John Carpenter

I learned about another classic that CARPENTER had created even earlier in his career. That was the cult classic “Assault on Precinct 13.” In the following years CARPENTER went on to direct “Escape From New York,” “The Thing,” “Big Trouble in Little China” and even “Starman.”

After that his movies began to be hit or miss and mostly miss.

Still when I go back and watch one of JOHN CARPENTER‘s early films, like “Assault on Precinct 13,” it’s obvious why he was one of my favorites!

Below Rises to the Top

Way back on October 5, 2002, I told you about a movie that I couldn’t wait to see. And I wouldn’t have to since “Below” was scheduled to premiere the following week.

Funny thing was, it never got a theatrical release.

“Below” came out on dvd and video this week. I went to Blockbuster to rent it and all copies were gone. I called Best Buy and Circuit City and they were sold out. I went to Wal Mart and they had three copies left. Now they have two.

“Below” is the story of an American submarine crew facing Nazi war ships on the surface and something worse below. It’s not just a war movie though, it’s a haunted house movie as well… and there’s no leaving the house! After watching it, I can tell you it’s GREAT! David Twohy co-wrote and directed it just as it did on another favorite of mine, “Pitch Black.” Keep an out for him – he’s the real deal!

If you like scary movies, you’ll love “Below” and unlike me you won’t have to wait five months to see it!

MJ – Maybe Now We’ve Heard It All

Just when you think you’ve heard it all about MICHAEL JACKSON

Vanity Fair, in its March 11 edition reports that MJ bleaches his skin white because he doesn’t like black people, whom he sometimes refers to as “spabooks.”

The article also says that the “King of Pop” paid $150,000 to an African voodoo chief who promised that STEVEN SPIELBERG, music mogul DAVID GEFFEN and 23 other people on the reclusive entertainer’s list of enemies would die. Supposedly the voodoo priest sacrificed 42 cows during a special ceremony that was to gurantee GEFFEN‘s death within a week.

As if that wasn’t enough, the article claims that JACKSON is in such financial trouble that the amusement park equipment at his Neverland Valley Ranch was almost repossessed.

Now… maybe… we’ve heard it all.

Megacon Report

Wow! What a cool time I had yesterday at the Megacon Convention in Orlando, Florida. I was able to spend a lot of time with some friends and met some people whose work I really admire. MegaCon is a convention which features celebrities, comic artists, novelists, dealers and more…

Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in the original Star Trek series was there. When I was a kid Star Trek was THE show, so it was really cool getting to meet Mr. Koenig and to shake his hand.

One of my favorite writers was there, Steve Niles. I was first in line to meet him. [And if that sounds like a geeky thing to say, well, I was geeking out yesterday.] I was able to speak with Steve for a few minutes and get him to autograph both of his novels [more are coming!].

Eric Powell, the creator of The Goon, was there. I got him to autograph his new graphic novel and do a Stallone sketch for me [the sketch will appear in the SZ Gallery soon].

Many, many more artists were there from Adam Hughes to Frank Cho to Mike Zeck to… well you get the idea. I picked up several new pieces for the SZ Gallery which will appear in the near future.

After the show John Beatty, Mike Zeck, Rik Levins, Howard Shum, Brad VanCata, Mike [my son] and I all went out for some Chinese. It was a great capper to a great day. I’ll talk more about the show in future ZZone updates

Thunder Road Now Longer

If you were anticipating the release of MEL GIBSON‘S return as The Road Warrior in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the wait is going to be a bit longer.

Believe it or not, the possibility of military action against Iraq has delayed the movie’s start date. Filming was scheduled to begin in Namibia in July, but now will go into production sometime in the fall… which of course means the release date will also be pushed back.

Well… we’ve waited 18 years, I guess we can wait a bit longer.

Fred Rogers – RIP

“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

FRED ROGERS, aka Mr. Rogers, died today at the age of 74 from stomach cancer. ROGERS was best known for his children’s show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He first went on the air in 1954 and entertained and educated millions of children over the years. From all I’ve read, FRED ROGERS was truly a kind and gentle soul.

Our prayers go out to his friends and family.

I’d have been proud to have been his neighbor.

Don’t Do the Crime

“Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…”

Even if you aren’t a fan of ROBERT BLAKE or his tv show, “Baretta,” you probably know that line from it’s theme song. Well, the trial of ROBERT BLAKE for the murder of his wife has finally gotten underway. BLAKE has an interview with BARBARA WALTERS that will air tonight. While I think it’s a bad idea for him to talk with the trial just starting, I’m sure I’ll tune in.

I haven’t read all of the facts of the case, but what I have read doesn’t look good for BLAKE. And as Baretta used to say, “That’s the name of that tune.”

A Tat and a Win

I used to follow boxing. Of course I’d watch all the big fights, the pay-per-views, bouts on HBO and Showtime, but I’d also catch the fights on ESPN and USA so I could see the up-and-coming fighters. It was there that I first saw a teenage MIKE TYSON knocking out everyone.

The kid had so much potential. If he had continued his streak as it started, he’d have to be considered the best heavyweight of all time. Even better than ALI or MARCIANO. But that didn’t happen.

After losing his mentor, CUS D’AMATO, MIKE TYSON lost fights, court cases… and some questioned, if maybe he’d lost his mind.

MIKE TYSON is no saint, but he’s paid his dues. He seems to be at peace with himself. From what I saw he was gracious and humble with his 49 second knockout of CLIFFORD ETIENNE last night. Perhaps the MIKE TYSON story will have a happy ending after all.

At Least He’ll Have the Tat

MIKE TYSON has a new tattoo.

It’s the type that island warriors get. Which is fitting since TYSON is a boxer… a modern day warrior. At one time he was the most feared fighter in the world. And rightly so. He trained as hard as anyone. He had a devastating shot that could knockout anyone. Then CUS died, and he hooked up with DON KING. TYSON‘s life began to spiral out of control. It was a sad story… until now. Maybe. TYSON does seems more at peace with himself.

On Saturday night TYSON will fight CLIFFORD ETIENNE [24-1]. If TYSON wins, it could be the start of a comeback in the ring and with the public. If he loses…

well… at least he’ll still have the tattoo.

X-Men 2 Trailer

I’ve been a fan of the X-Men for a long time… since the glory days of the  Claremont, Byrne and Austin!  If you have to ask who they are, then it means you either not a comic book fan, or the 1980’s were just too long ago to matter.

At any rate, I found the first X-Men movie pretty well done. It wasn’t an all-time favorite and it’s not in my collection, but I did enjoy it on dvd.

Soon the sequel will be hitting the theaters, and the new trailer makes it look even better. So good, in fact, that I may have to catch it in a theater… as any long-time X-Men fan should!


“It is the greatest beast to walk the Earth, a beast without equal. A beast without fear. It has not ruled the world of men for six thousand years.

Until now.”

Trapped on an island, a handful of people must find a way to kill the beast before it kills them… and to make matters worse, an atomic bomb is set to explode there in a just a few hours! James Byron Huggins has written another winner.

"Dude, You’re NOT Getting a Cell!"

BENJAMIN CURTIS, 22, the wise-cracking “Steven” in Dell‘s “Dude, yer gettin’ a Dell” commercials, was arrested for marijuana possession. He was charged with criminal and unlawful possession of marijuana, misdemeanor charges that carry possible jail sentences of up to three months.

At his arraignment on Monday afternoon, Judge Ellen Coin adjourned the case for one year. Charges could be dismissed if CURTIS stays out of trouble for the next 12 months.

MJ – It’s No Longer About the Talent

Seems that everyone is talking or writing about MICHAEL JACKSON

Everyone has an opinion of him. Some say he’s a child molester, while others feel that he’s totally innocent. Not just innocent of the molesting charge, but child-like innocent… trapped in a world that he’s created for himself. I was a fan of MICHAEL JACKSON since his days with the Jackson 5. I was [and continue to be] in awe of his talent. When he dances, you can’t help but become mesmerized by his moves — he becomes the music. When he sings, you find yourself pulled in. And when he performs it’s magical.] I saw MJ live on the Victory tour in Jacksonville [how appropriate, huh?]. I’ve never seen such a mixed crowd so into anything. Young, old, men, women, and kids of all races. It was a memorable, enjoyable evening.

That was the MJ of old… before the allegations and out of court settlement.

… but now the talk isn’t about his dancing, or his music or his talent…

Sammy’s Pleasant Nightmares!

Everybody loves Sammy Terry. Well, everybody that knows him.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, then you probably remember that I wrote about Sammy Terry not a year ago. [Here’s the link if you want to catch up.]

Sammy hosted Nightmare Theater  on Friday nights at 11:00pm. Sammy would rise from a coffin, introduce himself and after a brief monologue about many things [including the movie we were about to see, would invite us to watch – if we dared!

So there we’d be, huddled in the dark, with our popcorn waiting for the monster of the week to appear and scare us! Sammy would return before the movie after commercial breaks with more of his dry humor… and then again, at the end of the movie, Sammy would make his final appearance. Before returning to his coffin, he would always wish us “Pleasant Nightmares!” followed by maniacal laugh.

What’s really cool is that Jerrald Hawkins has created a fan site and movie club dedicated to Sammy Terry. Jerrald has remastered old tapes of Sammy presenting movies. On the last Friday of each month, club members start their tapes at 11PM. Not only are members watching the movies “together” but at the same time they’re also able to take part in a live chat via Jerrald‘s site!

What could make this even better? Well, the tapes are professionally produced. They come in plastic cases with labels giving details of the movie, pictures of SAMMY and his logo… plus Jerrald sends them to members for the cost of the mailing! If this sounds like something you’d like then check out Jerrald’s site!

Even if you’ve never heard of SAMMY TERRY, you’re gonna love him because…… Everybody loves Sammy Terry! [“Until next time… Pleasant Nightmares!]

Snake is Everywhere

Snake Plissken. Cool name. Cool character.

If you don’t know who he is [or you thought he was dead… sorry but I couldn’t resist], then check out “Escape from New York,” starring KURT RUSSELL and written/directed by JOHN CARPENTER.

Don’t buy the dvd — even though you’ll find it for less than ten bucks! Why, you ask? Because “Escape” will soon come out in a new edition with a lot of extras. See Snake Plissken is going to be showing up in a bunch of different places. New comics, video games and anime are gearing up all featuring Snake.

And how cool is that?