Sunday, July 31, 2016

Caveman (1981)

Carl Gottlieb is best known as a screenwriter for films such as Jaws or Which Way Is Up? and it was the success of his screenplay for The Jerk that allowed him the opportunity to direct and write the 1981 feature Caveman.

Aside from all dialogue being spoken in a form of a caveman language two other factors make this film notable: the stunt casting of ex-Beatle Ringo Starr and the special effects dinosaurs. Also filling out the cast are: former football player John Matuszak, Barbara Bach (who would begin an on-set romance with Ringo Starr which continues to this day),  Dennis Quaid, and Shelley Long in her first major role in a motion picture. 

Special effects artist Jim Danforth began work creating the dinosaurs as well as making other contributions but according to IMDb trivia after two thirds of the film was finished, Danforth had to leave the production because "the Directors Guild of America allegedly disallowed his already contracted co-director credit alongside director Carl Gottlieb. As such, Danforth is not credited as a director on this picture, only for special effects and second unit director."

the trailer

the feature

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Carny (1980)

Starring Gary Busey, Jodie Foster, and Robbie Robertson; 1980s Carny is another film I have repeat showings on cable television during the 80s to thank for my initial viewings.

The movie follows Busey and Robertson as carnival folk who survive by working/hustling all the angles both on and off the midway. Things get tricky for the pair when an 18 year old (played by Foster) runs away from home, joins the carnival first as a dancer before moving to the midway, and subsequently becomes entangled in a charged triangle with the men.

While I can't claim to have any specialized insight into the carny existence, Carny illuminates the peculiar (and often illegal) deals the carnival owners have to contend with as they hammer out the specifics with each town's leaders and/or underworld types. In his July 22, 1980 review in the Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert wrote, "Carny is bursting with more information about American carnivals than it can contain, surrounding a plot too thin to support it. ...Inside this movie is a documentary struggling to get out."

the trailer

the feature

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Deranged (1974)

Distributed through American International Pictures, 1974s Deranged was a Canadian/U.S. co-production which told the tale of the profoundly disturbed Ezra Cobb. After the death of his mother, Cobb became completely unhinged, first digging up body parts and corpses from the local cemetery for decorations in his home before then killing local women to further his cause. Deranged was based on the real life exploits/horror story of Ed Gein's morbid and murderous ways in Wisconsin.

Co-directed by Jeff Gillen and Alan (Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, Deathdream) Ormsby,  Deranged also had Bob (Porky's, A Christmas Story, Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things, Deathdream) Clark working as an uncredited producer on the film.

Veteran actor Roberts Blossom plays Ezra Cobb and among his many film credits he is often most remembered as the foul tempered old man who sells Arnie the title car in Christine or as Old Man Marley, the scary neighbor who with a shovel smack down, saves Kevin from the evil doers in Home Alone

Sorry about the French subtitles on the feature.

the trailer

the feature

the making of...