Monday, April 16, 2007


"....Tonight We Dine In Hell"

Im pretty much a history buff and one of the subjects I enjoy reading is military history. So it was no surprise that when I caught wind of a movie being made called 300 and that it would center on the battle between what was a combined Greek force of 7,000(including the infamous 300 Spartans, a handful of of Greek slaves, and allies from Arcadia, Corinth, Thespiae & Thebes) and Xerxes Persian army at the Hot Gates of Thermopylae I was excited as well as apprehensive. I mean the first thing that came to mind was the old movie on the same subject titled The 300 Spartans that I would catch on late night tv as a kid in the 60's. It was the usual cheesy sword and sandal epic where everyone in the Greek army had English accents and dressed like Romans. The typical 60's Hollywood Bizarro version of history. Then when I further found out it was based on a comic book (graphic novel to arrogant nerds) version of the story I was even more apprehensive. I mean this was suppose to be history plus most comic book based movies suck ass to begin with.
Anyway the cool commercials and my huge interest in the subject itself was enough to compel me to head to the nearest multiplex with son in tow.
After thoroughly embarrassing my son at the ticket booth by telling the girl taking our money that my son secretly wanted to see Dreamgirls over 300 but was too shy to buy a ticket we headed in.
We settled back in the old Imax theater which is now called the "big" screen theater ( I kid you not) and waited through twenty minutes of commercials and trailers for upcoming crap being churned out faster than bad beer at Wrigley Field by the new corporate Hollwood.
The movie then finally began...
I gotta say..this is the most fun I ever had watching a movie in a long fucking time. It was a 10 year boys version of history unfolding on the screen. Beheadings, disememberment, mutants, & monster wolves ran rampant with a bit of female nudity thrown in for good measure. It was like watching a 2 hr battle scene. And some of the best and most quotable dialogue to come along in a movie in ages. Both my son and I sat there the entire time with shit eating grins on our faces as we watched battle hardened Spartans perform the ancient art of war Matrix style against gigantic mutant Persians.
all in all one excellent was so good in fact It made me forget all about the upcoming Grindhouse for a couple hrs
the only negative was the English and Welsh accents littering the movie.
In the end I think we need Mel Gibson to make the definitive Spartan movie where all the dialogue is in ancient Greek with English subtitles.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Lost Era

came upon this photo while poking around on the Net and it just brought back a flood of memories of taking the El into the big old bad Chicago Loop to see some great 70's exploitation films . Sadly most of these big old movie palaces are gone. In fact by the 70s' most of them were near falling down and rodent infested whch to me added to the atmosphere of the films they were playing. I mean who the hell would want to see a movie like "The Losers" or "The Return Of Count Yorga" in some spiffy polished multiplex anyway. The charm of those films was being able to sit with your feet glued (literally) to the floor while two overgrown rats quibble over a piece of stale popcorn under the seat next to you like some whacked game of Rock Em Sock Em Rodents. era gone but not forgotten...

The weirdest for me though was going to see the play Wicked at the rehabbed/rebuilt Oriental Theater last summer. I believe it has some bullshit name now like the Cadillac Palace or Ford Center or some other commercial sounding name
Anyway the whole time I sat through this fine Broadway production I could not believe I was sitting in the same theater that I saw "The Abominable Dr Phibes" in some 30 years earlier.
As I looked around at some of the people sitting near me it became very clear ...
I really missed the rats.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Meet The Gimp aka Melonhead

Well it was bound to happen. We decided to donate all of our old dog Shadow's posessions to the local Boxer rescue. While we were there this mug attached himself to us like a leech from Thatcher Woods slough. So we decided to adopt him. We had planned on adopting another Boxer at some point after Shadows passing but not as early as we did. But.. this guy would not let us leave without him.

According to the folks at Boxer Rebound, he was found running around Southern Illinois with a dislocated hip as well as a mild case of heartworm. Thanks to them he is heartworm free now and has had the necesary surgery done to fix his back leg. Right now he limps a lot due to atrophy of the leg muscle but that should clear up in a few months with proper exercise.

Kudos to all the hard work the folks at Boxer Rebound are doing for the rescue and care of this fantastic breed of dog. They still have a boatload of Boxers looking for good homes and are always aquiring more (sadly) to replace the ones that they do manage to find good caring homes for.

The expense and time they put into caring for these dogs homes in the meantime is astronomical as well and they heartily accept donations monetary and otherwise.

For further info check out their website at

And believe me its so much fun to tell the kids "Bring out the Gimp" when he needs to go outside

Thursday, February 23, 2006

DVD of The Week - I Drink Your Blood

“Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acidhead! Drink from this cup, cleanse yourselves, and together we’ll all freak out!”

and so starts this classic piece of drive-in fare from 1971.It was often featured on a double bill with another film titled "I Eat Your Skin" but Blood was the one that delivered the exploitation goods in spades.

The movie starts out with a group of devil worshipping Manson type longhairs rolling into a small rural town one day and taking up residence in an abandoned house. The group is led by a character that resembles Tonto on drugs rather than Charlie Manson.
While in the house they pass time chasing down rats, cooking them up over an open fire, and heartily consuming them . Lets see the Orkin man top that type of extermination!

After this the fun starts when the local crusty old man comes by to give them "what for" and he ends up getting some LSD shoved down his gullet by this fun loving crew. He stumbles back home to his grandkids and in one of the choice scenes of the film he "turns in..and drops out" at the kitchen table while holding salt & pepper shakers to his head.

This raises the ire of his little grandson who decides to exact revenge on the longhairs by injecting meat pies in his sisters bakery with blood he withdraws from a rabid dog he has just killed. What an enterprising tyke this kid is!

After Tonto and friends wolf down the meat pies it doesnt take long for them to begin foaming at the mouth and start attacking the rest of the town. Before you know it the whole population of Smalltown USA is transformed into foaming lunatics and ripping each other apart limb from limb (literally).

All I can say is that they dont make movies like this anymore. No studio would have the balls put out a film like this nowadays and thats the main reason today's movie industry just flat out sucks.

Kudos to Grindhouse for the superb job they did putting this DVD together.The transfer is fantastic and there are more extras on here than most big budget releases. The best extra is the collection of original trailers for several other exploitation movies of the era such as CAT IN THE BRAIN, THE BEYOND, AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL, COPKILLERS, THE TOUGH ONES, and MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE.
These trailers alone are better than some of the full length crap being shown at the local multiplex.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dedicated to Shadow

I havent posted in awhile and figured today would be a perfect time to start by posting a dedication to my dog Shadow who succumbed to cancer this week ( a few months short of her 11th birthday) . She will be greatly missed but.. myself and my family are relieved to know that the suffering she was experiencing was short and at an end.

Things we will miss:

The Elvis Presley sneer

Shadow greedily slurping out of the greasebucket on the offset.

Her ability to clear a room in seconds flat with nuclear level gas attacks.

Chasing any vermin with balls big enough to enter her domain (the backyard) and
coming back victoriosly with a mouthful of bunny fur.

3 foot leaps to catch in mid air lightning bugs, bees or anything else with wings with one snap of those famous Boxer crodile jaws.

Dozing 12 inches from a lit firepit on those balmy summer nights without catching her fur on fire.

Sitting out in the yard and keeping me company on those 90+ plus hot summer days when no one else in their right mind will venture outside with me .

Keeping me company on those long overnight bbq cooks. I do believe Shadow could have smoked a butt or brisket by herself now.

Sliming guests (especially those with black pants on)

Traumatizing my daughter by scarfing down her entire bag of Halloween candy she collected trick or treating

Eating all the Xmas baked goods off the dining room table..this happened annually I might add

There are many more but these are the ones that come to mind first. She was my close companion and will be missed very much.
This post is for you Shadow..see you in the next life my friend.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Backyard BBQ Bax Style Part IV

Salsa Time aka Those Ecudorians Stole Our Dates
When we last left the Chi-Town Smokers they had just completed fending off a
horde of about 600 ravenous BBQ zombies and things were just now settling
down to the point where I could grab a beer and relax a bit from the flames
and smoke of the Box.
But before I could take one step forward in strolls Val compliment me on the
fine BBQ. Val looking every bit like Mark Volmann proceeds to spew kudos to
us on the evenings bill of fare.
All the while she is talking it is taking me back to a simpler time of cool
new vinyl, rolling papers, and anything else i could possibly rip off from
her record store in Oak Park.
Let me tell ya, Val's Halla Records was like the coolest record store in town
back in those days. We had our Soundsource, Record Attic, and all but Val's
place was like hanging out in your best friends basement or alley. In fact
she must have felt right at home here in the Box surrounded by brick, rock
and roll on the speakers, and the same small square footage of the store.
You could walk into Val's and browse while all the swell tunes of the day
like Yes, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, etc.. would swirl around
your head until Val's booming voice would cut through that musical bliss
like a lumberjacks axe on a red oak asking if anyone needed any help finding
anything usually with a few expletives thrown in just to freak me out. I was
pretty fearless back in those days but Val always managed to scare the crap
out of me.
Vals was the only place you could find the monthly Triad Guide so there I
would be reeking of pot smoke, beer, and Kool's and already in a heightened
state of paranoia from the skank weed and I would carefully approach the
counter hoping the Guides would be sitting on the counter next to the
register so I could snatch one and leave . But they never were. I usually
had to ask Val sheepishly if the guides came in. She would peer down at me
from behind the counter like Gentle Ben with an Afro and bellow out "NO
I always thought one day I would leave just an outline of me in her front
door as I ran out ala Wiley Coyote
if anyone told me back then that I would be serving this lady BBQ in a
gangway in RF surrounded by zombies and salsa music....huh?..wait a second
here.....salsa music????
I slip back to present day and realize that there is salsa music booming
form the other end of the gangway!

Thinking maybe I have inhaled too much BBQ smoke over the course of the
evening I thank Val, excuse myself, and step out of the box to investigate.

As I walk over by Elaine I glimpse one of the scariest sights of this whole
One fo the Ecuadorian woman who looks like the a Bizzaro world version of
Charo shimmying and shaking to the salsa music that i heard earlier. I half
expected one of the Ecudorians to jump up and start singing into a shoplight
just to complete this Lynchian scene. It looked like two pigs fighting it
out inside a gunny sack. Not too far from her is a whole table of Ecudorians
sitting around sucking down all of Perrys tequila and beer egging her on. I
tell ya thses guys had it down pat. Let the gringo bring in all the food and
booze under the guise of a big party and then just steal it right from under
his hobnobbin nose!

Off to the side Elaine is sitting with Laurie and Patty (who doesnt drink
but is stewed to the gills) . All she needed was the Otis Campbell white
suit and hat to go with her inebriated state. All the while she is swooning
over one of the young stud Ecudorians at the table who looks like he just
stepped out of an audition for Menudo. El Sabado Gigante indeed!!
In the time it takes me to grab a beer out of the cooler they managed to
have all the wives seated their table doing more shots of tequila and
leering at them like they are so many hunks of bbq'ed meat.
This called for fast action on my part. I had to figure out how to lure
them away before they ended up "stolen" merchandise for the taking like
all of the food and booze.

It then hit me..I ran back over to the other side of the gangway to
marcello's bar ,,grabbed the leather covered bottle , held it high into the
air and screamed..'Hey Ladies! Over here!..TURTLE PENIS!!!!!"

to be continued......

Friday, November 11, 2005

DVD of The Week - Two Lane Blacktop

"..make it 1/2 a yard motherfucker and we got ourselves an automobile race.."
ok..I know this has been out on DVD for awhile now but I just revisited it the other night after a long viewing hiatus.
Anyway what can I say about a movie that stars James Taylor (yes THAT James Taylor) as The Driver, Dennis Wilson of Beach Boys fame as The Mechanic alongside B movie extraodinaire Warren Oates as MR GTO.?
This is a true cult flick that came out in 71 ..the same year as Vanishing Point. It was a good year for gearhead flicks and some were lucky enough to see both these films as a double feature in the following years.
The plot is pretty non existent in this film but the basic jist of it is as follows: The Driver and The Machanic tool around the country in an old beat up but souped up 55 Chevy picking up street races for money wherever they can find them. Mr GTO is a loud mouth braggart prone to tall tales who spends the movie picking up hitchhikers in his 70 GTO and boring them with all his excruiatingly long bullshit stories. Their two worlds collide when they all end up at the same backroads gas station and decide to race cross country for pink slips (IE car titles for those of you who sat under the clock in high school)to Washington D.C.
Thats it in a nutshell..some great 60's/70's music on the soundtrack , some cool racing scenes..very sparse but effective dialogue and Warren Oates..and hey Wilson and Taylor aint half bad in the acting dept either.
Also keep an eye out for Harry Dean Stanton in a bit role as a hitchhiker who cant keep his paws off Warren Oates's thigh. Hilarious scene!
Another excellent film from the "golden age" of cinema