Friday night we went to the opening of a photography exhibit. The artist was Laura McGlone and my connection to her is that she's the girlfriend of an old coworker of mine from my Andersen Consulting days, Jack. Jack looked a little different at the hairline, he had chemo for Hodgkin's lymphoma, but he's been clear for two years now and otherwise was pretty much the same as when we worked together when the millennium turned. Wish I could say the same, and I don't even have a major illness as an excuse.
Jack has a fifteen-year-old daughter and described the tribulations of dealing with such a force of nature, especially since she's currently texting "the wrong kind of boy." Constantly. I had to laugh, because as long as I've known Jack, he's been "the wrong kind of boy" for any number of women (he's really good looking. I think he was in a Chevy Camaro back in the day). Chats says it's karma, I just find it funny.
It was good to catch up. Later we went out and I ate way too much sushi.
Saturday was the 2nd Annual Scifi Spectacular at Chicago's venerable Music Box. I braced my butt of iron with a big coke and some Twizzlers.
Kathleen Burke as the Panther Woman
|First up was Island of Lost Souls and nick_kaufmann wasn't kidding, it was a great movie. It's a fairly faithful version of the Wells classic Island of Dr. Moreau with the devilish Charles Laughton as Moreau, doing a wonderful urtext of a Bond villain. Good makeup, sets, costumes, and effects (for 1932), and even Bella Lugosi as the Speaker of the Law.|
Sadly, I missed about the first twenty minutes, owing to problems with the CTA ("Chicago -- the city that works provided the right people get their payoffs"), Cub fans on the Red Line, and bridges being up to let the boaters through. I guess I need to allow myself two solid hours to go from the far west side to the Wrigleyville area.
But anyway, Kathleen Burke was smokin' hot as the Panther Woman.
|Then we had Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, distinguished only by Ray Harryhausen's effects as the saucers blow up much of Washington (the saucers were copied for Burton's Mars Attacks right down to the satelite dish ray guns). |
I really don't know where to begin with this. It was pretty cheezy. I guess Dr. Russell A. Marvin, the hero of the piece, was part of the problem. His dialog wasn't very good, and he was continually restating stuff everyone knew, like (when trying a new weapon) "Well, this either will work, or it won't." Yep, got all the bases covered there, doc, that's why you make the big bucks. As Basil Fawlty might say, his special subject is the bleedin' obvious.
Had to laugh at his romantic drive with his former secretary/assistant and new bride Carol. Just before they get menaced by a saucer he starts getting frisky and she says something along the lines of "don't start something you won't be able to finish." Jeeeze, the 50s were kind of uptight (though not as much as popular culture would have it) but they're married, for Pete's sake. You don't have to turn mother's picture to the wall any more.
Joan Taylor as Carol Marvin
Dana Wynter as Becky Driscoll
|Next up was the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Damn, that's an effective film when it's on the big screen in a dark theater. I was fairly tense even with this rather restrained version (still think the one from the 70s is the best, though).|
Of course, after Dr. Marvin in the previous film, Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Bennell seemed like feckin' Olivier doing Henry V. Speaking of which, do they even make films where the heroes have advanced degrees anymore?
I don't know what the heck Dana Wynter was wearing when we met her. It kind of looked like she'd covered her boobs in meringue or maybe whipped cream. Especially with the picnic blanket pattern fabric underneath, the effect was. . . odd.
You know the rest. Do I even have to say anything? Chats finally joined me for this one.
But it's still cool to see Kirstie Alley lay the foundation for an interesting character before she decided she's too good for SF. How those Look Who's Talking residuals treating you, Kirstie?
Kirstie Alley as Lt. Saavik
Mary Woronov as Calamity Jane
|Then we had Death Race 2000 with a special appearance by Mary Woronov. Again, first time seeing this one on the big screen for me. Which just made it seem even more low budget, if such a thing is imaginable. But still, I enjoyed myself and Chats laughed a lot.|
After the screening, Woronov told a story about Stallone saying that he didn't take off his clothes for the camera during the big group massage scene (?! - the Italian Stallion?). Everyone laughed, and Woronov went on to talk about how producer Roger Corman went up to Sly and said "I make pictures about tits and ass. Lose the shorts." And that was that.
The rest of the interview was about Warhol, LA Punk rock, drugs, and Eating Raoul. I loved her as Mona in the too-short-lived TV series Flying Blind, but that didn't come up.
I was tired and stiff so I called it quits without seeing The Road Warrior or Robocop. Oh well. I have Gibson on blu-ray with a cool director's commentary, and it's not like I didn't go see both of them a dozen times when they were first run.