“Cliffhanger” and Extreme Ghana Movie Poster Art!

I like this Cliffhanger poster art way more than I should.  For some reason it works for me despite Sly’s wonky left arm and hand, his right hand showing only three fingers and a thumb and the likeness being close, but no cigar.  Heck, they even made Cliffhanger into two words.  Yet, I still like the overall effect of the poster.

If you’re wondering, the poster was used to promote Cliffhanger in Ghana.  The posters were painted on cloth and, – well, let’s have Sly Stallone explain.  Before you click on the video of Sly, thanks to  “Bobby Klump” for the post on my StalloneZone forum of the Ghana Cliffhanger and other movie posters.  Thanks also to “Foodfather” (also a SZoner) for finding and sharing the Stallone video explaining the poster.  Finally, if you want to know more about Ghana movie posters – check out Extreme Canvas: Hand-Painted Movie Posters from Ghana.

RIP: Steve Carver

Steve Carver, best known for directing action films, died yesterday of a heart attack.  Mr. Carver was 75.

After graduating from college (BA from Cornell University and MFA from Washington University), Carver worked as a cameraman for the Wide World of Sports for the St. Louis Cardinals, taught at local colleges and made documentaries.  One of his documentaries earned him a spot in the American Film Institute.  Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, one of the short films Carver created there, was well received and led to Carver meeting and working with Roger Corman.

Carver cut trailers for Corman’s New World pictures and began writing scripts.  Corman then gave Carver the opportunity to direct The Arena starring Pam Grier.  The success of that film led Corman to give Carter the helm of Big Bad Mama starring Angie Dickinson, William Shatner and Tom Skerritt.  The success of Big Bad Mama led to Carver directing CaponeCapone starred Ben Gazarra, Harry Guardino, Susan Blakely, Sylvester Stallone and John Cassavetes.

The success of these films made Carver the potential director for Billy Jack Goes to Washington.  That fell through when Tom Laughlin decided to direct it himself.  Carver was instead hired to replace director Burt Kennedy on Drum which starred Warren Oates, Ken Norton, Pam Grier and Yaphet Kotto.  Although the film was successful, Carver didn’t enjoy the experience.

Carver had ideas for a couple of films but they fell through. Instead Carver went on to direct David Carradine and Brenda Vaccaro in Fast Charlie… the Moonbeam Rider and Steel starring Lee Majors and Jennifer O’Neal.

In 1981, Carver directed Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee and Richard Roundtree in An Eye for an Eye.  Two years later, Carver reteamed with Chuck Norris for Lone Wolf McQuade (co-starring David Carradine, Barbara Carrera and Leon Isaac Kennedy).  Both of these films were highly successful, but Carver was becoming less enchanted with Hollywood and more interested in photography.  Carter made six more films, but in 1995 opened his own photography studio and left directing behind.

Thanks to Steve Carver for many hours of entertainment.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.

Puck by Kalman Andrasofszky!

That’s Eugene Judd aka PuckPuck was created by John Byrne and first appeared in the comic Alpha Flight #1 in 1983.  What made Puck unique in the Marvel universe was that he was a dwarf and he had no super powers.  He was a great acrobat and a fighter who loved to scrap. I thought the character had a lot of potential.  

The drawing above is by Kalman Andrasofszky who absolutely gets Puck!  I’d love to see him illustrate a Puck mini-series or graphic novel.  Here’s what Kalman had to say about his drawing…

Eugene Milton Judd. The original Saskatchewan badass. In my head cannon this guy’s a bruiser who can really take punishment and kinda likes it. Some notes: toned paper is everything, I may never go back. Puck’s body hair is as much a part of his costume as anything. Would you draw Spider-man without webbing? No? No body hair, it’s not Puck.

If you’d like to see more of Kalman Andrasofszky’s art, you can at his Instagram.

The Girl Who Didn’t “Flinch” Trailer is Here!

Flinch looks good.  Of course I’m a sucker for crime films so your mileage may vary.  And how about Cathy Moriarty and Steven Bauer being in it?  I didn’t know Moriarty was still making movies.  Glad to see her and Bauer and hope Flinch is worthy.  

From director Cameron Van Hoy, starring Daniel Zovatto, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Cathy Moriarty, Tom Segura, Buddy Duress, Steven Bauer, and David Proval. The girl who didn’t “FLINCH.”

RELEASE DATE: January 21, 2021
DIRECTOR: Cameron Van Hoy
CAST: Daniel Zovatto, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Cathy Moriarty, Tom Segura, Buddy Duress, Steven Bauer, David Proval.
PRODUCERS: Cameron Eldred, Rod Hamilton, Justin Smith, Armen Aghaeian, Cameron Van Hoy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kai Saul
EDITOR: Justin Williams, Sam Bauer
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Matthew Ellis Siltala
ORIGINAL SCORE: Miami Nights 1984

Joe Doyle (Daniel Zovatto) is a young hitman following in his father’s footsteps. Quiet and reserved, he is observant and careful, making him very good at what he does. While studying his new target, city council member Ed Terzian (Tom Segura), Doyle develops a distant crush on the councilman’s assistant, Mia (Tilda Cobham-Hervey).
After she walks in on her boss’s assassination, Mia is caught by Doyle who must decide whether to let her go or to dispose of her for good. As Doyle aims the gun at her head, Mia doesn’t flinch, bringing him to a crossroads. Unsure of what to do, Doyle brings Mia to his home where he lives with his overbearing mother Gloria (Academy Award Nominee Cathy Moriarty), and holds her hostage until he can gain some clarity.
Doyle’s boss, Lee (David Proval) and his son, James (Buddy Duress), start questioning Doyle about the missing girl, and slowly he comes to find that Mia might not be entirely who he thinks she is. This brings Doyle to make the ultimate decision: does he kill the girl who didn’t flinch?

“Longstreet”, “The Immortal” & Other Classic TV Investigators

Keith Roysdon at CrimeReads.com posted A SHORT HISTORY OF CLASSIC TV’S MOST UNUSUAL INVESTIGATORS.  If you’re of a certain age, I’m sure you’ll remember some of these shows. Here are the shows (and my thoughts on each) that he covers…

  • Longstreet:  I was a fan of this show, mainly because of Bruce Lee.  Although Longstreet ran for just one year, the idea of a blind investigator was (and still would be) unique.  Sadly Bruce Lee didn’t appear in each episode, 

  • Coronet Blue:  I never remember even hearing of Coronet Blue.  The concept sounds like a cool one – a Russian sleeper agent is planted in the US, but wants to defect.  The agent’s true identity is a mystery and Russian agents are after him.  

  • The Immortal:  Of all the shows on this list, The Immortal was my favorite.  I was a regular viewer and disappointed when the series ended (after just 16 episodes).  I was the perfect age for a race car driver who is on the run from a billionaire and his many hired thugs because the driver has unique blood with properties that heal and prevent aging. (Wolverine, anyone?)  I haven’t seen any episodes in decades and wonder if it would still hold up.  It was must-see tv back in the day.

  • Nowhere Man:  This is the other show on the list that I never saw.  Nowhere Man sounds like a Twilight Zone plot but from the description Roysdon provides it was not as well executed.

  • Barnaby Jones:  I watched Barnaby Jones when I was visiting my grandparents… and remember it being okay.

  • Cannon:  Was another favorite of my grandparents.  Cannon was also okay.  Nothing special but not bad.

  • Ironside:  I remember seeing the pilot while on vacation with, you guessed it, my grandparents.  

Roysdon’s list is a good one and he provides info on each show in a concise manner. His piece is worth a read. Other shows I wish he would have covered include…

  • The Magician:  Bill Bixby as a rich, playboy magician who solved crime.  I used to watch this show regularly and really enjoyed it.  

  • Banacek:  George Peppard stared as an investigator who solved impossible crimes.  I really enjoyed this one.

  • A Man Called Sloane: Robert Conrad was an American secret agent.  I never saw an episode, but have heard good things about it and would like a chance to check it out someday.


“Walker” Teaser – “The Cowboy Way”

Here’s a teaser for Walker, the reboot of the Chuck Norris series.  I never watched Norris’ show, but for some reason plan to check out the new version.  I’m not expecting anything great, but hope that it is good.

Jared Padalecki is Cordell Walker, a widower and father of two with his own moral code, who returns home to Austin after being undercover for two years, only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home.

“Outside the Wire” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like the poster and trailer for Outside the Wire and plan to watch it once it premieres!

Check out the NEW official trailer for Outside the Wire!
When disgraced drone pilot, Lt. Harp (Damson Idris) is sent into a deadly militarized zone after disobeying orders, he finds himself working for Capt. Leo (Anthony Mackie), an android officer tasked with locating a doomsday device before insurgents do. Outside the Wire is directed by Mikael Hafstrom and debuts on Netflix January 15.

Craig’s Best of 2020: Novels, Movies and Blog Posts

End of the Year lists are fun and so I decided to compile a few of my own. I hope you enjoy them.

Movies

In 2020, I watched 453 movies. Most were streamed. I usually see a little over 200 movies per year so retirement and the pandemic helped increase my viewing. My favorite films released in 2020 included:

  • Arkansas: An under-rated, quirky crime drama.
  • Dracula: Technically a 3 part mini-series, but the first two episodes were near perfect and the third didn’t ruin the experience (but did fall off quite a bit).
  • Extraction: A surprisingly well done action film that had heart.
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: My favorite film of the year – the screenplay, acting and direction were top shelf. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom deserves a boatload of Oscars.Who’d have thought that two of my favorite films would star the Hemsworth brothers?

Books

In 2020, I read 34 books. I usually read about 20 – 24 per year so retirement and the pandemic also worked to increase my novel consumption. My favorites from this year included:

My Most Popular Posts of the Year

I always find some surprises in the most popular posts from the year. Here are the top ten for 2020 and some thoughts for each…

10. David Fincher’s “Mank” – The Poster and Trailer are Here! Fincher is always a fan favorite, and Mank’s poster and trailer were no exception.

09. Facts About Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. The popularity of this post surprises me since it deals with a short story, but horror is always a favorite subject with many of our readers.

08. Peter Stults’ “28 Days Later” Starring Richard Burton. I love that this remains a top post. Stults’ alternative movie posters are a blast. He chooses great stars to recast in cool movies.

07. Jack Benny in “Casablanca”. This one makes me smile. I love that it made the top ten.

06. Sly Stallone Starring in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” Video! Sly Stallone makes the list!

05. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! I told you horror posts are popular.

04. Dracula Through the Ages. I wasn’t kidding. Horror posts are popular.

03. Jackie Daytona Commercial for “Lucky Brews Bar and Grill”! The popularity of this post surprised me. Sure, it has the horror connection, but mixed in is a great amount of humor. Add to that it is for an under-rated horror/comedy (that I hope you are watching) and we get our third most popular post of the year!

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer. Any post about the Zodiac Killer always get a lot of views. This one has even racked up the most comments. 

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. This posts gets more hits than any other post on the site. It’s not horror, it’s not about a real life killer or Sly Stallone, but it is our #1 post again this year.

My All-Time Most Popular Posts

I thought it might be fun to close out with a look at our all-time most popular posts. Did any or most of 2020’s greatest hits make the all-time list? Let’s see…

10. The Life and Times of Deputy U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves. I’m glad that this post remains popular. Our post about Marshall Bass Reeves (a true life hero) went up years before a comic series and movie about him were made. Don’t you love it when we’re ahead of the curve?

09. Gadot & The Rock Strike a Pose. Of course two of the most popular movie stars in the world together in a candid would make our most popular list.

08. TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS! Our #5 most popular post for 2020 is our all-time #8 most popular post… and of course it’s horror.

07. Real Clown Or Horror-Movie Clown? This is creepy. Normally I don’t have a problem with clowns, but some of those real clowns were downright scary.

06. Joel Osteen in Jacksonville This has been popular one since it first appeared.

05. Steve Reeves as Superman Of course Steve Reeves never got the chance to play the Man of Steel, but if he had, he would have made a good one.

04. New Billy the Kid Photo Discovered This posts hits on crime and history with the chance of a new discovery. That’s a great combination of topics and popular with a lot of folks.

03. Zodiac Killer Code Cracked? Again we have crime, history, a new discovery and I would even argue horror to make for a popular post.

02. Louis Meyers: Evidence He Was the Zodiac Killer This was not only our #2 all-time favorite, but also the #2 favorite for 2020. And it generated quite a few comments and e-mails.

01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”.01. Schwarzenegger in “King Lear” & Robin Williams in “Jack and the Beanstalk”. The #1 post for 2020 is also our #1 all-time favorite. 

It’s always interesting to see which topics resonate with fans and continue to be popular longer after the initial post.  I wonder how many of our all-time favorites will make the list in 2021?  Time will tell… and so will I…. next year!  

“Surviving Death” – The Trailer is Here!

The trailer for Surviving Death has me interested enough to tune in.  I know I won’t find any definitive answers to that age old question: What happens after we die?, but it might be interesting to see what this documentary has to say on the subject.

What does it mean to die, and is death the end of our existence? Weaving together innovative new research with firsthand accounts from those who’ve been close to—and even experienced—death, this series takes viewers on an extraordinary journey into a world beyond human existence as we know it.

Watch Surviving Death only on Netflix January 6.