On the DVD commentary for The Horror of Party Beach -- a wild tale of bratwurst-bogarting, knock-kneed, and google-eyed monsters running amok and slaughtering helpless beach bunnies to the stomping tunes of the Del-Aires, I recall director Del Tenney mentioning something about selling the rights of that film over to Disney for some kind of Drive-In Theater / Americana attraction in one of their many theme parks. So, about a year ago, when my mom first announced that she was packing up the whole clan -- 17 folks in total -- for a return trip to DisneyWorld, tops on my priority list was tracking this attraction down -- if it truly existed.
Well, I'm happy to report that it does exist, and in fact, is a gonzoidal B-Movie themed restaurant / dining experience. Nestled in between Star Tours (the Star Wars flight simulator) and the Muppet Vision 3-D experience at Disney/MGM's Hollywood Studios, sets the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.
And a fairly popular attraction and eatery it turned out to be, too, as it took three attempts in as many days to finally land a coveted reservation. Once inside, past the posters in the lobby and thru the gate, you enter a large amphitheater, but instead of the customary seats, you'll find '50s-era autos, all tail-fins, chrome and vinyl, facing a large drive-in theater screen. To the back is the kitchen/snack bar, and up above, LED lights twinkle down on a clear night. Over the speakers, warnings blare of some unseen menace as you settle into your seats and place your order.
Then, as you wait for your burger and milkshake, up on the screen runs a constant stream of old B-Movie clips and a barrage of monster-movie trailers, wacky educational shorts and newsreels, old-school snack-bar adverts and vintage cartoons -- and the captive audience eats it all up.
Then, in a total state of an Euphoric Nerdgasm, your food arrives. And that strange, juicy taste you encounter when biting into your Angus Chuck Burger is another nostalgic treat called grease -- something sorely lacking in today's health-conscious world. And as I sat there, soaking it all in, watching my sister's kids gawk and laugh at the trailer for The Amazing Colossal Man, I realized this place was like someone had crawled inside my head and tapped my brain for what I would envision to be the ultimate dining experience, and then -- somehow -- made it a reality. In the end, I'd highly recommend the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater for the atmosphere alone, but the food and shakes weren't half bad either. So if you're ever in Orlando, be sure to check it out.
Disney's Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater :: Medium: Attractions / Eats :: Location: Disney World / MGM Hollywood Studios Theme Park, Orlando, FL :: The Company Line :: What's on the Menu.
When I was in Las Vegas about six years ago, on a whim, I decided to thumb through the phonebook to see if one of my movie-making idols was listed. I never thought in a million years that he would be, but there it was: a listing for R. Steckler. Alas, I was too chicken-shit to call, and I'm still kicking myself for not vandalizing the phone-book and tearing out the page -- or the Yellow Page listing for Mascot Video over on Tropicana Avenue, but then regrets always are a bitch.
Lampooned by my most but rabidly loved by others, myself included, I wouldn't say Steckler was as bona fide genius, but there was something especially surreal about the look and feel of his movies that a lot of other one-lung filmmakers couldn't come close to matching. And in the end, the man left his mark and a wonderfully weird oeuvre for us to enjoy for all perpetuity. And for that, I'd like to say thanks.
By definition, nuclear fusion is the process by which multiple like-charged atomic particles join together to form a heavier nucleus -- usually accompanied by the release of a massive amount of energy, depending on the elements involved. Applying that theory to film, there are certain moments in certain movies when the direction, cinematography, acting, editing, and soundtrack collide and merge into something I like to call Moments of Pure Cinema Fusion.
As an example, here's one of my favorites occurrences of this phenomenon. The action really starts to percolate around the 1:08 mark, and then reaches critical mass at about 2:20:
Credit where credit is due:
Director: Mike Hodges / Screenplay:Lorenzo Semple Jr. /Cinematography: Gil Taylor / Editing: Malcolm Cooke / Original Music: Brian May, Queen / Cast: Sam Jones, Brian Blessed, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max Von Sydow, Timothy Dalton
"He forgot to mention that downtown they call this place 'Camp Blood.'" ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx... Eight little Campers.
Seven little...xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Six little...
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx... Five little campers.
Four little...xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Three little...
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx... Two little campers.
Leaving one little camper left.
All apologies to Septimus Winner, Agatha Christie, Michael Finnegan, Sean S. Cunningham and everyone else in the known universe for the complete lameness of this post. Just had a little too much fun revisiting this film after posting the ads for it over at Scenes from the Morgue. *tee hee* Kill her, mommy. Kill her...
Friday the 13th (1980) Sean S. Cunningham Films :: Georgetown Productions Inc. :: Paramount Pictures / EP: Alvin Geiler / P: Sean S. Cunningham / AP: Steve Miner / D: Sean S. Cunningham / W: Victor Miller / C: Barry Abrams / E: Bill Freda / M: Harry Manfredini / S: Adrienne King, Robbi Morgan, Kevin Bacon, Jeannine Taylor, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Peter Brouwer, Betsy Palmer
This delightful movie quiz has been leeched over from Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. My original answers can be found in the comments section, but I thought it might be fun to take another run at it and publish the results here.
1 :: What was the last movie you saw theatrically? On DVD or Blu-ray?
Theatrically: The Spirit-- and it was awful. DVD: Hercules -- the original Steve Reeves version.
2 :: Holiday movies— Do you like them naughty or nice?
Naughty, and most preferably with an axe-murder or two.
3 :: Ida Lupino or Mercedes McCambridge?
Ida Lupino for what she did on both sides of the lense, and for playing the wonderfully wicked warden in Women's Prison.
4 :: Favorite actor/character from Twin Peak?
The stuck-in-reverse midget.
5 :: It’s been said that, rather than remaking beloved, respected films, Hollywood should concentrate more on righting the wrongs of the past and tinker more with films that didn’t work so well the first time. Pretending for a moment that movies are made in an economic vacuum, name a good candidate for a remake based on this criterion.
You mean Hollywood isn't currently remaking every slasher-movie known to man? And to reverse that trend, how about Frank Miller's To Kill a Mockingbird.
6 :: Favorite Spike Lee joint.
Mo' Better Blues.
7 :: Lawrence Tierney or Scott Brady?
Mr. Cranky Detective himself, Scott Brady, for failing his hostage negotiation training and taking it in the junk in Wicked, Wicked.
8 :: Are most movies too long?
Only when they don't leave when politely asked to do so.
9 :: Favorite performance by an actor portraying a real-life politician.
Dan Hedeya as Tricky "You Suck" Dick in Dick.
10 :: Create the main event card for the ultimate giant movie monster smackdown.
Godzilla and Gamera -- but they don't fight each other, and instead they fight crime!!!
11 :: Jean Peters or Sheree North?
I'll give the nod to North.
12 :: Why would you ever want or need to see a movie more than once?
I'm not quite sold on movies being medicinal, but if watching certain things make you feel better, like some do for me, then hell, watch 'em twice and then call me in the morning.
13 :: Favorite road movie.
The Cannonball Run.
14 :: Favorite Budd Boetticher picture.
As much as I love Seven Men from Now, The Tall T wins it by the length of Richard Boone's nose.
15 :: Who is the one person, living or dead, famous or unknown, who most informed or encouraged your appreciation of movies?
A tie between Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Joe Bob Briggs and author Ian Thorne.
16 :: Favorite opening credit sequence. (Please include YouTube link if possible.)
I know it's not the original, but I've always been partial to the Woolner Bros. alternate opening to Blood and Black Lace. But since I can't find a YouTube link for that, I'll present my second favorite opening credit sequence:
17 :: Kenneth Tobey or John Agar?
In a drinking contest, or as actors? Ack, why must I chose!?! Either way, my money is on Tobey.
18 :: Jean-Luc Godard once suggested that the more popular the movie, the less likely it was that it was a good movie. Is he right or just cranky? Cite the best evidence one way or the other.
He might have a point to some extent -- I mean, I don't think Casablanca did real well critically speaking when it was initially released but folks eventually came around. However, if a movie is good, I mean good-good like he says, you'd think that people would, you know, try and see it. A lot.
19 :: Favorite Jonathan Demme movie.
20 :: Tatum O’Neal or Linda Blair?
O'Neal's got a better curve-ball.
21 :: Favorite use of irony in a movie. (This could be an idea, moment, scene, or an entire film.)
I think the final gut-punch moment in the original Night of the Living Dead when Ben is shot dead by the posse of zombie hunters. And not just because he survived the night only to die, but because he survived the night by hiding out in the basement -- the basement he refused to take refuge in until everyone else had been killed because he insisted it was a death-trap.
22 :: Favorite Claude Chabrol film.
Since I've only seen La Rupture I guess that wins by default.
23 :: The best movie of the year to which very little attention seems to have been paid.
I don't understand all the hate for Cloverfield. 24 :: Dennis Christopher or Robby Benson?
Dennis Christopher in a laugher.
25 :: Favorite movie about journalism.
Deadline U.S.A. [Bogart/] "That's the press, baby." [/Bogart]
26 :: What’s the DVD commentary you’d most like to hear? Who would be on the audio track?
I had high, high hopes for a Thing from Another Worldcommentary track with Ken Tobey and Robert Cornwaithe (while they were both still alive) that was moderated by Tom Weaver. Now I'll settle for one with Weaver, Bill Self and Bob Burns.
27 :: Favorite movie directed by Clint Eastwood.
The Outlaw Josie Wales.
28 :: Paul Dooley or Kurtwood Smith?
Um, together they fight crime? OK, OK, I'll give the nod to Smith for Robocop and Robocop only.
29 :: Your clairvoyant moment: Make a prediction about the Oscar season.
The telecast will run long, but Hugh Jackman will surprise people with how funny he is.
30 :: Your hope for the movies in 2009.
Joe Dante and John Sayles team back up and do a remake of "THEM!"
31 :: What’s your top 10 of 2008? (If you have a blog and have your list posted, please feel free to leave a link to the post.)
Honestly, I haven't seen enough 2008 releases to judge, but what I saw (Iron Man, The Hulk, Dark Knight, Wall-E), with one notable exception (see post below), I liked a lot.
BONUS QUESTION (to be answered after December 25):
32 :: What was your favorite movie-related Christmas gift that you received this year?
A new DVD player since my old APEX decided to crap out on December 23rd.
I had to see if it was as bad as people were claiming.
Including myself, there were 15 other folks who ponied up for the same screening. By the time it was barely half over, there were only four of us left. Myself included, determined to see this sucking, cinematic chest-wound through to the bitter end and then auger it deep into the earth, right where it belongs.
I stuck it out because I wanted to take in every ounce of this wonderful, wonderful film. (That's irony, Frank. Look it up. And while you're at it, try a few other words like subtlety, pacing, and reiteration. See also plodding, hackneyed, and tedious.) E'yup. I wanted to take it all in so that all of your defenders and apologists couldn't accuse me of bailing, not buying into your artistic vision, or simply "not getting it."
I got it all right. The first third was laughable, at the end of the second it was annoying, by the third I wanted it to be all kinds of dead. And by then, I and my friend were the only ones left in the theater.
Ah, Frank; remember the glory days when all you had to do was wipe your ass and all the little fan-boys would be clamoring for it, and then sing the praises of the resulting soiled toilet paper?
Well, I called you on your bullshit back in 1986, and I'm calling you on it now.