Human Lanterns (1982)

HumanLanterns_GoldenSwallow_SC36Before I descend into the madness of another Movie Challenge Month, I should probably talk about one of the movies I did manage to watch during my burnout from the last one: Human Lanterns, a piece to 80s horror nastiness from the Shaw Brothers. It is on The List, after all.

When the craze for Asian movies started up again in the 90s, I was right there with it, searching out movies in an age when the Net was just starting out and a person in my position had to make do with books, magazines, and mail order. I still have a ton of VHS tapes in boxes in my garage, most of very iffy quality and downright scurrilous sources. But one of the movies spoken of as a sort of HK video nasty was Human Skin Lanterns, later amended to Human Lanterns. And here it is, in my hands, in a pristine DVD.

A company named Celestial Pictures started putting out remastered, gorgeous DVDs of the Shaw Brothers back catalogue in the early 00s, and again, there I was. The American Dollar was very strong against the HK dollar, and I was importing close to 20 discs a month for under $200. There were movies I thought I would never see in my lifetime, movies familiar only in their cropped, dubbed versions on Saturday afternoon TV, and movies I took a chance on and was rewarded handsomely.

Human-LanternsAs all good things must, the contract I was working on at the time ended, and I was back to my duller, more financially strapped state. But then domestic American editions of the Celestial discs began appearing, and look, there it is in my hands: Human Lanterns. With the Image Entertainment logo.

So here’s your plot: There are two kung fu bigshots in town, Tan (Chen Kuan Tai) and Lung (Tony Liu). There is the usual rivalry between the two, but the difference here is that both men are real douchebags, and their antics are the sort of things that make their friends look away uncomfortably. Their latest achievement is wrecking a party at Tan’s over a prostitute both men frequent.

The upshot of the evening is that both men swear they are going to win that year’s Lantern Competition, and Lung journeys to the town’s market to find out who has really been making lanterns for Lung in past years – the merchant he actually pays for them doesn’t have the skill. To his surprise, Lung discovers this masterful lantern maker is none other than Fang (Lo Lieh), a man Lung beat in a duel seven years before, leaving him with a facial scar and a brooding hatred.

Lung beseeches Fang to let bygones be bygones, to make him a truly beautiful and unique lantern that will beat Tan’s entry. In return, Lung promises riches and a way out of the hovel in which Fang lives and works. Fang agrees, as this is the spark that will power a vengeance seven years in the building.

human-lanterns-2_webFang begins by kidnapping the aforementioned prostitute and skinning her alive. There are gorier instances of this in genre cinema, but this particular version is low-tech and pretty nasty. Tan and Lung cast suspicions on each other for the woman’s disappearance, and the local policeman (Sun Chien) is pretty ineffective, as in all horror movies.

Fang continues his plan apace, eventually kidnapping Tan’s younger sister, and finally Lung’s wife, who we discover was the cause of that duel seven years before.  Things build to a massive kung fu fight and a fiery finish, which only one of the characters will survive.

There are, as I said, gorier movies of this sort, but Human Lanterns manages to be unpleasant in its own, personal ways. Thankfully, we only see two of the women being skinned, but Fang, in the full throes of his villainy, has to rape the woman who caused his defeat and disfigurement. We never see Tan’s younger sister go through this, only Fang’s gleeful playing of cat-and-mouse with her in his hellish underground workshop. We entertain a bit of hope that she might still crop up, unharmed toward the end… but no. This is a horror movie, a slasher film in period garb. Don’t let the accouterments of an action movie fool you.

There is a special kind of chill when Lung finally finds that underground charnel house and sees the completed lanterns, and is held transfixed for a moment by their beauty, not realizing that the one he is admiring features the “beautiful red mole” on his wife’s back that he so treasured.

lantern25The cast is quite good. Chen Kuan Tai, a superb martial artist and star of many a Shaw Brothers blockbuster, seems pretty wasted in his role; Tony Liu is given much more screen time and fills it well enough, but neither of these men are given any way to truly gain audience empathy; the only people we feel for are the victims. Poor Sun Chien never got a break – we always see him playing second fiddle to other members of the Venom Gang, and here he has to play the Asian version of Barney Fife.

Lo Lieh was a very versatile performer; he could certainly handle hero roles – witness King Boxer/Five Fingers of Death – but where he really excelled was playing villains, and Human Lanterns gives him more than adequate atrocities to sink his teeth into. While doing his wetwork, Fang wears some sort of hairy ape suit with a skull face ,and watching this figure, swinging through the trees, loose-jointed and cackling, is pretty chilling.

lantern17Human Lanterns has its share of fight scenes, but none are dynamic enough to cement the movie as a kung fu flick – and the horror segments are memorable enough, but often seem imported from another movie. It’s an odd creature to be sure, worth a watch from horror fans, but probably not action-packed enough for martial arts mavens.

Out of the Gauntlet…

…and into another trap.

March was an interesting month. As both of you reading this blog know, I thought it would be fun to participate in the March Movie Madness Challenge, which resulted in a bunch of short reviews under the “ABCs of March” heading. That involved going through the alphabet by watching a movie every night. I have a sort of sick jealousy towards people who could actually do that – I indulged in a tremendous amount of gaming the system, watching several movies a day during my enforced week off (Spring Break at the college). Coming off that glut of movie watching and following up by a rather ravaging Crapfest also had an unforeseen consequence: I was completely burned out on movies.

The Author's Brain: Artistic Representation

The Author’s Brain: Artistic Representation

I done one… one! review since. While recharging my batteries, I’ve gone back to Habit Number One, reading. Burned my way quickly through Lindsay Faye’s marvelous Dust and Shadow and Gods of Gotham. Finally finished Warren Ellis’ thoroughly demented Crooked Little Vein, which was the detective novel Hunter S. Thompson probably wishes in the afterlife he had written. And (also) finally got round to Richard Kadrey’s fourth Sandman Slim novel, Devil Said Bang, and those damned things just keep getting better.

I’d been flirting with the idea of getting back on the cinematic horse when I was hit with one of those two weeks of extreme business that seems to be your lot when you’re working a couple of part-time jobs and engaging in several freelance projects. One of those projects finishes up this Sunday, and I’ve hit a period of relative calm. Well, I think to myself, it might be time to watch a movie or two.

Then I discover that Danny Baldwin and Oscar Velasquez, the same people who came up with the March Movie Madness challenge, have come up with another one for May, and oooooh, is it irresistible. To honor the memory of Roger Ebert, participants watch Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, then one movie a night from Ebert’s Great Movies series. I mean, good Lord, look at that list. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I’ve watched about a third of those movies, so finding 30 I had not was relatively easy. Some of them are even on The List. In the final version of my proposed watchlist for May, I already owned 19; 4 were on Netflix; 6 I could get from my local library (my local library system is pretty damned sweet, if I haven’t mentioned that lately). The last two I picked up for cheap from my own Amazon Wish List.

So I guess I’m doing this.

challenge-accepted-stoplightThere are all sorts of problems I foresee. I don’t have Spring Break to fall back on. At least six evenings are already scheduled for work. Two days for my wedding anniversary get-away. One evening for the Capital Fundraising Kick-Off for my old theater. Monday and Tuesday evenings my wife must have the HDTV to watch Dancing With The Stars, so I can’t watch Blu-rays those evenings. There should be a Crapfest in there, somewhere, too. This is a field of logistical landmines, to be sure.

I am also likely the only person in the world who would complain about watching quality movies.

So there will be more system gaming, I am sure. I will likely start the process tonight, trying to build in a buffer. My portable DVD Player will go with me to San Antonio. I’ll have to save the shorter movies for nights with work and so on. And somewhere in there, find time to write about this ordeal of excellence.

I guess this why they call it a challenge.

Radio Silence

I’m sure you weren’t concerned about my current silence – Jesus, there is certainly more than enough very real stuff to worry about this week – but here I am, anyway.

I’m having another of those incredibly busy two week periods. Three, count ’em three shows this week. Three, count ’em three writing projects, all of which presume they are the most important things on Earth. Special remote broadcast next week as the School Board candidates duke it out. So exciting.

toobusyStill dealing with a bit of burnout after the March Movie Madness and Crapfest. I’ve watched one movie since Hercules, Samson & Ulysses, some episodic TV, and spot-checked my Blu-ray of Django Unchained (having already seen it in the theater). After a 2012 fairly bereft of paying work, I’m not going to complain too loudly about suddenly being busy.

Hopefully back in the latter part of next week. If not, as I said, you’ve got plenty to occupy your time until I do manage to return.

Keep your head down. Courage.

Hercules, Samson, and Ulysses (1963)

hercules_samson_and_ulysses_poster_01This movie and I go back a ways. When it first played theaters – and yeah, 1963 sounds right, yeah, fifty years ago – I begged my mother to take me to see it. Those three names were something to conjure with, alright, and I was pretty certain that there would be carnage aplenty. You see, I was pretty certain the title meant there were three musclemen involved. My mother watched a lot of peplum on the afternoon movies (yes, local TV stations showed movies in the afternoon – and mornings! – instead of talk shows full of people shouting at each other. In some respects, it was a Golden Age), so I knew about Hercules and Maciste and some other guys, so three of them had to mean three times the action.

And I have to admit I remember absolutely nothing about the movie – well, I do remember one thing, it turns out – which made it a cinch that when Warner Archive put it out on disc, it was only a matter of time before I had a copy in my hands. Especially when Chad Plambeck started enthusing about it (Chad was also kind enough to inform me that this movie didn’t hit American shores until 1965, which means I saw it only 48 years ago. That put a spring back in my step, let me tell you).

Well, there is one other thing I sort of remembered, or at least the memory came rushing back as the movie started, like a fly ball popped into the stands at an unsuspecting observer: Ulysses is not, in fact, a muscleman with a misappropriated name. We are actually dealing with Odysseus (Ulysses being the Roman version of that name), while still a teenaged Prince of Ithaca, here hanging out with Hercules (Kirk Morris, in this version). Hercules throws a discus, and Ulysses shoots it with an arrow. We are assured that the targets in this primitive skeet shooting won’t be found for days, but big deal, the kid’s royalty. He can afford it.

A group of men come to Ulysses’ father, King Laertes, to complain about a sea monster killing fishermen. This, of course, is catnip to Hercules, who will head up an expedition to kill the dastardly beastie. Ulysses will tag along with a basket full of carrier pigeons, because that is what youthful sidekicks do.

Director Pietro Francisci – to whom we will return later – is annoyingly cagey with the sea monster. Seen only at night, and in tantilizingly brief clips, it seems to be a manatee or an otter with a piped-in roar. In any case, it cuts through the water well, but Hercules harpoons it at the beginning of a terrific storm. In return, the unseen monster pokes a huge hole in the boat’s hull. So Hercules, Ulysses and four other survivors wind up castaway in a strange land.

p_beach6After Herc punches a bull to death (“I wonder what sort of creature that was,” muses one guy over the ensuing barbecue, leading to the amusing thought that there are either no cows in Ithaca, or the man is an idiot) they wander inland (leaving the fire under the side of beef burning), to find that they are in the land of Judea, where fortunately everyone speaks Greek. Or English, anyway.

In this first village we find Samson (Richard Lloyd – actually Iloosh Koshabi), who is currently in hiding, because the King of the Philistines is looking for him, probably over that whole jawbone-of-an-ass thing. Samson suspects these barely-dressed men are spies. Hercules, on the other hand, is simply looking to hire a boat to get home, and is told his best bet for this is, you guessed it, the King of the Philistines. So Herc plucks some gems from his belt and uses them as collateral for the loan of some horses. On the way to Gaza, the party encounters a lion, so Hercules must wrassle it and strangle it – or so we’re told, the editing in this scene is suspiciously choppy. Their guide, seeing this, assumes that Hercules is actually Samson, and runs on ahead to tell the King.

Herc-vs-SamsonMeanwhile, a platoon of Philistine soldiers is searching the village for Samson, and finds the carcass of a strangled lion in a pile of furs. This is extremely weird and hilarious, until somebody later mentions this is at the house of the village tanner, which makes a little more sense, but jeez, it is definitely time for Samson, a confirmed serial lion strangler, to admit that he may have a problem. This puts the Philistine leader in a foul mood and he orders the entire village burned and everybody killed (except those he can sell as slaves). Okay, this is the sole image I remembered from my youthful viewing: people being nailed to the sides of their houses while the buildings burned. That left a scar.

The unfortunate prisoners are dragged along until, as is traditional, one passes out, and the leader orders her killed. It is at this point I finally got a good look at a Philistine soldier, and discovered that all their helmets were modified Nazi helmets. That may be putting too fine a point on your symbolism, but then, I am not Pietro Francisci.

As luck would have it, the woman passed out exactly where Samson had set up an ambush, and he proceeds to slaughter the entire regiment with a couple dozen javelins he brought along just for the occasion. Once Samson finds out what happened at the village, he is more convinced than ever that Hercules is a spy.

hercules_samson_ulysses_liana_orfeiMeantime, we get to meet Delilah (Liana Orfei), upgraded to the Queen of the Philistines, who is convinced that the King just needs to chill out about this whole Samson business. We will eventually find out that this is because she wants Samson for herself. Delilah has a muscleman fetish and apparently has collected all the muscleman bubblegum cards, because she instantly recognizes Hercules.

The King holds Ulysses and the other four men hostage while commanding Hercules to hunt down Samson and bring him back as a prisoner. Delilah goes along for the ride, and when her attempted seduction of Herc proves fruitless, she resorts to her prowess at scheming to lure Samson out.

It has to be admitted: Francisci puts his money into stuff the audience wants to see, because the initial fight between Hercules and Samson is a corker, in 1963 peplum terms. In a field of Babylonian ruins, they throw each other into walls and columns of huge styrofoam blocks, throw the blocks at each other, bend iron bars around each other – it’s no Neo versus Agent Smith, but it is pretty cool. I’m pretty sure six year-old me enjoyed it immensely. But once the crew has exhausted all their styrofoam and foam rubber tricks, Hercules says, “Hey, you know? We should team up.” and Samson says “I was thinking the same thing,” and then playtime’s over.

kirkmorris17Delilah keeps trying to escape and warn the King, but the two muscle men use convenient half-mile long lassos to bring her back. Eventually she will convince Samson to let her try to fool the King into giving Herc’s friends a boat and making it look like Samson is a prisoner, but she’s Delilah and shows up at the rendezvous with the Philistine Army, dressed like Barbarella on Military Ball Night. Ulysses gets to prove he’s clever by finding exactly the right buttress for Herc and Samson to bring the Temple of Dagon down (somewhat ahead of schedule) in a welter of styrofoam and foam rubber. I suspect the peplum industry had been manufacturing and storing these thing up for years, and Francisci called up the full supply.

Not all the Philistines get crushed, though, and things look bleak until King Laertes shows up with the boat builder Argos, whose newest creation is the 007 Astin Martin of the 12th century B.C., festooned with javelin throwers and arrow machines (those carrier pigeons kept Laertes apprised of where Ulysses was shipwrecked, and the wimminfolk got tired of waiting). So with a festive “Beware of Delilah!” Hercules and Ulysses take leave of Samson, though we’re pretty confident he’s going to ignore that advice.

lo3Hercules, Samson and Ulysses is generally regarded as the last gasp of the Peplum movies, and its only appropriate that it should be directed by Pietro Francisci, who started the whole fad with the 1958 Hercules, which put a pulp dimension into the Biblical-era spectacles that were so popular at the box office. By ’63, the genre is pretty much sleepwalking through the plot; I’m pretty sure six year-old me could have written this one, right down to the unmotivated teaming up of the musclemen. “An’ then they fight for a while, and tear stuff up, an’ then they decide they should be friends.” Roger Corman made Atlas in ’61, and rarely was there a more canny judge of what was hot and vice versa.

But as I said, Francisci puts the most effort into the mandatory setpieces, the big battle of oiled musclemen and the final confrontation with the Philistines, and you have to admit that at the end, you’re satisfied. You don’t come to a movie titled Hercules, Samson and Ulysses to have the secrets of the universe unfolded before you, you’re here to have fun. Bring the popcorn, sit back, and relax.

Crapfest: Making A Good Friday Bad

There seems to be an ebb and flow in the Universe around these things: I’d had another stressful and exhausting two weeks, the midpoint of which was the Fort Bend International Festival, a nice 11 hour day with only two minor fifteen minute breaks. I should feel lucky – I was totally expecting 12 hours. This was followed by a holiday on the following Friday, Good Friday, but that only meant everything had to be done a day early. I really didn’t feel rested until a week after the Festival, and a day after Crapfest.

Two could not make it – David and Erik – and we added a newb, Mark, who, like me, works at a college but has a much more elevated position than I (realistically, the janitors have a much more elevated position than I). Paul and Alan arrived after their commitments; I had beaten Rick to Dave’s house by mere minutes, giving us sufficient time to curse each other and the screen, because I had burned another compilation of horrible things from the Everything Is Terrible website. Here is one of the least offensive, in case you were ever wondering what happened to Madness after that “Our House” money ran out:

I’m still trying to figure out how to rip that and make it my ringtone. Apparently some memories of this song gave Rick problems in church Sunday morning.

The-Bodyguard-558x836Dave wanted me to go first, but although I had a stack of discs in front of me, I pointed out that we had been promising Paul we would show Sonny Chiba’s The Bodyguard for months. “What? Is it Be Nice To Paul Day?” “Sure, why not?” So we finally watched The Bodyguard, which is, unfortunately, no Streetfighter, but hey – it is Sonny Chiba.

It is quite literally Sonny Chiba, as Sonny Chiba plays a guy named Sonny Chiba who is a world-famous karate instructor. After a gangster is machine-gunned on the steps of St. Patrick’s, Sonny is hired to be the bodyguard for the dead gangster’s (wouldn’t you know it?) Japanese girlfriend. Yes, it’s Sonny Chiba vs the Mafia, and there are lots of broken bones sticking out of arms before the evening is out. The girlfriend is trying to do one last drug deal in the gangster’s honor, or something, and Sonny comes along for the ride as he goes between slapping the crap out of her and falling for her. Mark’s utterance of , “Boy, I hope this ends like Get Carter” is sort of prescient, but only sort of. And Paul sits there with a big grin on his face for most of it.

Our hopes were, however dashed in that Kevin Costner never showed up so Sonny could punch his lights out. Also: I had no idea that Sonny Chiba is in the Book of Ezekiel, but there it is, right at the beginning. This movie was educational, too.

Well, that clip kind of let you hanging, didn’t it? Here, the trailer picks up where that left off, and gives you a glimpse of the Enno Morricone-wannabe soundtrack, which was pretty hot:

After this, I discovered that it was also “Be Nice To Alan Day”, which is where things began to go horribly wrong. Alan had been doing actual research, tracing filmographies of  people like Pamela Jean Bryant (Miss April 1977, says resident Playboytologist Paul), mainly known in these parts from H.O.T.S. and Lunch Wagon. And what does his research uncover but this… thing from 1993 called GetEven, re-titled to Road to Revenge, possibly because the original title was too suggestive of what anybody watching it should consider. (Actually, it seems to be the opposite – GETEVEN seems to be the current title)

Here is your set-up: first, realize there is a lawyer named John De Hart (the emphasis is apparently on the “De”). He is also apparently a very successful lawyer. So naturally he decides to become a movie star.  He writes, produces, stars and co-directs in an action movie titled Get Even. He also has a musical number. I am not lying about this:

Yes, that is Pamela Bryant at the bar, proving what a good actress she was by looking like she’s enjoying herself. She also should have won awards for the two sex scenes she had with De Hart. Yes, he gave himself two sex scenes with a Playmate. And before you ask, yes, he sings the two songs under the sex scenes. Really awful flashbacks to The Room surfaced under these conditions.

1302247If you were really sharp, you saw Wings Hauser dancing during the clip. Here’s our plot, such as it is: Rick Bode (De Hart) and the unlikely-named Huck Finney (Hauser) were LAPD cops under William Smith (who packs the even more unlikely name of Normad). Normad frames them for drug charges – and about the worst thing to come from that is they lose their jobs – which somehow then makes him a judge. The passage of time in this is oddly (some might say ineptly) fluid, so I guess he got elected to that position somewhere in there. Now, not only is he William Smith, crooked cop and drug-dealing judge, no, that is insufficient for our needs, he is also a baby-killing Satanist. Bryant witnessed a baby sacrifice years before (or maybe it was minutes before), but Smith doesn’t decide to kill her until De Hart marries her. Which of course leads us to our Road to Revenge, perhaps the shortest Road to Revenge ever. Less than a block, or so.

De Hart’s baggy face rarely ever changes expression, though he is really good at looking directly into the camera. Wings Hauser is obviously improvising his dialogue, and it does serve to pad out the running time to feature-length. There is one speaking role – a nun – who is so mind-blowingly awful, she is in the movie twice, just to make De Hart look good. And yes, our hero is guilty of several counts of murder by the time the movie is over, but that’s okay, right?

You, too, can go to and purchase your own copy for a whopping 10 bucks. I do not personally recommend such a thing – but then, when have you ever listened to me?

TheBlackSixPaul takes his position as Designated Wuss very seriously, and left, before we put on Mark’s offering: The Black Six, the tale of a motorcycle gang made of six NFL football players. And if you know me and sports, you know I had no real idea what was going on, cast-wise, even though the opening credits were good enough to tell us what team each guy played on. Anyway, the Black Six are traveling the country after serving in Nam, generally being cool except when they are hastled by the man (ie., rednecks stupid enough to mouth off to six black men over six feet tall and in good shape). Until one of them finds out his kid brother was beaten to death by a white motorcycle gang.

That would be Gene Washington, chosen to be the main actor from our other pro players, who get distracted by such frippery as women on the street until they’re needed for backup.

The actual mechanism of Washington receiving this news by General Delivery at a post office during their wanderings led to a spirited discussion of exactly how much money Washington’s mother spent on postage, to send copies of this letter to every post office in America, just to make sure he got it.

Anyway, the Black Six arrive in town, get called “The New Uncle Toms” by Washington’s Angela Davis-lookalike sister, find out the cops cain’t do nothin’, and wind up in a big nighttime showdown with the murderous motorcycle gang, unaware that the spiteful honkies made a deal with an even larger motorcycle gang run by “Thor” (Ben Davidson, who I was helpfully informed was another football player). This is actually a pretty good final scene, as the six gather all the bikes in a circle and fend off onslaught after onslaught, finally ending in a huge explosion and conflagration, leading us to believe the Six are dead, except the titles assure us that everytime a brother is hassled, the Six will be there.

I’m not sure if the Black Six actually “waste 150 motorcycle dudes” – it gets a little hectic there – but it’s a pretty good finish. Up to that point, it’s obvious the Six aren’t martial artists at all, but they’re game, by golly. Matt Cimber directed a bunch of low-rent action flicks and blaxploitation movies, and his experience shows; it certainly had the most comprehensible plot of the evening.

Mark took his leave, his damage done, leaving myself, Dave, Rick and Alan. And while Alan took a nice nap, Dave started up Mission Stardust.

affiche-4-3-2-1-operation-lune-mission-stardust-1967-1I had meant to see Mission Stardust for years. It’s the Perry Rhodan movie, and when I was a teenager, I read a bunch of Perry Rhodan when Forry Ackerman started importing them here to the states.

Perry Rhodan is a weekly pulp series started in Germany back in 1961. It is pure space opera pulp – two-fisted astronauts, alien races, hairs-breadth escapes – it was glorious to young teen-aged me. Ackerman’s English versions were successful enough to keep the series running in bi-weekly paperback form until the new head of Ace Books decided it was “too juvenile” and cut it off around issue #120. Ackerman did keep it running in a subscription-only model for another twenty issues, but that was pretty much it for America. In Germany it kept going until 2011, when reportedly it got rebooted for a new audience.

So in 1967 Mission Stardust was made (aka 4…3…2…1…Death!) and the fact that no other Perry Rhodan movies were made should clue you in how successful it was amongst Rhodan fans.

2500tibiPerry Rhodan (Lang Jeffries) is in charge of Earth’s first Moon landing, where the crew of the rocketship Stardust finds a disabled alien ship with two living occupants from the planet Arkon: the elder scientist Arkin (Pinkas Braun), and the ship’s captain, Thora (Essy Persson). Arkin is looking for younger civilizations to freshen up the Arkon’s genetic pool, which means Perry will be sucking face with Thora by movie’s end (Spoiler: it took like 18 books for that to happen) even though she doesn’t like these primitive screwheads. In the meantime, Arkin is suffering from a mysterious disease that turns out to be leukemia.

The thrust of the movie then becomes getting a doctor who has developed a new treatment for leukemia from Mombassa to the Moon without revealing that there are aliens camping out on said Moon. This is accomplished by landing a smaller spacecraft in the desert and hassling all soldiers that come their way.

Rhodan and his sidekick, Mike Bull (really) (Luis Davila) sneak into Mombassa with a handful of diamonds (of course, worthless to the Arkons. Their money is mercury), unaware that a Blofeld-level bad guy has a mole on their ship and is planning to hijack the spacecraft. In other words, in order to escape our run of bad action movies, we blundered right into the arms of a bad action movie.

But it was at least a bad action movie with spaceships and robots. That was different. Sort of.

Here’s Your Scorecard:

Best Fight Scenes: The Bodyguard (which should tell you something about the quality of the others)

Easiest Plot to Follow: The Black Six

Best Score: The Black Six

Best Playmate: Road to Revenge

Best Space Vehicle That Looked Like A Dildo: Mission Stardust

Best Song: Jesus Is My Friend

Lesson Learned: We will never be nice to Paul and Alan ever a-fucking-gain

I was fearsomely buzzed on caffeine and willing to do another movie. But Alan went home halfway through Mission Stardust and Dave and Rick wanted to have lives, or something. So I went home, logged the movies and sent rambling e-mails for the rest of the evening. And at some point, realized I had horribly disfigured my profile page with this rogues gallery:

63245d73-f41d-4b82-bc8c-0125d62e218aMeaning Jesus God I gotta watch more movies. Stat.