So, just a couple of days after I wrote my epic post about how much I love Something Weird Video, I found out that Mike Vraney, the founder of Something Weird and the “41st thief” himself, is no longer with us. Mike died of lung cancer on January 2nd, and that sucks. I never met the guy, but I hung out “around” him a couple of times, and one time I got a piece of his business correspondence as filler paper in a box of films I bought. He was THE guy responsible for bringing old-time exploitation to modern audiences, and he did a lot of other cool stuff, too. If anyone’s interested in Mike’s story, I’d suggest checking out his commentary track on the SWV DVD of H.G. Lewis’s Something Weird, where he & Dave Friedman tell the whole Something Weird Video story. It’s inspiring and beautiful and will make you yearn for a touch of the carny in your everyday life.
So then the week after that I got sick. Like ugh-holding-my-stomach-for-two-days-straight-to-make-the-hooks-inside-hurt-a-little-less sick. It wasn’t fun, but this great thing happened where the kid wasn’t allowed into the sick room and I could actually put on movies I wanted to watch. I slept through a lot of them, and through parts of a lot more, but it was the most movies I’d seen by choice in a long time. Yep, you saw it comin’:
My Big Sick Movie List
Spider-Man, the ’67 Collection – disc one – see? SUCH a dumb joke. I watched disc one accidentally, I like the later discs better after Bakshi gets in charge and it’s all psychedelic watercolor weirdness.
My Dinner With Andre – The granddaddy of reality TV, except that Andre Gregory, he of the liver spots and over-sized sweater, has more interesting adventures than the Kardashians, the Osbournes and sixteen pregant 16-year-olds put together.
Going Greek – I worked on this college comedy for 2 weeks or so back in 2000 (I was the 2nd boom op), but had never seen it. It didn’t make me laugh. I did, however, find myself in the “behind the scenes” footage, and I thought this still (with Charlie Talbert, who played the title character in “Angus” and me through the window) was kind of charming.
Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen – A Tex Ritter western.
Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones try to do something nice. It doesn’t end well.
Daughters of Satan – Tom Selleck buys a painting of a witch being executed because she looks just like his wife. It happens in the Phillipines.
The Blood Drinkers – A b/w Filipino vampire movie tinted with color.
Room 237 – Awesome new doc uses the different ways people look at the Stanley Kubrick movie “The Shining,” to talk about how humans mentally negotiate media in general. Recommended. Watched it again with the commentary.
Making ‘The Shining’ – Vivian Kubrick’s behind the scenes footage – on The Shining DVD.
Eugenie – RIP Jess Franco.
Heavy Metal – Taarna is mean, and I like her.
Logan’s Run – When it comes to movies shot in malls, I prefer this one over ‘Dawn of the Dead.’
2001: A Space Odyssey – I woke up for the weird part at the end.
Death Curse of Tartu – Won me over a bit more this time. Still, it’s no ‘Sting of Death.’
Sting of Death – The movies I like the most are the ones with the most obnoxious color palettes. Do the Jilla-Jalla-Jellyfish!
Svengali – Pre-code awesomeness.
Scandal in Denmark – Pretty funny Scandinavian caper/fairy-tale/comedy.
Pagan Island – One man alone with thirty beautiful native women. “Where I come from, that’s called a kiss.”
Alabama’s Ghost – Another old favorite, from the director of Roseland & Godmonster of Indian Flats.
Begotten – Hey, you mean there really is a “sick” movie on this list? Yeah, that’s right, I couldn’t watch it, though. I only made it a few minutes in. The atmosphere was altogether too creepy. Crickets instead of music. What I did see reminded me in a way of a more serious and disturbing ‘Tetsuo, the Iron Man.’
Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore – Excellent Something Weird-produced doc on the altogether amazing Mr. Lewis, who put the B in Ballyhoo, and who famously said “No one ever walked out of a theater because of a ragged pan.”
The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird – Gorgeous French animation from 1952. The story is secondary to the elaborate cityscape “set” the characters run (and fly) around in.
Annd…. that’s it. I felt better and hadda get up and do stuff. Maybe next time I will fake the ill so I can watch more closely. Love a movie on this list? I wanna know all about it!