Friday, August 11, 2017

Spider Man on the Electric Company

Spider-Man, where are you coming from?

Spider-Man, nobody knows who you are!

Spider-Man, you've got that Spidey touch

Spider-Man, you are a web-slinging star!

Now this will probably only be remembered by those that grew up in the drug ridden 1970s, but yes Spiderman’s first jaunt out of the comic pages into live theater happened on a kids show called The Electric Company. The Children's Television Workshop, who produced the still famous Sesame Street, wanted a follow up to keep the kids educational market cornered and beat down those bastards at Zoom.
        At first this show was nothing new. Another kids educational show set up with sketch comedy style bits. Basicly it was like Sesame Street without the muppets- so you see the problem. It needed a hook to grab the kids in. And then it found it. SPIDER MAN.
        Hell yeah! When that happened the pre-pubescent me was all over that show. Tuning in every chance I got to catch up on the crime fighting action of our friendly neighborhood web slinger. Twenty nine segments were produced, along with another- presented here with The Blue Beetle. Each has the web slinger fighting against a unique foe and narrated by a cast member, the most famous one being Morgan Freeman, presented in the first two segments Spider Man Meets The Sack, and Spiderman Meets The Spoiler.
        Stay tuned true believers. The style of these sketches were amazing. And as demonstration of lack of budget spurring imagination. No special effects were used, instead comic book panels were peppered through each episode. Also, to encourage kids to actually read, Spider Man's dialogue was supplied as word balloons. These details gave the segments a truly unique look, that are decent even today. No one has ever done Spider Man like this.
        Permission for use of the character was apparently given free of charge, I assumed this allowed Marvel and it’s parent company to have a nice charitable tax write off, as Spider Man at the time was Marvel’s most popular figure and its licensure would have garnered triple digits at the time.
        I enjoy them even now, granted only for a hoaky, look at this weirdness, chuckle. But they were artistic, stylish, and definitely of their time. So enjoy and caveat emptor.
                                               Spider Man Meets the Sack
                                           Spider Man Meets the Spoiler
                                          Spidey Up Against the Wall
                                             Spider Man Meets The Prankster

                                                     Spider Man Vs. The Blue Beetle

Friday, June 23, 2017

Japanese Spiderman: The Greatest Spiderman TV Show Ever!

          This is not to be confused with the Marvel Mangaverse version of Spiderman. This was the 1970s and Marvel, during the comic slump of the time, was looking to expand their properties. They saw that Japanese action cartoons were becoming popular. Battle of the Planets, Star Blazers, and Robotech all being prime examples. To grab some of this sweet fruit, they entered into a three year deal with Toei Entertainment, wherein each party could use the other’s characters in whatever way they deemed would work in their perspective markets. 
          Marvel adapted two of the Japanese characters to expand their Shogun Warriors (a sort of early Transformers) comic adaptation. While Toei created Battle Fever J, the Japanese Captain America of all things, an animated TV movie based on Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula comic, and this little gem. 
What did you expect it to look like?

          This isn’t your average spidey story. In fact the only similarities are the costume, some of the powers, and the web. The rest takes a sharp departure. The biggest being…? Well guess. Japan in the 70s making an action show geared towards kids? That has to include giant robots!
          So Spiderman was given the mighty robot Leopardtron to strike against the evils of the world. Not that you would recognize any of the villains. This Spiderman didn’t fight against the Green Goblin, Sandman, or good ol’ Doc Ock. Instead the main villain is Professor Monster and his Iron Cross Army, an alien organization (that looked human) with plans to rule the universe.
          As such with this series we have the monster of the week, or Machine BEMS, created by the Professor, who can change size from very small to huge, necessitating breaking Leopardtron out of storage and blasting it in a Voltron like battle.
          The origin story is as follows: Professional motorcycle racer Takuya Yamashiro sees a spaceship crash land which out pulling some wicked moves. He goes with his father a prominent “space archaeologist” to investigate, but the elder killed in their exploration. The incident also attracts the attention of Professor Monster and his boys, the evil Amazoness, and monster creations, who are on Earth to conquer it.
My favorite still.

          Takurya discovers a dying alien in the ship who bequeaths on him a green lant… oops I mean he discovers the last warrior of the planet Spider, who injects him with his blood, granting the young motorcyclist the powers of a spider- I guess- and the keys to the ship, called the Marveller, which can also transform into the aforementioned giant robot. Just before dying the alien gives the hero a mission: To fight and defeat Professor Monster and his evil Iron Cross Army!

          Now apart from the powers mentioned above the Japanese Spiderman also is granted the GP-7 flying car, complete with missiles and machine guns. The Spider Bracelet, which contains his costume that shoots out over his body as needed, dispenses the webbing he all known, and acts as a homing beacon for his vehicles.
          This series, while goofy, is an incredible amount of fun. Forty one episodes were produced between 1978 and 1979 with excellent titles like “The Hero's Shining Hot Blood”, "Professor Monster's Ultra Poisoning", "To the Flaming Hell: See the Tears of the Snake Woman",  "The Onion Silver Mask and the Boys' Detective Group" and  "From the Unexplored Amazon: Here Comes the Mummified Beautiful Woman". It is recommended that, if you can find a copy, to watch it with a group of pals with plenty of  alcohol.
Too much symbolism?

          I have been unable to find a full copy of an episode. There was a collection released in 2004 for Region 2 only, but you have to get it through Japan or a Taiwanese knockoff. But the soundtrack is available through Amazon Prime streaming if you are interested, it may be worth a listen. Marvel briefly had them streaming from their site, but have taken them down. So I have placed a few clips and Marvel’s official trailer for your gratification.
          Enjoy and Caveat Emptor!

                                                   Marvel Trailer
                                                A highlights clip
                          A monster fight scene with Leopardtron
                             Some of the transformations scenes.

                                            The series opening...
                                                          ... and the ending ballad. 


Friday, May 12, 2017

Another Mother's Day Special: Worst Mothers in History II

            Once again time has swung around to the day where people are falling over themselves to give praise to the baby factories that mass produced them. Once more we have people gibbering on about the sacrifices mothers have to give for the sake of their children, as if abortion and adoption did not exist. Once more we have sickening displays of coke addled celebrities and scumbag politicians squirting crocodile tears over the parts attached to the vaginas that shunted them out.
            As I've done before, I’m here to remind you that not all mothers are cast from the same mold. That they aren’t all dripping fonts of kindness and warmth. That some of them are the worst examples of human beings ever to exist. Enjoy!
Belle Guinness and murdered children
Belle Guinness: Lady Bluebeard. Born Brynhild Paulsdatter Størseth in 1859, she was a Norwegian serial killer that emigrated to the United States, changed her name to Belle, and married Mads Ditlev Anton Sorenson. The pair opened a store, which burned down and the insurance company paid up. Her husband and two children (of four) died shortly afterwards- the doctor thought that it might be strychnine poisoning. Of course they were insured. She married again, to Peter Guinness, and moved to LaPorte, Indiana to start a farm. Peter soon died when a sausage grinder accidently fell on his head. Once again the insurance paid up, but not without some close scrutiny. For awhile Belle quit the insurance fraud. That’s when the suitors started. Belle placed lonely hearts ads in newspapers all across the country proclaiming to be looking for love. What she really wanted was a fast payday. They would write back and forth, Belle flirting with them until she could ascertain that the mark had money, then invite him to her farm. One night at her farm would be their last. An estimated thirty to forty men disappeared, only one got away. Eventually suspicion grew and she decided to make a break. She killed a homeless drifter to use as a substitute for her own body and burned down the farm with her children, now numbering three, sleeping in it. She pinned it on a retarded assistant that she occasionally have sex with. She was never caught.
Mary Ann Cotton: The Dark Angel. Born in the North of English, Mary Ann Cotton was another of those female serial killers that whacked people to collect on their insurance. She made her way through three (of four) husbands, eleven (of thirteen) children, and one lover before getting caught. Everyone around this woman kept dying of gastric bypass illnesses. Now while those were common in her age, her score was well above the average. After each death, and once the insurance paid out, she moved to a new city and started the process all over again. The only one to survive was her third husband who, suspicious of her insistence that he get life insurance, did some digging and discovered she had run up considerable debts, stolen money from his bank account, and was having the children pawn the household goods. He tossed her out quickly after that.  Described as having a “cold reserved demeanor”, she did herself no favors by not demonstrating any emotion in the court room, except after being sentenced to death. Being a woman, she expected to be given the “royal clemency” but her sins were too great. She was hanged at the prison. Apparently her neck did not break, due to the shortness of the rope, and she died due to strangulation.
Megan Huntsman: The Secret Strangler. Now we move to the great Mormon state of Utah. Most women kill their children for gain or sympathy (see Munchausen-by-Proxy syndrome). This one is an oddity however as Huntsman killed six out of seven children (the last being a stillbirth), but did not collect insurance and no one seems to have known that she was pregnant.  Directly after birth, the child was either strangled or suffocated. Wrapping their bodies in a towel or a shirt, Huntsman put them in plastic bags and then packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home Salt Lake City home. While this was going on, her husband and their three daughters were unware that she was pregnant, only stating that at times  her weight “fluctuated”. Police were alerted in early 2014 after her, then estranged, husband discovered them while looking for tools in the garage. The actual fathers of the children were unknown, as her husband had been in prison during some of these pregnancies. When pleading guilty she blamed her murders on a meth and alcohol addiction, an abusive marriage, and personal depression. She was given thirty to life.
Deena Schlosser: The Medicated Murderer. Moving from the meth-heads to the actually insane we have this woman, Deena Schlosser. The day after her third daughter was born she attempted suicide. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features and ordered by Child Protective Services to seek treatment and restrained from being alone with her children. Despite taking anti-psychotic drug, she came to believe that the third child was destined to marry Doyle Davidson, a veterinarian who had become the family's pastor at the Water of Life Church. The day before she attacked the baby, Schlosser told her husband that she wanted to give her to Davidson. Later that day he spanked her with a wooden spoon in front of their children to smack the crazies out of her. In retaliation she hacked the arms off of her 8 month old daughter, while leaving the other two unharmed. At her trail everything from religious frenzy to postpartum psychosis was blamed, but the child was still dead, and she was interned at North Texas State Hospital.  Her husband divorced her to regain custody of the rest of their children. She was released in 2008, after only four years inside, then recommitted in 2010. She was put on outpatient care and spotted in 2012 working as a Walmart greeter.
China Arnold: The Baby Roaster.  In 2005, a career felon, China Arnold, was living with her boyfriend Terrell Talley, and while nursing her newborn twenty eight day baby, the pair got into a drunken argument. Terrell apparently felt that the baby didn’t look anything like him and was too light skinned. He then accused her of cheating on him, which China denied. The argument heated up, both screaming at the other, whereupon China yelled, “Fine you don’t want her, I’ll get rid of her” and shoved the baby into the microwave then turned it on. Analysis of the body suggested that the child was in the machine for longer than two minutes. This raised the baby’s internal temperature to a critical level and she died in the hospital the next day. China was arrested, and tried twice. The first was a mistrial, but was  convicted on the next one. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Completely Crappy Toy Commericals from Yesteryear

         First up we have the Swing Wing which was the paraplegic’s answer to the hula hoop. Worn on the head like a beanie, a person swung it round and round their head by jerking their neck. I don’t know why anyone thought this would be fun, it certainly looks more like a chore or punishment. “Be a good boy or I’ll make you use the swing wing for an hour. Then you’ll be sorry.”  Notice the kid in the commercial that tries to walk and use it at the same time, it looks like he has some sort of neurological disorder. This toy appears that it would be better used as a punishment rather than a fun time activity.

            When the Japanese take a property from somewhere else, they always tweak it to bring it more in line with their culture- whether it needs to or not. And when, in 1979, the Toei Company acquired the rights to make a live-action Spiderman TV show they added a few bits for the kids. And what did kids in japan clamor for back then? Giant robots of course! So Spiderman, somehow, got a massive robot to fly about in and pummel things with. It didn’t go entirely to waste in America as several of the robots developed by Toei were recycled into The Shogun Warriors.

            From the good people at Transogram comes a game of strangeness, Monkey’s Uncle. This actually doesn’t look that bad, the smothered eight year old inside of me would’ve leapt right on it. A game that involves screaming, running, tossing things together- I was all about that back then. However how many times can you build a tower with three pegs or make a noise before it gets old? And with all those pieces how long till you lose a few, or all of them, or your retard younger brother shoves one up his nose thus rendering it unclean?
            Well this toy, the Loop-a-Lot, pushes a few buttons. First you have the fake German professor type trying to lure you into his rape van, the two smarmy kids who think they’re oh just so much better than you, and the abused animal zapped into activity by electrodes hidden under its clothing. But putting those aside, I don’t see the appeal of this “game”. You spin the necktie and keep your penny on it. It seems like it would be fun for less time than it took to describe it in this commercial.
Finally we have the Trik Trak. The daredevil simulation plastic stunt car where the pieces don’t fit together- batteries not included. This commercial is so sixties with the poor man’s Phil Silvers in glasses and sweater vest, the buck toothed kid in the Bobby Brady hairdo, and the Batman inspired onomatopoeia title cards when the car slightly knocks over some simulated hollow plastic logs. Another toy that you play with intently for twenty minutes, forget about in the closet for five years, and pull out again only to realize that you’ve lost most of the pieces and the batteries have been cannibalized to run your sister’s transistor radio.   

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Naked Kiss- One of the Best Bad Good Films Ever

          “Film is a battleground. Love, hate, violence, action, death… in a word ‘emotion’.” – Samuel Fuller, writer & director of The Naked Kiss
          A bald prostitute beats her pimp unconscious with a stiletto shoe. That’s what were given in the opening of The Naked Kiss. When we thing of old films we naturally have an idea of a sepia toned wholesomeness or watered down action where a person didn’t bleed after being shot. The bad guys are always bad, the good guys are dove like icons, and never never a hint of sexuality or “gasp” fornication. This film smacks that idea in the nuts
          After the pimp smack down, the protagonist, played by Constance Towers, goes on the road as a traveling prostitute. Eventually she bumps into a small town sheriff who samples her wares, then sends her across the river to the whorehouse in another town as his is a “decent place”. Emotionally at the end of her rope, she decides to quit the life of a hooker and miraculously lands a job as a nurse in charge of the cripple children’s ward. I guess they didn’t need accreditation for nurses back then.

          Well life turns good for the poor hooker and she becomes embroiled in the small town society. Stopping a girl before she starts the life a whore by picking a cat fight with the across-the-river Madame and so on. He then enters into a relationship with the town rich boy, who is best friends with the sheriff. After a dream-like courtship where even Tower’s confession about her hooker can't deter rich boy, the two decide to marry.
          Just before the wedding, she arrives her fiancĂ©’s  mansion, to find him on the verge of molesting a small girl. As he grinningly tries to persuade her to marry him, arguing that she too is a deviant, the only one who can understand him, and that he loves her, Towers kills him by striking him in the head with a phone receiver. Jailed, and under heavy interrogation, she must convince him and the town that she is telling the truth about her pervert beau’s death.

          An odd mixture of sappy and fucked up, tone in The Naked Kiss shifts dramatically from scene to scene. It is inconsistent in its presentation, as if the film is struggling on what it wants to be. From a harsh beginning we believe that we are delving into a sweet faux Cinderella story, only to have that illusion ripped away by a child molestation. I will say though that the actual scene is rather tastefully done, several people I showed it to were confused as to what had actually happened.  
          Mixed in is one of the strangest musical scenes ever shot. In a sense it is a perfect mirror of the rest of the film. None of the kids can actually sing or, more accurately, they sing like untrained kids, badly. When Constance Towers joins, who can sing, the two blend incongruously together. It reminded me of Cop Rock, the two elements did not fit, but makes something truly weird.
                                                      The Children's Song
          When the film is good it is dead on slap-in-the-face “did they really allow this kind of thing back then” good, but it does get bogged down in a sappy undertone that Tower’s character descends into after she decides to give up hooking. The film is then scattered with stock small town oddball “characters”.
          Parts of The Naked Kiss would still be controversial today. I can’t imagine how people reacted to it back then. The full film is below. Enjoy and Caveat Emptor!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Smacked By Life- Short Fiction

       Fifteen year old Spencer Robertson looked into the eyes of his new niece, the daughter of his younger sister, Davea. She had been seduced by a smooth talking wanna-be gangster, ten years her senior. His name was Jobiah, and was easily identifiable by his crooked smile and clover shaped birthmark on his cheek. Everyone knew he was bad news, but Davea was just young enough to be lured in by his bullshit. He had charmed her with cheap booze and cigarettes, making her feel oh-so grown up, then took her virginity and breezed off in the middle of the night, leaving behind two unpleasant surprises. A baby and the HIV virus.
By the time the child was born, Davea was wracked with full blown AIDS. Nowadays she was covered in lesions and barely able to make it to the bathroom, while Jobiah didn’t even feel sick. Their child, mercifully, had been unaffected.
The baby’s eyes looked up at Spencer with an almost alien quality. She couldn’t understand this thing before her and her irises ran over every curve and crevice on Spencer’s face. She was neither happy nor sad, just passive.
For a second Spencer saw in her a being that would hopefully live past him, that would experience life in a way he could never conceive of. Then the moment passed and she reverted back into the creature that he had to occasionally shove food into and, ugh, change her diaper- the worst job of all. The stench of baby shit made him puke each time without fail. He made a vow after each episode that it would be a long time before he had kids, and that he would get his woman to change do the changing.
Of course it would be a long time! He had a life to live, places to go, Crystal to drink, things to have- gold chains, fat rims, a six pack of cars- and all the hot chicks, like you see in the movies, to fuck. He knew he’d get it eventually. He’d seen it happen over and over again on TV. Till then he’d just chill.
As for girls, well, his current girlfriend, Ranisha, was all right. A fat booty. A near flat stomach. But he didn’t like that gap in her teeth and her nose was too wide, plus she got ashy way too easily. She was hot, but not supermodel hot. He’d keep her around for now, but when other boys were around he pretended like he wasn’t with her.
Spencer picked up his backpack and went outside for the bus to take him to school. On the bus he saw Ranisha, but there was no room next to her. He wasn’t unhappy about that because didn’t feel like talking to her anyway, but he gave her a nod as he pushed his way to the middle and sat next to his friend Randle.
Randle was excited about a Youtube video he had seen, where a man gets hit with a car, and played it for Spencer on his smart phone. In it there was an audible crack when the car smacks the man’s leg. The man flips over the hood and must have hit the pavement extremely hard for his head exploded all over the street, looking like a very chunky pool of salsa. Randle loved pictures of death and gore, pulling them in from every sleazy site on the net.
“Look at that shit! Look at that shit!” Randle kept saying.
This wasn’t Spencer’s thing. He could blow away 1,000 aliens a night without blinking, but Randle always took things too far. Still he was a buddy and they looked out for each other, so he put up Randle’s crap. No matter how queasy it made him.
Spencer’s phone buzzed. A text from Ranisha. I got to tell you something. He wanted to ignore it and watch some more Youtube, but then she would be complaining to him the rest of the day. So he typed back, Later at lunch. He was too tired right then to deal with whatever she was going on about.
Spencer had been up all night playing video games and drinking generic cola. Both his parents had to work and, as they couldn’t afford any real care for their daughter, they spent most of their free time making her comfortable. This left no time to handle Spencer apart from yelling an order at him from another room. So his bedtime tended to be whenever he passed out. This made for a lot of groggy mornings.
He slept through most of homeroom, the morning announcements filtering in and out of his dreams. First period was English for which he had to prop his head up, because the teacher Mr. Thies, an old teacher, was uncool like that. Not like the other who let you do what you wanted as long as you were quiet.
The first part of the period was writing down some boring vocab words for next week’s test. They’d been doing this all year and Spencer couldn’t remember a single word from a past test. He’d just look at the list a few seconds before class started and regurgitate back whatever stuck to his brain. Then he’d forget it completely. It was just another thing to get through.
His hand slipped into automatic writing, while his mind wandered onto important things. What was he going to do after school today? What TV shows were on? Did he have enough money to buy some Doritos and a two liter of soda- or would he have to settle for a one liter? Would he be able to sneak Ranisha over during the hour and a half between when his father came home from work and his mother left? How long would it take to get her pants off again? Just enough time probably.
“Are you paying attention to me, Mr. Robertson?”
Spencer snapped up.
“Oh yeah, Mr. Thies.”
“Good.” Mr. Thies sat on the corner of his desk, trying unsuccessfully to look informal. “Now I want to talk to you all about your future…”
Spencer groaned. Here we go again. Another lecture on responsibility, planning for the future, and all that crap. There was one teacher every year that would bang on about it. Usually it was some young bright-eyed female, straight out of college, who tried to “inspire” all of them like some teacher out of a movie. Spencer hated this type because they always talked down to him, like he and his parents were too dumb to know any better. He always ignored them.
They never lasted long anyway. It took the new ones about a year, sometimes only a few months, to be ground down to reality. But the schools Spencer went to ran through teachers like toilet paper, so there was always a new one popping up. Veterans like Mr. Thies should know better.
By now Spencer had heard these lectures so many times that the words just slid through his brain. They became background static while he watched the second hand of the classroom clock tic away to freedom.
Mr. Thies’s perpetually sagging lips stopped moving and Spencer realized that a question had been asked, possibly to him.
“What?” He said sleepily.
“I was just asking Randle here what his plans were after he leaves school.”
“I’m a go home.”
Randle grinned. Acting the fool to confound the teacher was an old game of his, one he played well. Undaunted Mr. Thies continued.
“I mean when you graduate. What are you going to do?”
“Man like I’m be a rap star.” He flashed a gang sign. “I’m be big and have diamonds and Ferraris and shit.”
“And if that doesn’t work out?”
“I guess… I’ll shoot hoops down at the playground until the NBA gives me a contract.”
Now Randle was dead serious.
“I don’t think too many talent scouts hang out at the playground Randle.”
“Man you ain’t seen me! I’m really good. There was this one time when these niggas came up on me and…”
“Don’t you think you should set your sights a little higher?”
“Ain’t nothing higher. They make bank!”
Mr. Thies went around the room asking everyone. The answers were about standard. Football player, basketball player, rap star, movie star, NASCAR driver. One boy wanted to “like make video games and shit.” Aim big! There were a few other choices. Nurse, mechanic, carpenter, pest control specialist, but they were the minority. A number of the girls wanted to be full time mommies, more than you would expect in this day and age. There was barely any mention of college at all.
“What about you Spencer?”
“I dunno.”
On the way to the next class, Spencer spotted Sgt. Dunree in the halls. Sgt. Dunree ran the school’s JROTC program and was friendly with everyone, though Spencer had hear he could be a real jerk when the JROTC were out on the parade ground. Dunree always stuck out because of his army uniform which he wore every day without fail. He looked good in it, smart, sophisticated. The uniform commanded respect. Spencer liked that.
Dunree was talking to a couple of seniors about them enlisting in the army after graduation. He gave them a couple of brochures and added,
“Well think about it.”
The bell was about to ring so the boys had to move on. Dunree had an extra brochure in his hand, when Spencer caught his eye. Dunree didn’t know who he was. Spencer didn’t join JROTC or anything that required him to spend more time at school. But he slapped the paper into Spencer’s hand anyway and clapped him friendly on the shoulder.
“Here you go chief,” he said, “This could be your future.”
Spencer looked over the leaflet in his Math class when he should have been learning the FOIL system. It was glossy, bright. A strong jawed soldier was on the cover, full uniform, weapons locked, staring off proudly at a distant horizon. It looked good to him. His eyes picked up the key words around the photo. Army of One, dignity, honor, travel, great benefits. All that was great, but it was the images that attracted Spencer the most. They were nice and clean and he could see himself in them- fixing a jeep, or calling in reinforcements, or blowing up a bunker filled with terrorists, or holding a hill against an enemy advance.
Maybe this was for him! It was something to think about. To be tucked away and brought out at the end of his time here. After all graduation as years away. Practically all the time in the world.
Spencer missed most of his lunch period, so he didn’t get a chance to see Ranisha. The vice principal had called him into his office to ask Spencer questions about his sister. How was she? Would she be returning to school? If the teachers sent work home would she be able to complete it and send it back? That way she could still graduate. The vice principal tried to display interest and compassion, but it was obvious to Spencer that he didn’t really care. What he was really interested in was the school’s statistics. Spencer had come across the problems in this school, while online while online trying to find out if Mr. Ethel, the librarian, had been in a porno, like the rumors insisted. If his siter died before graduating it would be counted by the state as a dropout in the school. Another black mark against a school that was constantly teetering between “average” and “below average” ratings.
After assuring the vice principal that he’d have his mother call the school, a promise he’d forget five minutes later, Spencer went to the cafeteria just in time to scoop up the last slice of cardboard pizza. While shoveling it down his throat, he looked around but couldn’t see Ranisha. In a school of 1200 students and only three periods for lunch, the noon meal was a big operation, even with a quarter of the students routinely absent each day. The bell rang and he quickly swallowed the last of the crust and trundled off to sleep through his Social Studies class.
Where we u??? Was the text he got from Ranisha later during Chemistry class. Got called 2 office. He sent back. There was a 10 minute pause, then she sent. I’ll come by ur crib ltr.
He smirked. This upped his odds for sex today, oh yeah. Spencer leaned back that wonderful tense joy of anticipation spreading all over him. The day drifted on and Spencer spent most of it in hibernation. He took notes when required, but didn’t think about them. It wasn’t until the day was over that he felt alive. When the final bell rang, he nearly jumped for joy, but that wouldn’t look cool.
On the bus he found a seat in front of Ranisha and turned back, winking at her. She looked at him defiant, then looked away. His stomach sank. Was she going to break up with him? How could she do that? Wasn’t he good looking? Wasn’t he cool? Wasn’t he a good lover?
Who was it? Who was she gonna dump him for? Reggie? That thick nigga was always hanging around her, tryin’ to get in there. Reggie talked big, thinking he was so hard. Spencer was gonna bust that motherfucker up the next day in school. He pounded his fist.
At the journey’s end, Spencer was choking back the anger. His brain had clouded over and a red mist spat evil thoughts all through it. He didn’t say a word to her all the way back to the house. At the door, Ranisha stopped him.
“I gotta tell you…”
What? What you gotta say?”
She clammed up immediately. Her gaze turned downward, fuming. His guts churned. She definitely wasn’t in the mood for love. He unlocked the door and entered, not looking behind to see if she followed him in. He went into the kitchen and got himself a glass of water, the only beverage in the house. He didn’t think to get her any, she knew where it was.
Spencer found Ranisha sitting on the couch. He slouched against the doorframe and sipped his drink disdainfully. When it became apparent that she wasn’t going to start talking, he yelled.
“If you just gonna sit there all day then you can get out. If you got something to say, hurry up!”
She looked up at him tear filled, her lips trembling.
“I’m pregnant.”


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things: Bad Film by Talented People

         The underwhelming 1972 zombie horror film, somewhat tongue-in-cheek and a budget made from loose change found in a couch, is a fun film to watch when hanging out with friends and imbibing a ton of alcohol.
          The basic story is that a group of snotty drug addled theater types go off to a deserted New England island where there once used to be a small village. There they trundle off to an old graveyard and perform a satanic ritual used to summon up the devil and bring the dead to life. When it seemingly doesn’t work the leader, Alan, gets all bent out of shape and begins hurling insults at the great beast. They then desecrate a grave, dig up its occupant (named Orville), and drag it to an old house where they spend the night drinking and ingesting hallucinogens.
          One of the women, Anya, gets a little too into Orville (“He’s so beautiful!”) so Alan drag him into another room and has a nice heart to heart with the corpse (“You’re the only one I can trust, Orville.”). But of course, what happens? The dead do rise as zombies, it just took them a minute to get going. So everyone in this incredible bunch of pretentious and annoying would-be thespians is eaten which is probably the best ending I could think of for this crowd of irritating characters.
Alan Ormsby in Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
          Now the interesting thing is that this Z-Grade zombie flick was written and produced by some talented people, several of whom went onto do some great things. It was written in part by Alan Ormsby (who plays Alan, surprise, surprise) who went on to write classics like My Bodyguard, the 1982 version of Cat People, Porky’s II, and The Substitute, among many others. While the other writer and director, Bob Clark (credited here as Benjamin Clark) went on to direct such seminal classics as Porky’s, Black Christmas, A Christmas Story, Murder by Decree, Turk 182!, and From the Hip.
          Rumor has it that Bob Clark was attempting to do a remake of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things  but unfortunately his death in a car accident in 2007 prevented it.
          The entire film is below. Enjoy and Caveat Emptor!