Friday, July 18, 2008


Body count: 5

Oh, that face. Look at that face.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting so many people to like this movie, but it turned out there was much discussion after last night's show about the legitimately impressive performances from all three members of THE UNSEEN's psychotic family. I agree; though I spent the whole introduction yakking about Stephen Furst's masterful performance as Junior, both Sydney Lassick and Lelia Goldoni deserve some credit for pulling off some major drama in a minor movie.

Sidney Lassick:

...was a seemingly one-trick pony character actor who was actually able to reach beyond his high-pitched whiny nebbish traits and play some downright compelling roles. Though he's most easily recognizable as volunteer inmate Charley in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, his skills were all over the place for decades, as everything from a corrupt pet shop owner in ALLIGATOR to an employee of transvestite David Carradine in SONNY BOY. But his part in THE UNSEEN has got to be his most unleashed assault of the acting profession. Especially the (pretty damn long) segment where he relives his sexual war with his father, as he has a one-man argument opposite the old man's rotted corpse. The facial expressions Lassick pulls out in this scene are enough to render this new-fangled CGI bullshit obsolete. Not what is commonly referred to as a nuanced performance, but who wants that anyway?

Lelia Goldoni: pretty goddamn incredible as the anguished sister/wife/mother. Her talent becomes a little less of a shock when considering she was initially one of the stock players for John Cassavetes in his early directing days. She still works, though THE UNSEEN was unfortunately indicative of the state of her career at the time, playing low bit roles on TV and often going uncredited altogether. Apparently she's never even watched THE UNSEEN, which brings me to the unfortunate shame that seems to just about emanate from the film...

Both director Danny Steinmann and closet co-writer Stan Winston (R.I.P.) were unhappy with the final product and opted to go uncredited. The film was credited as being directed by "Peter Foleg," which is a really weird fake name to adopt, if you ask me. But greater than the Foleg mystery is: Why was Steinmann so down on THE UNSEEN? It's unlikely that any imperfections in the film would have sullied his reputation as a filmmaker...I mean, this is the same guy who had a pregnant teenage girl thrown off an overpass into freeway traffic in SAVAGE STREETS just a couple years later. And I honestly think THE UNSEEN is worlds better than his stanky FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5, which is arguably the first film to put a dent in the franchise.

I'd also like to give credit to the makers of THE UNSEEN for setting a dark, gruesome, incest-laced horror film in the Dutch kitsch tourist community of Solvang, California. A truly wack move that makes the movie all the more unique. If you're ever driving by that city, I insist you turn in. There's a huge Pea Soup castle and really good pizza and all the women have pigtails and funny shoes and many of the men wear liederhosen.

Stay blood,

PS: Speaking of Stan Winston: he died last month after a lifetime of creating incredible effects for some of the most enduring horror and science fiction films ever made. We had already scheduled his directorial debut PUMPKINHEAD to play as July 24th's Terror Thursday, so now it's unfortunately a memorial screening. So bring your favorite flesh-ripping beastopoid and pay tribute to a lost master of false violence!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Body count: 8

"You know what I've always wanted? A giant ceramic gorilla. They just don't make fine porcelain replicas of the great apes."

That is just one of many incredible lines of dialog in this monster masterpiece. That and the masterfully delivered "What the FUCK was THAT?" just about brought the house down last night. Not to mention the absolutely bone-slamming final shot.

Other highlights:

...and I can't find a photo of the carnivo-worms eating their way out of the psychologist dad's eyesockets so just pretend that picture's here now and you're looking at it.

See some of you next week for THE UNSEEN, featuring our most offensive pre-feature trailer reel of all time.

NOTE: In the photograph at the top of this post, that alien is totally touching the blonde guy's dinger.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Body count: 46 (...if you include werewolves, which I of course do.)

Whoa. Wow wow wee whaaa.

What a great night. I don't know if I've ever been part of an audience so invested in truly enjoying a questionable-caliber monster movie. I'd like to heartily shake the hand of everyone in attendance for seeing the greatness of HOWLING 2.

Let's reminisce:

- For christ's sake: THE FIRST SCENE IN THIS MOVIE! Try to push aside the swirling vortex of exploding eyeballs and bared bazoobers and think back to one of the most bizarre opening segments of the '80s:

Who's brilliant idea was this? Something tells me it isn't how the novel version opens. Speaking of which, who writes a book called "Howling 2" as mentioned as the film's source material in the opening credits? Sure, I'm illiterate, but I've always been under the impression that sequel titles were reserved for movies and steered clear of bookshelves. Now, a work of fiction bearing the title "Werewolf Bitch"? There's a Danielle Steele-level bestseller.

- Then there's these guys:

All right. I've been to Los Angeles. I know about all the goofballs and wasteoids there. But my only issue is that these fellas are played as the rough-and-tumble type, which is difficult to believe when their leader looks like a Beauty Bar version of Dennis the Menace. However, the nightclub they frequent (an actual '80s Hollywood goth dive called The Batcave) is about as great a location as you could ever hope for in a film. The fact that director Mora got 80+ actual punk kids to riot for a band like Babel is just further testament to his auteuristic prowess. Don't you agree, Christopher Lee?

"Yes, Zack. Yes, I do!"

The scene where the lowlifes are knocked off one by one in the warehouse is pure gold. GOLD!!

- But everything turns upside down with the arrival of our titlewolf STIRBA!:

Sybil Danning has accomplished a great deal in her artistic career, but this role has just GOTTA be the pinnacle. And I'm saying that for THIS REASON...


...and THIS REASON...

...moreso than THIS REASON:

Seriously, despite the nudity, she is one hell of a werewolf superprincess. From her performance to her clothing to her wily methods of quasi-incestuous seduction, she was the queen of the screen. She can even shoot lazer-lightning out of her fingernails, for Pete's sake!

But, as the room's applause proved, the REAL star of the film wasn't the heroic Reb Brown, the pure-hearted Annie McEnroe or even fearless monster destroyer Christopher Lee. Oh, heaven's no. The Oscar goes to one man and one man only. Ladies and gentlemen:

Thanks again for making this one of the best Thursday nights ever upon this stinkin' planet! Alamo buddy Reb Hibbert was so moved by this show that he has offered to help figure out how to bring Sybil Danning herself out for another presentation of the film in the future! How does that sound to you? I say: YEEEOOOWWWW!

See you next week for THE DEADLY SPAWN! Do not miss!!!!!!!!!!!

Stay blood,

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why Going Outside Sucks - part 1

Hey, all. Weird Wednesday wizard Lars just informed me that our Northwest exploitation programmer pal Dan Halsted was senselessly jumped and brutally beaten by the police for absolutely no reason!

Dan is a stand-up guy with excellent taste in movies, and I'm pretty certain he's not the type to go around committing felonies that would earn him such treatment. I mean, I'm no officer of the law, but I'm just guessin' that walking home with your friends isn't a major offense. Maybe the rules are different in Oregon.

Anyway, the article is HERE! Read it, get mad, throw a rock at the Statue of Liberty, do whatcha like! But give high-fives to Dan for surviving a brutal attack from Portland's finest!

You're a king, Dan! Lars and I would love to join you for a screening of MANIAC COP 2 as soon as you feel up to it...just give us the word!

Return from TROLL 2!!!

Hey, all! I'm just back and ready to rumble after spending three party-wild days in the mountains of Utah, USA for the NILBOG INVASION - TROLL 2 CELEBRATION weekend! I'm very, very, very, VERY excited about tonight's Terror Thursday screening of HOWLING 2 - WEREWOLF BITCH, but first I thought I'd share this Nilbog coverage I did for the regular Alamo web page. Hope you like it and cry because you regret not being there with us.


The Rolling Roadshow that could never happen in a million years...has happened: NILBOG INVASION 2008!!

Yep, the Alamo's mobile Rolling Roadshow unit took off from Austin early in the morn on Tuesday, July 24 and ripped across the southwest to Morgan, UT to celebrate the worst movie ever made: TROLL 2. And what a celebration we'd prepared...35mm outdoor film screenings, a full-scale cast reunion, the writer and director flying in from Italy, a multiple-course Nilbog feast, contests, dancing, etc. Utah was in for a treat.

When we arrived, there was little evidence that the town of Morgan was aware of the impending partystorm. Tim and I met with the mayor and sheriff, who both gave a very tenuous green light to the proceedings, as if they feared we were a pack of bloodthirsty satanists coming to drink the blood of their grandchildren. After paying the bill at Pete's Spring Chicken Inn, we combed the streets looking for evidence of sweaty TROLL 2 anticipation, but found nothing...UNTIL we passed the local butcher shop:

Things were looking up.

Our confidence renewed, we set out to the field to begin preparations. Daniel, Josh and Justin began tackling our enormous screen and the Tims and I got things together for the opening night Dance and Eat party, which was to be held at the Morgan Academy of Dance and Tumbling just down the street from the screenings.

We decked the place out in Nilbog green in no time, just as folks started to pull into town:

The fans we met were unbelievable, and came from everywhere from Chicago to Los Angeles to New York to North Dakota and even Austria! They were all almost as spazzed out to be there as we were, and some were already in costume from the get-go. The locals seemed to keep a wary distance but we partied in spite. Darren "Arnold" Ewing's blues band Skinny Bob & the Blues Dawgs performed and two rowdy goblins danced along without breaking a sweat. As the twilight hour approached, we settled in for the first couple screenings: TROLL and the other Morgan-shot Italian/American horror film CRAWLERS a.k.a. TROLL 3. The crowd consisted mainly of diehards and TROLL maniacs but all had a great time and went back to their hotels and hovels happy.

Saturday was The Big Day, where the film's entire cast was going to meet up with screenwriter Rosella Drudi and infamous director Claudio Fragasso, and the mighty TROLL 2 itself was set to screen. From the morning, we knew the excitement had spread, as Utah residents arrived in homemade TROLL 2 t-shirts and even little old ladies walked their dogs over to the site to see what we were up to. The sun was high, the heat was on, and TROLL 2 fans from every nook and cranny of the earth made themselves visible.

First up for Saturday was a special surprise...even for us! Though Morgan's mayor had been reticent to appear at our event, Michael Stephenson had managed to get semi-local alternate mayor Dan Snarr to come out and award a foam Key to the City to Fragasso! He seemed a little confused by the entire ordeal, but was very happy to additionally be presented with a grant if he ever chooses to return to Utah to shoot TROLL II PART 2! Mayor Dan Snarr was a very nice guy and has a heartwarming mustache. Here he is with some goofball from AMERICAN IDOL.

Then we enjoyed THE CAST PANEL, where 22 members of the TROLL 2 on-screen family gathered to discuss their memories of the masterpiece's production. It was breathtaking and bizarre to see all of them together in one place. The audience asked many questions of the cast, half of which were answered by director Claudio Fragasso, who wasn't even on the panel but managed to get more than a word in regardless. He even got up in front of the room to try and remind Connie how to do her Holly dance again!

We then entered the POPCORN EATING COMPETITION, guest-hosted by that popcorn-devouring witch, Deborah "Creedence" Reed, who watched as several audience volunteers downed unhealthy amounts of buttery popped goodness.

Next up was the mighty JAVELIN TOSS, hosted by Darren Ewing who played Arnold in TROLL 2. Though his character finds himself on the wrong end of a spear in the movie, Darren seemed to love hosting the event and cheered the crowd on as they hurled wood into the ether at a vaguely Darren-esque target. Here's his daughter preparing to spear ol' pop.

Then we moved back inside for the FILMMAKERS' PANEL, where Fragasso and co-writer Rosella Drudi were joined by actors Michael Stephenson and George Hardy to reveal the long story of TROLL 2's production. Despite an unsteady mastery of our language, the Italian duo gave us many amazing tales of TROLL 2's genesis. Fragasso is a fascinating man and I wouldn't buy a used car from him.

As a special completist's event, we held a GUITAR HERO 2 SHREDDING WAR! The video game actually takes place at "Nilbog High School" and we weren't gonna let that go unrepresented at this most TROLL 2-iest of events! So digi-jammers from all sides competed for glory, including Mickie Pace, who played Betty the Goblin in the film. She was on fiyahhhhhh!!!!

We brought in Alamo chefs John Bullington and Trish Eichelberger specifically to create a very special NILBOG FEAST for the cast and Ultimate Pass holders. Though the chefs had to prepare much of the food outdoors on a grill in the alley, all agreed it was a five-star meal and even the sophisticated palates of the Italians were dazzled by the skills of our Alamo culinary wizards.

As the sunset began, folks gathered in the field to prepare for the main event. We played some shorts, including the Filmmaking Frenzy Troll 2 Fan Film winner OGRE by Chris Dasinger, who we brought out to the event as his prize. He also brought along two actresses from the film as well as the titular monster, who vomited in a bucket LIVE before the crowd. They were totally starstruck by him, and even moreso when the cast and filmmakers united again in front of the crowd to introduce their film.

Finally, it was the moment of truth. The projectors flickered to life and the first frame of TROLL 2 hit the screen. The crowd was enraptured, enlivened and filled with joy. It was a very moving experience to see the cast seated among the folks of Morgan and TROLL 2 fans from all corners of the Earth. Truly, a night of majesty.

Sunday featured more fun events, including the panel on Michael Stephenson's TROLL 2 documentary BEST WORST MOVIE, a baloney-eating competition (which Tim "The Glory Chomper" League totally dominated) and an extremely irresponsible display of explosive firepower to cap the weekend off. But everyone's hearts and memories were still radiating from the previous night's screening, which was a most unlikely bit of magic that will never take place again on this planet or any other:

Here's the link to our NILBOG INVASION Flickr photo page!!

(Special thanks to Michael Stephenson, Blair Sterrett, Chris van Campen and his family, The Morgan County News, Darren Ewing, George Hardy and the countless other people who made this all happen. I promise I'll never turn you into green goop and eat you.)