Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hanna Barbera Horror

Hanna Barbera's adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero cartoons often explored horror movie subjects, although in a generally safe, kid-friendly way.  Let's enjoy a few highlights for Halloween!

Frankenstein Jr. - The Shocking Electrical Monster

"Frankenstein Jr. in:  The Shocking Electrical Monster"
Frankenstein Jr. - The Shocking Electrical Monster
Orignal airdate:  September 10, 1966

A vampiric mad scientist named Dr. Shock turns his lab assistant Igor into a giant electrical monster.  The monster then goes on a Godzilla-like rampage through the ocean and city before kid scientist Buzz Conroy and his giant robot Frankenstein Jr. save the day.  This has some great looking horror movie visuals with the mad scientist, his lab, and the monster.  The scariest part however is the fact that Buzz's Dad lets him ride around on the back of a flying robot.  Think about it... would you let a child  ride on top of a moving car?  Or a bus?  Or a train?  Well this is actually more like riding on top of a flying plane, and with no seat-belts, or straps, or anything.  Face it, that kid would be DEAD.

Dr. Shock and The Shocking Electrical Monster Plot Their Wave of Violence
More exciting screencaps from this episode await you below!

Space Ghost - Creature King

"Space Ghost in: Creature King"

Space Ghost - Creature King
Orignal airdate:  September 24, 1966

This one has another crazy looking mad scientist, named "Creature King."  Space Ghost's sidekicks Jan, Jace, and Blip crash land on a planet, and are soon attacked by a giant red SPACE APE. They escape the mad monkey, but then find themselves captured by SPACE BATS!  They then find themselves CHAINED UP IN THE DUNGEON of Creature King, an alien mad scientist with a menagerie of weird alien monsters.

A Menagerie of Weird Alien Monsters.
Teenage Sidekicks in Bondage
More exciting screencaps from this episode await you below!

Dino Boy in the Lost Valley - The Vampire Men

"Dino Boy in the Lost Valley in: The Vampire Men"

Dino Boy in the Lost Valley - The Vampire Men
Orignal airdate:  December 3, 1966

Dino Boy (a kid trapped in a "Land of the Lost" style valley where cavemen, dinosaurs, and weird monsters exist) decides to build a homemade kite and then strap himself to it an fly around for fun.   Naturally he crashes in to a mountain, because of course he does.  Safety tip: DO NOT STRAP YOURSELF TO A KITE AND FLY AROUND LIKE AN IDIOT.  However, the story does not end with him dying on the mountain with broken bones and a cracked skull.  Because the mountain is full of caves populated with VAMPIRE MEN.  Half-men, half-bats!  So they take them to their Vampire King to kill him and eat him, I guess.  But then Dino Boy's caveman buddy Ugh shows up and "bats" the bat-people with his big wood club.

Vampire Men Out for Blood!
More exciting screencaps from this episode await you below!

Space Ghost - The Haunted Space Station

"Space Ghost in: The Haunted Space Station"

Space Ghost - The Haunted Space Station
Orignal airdate:  September 26, 1981

Now we jump forward from the 1960s to the 1980s for the relaunched version of Space Ghost.  Space Ghost and his crew get a distress call from a space station and go to investigate.  The space station is shaped like a GIANT SPIDER WEB!  Seriously, if you design your space station to look like a spider-web, you're pretty much begging for trouble, like being attacked by a GIANT SPACE SPIDER, or something.  But in this case, the station has been attacked by a SPACE VAMPIRE, who has turned the crew of the station into ASTRO ZOMBIES!  And if that sounds familiar, it's because I reviewed and episode of "Buck Rogers" earlier this month called "Space Vampire," that basically had the same plot.

Grizzled Face of an Astro Zombie
These people have only been Astro Zombies for ONE day, yet they are already dressed in rags!  Man, Zombies are TOUGH on clothes.
More exciting screencaps from this episode await you below!

The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians - The Fear

The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians - The Fear

The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians - The Fear
Orignal airdate:  October 2, 1985

The Scarecrow stumbles upon Batman's greatest fear when he tries to flee down Crime Alley, the MURDER site of Bruce Wayne's parents.  Batman usually uses his iron will to resist Scarecrow's Fear Rays, but in Crime Alley he breaks down in TERROR.  This was the first time the murder of the Waynes was shown outside of the comic books, and it is remarkably intense and mature for an episode of The Super Friends.  The episode is filled with rain, lightning, SKULLS, and shadows.  It's probably the best episode of the Super Friends ever, and it was written by Alan Burnett who would later go on to produce Batman: The Animated Series, and you can definitely see the roots of that series start to develop here.

The walls close in on Wonder Woman, as seen through the mouth of a skull!
UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED (Part 3)  Oh, man, now even Batman and Robin are getting in on the act, "Ghost Riding" on top of Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet!  At least Robin is holding on for dear life!  Batman is standing upright, not holding on to anything!  Dudes, in real life, you would both be DEAD.  Seriously, you two are supposed to be role models to little kids for Pete's sake!  FOR SHAME.

More exciting screencaps from this episode await you below!

More screencaps after the break...

Friday, October 19, 2018

Galactica 1980 - "The Night the Cylons Landed"

Galactica 1980

"The Night the Cylons Landed"
Galactica 1980 - Season 1, Episodes 7 and 8
Originally aired April 13 and 20, 1980

The Night the Cylons Landed

The Cylons crash land on Earth on Halloween, and it's up to Ponch and Jon... err, Troy and Dillon, to save the Earth from invasion, with help from special guest star Wolfman Jack!

"Hey kiddies!  Don't blow your stack, I'm Wolfman Jack!  Now pass me some crack and stand the hell back!  Awooo!!!"
I really hated the show Galactica 1980 when it originally aired when I was a kid, but I thought it might be fun to go back and watch the Halloween episode as part of the Countdown to Halloween.  I was wrong.  This show was boring and painful to watch.  The original Battlestar Galactica was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid, but it's sequel/spin-off/continuation (whatever you want to call it) is so terrible.

The Cylons Crash a Halloween Party

A quick history.  The original series Battlestar Galactica was cancelled after one season.  The show was a ratings success and very popular, but it was also extremely expensive to produce (I think it was the most expensive TV series ever made at that point in time).  Producer Glen Larson had some ideas on how to cut costs and do the show on a somewhat smaller budget for season 2, but ABC decided it was still too expensive to produce and canceled the show in April of 1979.

However, ABC had a change of heart later in the year, mostly due to massive outcry from the fans, and approached Glen Larson about reviving the series at a much lower budget.  But at this point, the sets had been torn down, and the cast had been let out of their contracts, and at a much smaller budget they had no way of rebuilding them and re-signing everyone.  They went through a few ideas about how to bring the show back.  Originally it was going to be set 5 years later than the original series (which would help to explain the loss of many of the original cast and sets), and morph into a time travel series on planet Earth, with Baltar traveling in time into Earth's past, altering history, and Starbuck and Apollo following him into the past to correct it.  But Dirk Benedict (Starbuck) had already signed on for another acting role and was unavailable, and Richard Hatch (Apollo) supposedly wasn't a fan of the script.  So then they decided to set it 30 years past the original, and have a now grown-up Boxey (Apollo's adopted son on the original series), now known as Captain Troy, as the new lead with a new character, Lieutenant Dillon, filling the Starbuck role.

They filmed the time-traveling pilot episode, but then ABC decided that a time-travel series would still be too expensive to film every week and decreed that all the future episodes had to take place on modern day Earth.  At this point the series would be like a cross between CHiPs and Knight Rider, with the two leads criss-crossing the country and getting into adventures on their sci-fi tech flying motorcycles. This was pretty far removed from the original concept of "Battlestar Galactica" but it still could have worked as a premise for a series.  But then ABC decided they wanted to air the show on Sundays at 7:00 PM, which they considered to be the "Children's Hour" of primetime.  They forced the producers to add children to the cast, which meant the two space heroes now had to care for a group of super-powered school kids known as "The Super-Scouts."  Further, ABC decreed there could be absolutely no violence on the series, even against robots, and all of the lead characters had to be clean-cut, wholesome, and morally upstanding.  This lead to a really wishy-washy series with no drama or excitement.  By making it so sanitized for the kiddies, they made it so no kid would want to watch it.  The first episode premiered to great ratings from an audience hungry for more Battlestar Galactica, but the ratings dropped every week as the audience saw what they were actually getting, and the show was cancelled after 10 episodes.
Dillon and Troy take the Super Scouts to the Movies

In this episode a Cylon ship crashes on Earth, and two Cylons survive the crash.  One is the typical robotic Cylon Centurion that we knew from the original series.  But the other is a new model of Cylon that can pass for a human being.  This idea would later be used on the 2000s Battlestar Galactica remake series.  On any other day, these two would cause a sensation being seen on the streets, but they had the good luck to crash land on Earth during Halloween, so everyone just thinks they are in costume.  They get picked up as hitchhikers by a pair of radio executives on the way to a Halloween party, where radio DJ Wolfman Jack will be in attendance.  The Cylons then plan to kidnap Wolfman Jack and force him to take them to his radio station, where they will use the radio to broadcast a message to the Cylon fleet in space alerting them to the location of Earth, which will then cause an invasion.

The Humanoid Cylon Shoots a Deathray out of his Hand and Kills the Microwave!

Wolfman Jack was one of Americas's most famous radio DJs during the 1970s and '80s.  I was certainly familiar with him as a kid, but I don't think I ever actually heard him on the radio.  It seemed like he was more famous for being famous back then, kind of like Paris Hilton or the Kardashians.  The two songs that Wolfman plays on the radio on this episode were a disco version of the old Buddy Holly song "That'll be the Day" and the theme song to the TV show "Bosom Buddies."  If that is an example of the sort of music he played, I can see why I never listened to him back in the day.

The Metaluna Mutant
There were a few minor bits of enjoyment I got from this episode.  There was a scene where Troy and Dillon take the Super Scouts to the movies to watch "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and don't understand special effects and costumes, and think the film shows real aliens and spacecraft.  That was fun for 30 seconds.

Planting the Seed for "Knight Rider" in Glen Larson's Brain
And there was an odd bit when the Cylons were picked up as hitchhikers.  Driving the car was actor William Daniels who went on to voice KITT on Knight Rider.  Knight Rider was also a Glen Larson production, and they reused the roving red Cylon "eye" and sound effect it made on KITT.  So when William Daniels was talking, but the with the Cylon in the back seat making the KITT sound effect, it made for a strange effect, like if you closed your eyes you could be watching some lost episode of Knight Rider, albeit one that didn't make any sense.  That was also fun for 30 seconds.

They seriously put a disclaimer on at the end.  Just in case someone watched this and thought the Earth was really getting invaded by Cylons.

So I had about one minute of enjoyment from this, and it was a two-part episode, so we're talking about 94 minutes of actual viewing time.  Even the Halloween setting wasn't enough to rescue this from the turd bin of TV history.

More screencaps after the break...

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Super7 Universal Studios Monsters ReAction Figures - Wave 1 (2018)

Super7 Universal Studios Monsters ReAction Figures - Wave 1 (2018)
The first wave of Super7's new line of Universal Studios Monsters ReAction figures has arrived just in time for Halloween!  ReAction figures are retro styled 3.75" action figures with 5 points of articulation, designed to mimic the vintage action figures of the 1970s and 1980s.  Super7 takes these classic looking action figures and pairs them with stunning painted card art to create something really special.  I was a kid in the '70s and '80s, and I grew up watching classic monster movies, and playing with Kenner Star Wars figures, so this line of figures feels like it was designed especially for me.  I would have gone nuts for these when I was a kid, and I still am as an adult.

Monster Lineup
The quality on these figures is great.  All of the joints work, nothing sticks, the figures feel nice and solid.  The sculpts are fantastic, the paint jobs look great, and they have lots of detail for such small figures.  The figures shipped quickly from Super7 and arrived in perfect condition.  I know, I'm just gushing about these figures.  Sorry, I can't help it, I love them.  Just to be fair, I will criticize one thing.  I'm not super in love with the face sculpt on The Mummy.  It looks kind of soft and mushy.  I wish it looked more like the painted face of Boris Karloff on the card art.  But yeah, that's really my only complaint.  Over all, it's an awesome set of figures, and I can't wait for Wave 2!

The Creature from "Creature From The Black Lagoon"

Face close-up of the Creature from "Creature From The Black Lagoon"

Webbed claw of the "Creature From The Black Lagoon"

Card art and back of figure from "Creature From The Black Lagoon"

Close-up of the face of "The Metaluna Mutant"

Card art and back of the figure of  "The Metaluna Mutant."  The Metaluna Mutant is from the 1955 sci-fi/horror movie "This Island Earth."

More views of "The Metaluna Mutant"

A Mole Person from the movie "The Mole People"

More views of the Mole Person

"The Mummy!"  Man, I love that card art!  It was painted by the super talented Ed Repka.

More views of "The Mummy"

"The Phantom of the Opera!"  This figure depicts him in his "Masque of the Red Death" costume that he wore in the Technicolor sequence of the otherwise black and white film.  A really stunning looking action figure.  One thing to note with this figure is that he does not fit very well on Super7's ReAction figure stands because his feet are really big, as they incorporate his robe in the sculpt.  However, those same big feet give him a really solid stance, so he doesn't really need one.

More views of "The Phantom of the Opera as the Masque of the Red Death"

"The Wolf Man"

"The Wolf Man" card art and action pose

More views of "The Wolf Man"

Super7 Universal Studios Monsters ReAction Figures - Wave 1 Cardback

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Knight Rider - "Halloween Knight"

Knight Rider

"Halloween Knight"
Knight Rider - Season 3, Episode 5
Original Airdate: October 28, 1984

Halloween Knight

the horror...

How much Halloween kookiness can be crammed into one episode about the adventures of a vigilante crime-fighter and his talking car?  So much your brain will hurt.

The episode begins with KITT's mechanic Bonnie stuck alone with a cold in her new apartment, as the other residents in the building have a loud Halloween party.

Bonnnie downs some night-time cold medicine, and then witnesses a gorilla murder a woman through her window before passing out!  The next day, everyone just assumes she was hallucinating, but Michael Knight believes her, so he and KITT begin an investigation to find out what really happened.

"Darling, don't you monkey with the monkey!"

During the investigation:
  • The theme music from Psycho is played on the soundtrack, but done in Knight Rider's signature 1980s synthesizer style!
  • A dead body appears and dissapears in a bathtub!
  • A witch threatens to put a hex on Michael unless he gives her KITT to use as her "Witchmobile!"
  • A spectral floating demon head talks backwards!
  • Michael visits a horror movie prop house and is nearly cut in half by an axe!
  • A gorilla driving a car tries to run Michael over!
  • Michael meets a sweaty, knife-wielding, Norman Bates wannabe with a collection of taxidermied animals and bugs!  Bonnie later goes on a date with him!
  • Michael and Bonnie find a dead body in a house that is a dead ringer for the Bates Motel Psycho house!
  • Michael gets into a sword fight at a costume party!
  • Michael finally catches the murderer at a drive-in showing The Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Spectral Demon Head

Oh!  The Humanity!
The episode concludes with Michael and KITT solving the mystery and capturing the killer, who was using Hollywood special effects to trick Bonnie into thinking she was hallucinating.

But in a final twist, the show ends with Michael falling under the spell of the "Witchmobile" witch!  As Michael bends down to look at the food she has prepared in a crock pot, KITT uses his super powers to analyze what is in the pot, and is horrified by what it contains.  He begs Michael not to look in the pot, but the bewitched Michael smiles benignly and stares into the pot as the image freezes and the credits roll!  Spooktacular!

Coroner at the Psycho House
More screencaps after the break...