Saturday, February 18, 2017


A while ago, I took a look at a collection of vintage 8mm XXX adult film loops directed by the legendary Ed Wood, which had been unearthed and issued on DVD by New York filmmaker Keith Crocker and his Cinefear Video company (click HERE to read the original blog post). As mind-bending a find as that collection was, especially for both Wood fans and early porn historians, it was clearly just an appetizer for the second volume, which Cinefear have just issued on disc under the title of Ed’s Wood Volume II.

Filmed between 1973 and 1975, these grainy and grotty short porn loops represent some of the final completed works of Ed Wood, who would die of alcoholism and heart failure in 1978. The fact that you are watching loops directed by the man who gave us Glen or Glenda (1953) and Plan Nine from Outer Space (1956), and whose life and career took place on a fascinating edge of fringe cultures, automatically makes shorts a lot more interesting than the majority of the thousands upon thousands of other similar loops that were produced at the same time. And with a young John (“Johnny Wadd”) Holmes being the featured performer in many of the loops on this latest collection (in fact the only recognizable name amongst a procession of anonymous hippie chicks and hairy male genitalia), the imagination once again gets fired up by thoughts of Wood and Wadd meeting at this intersection while traveling through their own unique cinema netherworlds.

Though it is not one of the loops that features Holmes,
Morning Walk is the most interesting title on this 90-minute compilation, its depiction of forceful coercion giving it a much rougher edge than the others. I have to say I breathed a sigh of relief when the big dog walking around at the beginning is safely shut away in another room before the action begins! This loop in particular seems reflective of Ed Wood’s handiwork, especially thematically with its premise (a young girl on her morning walk invites a strange man and his girlfriend into her house after seemingly knowing them for all of five seconds, and is then shocked and outraged when the couple make a pass at her!). Other titles on this collection include Park Lovers, Big John Parts 1 & 2, the strange 15” Commercial (in which Holmes has sex with a lady atop her broken TV set), Wives at Play, Camper Pick-Up and Garter Girl.

Perfectly complementing this collection of loops (which were originally filmed silent and had minimal subtitles added to accompany the hot action) is the choice of music laid over them, a wholly suitable and enjoyable mix of cheesy lounge music, funky bass guitar and pulsating disco (the music on
Park Lovers sounds like it could have been lifted from Meco’s Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk LP!). There is also a smooth pop love ballad and a couple of pieces of muzak that sound like they would have made excellent background music to a television commercial for a swinging airline company.

Ed’s Wood Volume II (along with all other manner of weird and wonderfully demented cinema, and not just of the XXX variety) is available from the Cinefear website at Cinefear Video Vintage Adult Titles.  Along with Something Weird Video, Cinefear are an important independent company that are doing an amazing job at rescuing and preserving titles that might otherwise be lost permanently, and offering them up to appreciative outrĂ© film lovers like myself. They deserve our support.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


After re-watching it early this morning (my third viewing of the film in total), I think Frank Darabont's The Mist (2007) has earned its place near the top of my list of best Stephen Kind film adaptations. It's up there with Kubrick's The Shining and Cronenberg's The Dead Zone for me. I love the film's plot - a pure 1950s sci-fi pulp story crossed with a classic Twilight Zone episode and filled with cool Lovecraftian monsters, moments of patented King horror, and an ending that is devastating and tears me apart each time I see it. A mostly great cast (headed by Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden) brings some very interesting dynamics between the characters who are trapped by the mysterious titular mist in the supermarket, and the screenplay manages to effectively touch on topics like fear and denial, the wildfire way in which a mob mentality can spread, and blind religious devotion (and using religion and the Bible as an easy crutch against a horror you just can't understand enough to face rationally). Very evocative use of "The Host of Seraphim" by Dead Can Dance on the film's otherwise very minimal soundtrack.

Darabont also wrote the screenplay for The Mist, adapting King's 1980 novella. And it's interesting to see a few actors who would later turn up in Darabont's The Walking Dead(Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn and Melissa McBride interacting as different characters). Darabont's other Stephen King adaptations The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile get a lot more accolades and TV runs than The Mist, but it absolutely holds its own and is easily the best of the three if you are looking for something that gives a good modern take on an earlier and more traditionally scary Stephen King tale.


In late-1981, KISS tried to make one for the critics and released (Music From) The Elder, a medieval concept album – and a supposed soundtrack for a film that didn’t exist - produced by Bob Ezrin and featuring songs co-written by Lou Reed. I personally have loved the album from the day it came out and found it quite adventurous with some of the best musicianship the band has ever produced. But I was certainly in the tiny minority, as The Elder bombed spectacularly, and within the space of two years KISS had gone from playing Madison Square Gardens to an act that would barely be able to fill school auditoriums – a popularity slump that would only start improving when the band finally decided to ditch the make-up and costumes two years later.

To coincide with the release of The Elder, KISS filmed a music video for the closing song from the album, “I” (one of only two or three songs on the LP that sounded traditionally KISS-like). The video was ultimately never released and for over 35 years has been a holy grail for KISS video collectors.

Now, a heavily watermarked, time-coded and somewhat grainy copy of the “I” video has finally surfaced, and it is not too hard to see why the video was ultimately buried! Filmed on a set that looks like leftovers from Superman’s Fortress of Solitude and featuring the band performing the song in front of what look like a bunch of blow-ins from a Solid Gold or Soul Train audience, this video rivals their infamous 1978 TV movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park for goofiness…the shot of Gene singing part of the song while bopping up and down on the shoulders of a lucky audience member is one of many fun highlights.

Still good to finally get to see it after all these years. Check it out now in case Gene gets it taken down!


I was happy and honoured to have been recently interviewed by fellow Melbourne based writer, the very talented Michelle Alexander. You can read the piece on her great blog at the following link. Thanks Michelle!


I always love seeing candid photos of KISS taken during their huge Australian tour of November 1980. Probably because it was the first concert I ever attended (at VFL Park in Melbourne) then the nostalgia and interest will always be there.

I've never seen these three great pics from that period before. After the band filmed their two shows at the Sydney Show Grounds, they went into a local studio to record some overdubs to fix up some of the mistakes made during the live performances. These photos show the band (Paul Stanley in the solo shots) recording the overdubs at the (unknown) Sydney studio. The two concerts and the overdubs were eventually edited into a single concert film, that was first shown as part of the KISS: The Inner Sanctum Australian TV special from 1981, and was later included on the KISSology 2 DVD set. Along with the Tokyo 1977 TV special, the Sydney 1980 concert film is one of the best visual records of the band's live performances during their peak years (though in the US the band had already peaked by 1980, but their fame was Beatles-like in Australia that year).