Vanity Fear

A Pretentious A**hole's Guide to B-Movie Bullsh*t

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B-MOVIE BULLSH*T - Part Nine "Deeds Not Words (Or Deeds)"

B-Movie Bullsh*t

Part Nine




The desert country of Something-or-other (seriously, the geography of this movie is completely fucked) is under siege by a military dude named Duke Guerera. Without any other option to stop him, the attractive Major Zara and prissy General Edward Byrne-White turn to the world’s best last defense—Megaforce! Secretly funded by each of the world’s free nations, Megaforce only accepts the best of the world's best, which apparently includes a redneck named Dallas, and a bunch of ethic folks who aren’t given enough screen time to show any discernable personality (except for the Shakespeare quoting, Vivaldi listening, Rubic’s Cube solving African-American member, who’s rejection of traditional black stereotypical behaviour is obviously meant to be hilarious). We’re told that there are no ranks in Megaforce, everyone is equal save for the commander, Ace Hunter, who happens to have a history with Guerera. Ace and Zara quickly grow fond of each other, and even though she proves herself to be worthy of joining Megaforce, he refuses to allow her to accompany them on the raid against Guerera. The Zara-less raid appears to have been successful, but Megaforce learns that if they attempt to leave Something-or-other by land, their crossing the border will be considered an act of war by Someone-who-can-declare-such-things. This leaves the dried lakebed as the only place their bombers can land and pick them up, but Guerera is there waiting for them. In order to live to see another day, the good ole’ boys of Megaforce are going to have to do some quick thinking and extra cool motorcycle riding!

If you read the above synopsis you might have reasonably felt that I left something out—mainly an actual plot capable of sustaining a 96-minute movie. You’re not alone. When I finished revisiting Megaforce—which I hadn’t seen in its entirety in decades—I was shocked by how little story had actually been told. The entire movie breaks down into the following acts:

Act One – We’re introduced to Megaforce.

Act Two – Megaforce completes a four-minute mission (there’s an actual timer on the screen when this happens).

Act Three – Megaforce escapes from the bad guy’s country (without actually accomplishing anything beyond killing the guys in that one four-minute mission).

The brainchild of stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham, Megaforce is what happens when a man utterly devoid of self-awareness or irony is allowed to become a major force in Hollywood. There’s a picture in his recent autobiography (which I dissected at length at Bookgasm) of an ad he took out after the opening of Smokey and the Bandit II, in which he’s shown sitting on a wheelbarrow filled with money, clad in a collared shit, unbuttoned to expose his hairy chest and gold chains.

So, yeah, he was a major asshole, but—as the comical wheelbarrow full of cash would suggest—he was a successful asshole. Prior to Megaforce he had managed to catch the interest of a public weary of 70s cinematic innovation with the two Smokey and the Bandit movies, Hooper, and The Cannonball Run. Most canny observers, however, would note that these four films all had something besides Needham in common—star Burt Reynolds. In fact, Needham’s lone failure up to that point had been The Villain, a Western comedy made in the style of the Chuck Jones Warner Brothers cartoons, which Reynolds took a pass on. Clearly, Needham’s career depended on the patronage of his good friend and former housemate.

And even though Needham lacked introspection, he clearly wasn’t an idiot. Watching Megaforce it becomes painfully obvious that he developed it as another Reynolds vehicle. The moments that actually come closest to working in the film are the light comic exchanges Ace shares with Zara, Dallas and--strangely--the villainous Duke, in which Reynolds onscreen voice screams out so loud it rattles your back molars.

But, as he had been with The Villain, Reynolds appears to have been smart enough to recognize a disaster in the making. This is pure speculation on my part, however, since Megaforce rates only the following mention in Needham's book:

The first time I was supposed to meet with Al Ruddy, who produced my Cannonball Run movies and Megaforce, was at Nate & Al’s, in Beverly Hills.

So the actual development and production history of the film are completely unknown to me. That said, Needham is not what anyone would call a closed book. Given what we know about him, the whys and the hows of the film aren’t at all difficult to imagine.

For example, it’s abundantly clear that the main reason Megaforce exists is because of Needham’s raging, rock hard boner for anything with an internal combustion engine. In fact, the cost of the machinery on display in the film is the only possible explanation for its $20 million budget, which sounds like nothing today, but was an extremely significant investment in 1982, especially for a film with no significant above the line costs.

The problem is that Needham clearly wanted cars and cycles that he could ride around on himself, which meant that none of the fantastic futuristic fighting vehicles look all that fantastic or futuristic. The one time in Needham’s career where he demanded some measure of verisimilitude was in the one project where an utter disregard for reality would have been most appropriate.

As someone who has absolutely no interest in motorized vehicles, I’m not the right judge when it comes to determining the awesomeness of Megaforce’s gas-fueled raison d’etres, but I do know that despite clearly being designed with toy shelves in mind, I didn’t know any kids who played with Megaforce toys in 1982. This link to images of the toy line, does an excellent job of explaining why. The fact that they felt compelled to release a toy version of the fucking pickup truck that Dallas and hilariously-educated-black-dude pick up the Major and General with is seriously messing with my brain.

To my eyes, the cars, trucks, and cycles, look like nothing more than expensively retooled cars, trucks, and cycles, which by itself does not a movie make. Ruddy and Needham (who both receive screenplay credits along with Bob Kachler, James Whittaker, and Andre Morgan—yes, Megaforce has five credited writers) try to make them seem cooler than cool by adding lasers and special paint jobs that do this:


But the lasers are barely used and the special paint thingee is never brought up again after Dallas demonstrates it (clearly none of the five writers are up on their Chekov). And, beyond the cars, the rest of the film barely rises above that of a TV movie. One reason it's impossible to figure out the film’s geography (beyond the incoherent screenplay) is the fact that the entire film was obviously shot in the same desert location, which just happened to be right next to Las Vegas, Nevada. (I’m guessing the decision to shoot there might have been connected to Needham’s deserved reputation as a dude who loved to par-tay!) Megaforce’s base is nothing more than a few large rooms and an unconvincing matte painting. And the non-driving effects range from the cheesy to the infamously hilarious.

The result is a very expensive film that looks little different than similar projects made with a tenth of Needham’s budget. It doesn’t help that Needham films with the eyes of a stuntman, not a director. Many of the stunts in the film are presented as events, rather than as part of the overall narrative. Personally knowing how difficult they are to pull-off, he isn’t able to cut them apart like a better filmmaker would.

Of course, none of this would matter if Megaforce had an exciting story filled with interesting characters, so the fact that it doesn’t is the true source of its failure. I’ve already described the film’s strange lack of story—it ends at what would be the halfway point of a modern action film—but the cast and characters also deserve some attention.

Unable to lure Reynolds into their trap, Ruddy and Needham went a fascinatingly different direction. Seven years had passed since Barry Bostwick had played Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when he was cast as Ace Hunter. He had spent those years jumping from TV to Broadway, where he specialized in musical theater. This made him an odd choice for an action movie hero, but there are moments where you can see why he got the job. Ironically, they’re the same moments that make it clear Hunter was supposed to be played by Reynolds.

Thanks mostly to his own douchebaggery, people today forget that Reynolds had an easy light comic charm onscreen that was often surprisingly self-deprecating. It’s this quality that Bostwick brings to the part, and in some moments it almost works, but he’s brutally handicapped by the film’s bizarre costume and grooming choices. The first moment we see him, he’s shown wearing a blue headband that makes him look like Olivia Newton-John’s gay brother. This is exacerbated by his beard and blow-dried hairdo, which must have looked ridiculous even in 1982 when such things were marginally forgivable.

It’s largely because of Hunter’s appearance that many asshole critics such as myself suggest that the film has a secret gay subtext. It doesn’t help that Bostwick’s most famous onscreen role featured him dancing around in women’s lingerie, but as much as I would like to pursue this line of thought, I simply have to conclude that this is more the result of Needham’s cluelessness than any hitherto undiscovered latent tendencies—the film’s camp quality is actually the result of Needham being so resolutely, unironically masculine that he was simply unequipped to notice how gay the (presumably) gay costume and hair team conspired to make his star appear.

This is the only way to reconcile Bostwick’s appearance with the inclusion of Edward Mulhare’s General Byrne-White, who is portrayed as exactly the kind of fussy, uptight, British dude who Needham would determine was probably homosexual (you can just tell by the way he has Mulhare look concerned about his luggage).

Xanadu’s Michael Beck plays Dallas, and is convincing enough as a redneck yahoo anyone who hadn’t seen The Warriors would assume he was cast to type. The rest of the Megaforcers somehow manage to seem distressingly interchangeable, despite the attempt to cross a wide swath of ethnic lines.

Persis Khambatta (the late Indian actress, best remembered as the bald alien chick in Star Trek: The Motion Picture) is the film’s only significant female presence (which is another reason for some to make the gay subtext argument) and is clearly there because someone reminded Needham there has to be a girl in there somewhere. Her romance with Hunter takes up a large portion of screen time, even though it ultimately goes nowhere.

As the “villain” Henry Silva isn’t actually allowed to do anything villainous, which kinda sucks the tension out of the movie. The worst thing we seem him do is cheat at chess, which is probably something a typical Needham hero would do in the same situation. The film takes pains to establish that he and Hunter were once friends, and their big scene together is actually the best moment in the movie, but it has no place in a cartoonish action picture where the concepts of good and evil should actually matter. Guerera is very much alive at the end of the movie. When we last see him, he shouts at his escaping friend that they’ll meet each other again.

This is the first clear sign of the obvious fact that Megaforce was intended to become a major franchise, but we’re given absolutely no reason to want to see these two friends/rivals meet again. Especially since we didn’t actually see them do anything here the first time!

That said, Hunter’s escape from Guerera and his tanks results in Megaforce’s most infamous scene, which Needham and Ruddy clearly thought was going to be the most amazing thing anyone had ever witnessed on film. I could spend the next half hour trying to describe it, but I’ll just let you watch it for yourself instead.


So, yeah, that happens. I’d end this here, but special mention also has to be reserved for the film’s final shot, which I admit goes a long way to tearing my “Megaforce isn’t intentionally gay” theory to shreds.

This is how Hal Needham ended his major action opus, folks

Need I say more?

The Adventures of Drake Wantsum, Hollywood Stuntman

Part Seven

"Back On the Set"

“This is ridiculous, Drake. I can’t believe they only gave us half a day off to bury Stevie.”

“The artistic process is bigger than any one man, Vic. That’s just the way it is.”

“We’re making a movie about an asshole who inherits three orangutans.”

“No, we’re making the movie about an asshole who inherits three orangutans.”

“I thought you’d be the one really pissed off about this. You and Stevie seemed so close.”

“Objects in the mirror are closer than they might appear.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know. I smoked something Eddie gave me at the wake.”

The Adventures of Drake Wantsum, Hollywood Stuntman

Part Six

"The Era is Established1"

“I don’t think you have anything to be worried about, Drake. This isn’t the first time a woman’s threatened you. Remember that Playmate of the Year who was after you?”

“Claudia. How could I forget?”

“Nothing ever came of that, right?”

“She died in a car crash.”

“Oh, yeah, right. You…uh…didn’t have anything to do with that, did you?”

“No. I figured you did it.”

“Huh. I don’t think so, but then I was doing a lot of drugs back then.”

“It happened six months ago.”

“Wait? Did you say ‘Claudia’?”


“Oh, yeah, that was totally me.”

1. Google the clues and you'll be able to figure out--down to the month--when this story is taking place.

Vanity Fear Vlog - Werewolf Woman

Because absolutely no one asked for it, I've decided to post the occasional vlog review every now and then. I enjoy making them, even if it's clear no one enjoys watching them. Actually the main reason I threw this one together is because I wanted to test out the 1080p capabilities of my new iPhone 4S. As you can see I clearly need to work out the lighting issues. That said, this was by far the quickest vlog I've ever produced. It only took three and a half hours from the time I got the idea of doing it to having it available on YouTube. First person to comment, "Where did all of that time go?" will make me very, very sad.

The Adventures of Drake Wantsum, Hollywood Stuntman

Part Five

"The Wake Continues"

“Hi, Drake.”


“We good?”

“All water under the bridge as far as I’m concerned. You still going to marry that girl?”


“That’s good. She was just in it for the money.”

“I know. Speaking of girls, who was that hot little number I just saw you talking to?”

“That was no hot little number, that was Stevie’s mom.”

“Get the fuck out of town!”

“Swear to God.”

“But she would have had to have been—“

“—Thanks, I already did the math.”

“What’d she want?”

“My balls on a platter.”

“But not in the good way?”


The Adventures of Drake Wantsum, Hollywood Stuntman

Part Four

"At the Wake"

“Mr. Wantsum?”

“A pretty girl like you can call me Drake, sweetie. Wait. Have we met before? You look familiar.”

“I’m Mrs. Schmendrick, Stevie’s mother.”

“No way! What happened? Did you have him when you were twelve?”


“Oh. That must’ve been tough.”

“It was.”

“Okay, you’re beginning to creep me out. Was there something you wanted?”



“Revenge, Mr. Wantsum. It should have been you who died that afternoon.”

“Now wait—“

“Don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything now. That would be too easy. You’re going to suffer. More than anyone ever has before.”

“Seriously, twelve?”

The Adventures of Drake Wantsum, Hollywood Stuntman

Part Three

“The Eulogy”


“Well, what can I say about Stevie Schmendrick? He had a funny last name that’s for sure. I always used to think he made it up as some stupid joke, but then one night I was real drunk and I needed his wallet to pay my bar tab and I took out his I.D. and I’ll be fucked if that wasn’t his actual name. He must’ve been a Jew. We didn’t talk about religion much. ‘Cept when we was in the ambulance, of course. Then he wouldn’t shut up about it. Luckily he didn’t talk about it for too long....”

Hollywood Halloween Costume Calvecade: Part Four

It's pretty safe to say that Wes Craven got royally screwed. Back in 1984 he made a film that impacted the horror genre and Halloween forever, giving us Freddy Krueger--a monster as significant as any created during the golden years of Universal Films. His reward for his triumph? Producer Robert Shaye refused to pay him more money to do the sequel and kept every penny of Krueger's lucrative licensing deals. The chance to work on the sequel for Dream Warriors must have proven cold comfort, because in 1989 Craven attempted to catch lighting in a bottle one more time with a character he hoped would become just as popular as his "Bastard Son of 1000 Maniacs".

If Freddy's gimmick was his ability to enter his victims' dreams and kill them with their own worst nightmares, than this character too would not be bound to the mortal realm. He would not be a man, but a living energy capable of possessing the mind and body of anyone he contacted, including adorable little girls. If Freddy could be anything in our unconscious world, than he could be anyone in our everyday reality.

It should have worked

It really, really didn't.

I am, of course, talking about:

Horace Pinker

A serial killer who is turned into an electrical phantom due to a combination of black magic and the electric chair, Horace Pinker ranks among the most disappointing of wannabe franchise characters. The problem is simple, unlike Freddy Krueger, who's a scarred monster in a classy fedora with big scary metal claws, Horace is the dude from The X-Files in an orange prison jumpsuit. It's just not even remotely the same.

It might help if Shocker were a better movie, but its inconsistent tone and sense of desperation sink it without a trace. Aiming for horror comedy, Craven crafted a film that is never scary or funny. When you do feel the impulse to laugh it's genuinely hard to tell if you're doing so with the movie or at it.

Still, of all the potential costumes discussed thus far here at Vanity Fear, I believe Pinker is probably the one most people are going to be able to guess without explanation. Shocker may have sucked, but a lot of people saw it on home video in the late 80s and early 90s. Plus the name on the jumpsuit is a pretty big clue.

Let's take a look at the scores:

Difficulty to Create: 5/10 An orange prison jumpsuit shouldn't be too difficult to find. The only question is, do you shave your head or go with a bald cap instead?

Obscurity: 3/10 Like I said, as terrible as the movie is, a lot of people saw it back in the day.

Fun Factor: 1/10 I just don't see being Mitch Pileggi for a day as a rollicking good time.

Potential "Sexy" Version: 4/10 Unbutton the jumpsuit to reveal some serious cleavage and change the name to Hortense Pinker and it could work.

Might Be Confused With: Lex Luthor.

Total Score: 2/10 Dude, it's fucking Horace Pinker. Lame.

The Five Worst James Best Movies

You know him as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazzard, but before that James Best had a long career filled with the highest of highs (Shock Corridor) and the lowest of lows (see below). You can learn more from the man himself in a Flick Attack interview I contributed to earlier this year. Having gone over his body of work, I have tremendous admiration for the man and have chosen to pick on him in this manner only because no one would know what I was talking about if I did The Five Best David Wurst Movies instead (he's a composer who has worked on a bunch of Corman movies, including the never released version of The Fantastic Four).

1. The Killer Shrews (1959)

Remembered today thanks to a classic episode of MST3K (enough so that a very belated sequel is apparently on the way), this no-budget B&W indie stars Best as a boat captain trapped on a island terrorized by poor dogs stuck in ridiculous shrew costumes. What is a shrew anyway? If only I currently had access to a vast pool of information from which I could divine an answer. Despite the MST3Ker's best efforts, Shrews is still a struggle to get through due to its glacial pace. Better to stick with Night of the Lepus for your ludicrous animal attack movie enjoyment.

2. Nickelodeon (1976)

In his Flick Attack interview, Best admitted to not liking director Peter Bogdonovich. After sitting through this laboured ode to cinema's earliest days I can't say that I blame him. Give me At Long Last Love any day of the week.

3. Hooper (1978)

According to Best, he helped write this late 70s ode to the Hollywood stuntman, but all of the blame for its suckitude still has to go to director Hal Needham. He obviously considered the film to be something of an autobiography, which goes to prove what an asshole he really is.

4. Sounder (1972)

Based on everything I've heard, this is actually an excellent movie. I've never seen it. I really shouldn't have said this list would be five movies long.

5. The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood (2000)

I don't really remember this TV movie, but old Daisy made me sad.


I'm sorry, I really have to think before I do one of these.

Hollywood Halloween Costume Calvecade: Part Three

Our October investigation into horror movie themed Halloween costumes that don't immediately come to mind continues with another costume for the ladies that I suspect would prove to be immediately popular, but not because everyone loves the movie it's based on.

Three years after "directing" Poltergeist (sarcastic quotation marks used 'cuz Spielberg totally directed that shit), Tobe Hooper finally returned to the silver screen with his biggest budgeted movie yet. Made for $25,000,000 back when that was a number that meant something, Lifeforce was Cannon Films' attempt to create an epic SF horror franchise. The attempt failed, however, and--following the similarly disastrous Invaders From Mars--Hooper's career never really recovered. Still, as resolutely forgettable as the movie is (I've seen it at least twice now and am in no way prepared to offer up even the most cursory of plot synopses), there is one character in the film who managed to make their mark on horror history and become something of an icon.

I am, of course, talking about:

Space Girl

Unfortunately, society being what it is, propriety prevents me from showing the costume in every detail. Those of you at home or who work in highly liberal office environments can get a better idea by clicking the picture, otherwise consider the enlarged version NSFW. Now, for those you who haven't seen Lifeforce and who might question the legitimacy of such a costume, let me ease your concerns by saying that this is what actress Mathilda May wears throughout the entire film. And her role as Space Girl gives her fifth billing above Patrick Stewart, so she's definitely not a one-scene wonder.

That said, it's hard to say what exactly makes Space Girl such a memorable character. Is it because she's a naked 19 year-old girl or is it because she's a naked 19 year-old Mathilda May--which isn't quite the same thing, because how many 19 year-old girls do you know who look like that? (If your answer is, "At least one," then why are you reading this and not praying to the deity of your choosing?)

Still, I suspect in an age where attractive 20-something women make Halloween memorable by dressing as "sexy" versions of Sesame Street characters, there are more than enough trick or treaters out there to pull this one off. But before we get too giddy, let's check the scores first:

Difficulty to Create: This one depends entirely on the person for whom the outfit is intended. If you're a naturally busty brunette Parisian teenage model it's a 0/10. If you're me 1,000,000,000/10.

Obscurity: Again, doesn't matter. No one is gonna give a hot flying fuck about who you're dressed as.

Fun Factor: 10/10 You are going to be the life of the party, there is not a single doubt about that.

Potential "Sexy" Version: Ha!

Might Be Confused With: Phoebe Cates in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Total Score: Impossible to calculate. As a movie themed costume, it's likely not going to register, but as a general costume the right person could easily make their event THE SINGLE GREATEST HALLOWEEN PARTY OF ALL TIME.

The Adventures of Drake Wantsum, Hollywood Stuntman

Part Two

“The Newbie”


“Okay kid, here’s your chance to prove yourself to the producer. You do that and you’ve got it made in the stunt business.”

“I dunno, Drake. It doesn’t seem safe.”

“That’s very perceptive of you, Stevie. This stunt isn’t safe at all. In fact I’m pretty sure it was designed to kill whoever does it.”


“Turns out our producer is a big crybaby who thinks big fancy breasts are more important than the bonds of true friendship. I’m pretty sure he wants to murder me.”

“But I’m the one doing the stunt!”

“Yeah, it’s all sorts of fucked up.”

From the Bottom to the Top to the Bottom: Part Two in a Series

An amusing exercise in which we pour salt on the wounds of those who temporarily achieved Hollywood glory, but were little prepared to keep it.

Just like Michael J. Pollard, last week’s inaugural victim of Hollywood caprice, George Kennedy is a true character actor. Beyond that though, all comparisons come to an immediate end. If Pollard was odd and quirky, Kennedy was solid and stalwart—a real man with a real face, real hairpiece, and real body.

The same year Pollard was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Bonnie and Clyde, Kennedy won for Cool Hand Luke. In it he played Dragline, a prison tough guy who initially gives Paul Newman’s titular character a hard time, until Luke’s unbreakable spirit inspires his respect and admiration. It was his biggest role in a 10-year career that started when he was hired to be a technical advisor on The Phil Silvers Show (aka Sgt. Bilko), which led to him becoming an extra, which led to his getting the occasional line, which led to bit parts in other TV shows and then eventually movies.

Despite his Oscar, Hollywood was reluctant to elevate him to leading man status. When it did it was in Guns of the Magnificent Seven, the third film in the franchise, and the first to not star any of the original Seven. Notable only for putting him onscreen with his cinematic brother-from-another-mother Joe Don Baker, Guns did little to turn Kennedy into a true star.

The 70s saw him starring in a short-lived, forgotten TV series (Sarge), all four entries in the laughable Airport franchise (making him the series' only consistent character), Earthquake, and another just as short-lived, just as forgotten TV series (The Blue Knight), but it was the 80s where things started getting rough. His B-Movie career actually started promisingly with 1981s Just Before Dawn, perhaps the best slasher film of the period not made by John Carpenter, but the same could not be said for Wacko, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Bolero or Delta Force. Kennedy’s lowest point, though, came in 1988, courtesy of the same directorial genius who gave us this:


I am, of course, talking about:


Unavailable on DVD, Demonwarp is a movie I only saw once on late night TV sometime in the early 90s, yet it has never ceased to haunt my dreams. Directed by Emmett Alston, the film is a bizarre mish-mash of sub-genres, seemingly created by the careless fusion of several unrelated screenplays. It first appears to be a Bigfoot movie, albeit one made to feel like a slasher film (Alston had previously made New Years Evil) before transforming into a cult/alien conspiracy thriller in which a topless screaming Michelle Bauer is sacrificed on an altar to a century old extra-terrestrial/god.

That one scene with Bauer has never left my mind, but it pales in significance to another she appears in earlier in the movie. In it, she and a similarly busty friend (of the blonde variety) are introduced into the film out of nowhere and without context as two tanning enthusiasts who have come to the forest to bask in the sun’s golden rays. To do this requires they unburden themselves of their tops, which they do quickly and efficiently. But, unfortunately, the baring of their breasts attracts the Bigfoot creature who shows his distaste for their exhibitionism by graphically removing the blonde’s head from her body. Bauer screams, is captured by the creature, and then disappears from the narrative until it’s time to sacrifice her on the slab—making this another feature in which she spends more time onscreen naked than otherwise.

Kennedy’s role as the father of one of the moronic teenage characters is negligible and unnecessary, but enough to get his face featured on the poster and top-billed in the credits. It’s the dictionary definition of a paycheque performance.

Fortunately for Kennedy that same year he co-starred in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! a Zucker-Abrams-Zucker movie based on their very short-lived TV show. It and its two sequels brought him back into the limelight and probably remain the films for which he is best known (at least among my generation). When the franchise ended in 1994 he worked as consistently as any actor of retirement age should be expected to. He’s still at it today, at the considerable age of 86.

Chances are Kennedy had no idea he’d have such a tumultuous career 51 years earlier when he was 35 and guest-starring on a TV western called Sugerfoot. It would be the only time he worked with another future Oscar winner, who was a regular on the show for the third of its four seasons. She too would know the highest highs and the lowest lows, but unlike Kennedy, she has never experienced any significant late-career success.

Next Time On

From the Bottom to the Top to the Bottom

Louise Fletcher

Hollywood Halloween Costume Cavalcade: Part Two

Now lest you think the Costume Cavalcade is a "No Girls Allowed!" affair, let me set your mind at ease (or disturb you terribly) with suggestion number 2, which features the most unfairly overlooked horror icon in the slasher cannon.

Just a few days ago I brought up the Sleepaway Camp franchise in reference to Michael J. Pollard, and doing so reminded me that the thing people forget is that Angela, the film's transgendered murderer, isn't the film's most disturbing villain. No, that dishonour goes instead to the insane woman whose need for perfect order directly results in Angela's gender confusion and subsequent inability to stop herself from killing every asshole who crosses her path.

I am, of course, talking about:

Aunt Martha

Loonily portrayed by Desiree Gould, there's no question that Angela's aunt is just as batshit insane as her niece is. Given custody of Angela and her older brother after the tragic death of their father in a boating accident, Martha decides that having two boys, "Just won't do." and subsequently proceeds to raise the youngest of the two as a girl. This alone is disturbing enough, but Gould's performance is so mannered and bizarre that it goes even a level further into layers of insanity that are truly discomfiting to behold. Unfortunately, the film's final reveal of a naked Angela revealing her wanghood to all and sundry has a tendency to make people forget about everything that has preceded it.

But as great and compellingly odd a character as she is, does she have what it takes to make it as this year's Halloween costume of choice? Let's look at the numbers:

Difficulty to Create: 7/10 It all depends on the hat and where the Hell are going to find one that matches?

Obscurity: 7/10 Lots of folks have seen Sleepaway Camp, but the only thing they remember about it is the penis at the end. Only aficionados will recognize you without explanation.

Fun Factor: 7/10 Just watch that video and tell me that acting like that for a night wouldn't be a blast.

Potential "Sexy" Version: NA It's sexy already! (Or is

Might Be Confused With: Parker Posey in one of the Christopher Guest movies.

Total Score: 4/10 I love Aunt Martha (as a villain, not a human being) and wish I could give her a much higher score, but the combination of obscurity and difficulty forces me to give her an unsatisfactory score of four out of ten.

The Adventures of Drake Wantsum, Hollywood Stuntman

Part One

The Producer's Girlfriend

“Drake! Stop! I heard a noise.”

“Sorry, sweetie, but I always bark like a dog during intercourse. It’s the only way I can maintain my giant erection.”

“No, not that. I think I heard someone come inside.”

“I didn’t think you’d notice. I haven’t been producing semen like I used too.”

“It’s Eddie.”

“Don’t fret, sweetie. I’m sure—“


 “Hey there, Eddie. We were just talkin’ about you.”

“Drake!  I told you I was going to propose to her. Tonight!”

“Why else do you think I hurried? Drake Wantsum would never fuck his best friend’s fiancé!”