Svengoolie, Horror Movies and Bernie Gonzalez!

When I was a kid growing up in Indiana, I looked forward to staying up late each weekend and watching a horror movie.  They were hosted by Sammy Terry.  It was something most of my friends did and it was always cool either watching with them or knowing they were watching too.

These days you don’t have to stay up late (unless you call 8 – 10pm late) and you can still catch a weekly horror movie.  These monster films are hosted by Svengoolie.   A lot of folks watching post comments on Twitter and it’s almost like watching with friends when I was a kid.  You might want to give it a try if this sounds like fun.

Each week, Bernie Gonzalez, the creator, artist and writer of Midnight Mystery (highly recommended) posts foreign movie posters for the film Svengoolie runs.  This week he posted the cool French poster for The Horror of Dracula.  Gonzalez’s posts are just another good reason to join in the fun!

“Spenser Confidential” / Z-View

Spenser Confidential (2020)

Director: Peter Berg

Screenplay: Sean O’Keefe & Brian Helgeland based on characters created by Robert B. Parker and the novel by Ace Atkins

Stars:  Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Maron, Donald Cerrone  and Post Malone.

The Pitch: “Let’s turn Ace Akins’ Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novel into a movie!”

Tagline: The Law Has Limits. They Don’t.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

If you’re not a fan of Robert B. Parker and Ace Atkins Spenser characters there’s an outside chance you may like Spenser Confidential.  If you are a fan of the books, my guess is that you’ll hate this movie.  That’s because not a single character goes unchanged to something fundamentally different from the novels.

Spenser goes from an intelligent, wisecracking ex-cop to a less than stellar (IQ-wise) ex-con who aspires to be a trucker.  In the novels, Susan is a Harvard-educated, calm, supporting soul mate to Spenser.  In the movie she becomes a foul-mouthed, crazy girlfriend that Spenser works to avoid until he needs sex or help with the “case”.  In the novels Hawk starts out as a respected rival who works on the fringes of the law and ultimately becomes Spenser’s best friend (outside of Susan).  In the movie Hawk is a big, nerdy, untrained lug who dreams of being a MMA Champion who is forced to be Spenser’s roommate.

Peter Berg is usually a director that makes fun movies.  Not here.  Brian Helgeland wrote the screenplays for LA Confidential, Payback, Mystic River, and Man on Fire.  Spenser Confidential isn’t in the same ballpark… not even the same continent.

You may be thinking that if I wasn’t such a big fan of Parker and Atkins’ Spenser novels I would have liked Spenser Confidential better.  Perhaps I would have liked it a bit more… but not much.


Two Posters and a Trailer for “Arkansas” Starring Vince Vaughn, Liam Hensworth and Many Others!

Here are two posters and a trailer for Arkansas.  I like both posters – love the Arkansas logo with the skull –  and the clever tag line “Kyle and Swin are working their way to the top… but the top has other plans.”  The trailer shows how quirky Arkansas will be.  The question is will it be too quirky?

The “Spenser Confidential” Poster and Trailer are Here… with Z’s Thoughts

Ok.  Above is the poster for Spenser Confidential.  Directed by Peter Berg, Spenser Confidential stars Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke and Alan Arkin.  Below is the synopsis and trailer.  I’ll be back below the trailer with some thoughts.

When two Boston Police officers are murdered, ex-cop Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) teams up with his no-nonsense roommate, Hawk (Winston Duke), to take down criminals in this action-comedy.

Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) — an ex-cop better known for making trouble than solving it — just got out of prison and is leaving Boston for good. But first he gets roped into helping his old boxing coach and mentor, Henry (Alan Arkin), with a promising amateur. That’s Hawk (Winston Duke), a brash, no-nonsense MMA fighter convinced he’ll be a tougher opponent than Spenser ever was. When two of Spenser’s former colleagues turn up murdered, he recruits Hawk and his foul-mouthed ex-girlfriend, Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger), to help him investigate and bring the culprits to justice. From director Peter Berg, SPENSER CONFIDENTIAL is an action-comedy co-starring Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Maron, and Post Malone. Inspired by Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland, a best-selling novel by Ace Atkins.

As a long-time fan of Spenser (the Robert B. Parker novels, the Ace Atkins novels and the Robert Urich tv show), let me say, this is NOT Spenser… at least the Spenser created by Robert B. Parker and carried on by Atkins and Urich.  If you’re going to make Spenser (or ANY known character) stay true to the source material or create a new one.

Ranking John Carpenter’s Movies

The folks at Film School Rejects decided to Rank The Movies Directed By John Carpenter.  This sounded like fun, so I decided to play along.  Below are my rankings and thoughts…

The Ward (2010)
Village of the Damned (1995)
Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)
Prince of Darkness (1987)
In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

The films above I haven’t seen.

15.  Dark Star (1974)  I don’t know if I have ever seen the whole thing.  It just didn’t resonate with me.  Most folks really like it.

14.  The Fog (1980)  I saw this on its theatrical release and it left me flat.  Which surprised me because I was expecting a lot.

13.  Someone’s Watching Me! (1978)  Watched this before I knew who John Carpenter was.  It was good.

12.  Vampires (1998)  I thought James Woods was miscast.

11.  Elvis (1979)  Who knew Kurt Russell could impersonate Elvis (and later Clint Eastwood)?

10.  Christine (1983)  Saw this at the theater and thought it was well done.

9.  Ghosts of Mars (2001)  Sci-fi action directed by Carpenter.  What’s not to like?

8.  Escape from L.A. (1996)  I was so excited about the return of Snake Plissken under the creative team of Carpenter and Russell.  Sadly the film played up the camp more than I would have liked.

7.  Big Trouble in Little China (1986)  My wife and I along with another couple saw BTiLC on its opening weekend.  I really liked it.  No one else in the group did.  Kurt Russell steals the show.

6.  They Live (1988)  Surprisingly good.  Roddy Piper was the perfect lead.  I felt the ending was a bit off but not enough to really matter.

5.  Starman (1984)  Big budget and big stars.  Perhaps my wife’s favorite Carpenter flick because it’s a good one.

4.   Halloween (1978)  Another Carpenter classic.  I first saw it in a drive-in and had sound problems through part of the film.  The movie still worked.  That is a sign of great direction!

3.  The Thing (1982)  I saw it on it’s initial theatrical release in a nearly empty theater.  Reaction from fans and critics wasn’t good.  Over the years that has all changed.  I thought it was a mistake remaking a classic but Carpenter pulled it off.

2.   Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)  This is the movie that made me a John Carpenter fan.  Thank God for VHS.  Low budget but man, does Carpenter make it work.  Darwin Joston was perfect casting.  I always thought we’d see more from him.

1.  Escape from New York (1981)  I saw EfNY several times on it’s first theatrical release and loved it.  I still do.

Mark Evanier’s Xmas Story (Starring Mel Torme)

It’s become a tradition around this time of year for Mark Evanier to post what he calls My Xmas Story.

ME has been blogging for nearly 20 years, with over 25,000 posts and  My Xmas Story is his site’s most popular.  As you’ve probably guessed, it features the gent in the photo above.  For our younger readers, that gent is Mel Torme.  I invite each of  you (young and old) to click over to Evanier’s post and enjoy.