February & March at The Movie Morlocks

eastwoodvcI’ve been neglecting Cinebeats again. Having a hard time getting back into the swing of things around here and other endeavors are keeping me from the blog. But I thought I’d finally update with a quick list of some highlights from my February & Mach contributions to TCM’s Movie Morlocks. You can read all the articles by following the links below.

Wanna Rumble?
Excerpt: “I usually go out of my way to avoid ruffling the feathers of my fellow film fanatics but there are plenty of things that get me riled up on a monthly basis. Sometimes a girl’s just got to let off a little steam . . .”
Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of TCM with a free screening of CASABLANCA
Excerpt: “What fires up my imagination (about CASABLANCA) are the peripheral characters that linger around the film’s rough edges. The shady rogues, crooked cops, war criminals and usual suspects are the glue that holds this movie together for me.”
Play it Again, Morricone: FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965)
Excerpt: “While Leone’s camera lovingly lingers on dust covered streets, decaying buildings, weather worn leather boots, gleaming gun barrels and the expressive faces of the actors that make up his cast, Morricone breathes life into them through his music and sound design. Together they’re one of cinemas most extraordinary and ingenious duos and it’s become impossible to think of one man without acknowledging the talents of the other.”
Unfinished Films: Where Can I Buy My Ticket?
Excerpt: “Jodorowsky’s story isn’t uncommon and there are thousands of forgotten unmade movies that we’ll never get the opportunity to see although they may not have had the same ambition or scope as the long lost DUNE. With this in mind I decided to compile a list of some particularly intriguing film projects that never made it to the big screen. These are the forgotten dreams of frustrated directors and writers but from time to time I find them unspooling in my head…”

Ancient Evil is Now a Modern Industry: THIRST (1979)
Excerpt: “Few film subjects have been as exploited, examined and scrutinized as vampires. These blood sucking monsters are a favorite topic of horror filmmakers and fans, morbid romantics and angst-ridden pubescent teens. In recent years the vampire has lost some of its bite thanks to a spat of predictable and tired films made for kids and indiscriminate adults but this wasn’t always the case. The 1970s was a particularly inventive time for our fanged friends…”
The Nightmarish World of Maya Deren
Excerpt: “MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON appears to take shape within the troubled mind of its doom-laden female protagonist. It’s propelled by dream logic without any familiar narrative structure but it contains elements and visual metaphors found in countless horror movies beginning with a locked door that leads viewers into a vacant house that seems alive with apparitions..”

Spies, Frankenstein & . . . Sports?!

I’m afraid that I’ve been too busy and preoccupied with home renovations, family matters and work to updated Cinebeats regularly. Most of my film writing is done at The Movie Morlocks now so it often seems redundant to re-post links to everything here. If you want to keep track of my weekly activities on a consistent basis you should probably add The Movie Morlocks to your news feed or bookmark the site for future reference. In the meantime here are some links to various posts I’ve recently written and hopefully I’ll get back on top of updating Cinebeats soon.

Last month I continued my ongoing Spy Games series with a look at Robert Hossein’s French thriller DOUBLE AGENTS (aka La nuit des espions) – Spy Games: Double Agents (1959).

To celebrate the 2012 Olympic games currently taking place in London I hosted this lively symposium on sports films – Winning Isn’t Everything: A Sports Movie Symposium.

My regular readers known how much I love writing about the Hammer Glamour girls and after recently rewatching Susan Denberg in Terence Fisher’s FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (1967) I couldn’t resist compiling a post about her and the film – Franknestein Created Susan Denberg.

Buggin’ Out with Buggies

From a recent post at the Movie Morlocks…

I’ve been thinking a lot about dune buggies lately. It all started a few weeks ago while I was watching HEAD (1968) on TCM starring The Monkees. This psychedelic blast from the past has many memorable moments including a scene where the iconic pop band drives a bright yellow buggy through some sand dunes while being chased by a giant-sized Victor Mature.

Dune buggies are custom-made cars usually pieced together from a kit or by scratch depending on how mechanically inclined the owners are. They became increasingly popular after WW2 and evolved into a west coast phenomenon in the early ‘60s after a California engineer and surfer named Bruce Meyers revolutionized the buggy. He built what’s now called a Meyers Manx that had a custom fiberglass body and a Volkswagen Beetle frame. The cars were originally designed as all terrain vehicles for racing in the California deserts and taking long drives down sandy beaches but their popularity quickly caught on and for a brief period they became hugely popular around the world. As James Hale points out in his book The Dune Buggy Phenomenon, these lightweight colorful cars that could be made by anyone seemed to represent the free spirit of the swinging sixties and Hollywood took notice. Dune buggies appeared in countless movies made throughout the ’60s and ’70s until their popularity began to wane. Rising gas prices, new driving regulations and safety issues led to the dune buggy’s demise. And as the country became increasingly conservative in the 80s there seemed to be no place for the youth orientated dune buggy that was associated with pop bands like The Monkees. But the Monkees weren’t the only music idols that drove a dune buggy.

You can find more buggies and more movies discussed at the Movie Morlocks
Buggin’ Out with Buggies @ TCM’s Movie Morlocks

Vidal Sassoon 1928-2012

The British hairdresser who helped define the look of the swinging sixties has died. He’s probably best remembered for giving Mia Farrow her pixie cut during the making of ROSEMARY’S BABY, which she wore for years but the stylist also created signature looks for ’60s super model Peggy Moffitt, designer Mary Quant and actresses like Nancy Kwan, Carol Channing and his wife Beverly Adams. I thought I’d compile a photo gallery of some of my favorite Vidal Sassoon style moments as a tribute to the man and his work.

The look that started it all – Model: Actress Nancy Kwan

Vidal Sassoon cutting designer Mary Quant’s hair

Vidal Sassoon gave actress & singer Joyce Blair her signature look for Be My Guest (1965)

Vidal Sasson & his wife, actress Beverly Adams, on their wedding day. Adam’s is modeling a Sasson cut (1967)

Carol Channing getting her hair cut & styled by Vidal Sassoon

Super model & ’60s “It Girl” Peggy Moffitt modeled Vidal Sassoon cuts throughout the decade

Peggy Moffitt & other models on the set of Michelangelo Antonioni‘s Blow-Up (1966)

Peggy Moffit & other models sporting Sassoon looks on the set of William Klein’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo (1966)

Peggy Moffitt was married to photographer William Claxton and the two were close friends with actor Steve McQueen. In this Claxton photo Moffitt & McQueen do their own take on Norman Jewison’s The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Mia Farrow models her Vidal Sassoon cut originally styled during the shooting of Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Mod little me modeling my own Vidal Sassoon inspired haircut in 1971 or ’72

Happy Halloween!


My final October music collection is simply called “Halloween Party Mix” and it contains all kinds of horror and Halloween themed songs that didn’t fit on any of my other mixes, including a couple of songs from some of my favorite horror films like The Blob (1958) and An American Werewolf in London (1981). It’s a fun mix and hopefully it will keep you dancing or least tapping your toes this Halloween. You can still find all my previous October music mixes at 8tracks. Enjoy & Happy Halloween!

Track Listing:
Larry’s Rebels – “Halloween” (1968)
Dickie Goodman – “My Baby Loves Monster Movies” (1964)
The Five Blobs (written by Burt Bacharach & Mack David) – “Beware of the Blob” (1958)
Bruno Martino – “Dracula Cha Cha Cha” (1960)
Christine Pilzer – “Dracula” (1966)
Screaming Lord Sutch – “Jack the Ripper” (1963)
Serge Gainsbourg – “Docteur Jekyll et Monsieur Hyde” (1968)
Bobby “Boris” Pickett – “The Monster Mash” (1962)
The Cramps – “Zombie Dance” (1980)
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – “The Shadow Knows” (1966)
Exuma – “Mama Loi, Papa Loi” (1970)
Marsha Hunt – “(Oh No! Not) The Beast Day” (1973)
Gary Warren – “Werewolf” (1958)
Warren Zevon – “Werewolves of London” (1978)
Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising” (1969)
The Shaggs – “It’s Halloween” (1969)

“Halloween Party Mix”

Our Primal Fear of the Primordial Ooze

Yumi Shirakawa in The H-Man (1958)

This week at the Movie Morlocks I discuss our primal fear of the primordial ooze and highlight some of the slimy scares to be found during TCM’s Drive-In Double Features tonight. Some of the movies being played during this evening’s line-up are personal favorites and include THE BLOB (1956), THE H-MAN (1958) and X THE UNKNOWN (1955). A brief excerpt from my post:

“Whatever the reasons may be, I definitely have a fear of slime. It’s not a full-blown phobia but when I watch THE BLOB or THE H-MAN my heart starts to race and I get a little jumpy. I find these classic science fiction films genuinely scary. There’s just something incredibly creepy about a giant mass of ravenous slime that deeply unnerves me and I think being engulfed by a thick gooey substance would be absolutely horrifying.. There’s one scene in THE BLOB that I’ve always found particularly disturbing. It takes places in a car garage at night. Ralph Carmichael’s creepy score builds quietly in the background using a two-note progression to create suspense that predates John Williams’ similar score for JAWS (1975) by some 20 years, while we watch helplessly as one of the mechanics talks about his weekend plans to go hunting unaware that he’s been left alone. THE BLOB was a smartly scripted science fiction film and the irony of that scene isn’t lost on me. When the mechanic is hunted down and suddenly consumed by the creeping blob I have to fight the urge to close my eyes and cover my ears so I won’t have to listen to the grown man’s earth rattling screams.”

You can read the entire piece by following this link:
It Creeps and Leaps and Glides and Slides @ TCM’s Movie Morlocks

Summer Under the Stars: Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen in Le Mans (1971)

On Tuesday, August 3rd, Turner Classic Movies is continuing its annual Summer Under the Stars event and devoting the entire day to the work of another one of my favorite actors, Steve McQueen. They’ll be running many of my favorite McQueen films including his 1971 film Le Mans and I wrote a piece about this amazing movie for the TCM website, which you can find online. Some of the other McQueen films scheduled to play tomorrow are The Blob (1958), The Great Escape (1963), The Magnificent Seven (1960), Bullitt (1968), Junior Bonner (1972) and The Cincinnati Kid (1965).

I also recently wrote a piece about another one of my favorite Steve McQueen films; Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965). Baby the Rain Must Fall will be showing on August 26th during TCM’s Summer Under the Stars day long tribute to the actress Lee Remick who stars in the movie with Steve McQueen.

I’ve been eager to write about both films for some time now so I was happy to get the opportunity to revisit them again. Le Mans and Baby the Rain Must Fall are two of the most important films that Steve McQueen made during his impressive career and I’m glad that TCM viewers will get the chance to see them both this month.

Summer Under the Stars: Steve McQueen in Le Mans (1971)
Summer Under the Stars: Lee Remick & Steve McQueen in Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965)

Steve McQueen and Lee Remick in Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965)