years - all I really remember is that william katt (greatest american hero) is in it.

Starts off with atmospheric (very Goblin-esque) music, as we pan around a gothic house, and see a delivery boy head up to it. He explores the house, and we find Mrs Hooper just hangin' around. Cut to a rain lashed graveyard with the young looking willian katt.
Huzzah, a reference to 'nam. God bless those crazy 'murcins! And now some back story, the loss of Jimmy, and some high action diving action by Katt. Emotional !!!

Next door neighbour - George Wendt.

Our hero, cobb (katt) decided to move into the house to write his next book - also about 'nam, cos all his books are about 'nam. We have a flashback. He's spooked by some visions of horrors, so sets up some betamax camera's (yeah!!) to capture them, we even get two dive rolls.  The stuffed fish, attached to the wall, is now trying to attack him.
Things potter along, with a lot of 'nam flashbacks, and helpful neighbour interludes, we even get a song. It's nice and light hearted, even if it's not entirely sure if it's a horror-comedy, or a horror.

Worth watching, and stood up well after 20+ years since I last watched it.

4 November 2016

Movies : The Silencer

The Silencer, another action movie, this time from 1992. It opens with some stunning 8bit computer game type stuff, with the theme song "the silencer, her body is her weapon". Because I love you, I've found the opening credits, you need this in your life:

They've obviously been watching a number of Bond movies, but decided they weren't cheesy enough, and what Bond was missing was a voiceover - from a video game console (those big free standing things).
Our hero (and also heroine) like silencers, they used to be a couple, but for reasons I probably missed, she's now in the video console. But he's narrating stuff, as if it's sex. It's all very emotional. Well for him anyway. For me, the flu is proving more engrossing. Our heroine is very curvy, is wearing a very short top showing a little *cough* breast. And quite lovely they are too. The officer, isn't as convinced the brunette's 'liplocking' is relevant.
Ahh 10mins in, we have nakedness. They're taking a bath. This is supposed to be sexy. I need more cough medicine for this. Lots of slow mo soapyness, which appears to be going on for awhile. Now we have him talking to the video console again. I guess that was a flash back, which we listen to an accordion player. I'm confused. Already. Bodes brilliantly !!
I think, our two are using the computer game to get targets, but it's all very confusing. Or maybe they're not. But no matter, there's a lot of synth based early90s dance music.
They've almost just met, but killed a corrupt vice cop instead. Look, I'm sure it made sense to the writer.
Fight scenes are abysmal, although in saying that they're an accurate reflection of the acting.
"i kill people, it's my job", "bullshit". and that was the emotional scene.

Actually, I have no idea what happened. Definitely recommended. I'm just not sure why.

I have found the trailer:

and the theme song

24 September 2016

Movies: Knight Rider 2000

HorrorChannel has a reasonable record for crap Bgrades, and my trusty freesat recording helps. Or at least enables.
So Knight Rider 2000 . It's unbelievably bad, really really bad. But at the same time, in true car crash fashion, can't stop watching.
And the guest stars are worth it. Script is dire, acting even worse, and I feel for Mitch Pileggi.
Rogue cop, thinks the department is corrupt, and moves to Knight Industries.
Things potter along. Kitt gets moved into a newer car.

15 September 2016

Glenrothes Whisky Tasting

Half of the cabal reformed to drink whisky, this time in London for a Glenrothes tasting run by The Whisky Exchange, and hosted by Brand Heritage Director and Whisky Expert Ronnie Cox. I'm quoting from the tasting sheet. Ronnie is excellent value, good patter and one might suggest, a natural raconteur.
Very similar to our whisky tastings back at Regional Wines, so without further ado, here's my notes. Oh, just to be contrary links may not be to TWE :)

Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve 40% (around £41)
Nose: green apples, gentle, manuka honey, hint of bourbon
Palate: vigorous, honey, warm, apples
Finish: warm, med-long

Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve 40% (around £41)
Nose: watery, sea salt, very light/empty, cream
Palate: warm sherry, honey, light-ish
Finish: spiky, medium

My notes include NMS, or Needs More Sherry.

Glenrothes Vintage Cask Reserve 40% (around £37)
Nose: grassy, green apples, bourbon, shiitake mushrooms [no really!! that kinda earthy smell]
Palate: light, warm, honey, quaffing whisky, fruity
Finish: short Bit bland
Didn't think much of this one, not much happening, even tho' the nose was great.

Glenrothes Vintage 2001 40% (around £50)
Nose: sweet, sherry, wood glue, warm, very nice
Palate: warm, but oddly bland, hint of figs?
Finish: spiky, med-long
Didn't live up to the nose.

Glenrothes Vintage 1995 40% (around £80)
Nose: green grass, honey, very light, more sherry than bourbon
Palate: pineapple, apple, fruit, mango, fruit salad
Finish: spiky, med-long, bourbon
like this one a lot, I'm pretty sure I've had it before (possibly when it was cheaper)

Glenrothes Vintage 1988 40% (around £344)
Nose: wood glue, light, floral
Palate: raisins, wood glue, complex, tingly, relaxing, mango
Finish: long, floral, lovely
Really good whisky, it used to be nice and cheap (ie I've picked it up duty free, but there's not much left now...)

Glenrothes Cask Sample 1970s d1973, b2000 43%
Nose: superb nose, complex, sherry, parmesan cheese
Palate: fruit salad, light, warm honey, not very complex, very very smooth
Finish: short-med, very smooth

Glenrothes have a pretty light style, and I've always rated them as a quaffing whisky (this is not a bad thing), I'd like to find a cask strength and see what happens in those.

30 August 2016

Movies : Sexy Killer

A Spanish horror movie from 2008, Sexy Killer was on the Horror Channel a few weeks ago and with my new and exciting Humax FreeSat + external harddrive, the world is my oyster. Opens with a bunch of attractive young ladies getting changed and bitching about each other. Followed a peeping tom getting a little decapitated by our sexy killer. And she is. Very.
All with a lounge version of Barbie Girl.
It's very funny, in a very black kinda way. Reminds me a lot of Takeshi Miike. The small interludes are inspired, inclduing a guide to murder using common kitchen implements in the style of a home cooking show.
Additionally we get machines which pull back memories from the dead, zombies, and a killer soundtrack. The reanimated zombies pottering around the morgue is 'different'...but never fear, they're off to a party.

Highly recommended.

29 August 2016

Movies : Kill Point

I would like to point out I do watch other types of movies, for example Belleville Rendezvous was watched last night, but really, none of you want reviews of that.

I cracked open the Action Pack 12 movie set today, and first up was 'Kill Point' (1984). You know it's good, as Richard Roundtree is involved, and by good, I mean bad. We open with a soldier shooting someone, he looks focussed, and now a flashback and the title.
Everyone has guns, and there's a dinner in progress, with a deep voiceover followed by a massacre.
Brilliant - cop chief is fat with a big moustache, even better his name is Skidmore, and he answers the phone with 'skidmore'.
Our heroes include an Asian called 'Long', played by leo fong, see what they did there?
There's a shootout in a grocery store, and someone went flying through a stack of eggs. Yes, this movie has it all, even albumin abuse. More flashbacks for Long, this time about a girl, I guess this is to explain why he looks so morose. But enough of that, it's montage time!! Fong-tage!
What the hell? now got country music. ahhh following some guns, we're back to electronic drums and bad synths. *phew*
There is some sort of plot about gun runners. It doesn't make much (?any?) sense. And Long is continuing to look morose, but he knows kung fu. Because he's asian. Obviously. I need a beer, this is getting to me.

28 August 2016

Movies : Drive in massacre & Mesa of Lost Women

It keeps raining and it's muggy, so I can't be bothered doing much. I've finished putting the accordion back together, so it must be movie time.

First up was the 1976 slasher, Drive in massacre.
there was a lot of marketing about this being terrifying etc - it was OK. In a incompetent cops, dead people, odd characters kinda way.  Bit hard to review as it kinda wandered around a lot. It would work as a late night drive in movie, and it did end nicely with the voiceover "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the manager. Do not panic. There is a murderer loose in the theater. I repeat, do not panic. The police are on the way. "

But, because I'm generous, here's the full thing:
Next up, the 1953 'mesa of lost women'. Starts off quite typically of the 50s sci fi horror movies, lots of voiceover, strong jawed hero - male doctor (as expected) - couple gets lost in a desert and claims
there's people in there!
We find out about a mad scientist (also male), called Dr Arana. He's probably up to no good, but he has a dwarf, so swings n roundabouts. OMG he's breeding a super race of woman with tarantula venom. We've moved into a mexican cantina, one of the spider women (?) is about to dance, she's very sultry, arachnosultry. Could she be entrapping the men in her dancey web? Ah not so much, she was shot - but now she's alive again. "The body just got up and walked out of here."
Crazy doctor makes a plane crash, they wander (very slowly) through a forest, it's painful. So very painful. Ah we're back to Dr Arana who is sending out more super women out to get them. 
Not overly recommended. 

HEre's the full thing:

21 August 2016

Movies : Don't look in the basement

Don't look in the basement (1973)
We open with an army flashback, in what (we presume) is a psych ward. The old nurse is saying farewell to her patients. Gus is now murdering people with an axe.
The new nurse has arrived, she's a bit confused by things. and the inmates are targeting her. huzzah.
Everyone is over acting, and they're all very shiny.
there is a lot of exposition. Dr Stephen's looms large, non of us very sure why.
A new character, a phone repairer, has arrived. Things don't look good for him. There has to be a nympho character and she's now talking to the phone guy. Meanwhile a knife is being inflicted on our nurse. 50 mins and no hint of a plot or character development yet.

Really bad boring movie.

14 August 2016

Movies: Driller Killer

The Driller Killer
I think they were going for a gritty New York cinema verite approach. It doesn't work. Down on his luck artist, with a painting which has a eye watching them. Our artist (reno) is starting to have nightmares, which may not bode well for everyone else.
Note, this isn't the 2 disc limited edition, this is a poor quality transfer on another one of my 12 movies for £4 sets :)
Our artist is trying to get money out of his manager/agent to pay for a phone bill. Yeah, I know. It doesn't go well.  A band practicing in the next studio is annoying our mentally unstable artist, to their credit they sound good (very Pere Ubu actually), but it's 2am and our artist is upset.
But in a teaser, they're still alive !!! However there is tension within the band, Tony is not listening. NOT LISTENING. To a very NY sounding woman. Artist is now stabbing a hunk of meat. I'm guessing we should imply his mental state is degenerating.
I will note we're 35mins in and although we've had some boob, there has been no murder.

Ahh significant improvement. The Driller Killer has arrived, those damn bums are gonna get it.

We're back to the band now, they're called The Roosters we've just discovered. They riff a lot off Mancini's baby elephant walk.

Still finance problems. More killing, but now, maybe a commission, from the musician.
One of the girls has run off to her ex. And our DK is bringing the agent down to his studio at night, after the agent refused to buy one of his paintings. More tension, more drama. More drilling. And Reno (DK) is looking for a new agent, the old one being found by one of his housemates. She acts. And then, thankfully her acting is curtailed by Reno.
DK pops over to where the other housemate ran off to (Stephen's) and gives Steve a damn good drilling while she's in the shower. She climbs into bed with supposed Stephen ... and the film ends.

Overall, pointless story, bad acting, and quite good music. Worth a spin.

5 August 2016

Movies: Picasso Trigger

Picasso Trigger.
More Andy Sidaris. This one is going for international classy by opening with shots of Paris. Then cuts to, what the director will hope we call, a chateau. Except it looks very Californian. Our (presumed) hero is in a dressing gown, which he loses revealing a scar on his chest. He's donating a Picasso to France.

Side note: Howard Wexler was the DoP. Howard is justly famous for his work on such classics as the Evil Bong series.

Sadly our hero is no longer with us. Another dressing gown man is ringing another chap wearing budgie smugglers and living on a boat.
Everyone is, apparently, spies. Including the strippers, who are line dancing. I have been unable to find you some of that action, I'm sorry, so so sorry.
I now have beer. This will help (for those playing at home: Brewdog Mashtag 2016).

Having planted a bug on some of the spies, some of the other spies (same team as the art dude, who we learn was a drug smuggler) follow in a chopper, then blow up the car. Back to big haired women discussing the Agency. More spies are dead. There is bad poetry involved - 'Give 'em a lei, blow 'em away'.

Little disappointing for an Andy movie, it's taken 17mins before breast sighting.
The girls' (also spies) boat has been blown up by a remote control plane (was osama a Andy Sidaris fan?). Followed by more explosions, of various people. LG is now calling Travis. None of these people mean anything to me. More Hawaii shots, and reference to the Agency. Cue Synths. Many Synths.
More Line Dancing, and seduction. There's now a boat chase, I recognise some of the protagonists, but in all honesty my beer is more interesting. But hey, there's guns, girls and g-strings - as the advertising for this Sidaris boxset went...
The guy has a phone in his desk drawer. But they also have a nice looking car, I think it's a Lamborghini, but really, expecting me to know these things is a bit silly.  It's got that big fat arse that I seem to recall Lamb' had...
Story threatened to intrude, so we're back to stripper line dancing. Now there's a writer/director who knows his audience.

Overall, delivers on what it promises. Works with beer, and presumably pizza.

2 August 2016

Movies : Bloody Pit of Horror

Bloody Pit of Horror
Italian horror movie dubbed into English, with lots of exposition. Why yes, I did like it.
The Crimson Executioner died many years ago, but in a convenient plot device, he's back to terrorise a castle where [NOTE: even more coincidence] some sexy Italians are shooting photos for horror book covers.
Yes I know. You may also need to read this afterwards.

People die. Blood is bright red. Exposition rules OK, and the dubbing is as bad as the acting. Imagine Hammer Horror, dubbed from italian into english, but with better looking actors, and very cheesy sounding american voices. Eg 'how could you, you're a monster, a monster!' and 'you, you mean nothing to me now, even if I missed you after I abandoned the world.'
The bad guy is called Travis. Make of that what you will.

Here ya go, the entire movie:

30 July 2016

Movies : Silent Night, Bloody Night

Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)

Not the best transfer, but an enjoyable romp. Not too much exposition, but enough so we're hammered with the fact the inherited house used to be an asylum. Which never ends well.
It doesn't drag too much, but it doesn't really engage either. It's a bit dull, and could do with more horror. Although it's implied, it's not particularly good.

Good way to fill in 80mins on a Friday afternoon, but nothing great.

14 July 2016

Announcing a new series !! Explore Opera with Bruce!

I like opera. But I do tend to stick to what I know well (Wagner mainly, and the ring cycle in particular), so I think I need to push my boundaries out. Sure, I've got other opera's on the NAS, even Roger Water's Ca Ira is lying around on SACD (and yes, I like it), but I think I need to spin/watch more.
So, for my cultural edification, I'm going to explore an opera (plot, history, impact) then watch/listen to it - and if the plan works, make comments here.

I'm going to try to plan for one opera a month. I have fond memories on watching operas on a Sunday afternoon when I was a nipper, admittedly no-one else in the house liked opera so it never lasted (I grew up in a house of philistines, Gilbert & Sullivan was far more popular with them - I hate G&S), so as winter comes in later in the year I may try and move to a Sunday afternoon slot too.

I think I'll revisit the Bluray's I've already got, and I think I'm heading to some opera at the Proms, so that'll get a mention (I'm reasonably sure I booked some Bartok, who I also love).

me x

10 July 2016

Movie: Gymkata

Todays quality viewing doesn't come the current pile of 12 movies on 3 DVDs for a fiver pile, rather a friend recommended this. In a "it's your kind of movie' way, based on err, well, most of the movie reviews I post here (in my defence, I have also watched The Revenant and Tale of Tales in the last few weeks...).
For a little context, the writer was my friends next door neighbour, and even cooler - this is his father.

So, Gymkata (1985).
Following the credits we've had some guy doing gymnastics, and now Ninjas! Fuck yeah. The guy is now being shot at by a Chuck Norris look alike, but with a bow and arrow. And now back to gymanastics (parallel bars, for those following at home). Our champion gymnast has been recruited by the US government, to prevent nuclear attack. I'm not making this up. Honest. They have to enter Palmistan, and 'play the game', which isn't, apparently, prostitution. Lots of other countries are also training their atheletes for this event. The tension is making my pants blow up. OMFG they've even got Palmistan's princess to help train him. She's promptly tied him up and smacked him over. Brilliant.
A generic looking asian is spouting nonsense aphorisms, with a hawk on his arm. It's so bad, I have to give you an image.
Following some very appalling acting/script Princess is now massaging him with a gaping blouse, and he rolls her over for a soft focus romantic shagfest [cut away]. Christ almighty.

After wandering through a very fake looking salt mine, we're in a souk / market. Princess is very excited. Everyone looks like Borat, and now one of his minions has been shot (with an arrow). So it's time for appalling kung fu !!! huzzah !!!!
He's also very keen on a red (white n blue) jumper, I suspect this acts a highly effective prophylactic. The generic foreign town they're running around looks more Italian (maybe Spanish?) than anything else. But he's doing martial gymnastics!! Oh thankfully he's also a superb shot with a gun. American action hero gymnasts, everything you need ...
And now a very long chase, gun fight, scene. Painfully long. There is no continuity in this movie, it lurches from scene to scene even worse than Harry Potter.
But we have ninja's. Again. so all is not lost. And now, for the race, they're running through cornfields, being chased by ninja's.  And now feasting on the day before the race. Plot is very confused. If it's there at all.
Not wanting to look to closely an continuity issues: but why is the princess Thai looking, and her father a very white chap?
More cornfields!!! And walking over pigs. Yes, pigs. I don't pretend to understand it either.

26 June 2016

Movies: The Terror

As a title, yes it is apt given recent events. But no, this is the 1963 movie with Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson. A young cavalry officer is lost on a beach (Nicholson), and follows an attractive (read, bosomy brunette) woman.
So far, there's been a lot of screeching strings, trying to build tension. Not sure it's worked, but eh. Our hero follows her into the water, is attacked by birds, and has just awakened in a castle while being looked after by an old crone. [tick and tick].

Our attractive woman has reappeared and we've just found out she's possessed. I also like that Nicholson's inability to act came from the start, the character is always Nicholson.
He's now met a Baron and questioning him about the young woman, who the Baron assures him doesn't exist.
"for a ghost, she's a very active woman"
Oh more ticks, graveyard castle, puffy shirts, and the baroness (cute babe) is still dead. But oddly active.
Jack's acting is still wooden, but he's challenging people. There's also an Eric. Yeah, Im confused too, but my bagel was nice. The Baron is getting an earful from Jack, for exposition purposes. The servant is very suspicious, followed by a lot of wandering around the castle by Jack. It's not riveting stuff by any stretch. Honestly, the football is better... In a predictable plot twist, Jack's trying it on with the ghost. My money's on her succumbing....I was right, wonder what I win? There's an awful lot of misty graveyard shots in this, and yet it's not a hammer horror. My mind, figuratively blown. The old crone appears to be controlling everything. "mesmerism, you fool" yes, it's scintillating stuff.
The soundtrack would make old Korngold happy, but it's by some dude Ronald Stein, who composed for a large number of b-grades I've seen. Classy.

Roger Corman, and F.F.Coppola.
Viewing has been brought to you by Beavertown Bloody 'ell, and Brewdog Black Hammer. Both highly recommended. Far more than the movie.

30 May 2016

Movies: Unknown World (1951)

It's not all Bgrade and classic movies, but bank holiday mornings do seem to attract coffee and movies.
Bank Holiday Monday is kicking off with :
Unknown World (1951)
Dr Morley wants to save us from nuclear disaster! Fuck me, there's a female scientist, she's blonde and cute. All the others are elderly males. Morley wants to drill down into the earth to create a safe location for humanity. There's a lot in common with Jules Verne (and Rick Wakeman!) here. Society to Save Civilisation. Brilliant name that. He's using the Cyclotram, sadly no theremins  involved, yet.
Ahhh the 50's, they're smoking inside the Cyclotram, the female biochemist is making notes on people, ohhhh she's judgemental *gasp*. Cripes, even more rip from JV, they've found some notes from people who went that way in 1938! there's conflict in the team. Toxic Gas! Andy's dead. I know, I'm pretty cut up about it too. They've found an underground world, with waterfalls and everything. "Like a dream, or a nightmare".
Could have been worse, pottered along nicely, excessive sexism, all the usual 50s tick boxes.

29 May 2016

Movies: Savage Beach & Little Shop of Horrors

Savage Beach  (1989)
More Andy Sidaris. Opening with some guy doing vague moves with a sword on a beach, he's 'the warrior'. He's just bowed to a rock. Blondes in jeep with big hair? Check. Ohhh they've used other hot babes as a diversion, and are sneaking into the Delight Pineapple company, where they're putting a white powder inside pineapples !!! Well I never ! Just so they can arrest them, all the girls are narcotics agents!! Now all four are topless in a pool. As you do.
lots of car / motorbike chases, and shooting people. With pulsing 80s music underneath.
For some reason, they're searching for a sunken japanese warship. Everyone is looking very intense, and meaningful. Our blondes are flying through a thunderstorm, I've lost track why they're doing this, and they've been hit !! There are also generic asians looking for the gold, they're now doing karate. Ahh our blondes have crash-landed on the island where everyone else is heading.
I have fuck all idea what the plot was.

The Little Shop of Horrors 1960
A very early jack nicholson movie. With a great jazz soundtrack, and directed by Roger Corman, how could it fail...
More Jewish jokes than you shake a dreidel at. It's more snappy than the remake, but lots of the lines were kept between the two. This holds together really well, and maybe darker than the remake. Jack plays a pain obsessed chap, Wilber Force, visiting the dentist. And there's a Mrs Fishtwanger. More movies need a Mrs Fishtwanger.

8 May 2016

Movies: The Atomic Brain / A Bucket of Blood / House on Haunted Hill

Been a hellish couple of weeks, which may even get blogged about shortly. In the meantime here's some more movie reviews as I catch up on the significant backlog of flicks.

House on Haunted Hill 1959

black screen, screaming, much screaming, vincent price. floating heads. this starts well !

there’s a gathering at the house, a haunted house party, hosted by vincent’s wife. lots of moody dark shots. good stuff. mr and mrs vincent want to kill each other, good stuff there too.
the guests get a payout if they stay the night. so pretty standard scoobydoo set up ;)

fuck yeah there’s a theremin

7 strangers gather for a party, and we’re on the tour of the house describing the murders including stabbing and acid (this is led by the alcoholic of the group). 
“boy I’ve never seen so many doors” scintillating stuff, but oddly it worked.
some nice very creepy turns, really enjoying this.

mrs lawrence / price is now showing people their bedrooms. saucy ! she’s concerned mr lawrence/price is going to kill her. 
Vincent Price just said ‘It’s close to midnight’ !!!! OMFG. 
hysterical woman (tick) - offered sedative by psychiatrist. sigh.

oh noes. vincent’s wife is dead !! she’s been hung. the harmonium is now playing itself, except it sounds like a hammond organ. (or farfisa??)

A movie dedicated to eternal life. Explained, extensively, by voiceover. rich 80yo wants new body, pet scientist does the nasty business. And implied nasty with 80yo in a 20yo body.
Black and white, but lighting so bad it’s mostly black with hints of lighter grey.
There’s a problem, all he can produce are zombies. No brain. It’s a quandary all right!!
the evil Dr is using the hired help as his test subjects, our pick is th blonde is next to go - ooohhhh he’s carrying a black cat. The dude *is* evil. Oh hang on, voiceover has informed us the cat is being used as the brain transplant. 

A Bucket of Blood (1959) Roger Corman
A 1959 beat poet jazz influenced movie. It promised much, and I think I’ve seen it before, the Burroughs-like introduction continues throughout the movie. It’s a beat poet movie made by Roger Corman, so I guess it may actually have reflected the late 50s beat generation. Walter has made a cat, out of clay, only we know it’s made from his actual cat. This won’t end well for Walter needs to make more art works.

Walter is accused of being a drug dealer by an undercover cop - damn those square narcs, things spiral a bit and the cop ends up permanently poorly. I’m guessing his next artwork is about to happen… Everyone loves Walter's art, it's very lifelike. The critics love him too. It's all coming up mill house for Walter. Oh dear, except someone has seen through him, and is breaking his exhibits. poor Walter, exposed, just like Damian Hirst.
Enjoyable soundtrack too.

Because they're so good, here's the opening credits, and then as the movie is public domain, the full thing. I'm too good to you.

1 May 2016

Movies: The Amazing Transparent Man & Don't Answer the Phone

It's bank holiday weekend, and aside from cycling and wanderings, it's also movie time...

Yesterday saw me watch Don't Answer the Phone. Every cliche from 70s/80s cop shows was ticked. And even by the standards of the time, it was misogynistic to truly disturbing levels. Honestly, I can't think of one redeeming feature of this movie. Utter, almost unwatchable crap. Basically soft core torture porn, without the redeeming feature of being honest about what it was. I'm not usually too bothered by crap, but this one, yeah not good.

Today's viewing is a classic, the Amazing Transparent Man (1960). So far we've had exposition, a crazy doctor (with supposed german accent), an escaped criminal, casual 60's sexism, badly lit scenes and music more in keeping with 40/50s melodramas. So yep, this one is ticking far more of the boxes :) currently a guinea pig is being subjected to experiments, everyone is smiling maniacally, and the guinea pig has disappeared!!! shocking! Damn I love those 1960s science machines, dials, flip switches, electricity flowing everywhere, screw you PCR. I want bubbling beakers. A Nazi sub current is appears to be adding to the confusing mix. Our crazed guy has made himself invisible. everyone is very confused. Although people now want to make an invisible army. As you do.
At which point things became even more confusing. Things were resolved by blowing up the lab, which the ex-nazi scientist thought was the best way of resolving things.
We even ended with a straight to camera comment. Brilliant !

23 April 2016

Movies: Ape Man & Point of Terror

Pottering around today, time for a couple of rubbish movies.

Ape Man (1943) with Bela Lugosi.

It's only 63mins, but feels longer. Not a great transfer, but Lugosi does manage to make the ape man sympathetic.
To be honest I kinda lost interest in this one, but the plot seemed to be scientist (Lugosi) accidentally turns himself into half man half ape, hirsute!!! and then decides an injection of spinal fluid will fix things, at which point a rampage occurs.

It has 4.3 on IMDB. Even as a b-grade fan, it was slow. More a 1-2 for me.

Point of Terror (1971)
Tony, our hero, is a nightclub singer who dreams of stardom. Tony doesn't have much time (not sure we find out why, although ironically the actor died in 1973 - when the movie was finally released, so y'know, foreshadowing). Tony commits adultery to hopefully get a recording contract. The movie was on a horror compilation, so far it's far more poor acting, slightly sleazy, and script writing of the worse kind. But yes, better than ape man. Awesome cheesy 70s soundtrack, in fact I've found you the opening credits... the full movie is also on youtube. More exposition than you can shake a stick at, brilliant! The woman who is going to make Tony's career, is married to a wheelchair bound ex-music executive, she apparently had her own life before marriage. Tony meanwhile is having nightmares of stabbing. We don't know why. Tony's adulterous manager has now knocked off her wheelchair bound husband, in a twist, he screamed in pain when she knocked his legs. He then drowned in a swimming pool, something the Para Olympics may contest as unlikely. This has made Tony an accessory to murder, apparently. Oh yeah, more 70s cheese music, and they're (tony's other woman) riding through forests on horses, following by snogging on the beach in the sunset. Oh right, this other woman is the managers daughter, tony has broken it off with the manager who took it poorly, and has gone for a flight down the hill - courtesy of Tony. She's looking a bit broken now.
Eh definitely not a horror, but OK background crap.

17 April 2016

Movies: Andy Sidaris classy dude Pt 1

I splashed out on a 12 movie set, 4 quid. All by Andy Sidaris. He's known for boobs, bombs, and bullets (summarised on wiki as BBB) movies in the 80's, and in a sop to providing employment for the unemployable, he frequently used playboy bunnies in his movies. As I said, classy dude.

First up was: Malibu Express 
Had to wait 4min before the first boob shot. Un-fucking-believable.
The movie was carried by extensive exposition/voiceover but the lead (a PI called Cody). This was essential as the plot was loose, at best. Cody managed to sleep with pretty much every woman, all of whom seemed desperate to drop their pants/tops, and all of whom were enthusiastic adopters of the 'commando' approach to panty wearing.

A reoccurring motif was a drag race with some hill billies. For no obvious reason.
Cheesy doesn't begin to describe the movie. Much beer is required for viewing. The scenes are not so much linked as lurch from A to F, the linking appears to be boobs and Cody shagging.
Music: country and western

Hard Ticket to Hawaii
Empowered woman = pilot. Still obligatory boob shot tho' (huzzah!). There's also a very plastic looking snake, and some very Chicago/Cetera style music. Oh no, they've discovered the snake is contaminated!! But the women don't know!! They're sitting on the island, and they've found some contraband in a R/C helicopter, attacked by the smugglers they escape as they're highly trained operatives - and carry ninja stars. Yes. Ninja stars.
Oh knowing reference back to Malibu Express!! And the contraband is diamonds, the girls know that they'll be traced as they've got a distinctive plane. Sensible!!
The snake has, predictably, escaped - it doesn't move much, just sits there looking like plastic.
Woohoo, more exposition.
"you've got a great ass" "so do you pilgrim".
oh yeah, there's a weird kung fu subplot too. that one I've decided to avoid, it's too confusing.
I won't be spoiling the ending to say that things work out. I'm presuming you'd already guessed that. There is more coherence to the story than Malibu Express, which is saying very little.

11 April 2016

Cooking with Bruce: Squid with stuff

It's been awhile. I know. You'll be thrilled to hear I haven't starved.

today's menu comes from my head. I wanted squid, I had squid. I didn't want chips. So I made something. It probably has a name. I'll call it 'steve'.

squid hoods for however many people you're feeding
plain flour
cayenne pepper

sunflower oil for frying

olive oil
onion finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1t caster sugar
1T (ish) pomegranate molasses
10 green olives [stones removed]
1T capers, rinsed

Cooking stuff

  1. Remove squid guts, and scrape clean, score lightly in a crosshatch pattern.
  2. Heat olive oil, and cook onions until slightly browned, remove (and drain).
  3. Add a bit more olive oil, cook celery, garlic, tomatoes, sugar for a couple of minutes, add pomegranate molasses, olives, capers until starting to collapse. Add the onions to the mix, mix in the parsley. Cook for a couple of minutes and place into bowls.
  4. Add sunflower oil to pan and heat to very hot, toss squid in the flour+cayenne pepper until well coated, and fry for 1-2 mins per side. 
  5. Place squid on the mixture, eat.
I was thinking of using balsamic vinegar, but I'd run out, I think the pomegranate was a better choice anyway.


4 April 2016

Whisky Live

Half of the cabal reconvened to visit Whisky Live in London. Samples were small, so although there's a large number below - it's not as bad as it looks. Honest. Notes were brief, and at times, 'challenging' to decipher, but let's see how it goes...

Arran Whisky Port Finish
50%, very sweet, quaffing whisky, short finish 7/10

Wemyss Hive Honey, slight spice, not hugely complex 6/10

Wemyss New Spirit - nice [not rated]

Kavalan Whisky - Taiwanese whisky
Single Cast strength Solist Sherry - nice enough 6/10
Solist Fino Sherry Finish - smooth, honey, spices, superb, 9/10  [I think it's the Solist Fino anyway]
Ito Sherry 9.5/10 lighter than the Sherry finish [again, not sure on this one]

Tomintoul 16yo 
Always enjoyed this, nice and light, refreshing - almost, light spicy and short finish 7/10

Compass Whisky
King St Glasgow - very quaffable, light smoke, 7/10 - 7.5/10 (Alec!)
Orangerie - very nice.
This is not a luxury whisky - not heavily sherried, very long, lovely 8/10

Nomad - Sherried Blend. Ridiculously good for the price (£30) - probably best value whisky of the show. 7.5/10

It's at this point we decided to get a bit radical and try bourbon and Irish Whisky, we've never been that addicted to it...

Tincup Bourbon Whisky : sweet, kinda interesting. 5/10 (A) - 6/10 (B).

Blackbush - Irish Whisky. Fucking close to water. 2/10.
Right, well we learnt from that experience.

18yo Arran. Superb stuff, light but interesting. 8/10

Laphroaig Brodir - port, spiky, salt, bacon, very similar to their PX. 8/10
This is one of their export/travel exclusives, yeah we liked it.

Strawberry Liquor. Look we were keen to try stuff and it was nice, even nicer in the cocktail..

Elements of Islay:
Br6 - feisty, bacon, very nice 8/10
Bw5 - ok-ish, 7/10
Lagavulin - very vigorous, salty, bacon, 7/10
Peat (blend) not too bad 7/10

there follows two bourbons, which could be deciphered (maybe) as Pink and Red. The ?pink? one was described reasonably complex 6/10, and the 'red' as a bit boring 5/10.

Longmorn - and some work something like 'Bortgary', juicy green apples 6/10, we also tried a 40yo which wasn't that great 6/10.

16yo Glen Moray. Pretty standard, 6/10
25yo Glen Moray. 8.5/10 - we do like our GMs :)

23yo - apples ! 8/10
25yo 8/10
peaty 7/10

We had a few more repeats of drams we liked, but that seems to be the main list.

Best value, by some distance, is the Nomad. Best whisky? Probably the Taiwanese sherry monster, although the 18yo Arran is very very nice.
There are rumours of a Cabal reunion, so you may yet get another Cabal update...

me (and Alec)

21 February 2016

Cooking with Bruce: Creamy Chicken Pies

Yorks Alordy. It's been awhile since a recipe has graced these pages. Let's fix that...and yes, I know this has meat, but eh.
Inspired by my wandering to M&S to get new pillows, and ending up with some pie tins as well.

Creamy Chicken Pies
2T olive oil
3 bacon rashers, finely sliced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1T plain flour
250gm shredded roast chicken
150ml dry white wine
250ml chicken stock
2t thyme
60ml double cream
2T parsley
350gm puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
[for gluten free, use gf pastry and gf flour]

Heat over to 200C.

  • Heat oil, and cook bacon until crisp. Remove, and fry onions and leeks gently for 10mins, add garlic and fry for 2 more mins.
  • Return bacon, add flour, stir, add chicken, wine, stock and thyme. Season and simmer for 15 mins, cool down, add cream and parsley.
  • Roll out pastry, add to pie dishes, fill them with mix, brush egg over top of the pastry and add the lids. Make a slit in the top for steam.
  • Bake 35mins until golden.

11 February 2016

Six Nations

Yeah damn you Scotland. We're going to have relationship issues if you continue on in that fashion.
In theory they had a damn good chance of beating the English. But the English looked well organised, and even had a backline. The Scottish forwards didn't seem to dominate or control the ball as well as hoped.
France looked great, for about 15mins, then lacked leadership and focus. And were very lucky to beat Italy.
Wales v Ireland was, by far, the best game. I still maintain that the Irish play very boring rugby, sure they do it well, but it's very predictable. Wales seemed to get through with minimal injuries, which is a win for them. The draw was probably a fair result.

This weeks predictions.
France v Ireland - err, again depends how the french play. No leadership could be an issue again, and I don't like their half back / first five combo (based on last weeks lineup), so I may go for, slightly, Ireland.
Wales v Scotland - As much as I'd like to see Scotland win, I'll pick Wales for this one. Probably by 5 or more. They've got more game breakers who are firing at the moment.
England v Italy - Should be an interesting tussle up front, but I suspect England by 10+.

5 February 2016

2016 6 Nations

The six nations kicks off this weekend. So I get a number of rugby games to swear and point and laugh at. Most of this will consist of: FFS not one of the ruck, again.

Picks this year? I'm still favouring Scotland and Wales. This year with a little more justification than normal.

Eddie looks like he wants to bring some solidity to the English, which means dull dead forward play. Expect a lot of wandering mauls and bash up the middle. I think Ed has realised their backs don't have the confidence or ability to play quickly, which reflects their weakness at halfback and first five (flyhalf). I think they're dead in the water, the press will hype them but that's all it will be, Eddie however is good at playing the long game so in a year or so...

Position: 4th, 3rd optimistically

More dull uninspiring play from a team of also-rans. I dunno, I just find it all a bit predictable, there's hope in the team, but haven't seen much that could create an exciting game.
Position: 3 or 4

I think wooden spoon this year.
Position 6, unless France are appalling...

yeah your guess is as good as mine. Potential winners of the competition, or utter crap. They have the players, but whether they get picked and then perform make picking winning lotto numbers seem easy. If they get their half back and first five firing, they'll clean up.
Position: 1,2 or 5.

I don't think there's too many of them injured/dead going into the tournament, so assuming WazzaG has lined up 45-60 men (knowing their ability to break, literally) there's a good chance he'll get through the next few weeks without Shane Howarth's granny being called up. The enthusiasm is great, the tackling on the wrong side - not so much, unless you're aiming for concussion, in which case, top marks lads.
Position: 1 or 2

Had a great world cup, very unlikely not to get further. But they play as a team - without too many outstanding stars. I like what Vern has done, and the speed of the backs is good - with good ball coming through from the forwards. Should be more belief that they can hang on to win games now, so I'm optimistic. I don't think they'll win, but they will avoid the wooden spoon, potentially getting in the top 2 or 3. I'm pondering backing them (with moolah) for the Calcutta cup this weekend.

Position: 2 or 3.