Category: Movies

Neal Adams’ Bruce Lee / “Enter the Dragon” Art for Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #17

José Villarrubia recently posted this cover saying that he wasn’t a fan of the subject matter, but the Neal Adams painting was one of his favorites.  I’m on board with Villarrubia’s assessment of Adams’ art.  I am/was the perfect demographic for the subject matter.  Bruce Lee is a legend.  Enter the Dragon remains one of my all-time favorite films.

Thanks José Villarrubia for a post that took me back to my childhood.

“Chrome and Hot Leather” (1971) starring William Smith / Z-View

Chrome and Hot Leather (1971)

Director: Lee Frost

Screenplay by: Michael Haynes & David Neibel and Don Tait from a story by Michael Haynes & David Neibel

Starring: William Smith, Tony Young, Michael Haynes, Peter Brown, Michael Stearns, Larry Bishop, Kathrine Baumann, Wes Bishop, Herb Jeffries, Bobby Pickett, Cheryl Ladd (aka Cherie Moor), Robert Ridgely, Erik Estrada, Dan Haggerty  and Marvin Gaye.

Tagline: A terrifying look at Motor Cycle Savagery – from the same studio that made “Born Losers”

The Story:

When a US Special Forces sergeant learns that his fiancé was killed by the member of a motorcycle gang, he recruits three of his service buddies to track down the murderer.  Four Viet Nam vets against an entire motorcycle gang?  Yeah, that sounds about right.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

William Smith and Peter Brown co-starred in the television series Laredo before working on this film.

Chrome and Hot Leather features some interesting cast member trivia…

  • Cheryl Ladd made her feature film debut billed as Cherie Moor.
  • Marvin Gaye, best known as a multi-Grammy award-winning singer, made his feature film debut as well.
  • Bobby Pickett, best known as the writer/singer of the classic The Monster Mash appears.
  • Herb Jeffries, a popular jazz singer and actor in films made for African-American audiences in the 1930s/1940s, shows up.
  • Erik Estrada can be seen in an uncredited role in only his second feature film.
  • Dan Haggerty also has an uncredited role.  He plays a bearded member of the biker gang.

Chrome and Hot Leather (1971) was made to cash in on the biker craze of the era.  It’s a low-budget drive-in film.  William Smith was built for biker films.  If he was a bit younger, he’d have been an action movie star of the 80s.  Still playing Conan’s dad is quite a notch on your resume.

“Day Zero” (2022) starring Brandon Vera / Z-View

Day Zero (2022)

Director: Joey De Guzman

Screenplay by: Ays De Guzman

Starring: Brandon Vera, Pepe Herrera, Mary Jean Lastimosa.

Tagline: When the dead rise, humanity falls.

The Story:

As a zombie virus spreads like wildfire, Emon (Vera) fights to get home to his wife and child.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Brandon Vera is a former MMA fighter.  He has the potential to become a better known action star.

Day Zero is low budget zombie film.  It also had potential.  Pepe Herrera was Vera’s comic relief sidekick.  Thankfully, the comedy wasn’t over the top.  As Vera and Herrera fought their way to save Vera’s family the action became to repetitive.  I taped out after 43 minutes.


ALFRED HITCHCOCK STORYBOARDS by Tony Lee Moral will appeal to Hitchcock fans and movie lovers.

A one-of-a-kind historical document and celebration of the artwork behind several of the Master of Suspense’s greatest films.

This stunning coffee table book focuses on the storyboards for nine of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movies – Vertigo, The Birds, Psycho, North by Northwest, The 39 Steps, Torn Curtain, Marnie, Shadow of a Doubt and Spellbound. It includes never before-published images and incisive text putting the material in context and examining the role the pieces played in some of the most unforgettable scenes in cinema. Hitchcock author and aficionado Tony Lee Moral takes you through the last 100 years of cinema, with the Master of Suspense as your guide.


“The Ballad of Maddog Quinn” – Think Steampunk “Mad Max” – The Short is Here!

The Ballad of Maddog Quinn short is here.  Think Steampunk Mad Max.  I liked it.  My full review is coming.  Check it out.

Wanted and on the run, an infamous outlaw is pursued across the steam-powered dystopia of The State by a posse of relentless lawmen. In this desolate land of dust, rust and blood, there’s not many problems that a fast horse and a gun can’t solve, but things aren’t always what they seem on the wild wasteland frontier.

A selection of Short of the Week, the web’s leading curators of quality short films.

“JFK: What the Doctors Saw” (2023) / Z-View

JFK: What the Doctors Saw (2023)

Director: Barbara Shearer

Tagline: None.

The Story:

Immediately after President Kennedy was assassinated conspiracy theories appeared.  The official story is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.  Despite witnesses who swore there was another gunman, the Warren Commission determined that Oswald was the sole gunman.

JFK: What the Doctors Saw documents what the doctors at Parkland Hospital dealt with when President Kennedy was brought in mortally wounded.  By using archival news footage, copies of official reports, and most importantly video interviews with these doctors, we are given first hand accounts of what these medical professionals dealt with.  What they saw does not line up with the official story,

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

I was just five years old (by a month) when President Kennedy was assassinated.  Since I was young I’ve followed the news reports and conspiracy theories.  When I was in high school I read the Warren Commission Report.

Over the years there have been many documentaries and specials that “investigated” the assassination of President Kennedy.  What this documentary does is focus on what the doctors at Parkland Hospital saw when President Kennedy was brought in.  Despite there being no doubt that the President was mortally wounded, they did their best to save him.  While the official story is that the President was shot from behind, all of the doctors believed that at least one shot came from the front.  This would explain the small bullet wound to President Kennedy’s neck and the blown out portion at the back of his skull.

The doctors all agree that the official autopsy report is not consistent with the President’s injuries as they saw them.  The doctor’s have said this from day one and have never changed their stories.  You can see this from the written reports that had to submit.  It’s very powerful to see video interviews with the doctors shown to the public for the first time in this documentary.

If you’re familiar with the Kennedy assassination, there isn’t much new ground covered.  Still, hearing from the doctors about their personal experiences on that terrible day is powerful.

RIP: Joss Ackland

Joss Ackland, the English actor of stage and screen died yesterday.  Mr. Ackland was 95.

Mr. Ackland began his professional career in a stage production of The Hasty Heart after graduating from London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.  He was just 17.  For the next 60 years Joss Ackland would act on stage, television and in feature films.

Some of the television shows Joss Ackland appeared in include: Destination Downing Street; ITV Play of the Week (2 episodes); First Night (2 episodes); The Indian Tales of Rudyard Kipling (25 episodes); David Copperfield (6 episodes); Lord Raingo (3 episodes); Theater 625 (3 episodes); Armchair Theater (2 episodes); The Further Adventures of the Musketeers (16 episodes); The Wednesday Play (2 episodes); Mogul (5 episodes); Mystery and Imagination (2 episodes); Z Cars (42 episodes); The Avengers; Canterbury Tales (7 episodes); BBC Play of the Month (2 episodes); Thirty Minute Theater (2 episodes); Six Faces (2 episodes); Play for Today (3 episodes); Aquarius (2 episodes); The Crezz (12 episodes); Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; A Question of Guilt (8 episodes); BBC2 Playhouse (2 episodes); Shroud for a Nightingale (5 episodes); A Killing on the Exchange (4 episodes); Queenie (2 episodes); Tales of the Unexpected (2 episodes); Codename Kyril (4 episodes); A Quiet Conspiracy (4 episodes); The Justice Game (2 episodes); A Woman Named Jackie (2 episodes); Ashenden (4 episodes); Jackanory (10 episodes); The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles; Screen Two (2 episodes); Testiment: The Bible in Animation (2 episodes); Above and Beyond (2 episodes); Pinocchio (2 episodes) and Crusoe (3 episodes).

Some of the feature films Joss Ackland appeared in include: Landfall; Ghost Ship; Rasputin The Mad Monk; The House That Dripped Blood; The Three Musketeers; S*P*Y*S; Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe; Watership Down; Saint Jack; Rough Cut; The Sicilian; Lethal Weapon 2; The Hunt for Red October; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; The Mighty Ducks; D3: The Mighty Ducks and K19: The WIdowmaker.

My favorite Joss Ackland role is Arjen Rudd in Lethal Weapon 2.  He was perfect.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joss Ackland’s family, friends and fans.

“Born Losers” (1967) directed by & starring Tom Laughlin / Z-View

Born Losers (1967)

Director: T.C. Frank (Tom Laughlin)

Screenplay by: James Lloyd (Elizabeth James)

Starring: Tom Laughlin, Elizabeth James, Jeremy Slate, William Wellman Jr., Jack Starrett, Robert Tessier, Jeff Cooper, Stuart Lancaster, Delores Taylor and Jane Russell.

Tagline: KITTEN ON WHEELS WITH HER BIKE, HER BOOTS and HER BIKINI! Out for kicks… in for trouble! She’s going to Join the… BORN LOSERS

The Story:

The Born Losers motorcycle gang has begun to terrorize a small California town. Victims and witnesses alike are terrified to testify against them.

Billy Jack is a former Viet Nam vet who lives a quiet life in the mountains.  On a trip to town, Billy Jack sees gang members savagely beating a man.  Although no one else is willing to help, Billy Jack grabs his rifle.  He orders the gang to stop.  One gang member says he doesn’t have enough bullets to get them all and they begin to surround him.  Billy Jack shoots one in the leg.  The police arrive and arrest everyone including Billy Jack.  Billy Jack later learns that his fine for firing the gun was more than the gang members got for assault.

News spreads that gang members have raped some young women.  Only one is willing to testify.  She is being kept in protective custody at a hotel.  When gang members lure the cop guarding her away, others go to kidnap her.  Billy Jack intervenes.

Billy Jack plans to keep her safe until the trial.

What chance does one man have against an outlaw biker gang?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Tom Laughlin had the character Billy Jack in mind for years before he ever made it to the screen.  Born Losers was written to cash in on the biker craze and be a springboard for Billy Jack.  Elizabeth James, the movie’s co-star wrote the screenplay using the name James Lloyd.  The thought was who would want to see a biker movie written by a chick?

Tom Laughlin, who played Billy Jack, directed Born Losers. He used the pseudonym T.C. Frank. His three children are named Teresa, Christina and Frank. His wife Delores Taylor has a quick cameo as a mother with two children (played by Teresa and Frank).

Movie tough guy, Robert Tessier, makes his film debut in Born Losers!

Born Losers was successful enough for Laughlin to get financing to make Billy Jack.  When Billy Jack became a breakout hit, American International re-released Born Losers.  They advertised it with a new poster that focused on Billy Jack.  The box office of Born Losers ended up being American International’s highest grossing release until 1979.

Born Losers generated 3 more Billy Jack movies; Billy Jack (1971), The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) and Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977).

Jack Starrett plays a deputy much like the deputy character he played in First Blood.

Most folks may be surprised my rating for Born Losers is so high.  The film resonates with me.  I saw Born Losers on a double feature with Billy Jack when I was in 9th grade.  (The perfect age for both those movies.)  My “date” was my girlfriend and future wife.  I love that Tom Laughlin had a vision and despite many, many obstacles (losing financing, losing distribution, etc.) was able to make his dream come true and create a legendary character.  Your mileage may vary.

“Island of Lost Souls” (1932) starring Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen & Kathleen Burke / Z-View

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Director: Erle C. Kenton

Screenplay by: Waldemar Young, Philip Wylie based on THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU by H. G. Wells

Starring: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Kathleen Burke, Arthur Hohl, Stanley Fields, Paul Hurst.

Tagline: THE PANTHER WOMAN lured men on – only to destroy them body and soul!

The Story:

After a dispute with a supply ship’s drunken Captain, Edward Parker (Arlen), is left stranded on the remote jungle island of Dr. Moreau (Laughton). Moreau welcomes Parker to his home.  Parker thanks him for the hospitality and says he will leave on the next supply ship.  Parker is warned that many wild creatures live on the island.  He is then introduced to Lota (Burke) and Montgomery (Hohl), Moreau’s assistant.

Later as Lota and Edward are talking they hear terrible screams coming from Dr. Moreau’s lab.  Lota tells Edward the lab is called “the house of pain”.  Edward bursts in to find Moreau and Montgomery operating without anesthesia on some sort of human-animal hybrid.

Edward decides to take a small boat and leave.  As he walks from the safety of the house, Edward sees dozens of half-human beasts coming towards him.  Dr. Moreau shows up with his whip and drives them back into the jungle.  Moreau explains that the creatures are results of his failed experiments to turn animals into humans.

Edward is trapped on the island with the crazy Dr. Moreau and his assistant Montgomery.  As the jungle creatures get more daring, Edward knows that time for survival is running out.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Paramount decided the role of Lota the Panther Woman would go to an unknown actress.  Kathleen Burke, a fashion model and radio actress who had never appeared in a feature film, won the role beating out 60,000 hopefuls.  The opening credits read Lota…. the Panther Woman, but the final credits list Kathleen Burke by name.  It’s interesting to note that Lota does not appear in H.G. Wells’ novel.

Island of Lost Souls (1932) was made before the Hays Code, which prohibited profanity, suggestive nudity, graphic or realistic violence, sexual persuasions and rape, went into effect.  Subsequently, the movie was censored in many countries and re-releases.

H.G. Wells reportedly felt that the film focused on horror at the expense of the “novel’s philosophical themes”.

“Cry Terror!” (1958) written & directed by Andrew L. Stone, starring James Mason, Rod Steiger, Inger Stevens, Neville Brand, Angie Dickinson, Kenneth Tobey & Jack Klugman / Z-View

Cry Terror! (1958)

Director: Andrew L. Stone

Screenplay by: Andrew L. Stone

Starring: James Mason, Rod Steiger, Inger Stevens, Neville Brand, Angie Dickinson, Kenneth Tobey, Jack Klugman, Jack Kruschen, Carleton Young, Barney Phillips, Chet Huntley, Jonathan Hole, Mae Marsh and William Schallert.

Tagline: TERRIFYING…as the time-triggered explosive of a mad bomber ticking-ticking-ticking!

The Story:

Jim Molner (Mason) is sickened to discover that his old army buddy, Paul Hoplin (Steiger) duped him.  Molner created a small, but powerful bomb design.  He was told it was for the U.S. army.  Hoplin instead used it to extort money from an airline.  He had one of the bombs placed on a airplane where it would be found with a note demanding $500,000.00.  The note said there were other bombs on other planes and gave a deadline for payment.

Now Jim, his wife, Joan (Stevens) and their small daughter are being held by Hoplin’s crime partners.  Molner and his daughter are captives of Vince (Klugman) and Eileen Kelly (Dickinson).  Joan is at the mercy of Steve (Brand), a convicted rapist.  Jim and Joan realize that they and their daughter are going to be killed even if the money is delivered.  It will be up to them to figure a way to survive.  The clock is ticking.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers

Cry Terror! features an awesome cast:

  • James Mason, who had earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination three years prior was the star.
  • Rod Steiger, who also earned an Oscar nomination three years prior, for Best Supporting Actor, co-starred. Steiger is great as the nerdy, creepy but dangerous mastermind.
  • Inger Stevens in only her second feature film played Mason’s wife.  Her life would end tragically by suicide when she was just 35.
  • Neville Brand is excellent as a pill-popping sexual predator.
  • Angie Dickinson plays a woman as tough as the men and even more cold-hearted.  She’d hate to kill a kid, but she’d despise losing the payoff even more.
  • Jack Klugman as a bad guy!
  • The rest of the cast features many familiar faces: Kenneth (The Thing From Another World) Tobey, Jack (The War of the Worlds) Kruschen, Carleton (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) Young, Barney (The Twilight Zone) Phillips, Chet (The Huntley – Brinkley Report) Huntley, Jonathan (The Twilight Zone) Hole and William (The Patty Duke Show) Schallert.

Kudos to Cry Terror! writer and director Andrew L. Stone for writing/directing a movie that still holds up. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The year before Cry Terror! was released, Stone wrote and directed a film called Julie.  It starred Doris Day as a woman who learns that her insanely jealous husband intends to kill her.  Julie featured many of the same actors (Barney Phillips, Jack Kruschen, Carleton Young, Harlan Warde and Mae Marsh) as Cry Terror! Andrew L. Stone received a Best Writing, Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for Julie.

“The Killer” (2023) directed by David Fincher, starring Michael Fassbender / Z-View

The Killer (2023)

Director: David Fincher

Screenplay by: Andrew Kevin Walker based on The Killer by Alexis “Matz” Nolent, Luc Jacamon

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Sala Baker, Endre Hules and Monique Ganderton.

Tagline:  None

The Story:

When a professional assassin misses his target, his employers mark him for death.  The assassin realizes in order to survive he will have to kill his way up the chain of command to get the hit on him called off.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers

This movie is based on the graphic novel The Killer written by Alexis “Matz” Nolent and  illustrated by Luc Jacamon.

Fans of 1970s sitcoms will get a kick out of the aliases the Killer uses: Felix Unger (The Odd Couple), Archibald Bunker (All in the Family), Oscar Madison (The Odd Couple), Howard Cunningham (Happy Days), Reuben Kincaid (The Partridge Family), Lou Grant (The Mary Tyler Moore Show / Lou Grant), Sam Malone (Cheers), George Jefferson (The Jeffersons), and Robert Hartley (The Bob Newhart Show).

This is the second teaming of David Fincher and Andrew Kevin Walker.  Their first was Se7en.

The Killer features an awesome fight scene between The Killer and a huge guy.