Sunday, August 25, 2013

Richard Elfman's Forbidden Zone

Richard Elfman's Forbidden Zone
Forbidden Zone with music by the mystic knights of the oingo boingo

If I was going to name the film that influenced all of my films, I'd probably give this film as one of the most influential on what I did with films.  Richard Elfman started his street theater group 'The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo' in the early 70's after doing a stint in Jean Savary avant garde theatre troupe in France.  Essentially the mystic knights would do crazy max fleischer type of cartoon raunchy burlesque live action theater with old Cab Calloway standards and originals performed by Richard's younger brother Danny Elfman.  They played theater venues and eventally doing a stint on the gong show.  Danny Elfman was pulling the mystic knights to drop the theatrical elements and go more for a punk vibe ala XTC.   Eventually the Mystic Knights became the pop punk band Oingo Boingo which led to a successful scoring career for Danny Elfman (Batman, Spiderman, Planet of the Apes, Nightmare before the Christmas).

Frenchy sings to her class and teacher (played by Richard Elfman)
Richard wanted to capture the vibe of the insane theatrical experience of the mystic knights of the oingo boingo stage show on film.  He started with a 16mm film called the Hercules family that slowly morphed into the surreal Forbidden Zone.  A cartoon for all intents and purposes, the sets were made on paper and gave the film a weird surreal counterpoint to the crass non PC humor.  A gumbo mix of non PC humor, surreal antics, musical numbers, topless ice princesses, and horny frogs, Forbidden Zone would garner a huge world wide cult following. 

King Fausto and Queen Doris hold court in the sixth dimension!

The plot is the Hercules family moves into a new house and the basement leads to the sixth dimension where King Fausto (HervĂ© Villechaize) and Queen Doris (Susan Tyrell) hold perverted court. Squeezit and his drag brother Rene are followed by Frenchy who catches the heart of King Fausto.  Many crazy antics follow as the evil Queen Doris is given her just desserts.  There also the devil played by Danny Elfman and the rest of the mystic knights holding court.  If you cross a Betty Boop film with Jerry Springer you get the idea of the madness of the film.

There are two versions of the film, black and white and a recent colorized version.  The behind the scenes story of the film is pretty interesting, and I know that the sequel Forbidden Zone 2: Sex Galaxy is in production with a small segment featured on the spfx show Face Off.

Worth  a look for fans of Spandex and Monster.  Expect very non PC humor though!  It's a toss up which film of mine is the most influenced by Forbidden Zone, although I'd say it's probably Zeppo: Sinners from beyond the moon (complete with a cool music number by wunderkind producer Eric Butts).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kimberly Kane as Wonder woman

 Kimberly Kane as Wonder woman

Kimberly Kane as Wonder woman

With the successful reboot of superman with Man of Steel, more and more folks are quietly hoping for a possible justice league film or even a reboot of Wonder woman.  Outside of the iconic 70's tv show, Wonder woman has had problems being adapted to screen.  To underscore this, just look at the adult parody of wonder woman with adult film star Kimberly Kane and compare it to Adrianne Palicki's wonder woman in the unsold pilot by David Kelly.  Kimberly Kane looks very much like Wonder Woman if it was a big budget screen adaption, whereas Adrianne Palicki looks like she got costumed at the local halloween express.  It points to the problem of rebooting the amazon princess to the big screen.  Few movie studios are willing to invest in a big budget Wonder Woman reboot.

Adrianne Palicki's wonder woman

Quietly adult entertainment has exploded with its fairly faithful adaptions of comic book franchises. You could argue the sex subtext was there in the comics from the beginning, and changed to reflect society's ever changing mores.

Perhaps with more adaptions sticking closer to the source material, and the general success of such adaptions, there may be a new influx of comic book heroes green lit by the studios in the near future, and possibly with more obscure characters out there.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Orgy of the Dead

Orgy of the Dead
Horror writer Bob and his girlfriend Shirley endure monsters and burlesque dancers in Orgy of the Dead

While not officially directed by cult filmmaker Ed Wood, this strange film has enough 'woodisms' to be part of his unique cinema canon.  Veteran nudie filmmaker A.C. Stephens asked Ed Wood to provide the screenplay (which originally was 20 pages with the rest of the time to be filled with horror themed nudie dancers). 

Shirley is horrified by the monsters / nudie girls of Criswell!
Up and coming cult actress Pat Barringer did a dual role as Shirley and as the haunted gold girl dancer.  Rounding out the cast was Ed Wood actor/friend/psychic Criswell as the lord of undead.  Actress Fawn Silver in her only role played a character very much inspired by Vampira.

one of the original promo bills for the film...just what is 'astravision' anyways?

For erotica, it's pretty bad and boring.  The nudity and music pack as much heat as an ice pack.  At this point in time, nudies were still big and even a disjointed surreal film like Orgy of the Dead could still do business.  Still like plan 9 from outerspace, its got its own unique charm all its own.  The weird day for night/night for day switches are par the course for an Ed Wood film.  Criswell seems either drunk or half asleep as the emperor of the dead.  There are random mummy and werewolf creatures that capture Bob and Shirley (which was Ed Wood's preferred drag name....projection?).  Their torment is to watch burlesque dancers in cardboard graveyard before the sun comes up.  Somehow Bob stalls them, and with the morning sun...the couple wake up in the graveyard.  Was it a dream?

Criswell and monsters hold court as burlesque dancers dance in the graveyard!
 It's one of my favorite films from Ed Wood, but like most collectors the only parts of interest are of the horror writer and Shirley struggling against Criswell.  The dialog is nearly post modern gibberish of epic horror proportions.  Is this film for everyone?  No, but for fans of Ed Wood, definitely a gem in the rough.

transvestite filmmaker Ed Wood from 'Glen or Glenda'

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The strange saga of marvel man

The strange saga of Marvel man

marvelman comic

Created out a need for a hero when the British reprint publisher ran into problems when the popular Captain Marvel character was being forced out of business by DC's lawsuits claiming Captain Marvel was a rip off of the popular Superman.  Marvel man was a cosmetic revamp of Captain Marvel, with his nemesis being Gargunza as opposed to Dr. Sivana.  Artist Mick Anglo created Marvel Man for publisher L. Miller and son in 1954.

comic book writer / occultist Alan Moore

Marvel man ran its course before folding up in the early sixties.  Later, the character was revamped by occultist/writer Alan Moore (which due to copyright issues was dubbed Miracle man).  Moore explored the dark side of heroes, and the blurry line of gods among us.  While more well known for the Watchmen and the Killing Joke, some contend that Alan Moore hit all the right notes of superhero subversion with Miracle Man.  Future Sandman writer Neil Gaiman also did a run on the series before it folded under from poor sales and business buyouts.

Fast forward to 2010, and in a surprising move Marvel comics acquired the rights to the original Marvel Man, and published a small run.  As is the case of the character, allegations of copyright abuse fly like bricks with Spawn creator Todd McFarlane alleges that he owns the character from the Alan Moore days.

In the crazy world of superheroes and copyrights, one will again see in the future Marvel Man arrive in flight.

Saturn Hero
An offshoot of my hero Major Power, my character of Saturn Hero is an homage/parody and tribute to the original Marvel Man.  I also make Saturn Hero the focal point of my 15 sec theater.

Saturn Hero

If anyone is interested I have a small collection of videos on youtube for Saturn Hero.

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My name is Jerry Williams...I write books and make films...check out my show astro space hero now on it's 11th season.

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