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30 Years Ago Today: The Superstars of the Supernatural are back!

Ghostbusters IIHow difficult is it to make a good sequel? Not many measure up to the original, but there are a few exceptions. In my opinion, Ghostbusters II is one such exception.

Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver all return in the sequel, both released and set five years after the initial film. The studio pushed for the sequel against the judgment of Aykroyd, Ramis, and director/producer Ivan Reitman, but fortunately all agreed to work together to bring it to fruition.

The sequel’s soundtrack did not enjoy as much success as the first, but there are still some quality songs from popular artists of the day, such as Bobby Brown, New Edition, Doug E. Fresh, and Run-D.M.C.

News of a third installment featuring the original cast first appeared online earlier this year. Rumored for decades, it had been consistently shot down by those involved in the first two films. I asked Hudson about the possibility of a Ghostbusters III about a decade ago; he pointed to a video game and said, “That’s the closest we’ll ever get.” I’m glad he was wrong; I only hope he is involved in the new movie, produced by the original director’s son, Jason Reitman.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures by Adrian Besley (2017)

Monty Python

Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures
by Adrian Besley
Abrams, 2017

British humor (or humour, if you prefer extraneous u’s in your words) does not always translate well when performed for American audiences. Even the venerable Monty Python struggled when they first came to the United States, despite their reputation across the pond. Adrian Besley’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures is a fantastic retelling of the troupe’s history on the BBC, including the formation of the group and their eventual success in America, all the way through their successful reunions of recent years.

The Pythons write in the foreword, “Abrams, the publishers of what they feel is one of the most original and fascinating books ever produced by Monty Python, have asked us to let you all know that this is one of the most original and fascinating books ever produced by the Monty Python team.” A truer statement has never been uttered.

The real draw for this volume is the “removable memorabilia.” Included are pages of scripts, postcards, animation artwork, and posters. In all, there are 22 removable facsimiles of memorabilia from the Pythons’ archives. Throughout the book, the reader can also find QR codes which can be scanned to watch the sketches referenced throughout.

Monty Python fanatics will absolutely love Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures and the memorabilia it includes. Highly recommended for fans of the irreverent British comedians.

Learn more about Abrams.

Purchase Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures by Adrian Besley.

The Best Joke Book (Period) by William Donohue (2014)

Joke Book Period

The Best Joke Book (Period)
by William Donohue
Adams Media, 2014
208 pages

Joke books often fall into one of two categories: far too obscene or far too corny. The Best Joke Book (Period) by William Donohue certainly falls on the corny side, which might be expected by the subtitle, “Hundreds of the Funniest, Silliest, Most Ridiculous Jokes Ever.” The jokes are divided into nine categories, ranging from families to holidays to animals to sports, and include Q&A-style jokes, short anecdotes, and comedian quotes.

These are the types of jokes that dads tell, and that teenagers roll their eyes at. Several groans were heard around the office this week as I sampled the Christmas funnies out loud.

Learn more about Adams Media.

Purchase The Best Joke Book (Period) by William Donohue.

How Weird Are You?

Mandatory Fun Weird Al Yankovic

Every day since last Monday, Weird Al Yankovic has released a new music video to promote his latest album, Mandatory Fun. Have you been keeping up with the Weirdness? Not all of the videos are available on YouTube yet, so here are some links for you to check them out:

R.I.P. Jonathan Winters

(November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013)

Beloved comedian, son of Mork & Mindy, and the voice of Papa Smurf in the 2011 feature film.

The Landlord

On Friday, I took a trip to Lexington, Kentucky, for The Scarefest. I had a great time visiting the different merch booths, and sat in on a lecture about the Villisca ax murders. The night was topped off with the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre on the big screen, introduced by Gunner Hansen (who played Leatherface in the film). He had some entertaining stories about the movie and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, so that was truly a pleasure to hear him talk about it.

Back to the convention itself. I spent much of the time visiting with the merchants, talking about horror, their products, and advertising (yes, it was partially a business trip for my radio show). But I came prepared to purchase, and did pick up a few things here and there.

One of the movies that I got is called The Landlord, produced by Massive Ego Productions. It’s an extremely low-budget film with cheesy special effects and campy gore (or is it campy effects and cheesy gore?). My favorite character in the film was Rabisu (one of the demons), played by Rom Barkhordar, though it seems most reviewers enjoyed the performance of Derek Dziak as Tyler (the landlord) more. I’m not going to give you a synopsis of the plot, but will tell you that it was different than anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s kind of like a haunted apartment, but not exactly. That’s all I’m going to say about it.

The director and writer is Emil Hyde, who was actually at the convention selling the DVDs himself. I spoke with him for several minutes about the film, and could tell he was excited about it. Hyde seemed to be a very amiable guy, and I appreciate his enthusiasm for the horror genre. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors, and hope he does well with this flick as well.

If you decide to buy this movie, please keep in mind the budgetary restraints. From what I’ve read, it was made for around $22,000. Cinematography is not great, audio levels are not even, and special effects are cheesy/campy. If you’re able to overlook those things (or perhaps find them charming), by all means check out The Landlord. It’s a promising debut from writer/director Emil Hyde. Plus the cover art is really, really cool.

Here’s the trailer for the film, which is being shown at a number of film festivals in the country.

And now, the links:

* Official website for The Landlord
* The imdb page
* Site for Massive Ego Productions
* BUY IT!!!

This blog could be so much better, but…

May the forks be with you…

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