Vanity Fear

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

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B-TV: Part Six "Unsuspended Disbelief"

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century



Nasa astronaut Buck Rogers’ (Gil Gerard) 1987 solo mission in space does not go as planned and through a fluke of the universe he is frozen and left to float alone in the cosmos for 500 years. Found by an alien space station on its way to a mission to Earth, Rogers is defrosted and meets Princess Ardala (Pamela Hensley) and her second in command, Kane (Henry Silva). Before Rogers even has time to comprehend what has happened to him, they put him back on his ship and send him back to Earth, hoping the bug they implanted will informed them how to break through the planet’s defenses. Back at Earth, Rogers is examined and is determined to be honest and reliable by Dr. Theopolis (Howard F. Flynn), a sentient computer carried around by a tiny humanoid robot named Twiki (Felix Silva & Mel Blanc), but that doesn’t stop military commander Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) from being suspicious of him. Declared a spy by the Earthlings once the bug on his ship is discovered, Rogers is sentenced to death but is spared after an act of heroism during a space pirate raid. Suspecting that Kane and the Princess are secretly behind the pirates, Rogers seduces and drugs Ardala and manages to sabotage their attack force, ensuring their planned invasion of Earth fails before it even has a chance to start. At last, he earns Deering’s respect, as well as a new home in a strange future.

Pertinent Details

B-TV or Not B-TV: Originally conceived as the first of a series of TV movies made to capitalize on the success of Star Wars, this eventually became the pilot for a regular series instead. When the pilot of producer/co-writer Glen A. Larson’s similar sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica found success as a theatrical movie in Europe and some parts of North America, the decision was made to release Buck Rogers to theatres instead of debuting it on television as had originally been planned. There it grossed a very respectable $21 million and was later split into the first two episodes of the series that followed and would go to last for a season and a half.

Too Ballsy For Primetime: Some changes were made between the theatrical and TV versions. The theatrical version featured a memorable (see more below) opening credit sequence set to the song “Suspension” (performed by Kipp Lennon and co-written by Larson) in which Rogers lays around unconscious while Gray, Hensley and several anonymous models pose seductively, while the split TV eps used the show’s standard credits, set to an instrumental version of the song. Beyond this, scenes where Rogers calls Deering “ballsy” and Twiki refers to freezing his “ball bearings” were cut from the TV version. Several new scenes were also added to the TV version, so the resulting two episodes both came in at then-standard broadcast length. These new scenes haven’t been seen in awhile, since the released DVD set only includes the theatrical version.

An Old Established Character: Proving that 21st century executives didn’t invent the habit of going back to the past to follow and capitalize on new trends and viewer nostalgia, Buck Rogers was based on a property that was over 50 years old by the time the movie hit theatre screens. The character first appeared in a pulp fiction magazine in a story written by Phillip Francis Nowlan and subsequently became famous in other stories, a comic strip, a 1939 movie serial starring Buster Crabbe (who would go on to play a role in the first official episode of the 1979 series), and an earlier short-lived TV series that ran from 1950 to 1951.

My parents are often bewildered by my ability to recall certain details of the past that they had long ago obliterated from their memories. I don’t think I necessarily possess a better grasp of my childhood than any other average person, but it probably isn’t a coincidence that many of the most powerful remembrances of my youth are tied directly to film and television. Even at the earliest possible age I found that such entertainments mattered to me more than most.

It’s because of this that the earliest memory I have that I can specifically date (as opposed to those that might have come before but are impossible for me to determine when they actually happened) occurred in the summer of 1978, when I was two years old. In it, I’m sitting/standing (I was small enough that I could comfortable do both) in the back of the Dombroski’s station wagon. It’s parked at the Twin Drive-in and I am watching a movie I would later realize was called Star Wars, which had been re-released to theatres a year after it’s original run because home video hadn’t been properly invented yet. As much as the movie impacted me later on, the film itself is secondary to my memory of the interior of that car and the salty-buttery taste of the popcorn.

That’s the earliest memory I can put a general date on. The second comes several months later, in March of 1979 to be exact. This time I’m not in a car, but a regular old-fashioned movie theatre, where I’m sitting with my parents (who may or may not have been there with the Dombroskis—who I definitely know were around in May of 1980, when I saw The Empire Strikes Back at the age of 4). Predictably, I have very little recall of the film itself. Even though I’ve always known that I saw Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in a theatre, it wasn’t until I just watched it again 33 years later that I realized the only thing I actually remembered about it was this (embedding has been disabled by the copyright owner, so click on Erin to see the whole glorious video):

So, yes, this proves without a doubt that even at three years old, all I really cared about in movies was the pretty girls, which obviously still stands today, because were it not for the presence of Pamela Hensley and Erin Gray, I would now consider the film to be a total snooze. I actually feel compelled to thank my parents (and possibly the Dombroskis) for sitting through it all those years ago, as this obviously proves that they loved me and would endure all sorts of terrible entertainment for my benefit.

Viewed with the eyes of an old, old man, the film exists in an unhappy limbo where it’s too self-conscious to descend to the cheesy heights of absurdity that transform a film like Luigi Cozzi’s Starcrash from a bold-faced rip-off to an original classic of its own, while also being too inelegantly formulaic and commercial to disguise the disinterested rote-ness of its clinical professionalism.

In other words, it’s too well made to be “so-bad-it’s-good”, which is unfortunate because it also doesn’t have the budget or imagination to transcend the innate absurdity of its concept. This isn’t a problem for television, but for a theatrical movie it’s the touch of death. (Having gotten into the series itself, I can happily report that it itself manages to satisfyingly reach the “so-bad-it’s-good” status required to redeem its existence.)

The only way most sci-fi TV shows can afford to stay on the air is to use costly action and special effects as sparingly as possible—to the point that many such shows fall under the trap Joss Whedon refers to as “radio with pictures”. It’s a trap Buck Rogers cannot avoid, partially because of a lack of resources, but also because its chief creative mind, Glen A. Larson, was a television man through and through (his other more successful efforts included Simon & Simon, Quincy, Magnum P.I., Knight Rider and—my personal favourite—The Fall Guy) and the project’s small screen origins are so inherently a part of its DNA there’s no disguising them.

There’s no question that the movie or series would not exist were it not for the success of Star Wars, but as is typically the case, everyone involved failed to properly analyze the reasons for its success. Instead of determining that kids adored C-3PO and R2-D2 because they were a compelling comic duo who served as our gatekeepers to this strange and special universe (everything that had to be explained to them was actually being explained to us!), Larson and associates figured that kids just liked cute funny robot teams and thus gave us Twiki and Dr. Theopolis.

It’s a crucial miscalculation. Though kids were actually delighted by the comic antics of Twiki (because kids are stupid, see also Ewoks), he feels completely out of place in the context of the other characters. R2-D2 was adorable to be sure, but he not only fit in with all of the other characters, he actually managed to be as fully developed as they were—proving capable of genuine acts of heroism and generating affecting emotion. Twiki, on the other hand, is clearly just there to sell toys and make theoretically comedic comments in a voice straight out of a Loony Tunes cartoon. And Dr. Theopolis, rather than being the neurotic, tight-assed C-3PO, is just a boring clock with a face who spends all of his time telling Buck (and us) what’s going on. He’s so forgettable it wasn’t until I re-watched the movie that I remembered he existed and realized Twiki’s main purpose was to carry him around.

As Rogers Gil Gerard manages to have a few fun moments, especially those that compel him to channel his inner Han Solo, but the script both requires him to accept and deny his situation in frustratingly implausible ways, having him act more often to propel the plot than as a fully developed character.

This is also true for Erin Gray, who your eyes will note was about as gorgeous as any human being was capable of being in the late 70s, but who is poorly served by a script that has her acting like an unreasonable military tight-ass in one scene and a moony-eyed dish-mop the next. The scene were she gets upset watching Buck dance with the equally-gorgeous horndog Princess Ardala is supposed to be funny, but it actually makes no sense in the context of what we’ve seen before. She’s acting that way because in television that’s how the female co-star is supposed to act when the leading man dances with the other pretty lady, not because a human being would actually act that way.

But the biggest problem is the film’s lack of urgency, which is most tellingly illustrated in the scene where Rogers, Deering and crew engage in a dogfight with what they then believe are space pirates, but are actually Princess Ardala’s men in disguise. The pirates pick off the other crewmembers with ease, leaving just our two main characters alive. No sense of weight is given to any of these deaths, and Buck even makes a joke as they turn around and fly back to Earth, apparently indifferent to the human loss. If we can’t be expected to feel anything in a moment like this, then everything else is destined to feel similarly lifeless and flat.

That said, I do love that opening credit sequence I wish I could have embedded above. It’s the closest the film ever comes to feeling at all cinematic. Had the rest of the movie shown that kind of gaudy flair I suspect I would have one more treasured childhood memory, instead of one I can just attach a specific month and a year to.

Que sera sera.

B-TV: Part Three - Same Shit, Different Results

Even though I already posted this week’s edition of Rejected By Rod(?), I’m dipping back into my well of unposted Flick Attack reviews to start off this look at a B-TV classic. The FA part of this review was actually included in the first batch I ever sent to Rod, when I very briefly held myself to a very strict 250-word limit, which explains why it’s so much more pithy and succinct than my typical FA output.

Kiss Meets The Phantom of The Park



The defining moment of the 1978 TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park comes when drummer Peter Criss (aka Cat Man) first speaks aloud and the familiar Saturday morning cartoon voice of male Wonder Twin Zan (Michael Bell) comes out of his mouth.  It’s then that you realize this film was: A) produced by Hanna-Barbara, B) stars a bunch of people who REALLY didn’t want to be involved in its production and C) is far more wonderful than mere mortals like us probably deserve.

Starring the world’s greatest all-time terrible rock band, the original members of Kiss play themselves—with the fictional license that along with being unapologetic cash whores, they also each possess super powers, which they’ll need in order to stop the titular villain (a slumming Anthony Zerbe) who is turning amusement park customers into robotic slaves.  The band is alerted to his evil doings by a pretty young fan named Melissa, (Deborah Ryan) who—in the film’s most fantastic and unrealistic contrivance—Gene Simmons doesn’t try to fuck.

Normally talented genre director Gordon Hessler (The Golden Voyage of Sinbad), couldn’t overcome the film’s non-existent budget and as a result the film has an almost Ed Woodian level of unintentionally amusing shoddiness (ie. Ace Frehley’s stunt double is clearly an overweight black man).  Definitely not for the serious minded, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park is one of those nostalgia pieces whose glaring imperfections actually makes it far more loveable than a well-made film.


I based the above review on multiple viewings of a really shitty bootleg copy I downloaded from Napster back when that was totally a thing you could do. As crappy as the quality was, the film itself was the same version I had seen several times play on weekday television when I was kid. So, you can imagine my surprise when I recently downloaded what I thought was merely a superior quality version of the exact same film, only to be stunned by the strange new movie that played before my eyes. Not only did it look 1000x better than my previous version, but right from the start I could tell that the editing was different, the soundtrack was better, and much of the overall suckiness had been removed.

Being the asshole film geek that I am, I didn’t even have to turn to the Internet to figure out what was happening. All I had to do was look through my personal poster collection and find my copy of the one sheet for Kiss en ataque de los fantamas­—the Spanish language version of the film, which had actually been released theatrically in Europe. I knew that when the original TV version aired, Kiss had refused to license their songs to play during non-concert/performance scenes in the films, but had changed their mind for the European release. This clued me into what I was watching. I had just been unprepared for how radically different the two films were.

That’s not to say that this version (which is credited as Kiss in Attack of the Phantoms) isn’t as hilariously and rapturously cheesy as the version I had seen dozens of times before—it just manages to leave out all of the parts that made the original look like the Ed Wood spectacle I described in the (thus-far unpublished) FA review I originally wrote over a year ago.

I’ve always said that the best way to teach people how much impact editing can have on a project is to show them the studio and director cuts of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, which are as radically different as two films based on the same raw material can be. The differences between Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park and Kiss in Attack of the Phantoms aren’t that extreme, but they are significant enough to radically change the viewing experience.

The European theatrical version is close to 10 minutes shorter than the original, but by reordering and re-cutting important scenes, the plot actually feels much more organic and less haphazard—especially regarding Melissa’s search for her roboticized boyfriend. Gone are the shots featuring the overweight black stunt man dressed as Space Ace, and—most importantly—the Kiss tracks on the soundtrack bring a sense of fun and energy to the film that makes it many faults so much easier to digest. Just take a look at the difference between the classic scene where the evil robot version of Gene attacks a bunch of security guards. In the original the sequence is scored by what sounds like archival stock porn music:


While in the European theatrical cut, the same scene is scored to “Radioactive” from Simmons 1978 solo album:


In fact, the group’s (in)famous solo albums are the only sources the new soundtrack draws from—with Simmons getting the most attention. Beyond “Radioactive”, the film also uses his “Man of 1000 Faces” and “Mr. Make Believe”. Paul gets his “Love in Chains” in there, and Criss provides “Hooked on Rock ‘N’ Roll”. But the best moment belongs to Frehley, whose solo album produced the project's only lasting hit—the classic “New York Groove”, which turns the once-awful roller coaster fight sequence (see the clip embedded after the original FA review) into something pretty darn awesome:


Okay, maybe “awesome” is a bit much, but there’s no doubt that this alternative version completely changed my appreciation of this oft-mocked film. I already loved it when its imperfections couldn’t be ignored, but now that I’ve seen them successful hidden and disguised that love isn’t hipster-asshole-ironic, it’s hipster-asshole-genuine. And therein lies a whole heaping world of difference.

Rejected By Rod(?): Part One - Viva Knievel!

For over a year now I've served as Flick Attack's second most fertile reviewer, behind only Mr. Rod Lott, who rather conveniently is the guy who decides what reviews get posted and when. Currently I have a collection of about 30 reviews that have been waiting on his slush pile for over a year now with no sign of their ever being used. He claims he's going to use them eventually (his direct email quote to me being, "I just haven't gotten to them yet because too many new one's have been brewing among all of us.") but only he knows when that is, so I've decided to start throwing one up every week because...well...that's one more post I don't have to write that week. Since I believe Rod is a man of his word, I've decided to included a parenthetical question mark in the title I've chosen for these posts, but until I see signs otherwise, I'm assuming this is the only place anyone will ever get to read these.

Rejected By Rod (?)

Viva Knieval!


At the beginning of Viva Knievel!, the world’s most famous daredevil (playing himself) breaks into an orphanage in order to deliver a boxful of toys. While he’s there an adorable crippled moppet abandons his crutches and explains that Evel’s heroism served as the inspiration to get him to walk again.

It’s a moment so shameless it feels like the filmmakers are begging us to imagine Santa Claus and Jesus Christ combined in the body of a red-faced, side-burned hillbilly with a twisted motorcycle fetish.

And as over the top as this may seem, what makes Viva Knievel! so special and an absolute must see for anyone interested in classic WTF cinema is the astonishing fact that THIS IS THE MOST SUBTLE AND AMBIGUOUS SCENE IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!

With his life story having already been told in 1971s Evel Knievel (starring George Hamilton in the title role), Viva eschews typical biopic melodrama in favor of cheesy 70s era action exploitation. That is unless at one point in Knievel’s life there really was a conspiracy to sabotage his bike during a jump in Mexico, so a group of drug smugglers could load the semi carrying his corpse back into the States with millions of dollars worth of cocaine. In that case, the film could be considered unusually accurate.

To its credit Viva is surprisingly well made and looks like a real movie, unlike similar projects, which tend to resemble glorified TV pilots. To its discredit it manages to outdo Xanadu for featuring the most embarrassing performance of Gene Kelly’s career and also forces us to confront the terrifying image of Knievel (who is admittedly better in the role than Hamilton was) making out with Lauren Hutton, which ranks right up there with Jessica Alba kissing Danny Trejo in Machete for pure unintended horror.

So, whaddaya think? It's an okay review, isn't it? Not brilliant, but still worthy of being used on one of the slower weekdays, like a Tuesday or Wednesday after a long weekend when everyone actually has to get the work done they missed, instead of browsing at junk on the Internet. I think so, but apparently Rod doesn't....

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?

Repost - The Demon and Mary Marvel, A House of Glib Fumetti

A Tale of Love Found and Love Lost

There once was a very sad demon

Who was a touch overdramatic
One day he came upon a statue
of a beautiful young woman
And found what he had
always been looking for
There was just one problem
But it wasn't insurmountable....
Believing that there might
be a magical solution to his problem
the lovesick demon went to visit
a famous (and leggy) sorceress
But the sorceress wasn't convinced
and needed to hear more
This is what the sorceress
needed to hear
It took quite a long time,
but eventually the demon did everything
that the sorceress asked him to
and she gave him the spell he desired
Which (roughly) translated into English meant
His spell now cast
the demon waited anxiously
for it to take effect
Having recited the magical spell
he had sacrificed so much to learn,
the demon waited to see
if all his effort had been worth it
Minutes passed
and the statue did not move
And the demon feared
all his toil had been for naught....
That is until....
She began to stir!
The demon was overjoyed!
The statue....
Seemed to have
something else in mind....
Actually, make that
someone else....
The demon took it
as well as he could
No matter how pure
your love may be,
the hot girl is
going to pick
the taller douchebag

Repost: Fumetti Theatre


The House of Glib
Proud to Present
Fumetti Theater
Jessica from DragonQuest VIII
This is the story of a girl named Zadie
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She was very beautiful
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But also very sad
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She was sad
because she thought her life
was without meaning
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So she went to her grandfather
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And asked
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He answered
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Zadie thought about this
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And she decided to ask someone else
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So she went East
and found a friendly ear
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Zadie thought about this
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And she decided to ask someone else
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So she went West
and found the Smartest Man in the World
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Zadie thought about this
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And she decided to ask someone else
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So she went South
and found a wealthy businessman
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Zadie thought about this
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And she decided to ask someone else
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So she went North
and found someone very pale
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Zadie thought about this
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And she decided to ask someone else
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So she went back home
and ran into a girl
she used to know from school
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having nothing to lose
she asked the old acquaintance her question
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Zadie thought about this
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And she applied for a job
at The Boom-Chicka-Chicka-Wa-Wa Lounge
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Cleavage is destiny