Archive for June, 2005

"Woah ho ho ho ho-oh-oh! At the late night double feature picture show!"

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2005 by bigruta

Ah yes, the double feature! Two movies for the price of one! How can you go wrong? Simple, usually neither movie is all that great and sometimes they just plain suck. With that said…

Welcome to BigRuta’s first double feature b-movie review! Zowwie have we got a couple of classics for you tonight kiddies! From Hell It Came! and Zontar The Thing From Venus! Yep, ya know when you see the exclamation points, the flick has to be good!

From Hell It Came!

This beauty was made in 1957. Why? I have no idea!

The Plot:

A witch doctor on a remote South Pacific island kills the chief and frames the chief’s son. The chief’s son vows revenge and comes back from – guess where! – to kill those who betrayed him. Fortunately for those silly Pacific islanders, there are some white American scientists around to take care of the vengeful spirit.

The Hook:

When the chief’s son, named Keeno, comes back from the dead he is not a ghost – oh no! That would be much too conventional! No, Keeno uses “the natural spirits of the island” to come back as a Tobanga. What is a Tobanga you ask? It is a vengeful creature that grows from the grave of the one who vowed vengeance. Or, to be more exact – it’s a tree. A walking killer tree. With a human heart. Yeah.

The Goodies:

Okay, first of all, all of the actors are obviously white or Hispanic. There is even a native with blond hair! And he is a guy! What’s up with that! If you are going to ignore genetics and have a blond south Pacific islander then dammit make it a babe!

The American scientists are there trying to find a cure for a plague that is killing off the natives. The witch doctor ferments distrust of the Americans by telling his people that it is the “Devil dust” of the Americans that is killing them. That would be your nuclear fallout that came down on the island from atomic testing nearby. Whoops! Oh, by the way, on this remote island where supplies only come like twice a year, the Americans have a compound with: full electricity, full plumbing, a gas oven, a full size refrigerator and an operating table. Damn! They were the greatest generation!

So, Keeno is killed by having a ceremonial dagger driven into his heart and when the Tobanga grows from his grave, it also has the dagger sticking out of it. Remember that – it’s important! Well, of course the Americans desecrate Keeno’s grave and take the Tobanga to their compound for study. Gee, I don’t know why the natives don’t like us! They discover that it has a human heart and that it may be able to move. They realize it is dying, and give it fluids via an IV! When they get up the next morning, the lab has been trashed and the Tobanga is gone. They blame the natives. Remember – they are scientists. They’re smart. Yeah.

Well, the Tobanga rampages over the island killing those who betrayed and murdered Keeno. When I say rampages I of course mean walks very slowly. Very slowly. You could reach down and re-tie both your shoes before you started to run away from it. This was probably due to the costume being rigid from the knees up, so the guy in the suit could not move any faster. Besides, it’s a tree remember? And when I say killing I of course mean picking them up and flinging them into the local quicksand pond so we can watch them go, “No! No! Noooo! Ahrrrgggg!” ‘blub, blub, blub’.

The Tobanga kills several people including Kory – Keeno’s wife who betrayed him to the witch doctor – and the good doctor himself. The natives lure the Tobanga into a pit and set fire to it, but that don’t work. The Americans shoot it, but – come on! – when have bullets ever done anything to a b-movie monster!

The Tobanga kidnaps the hot blond American scientist. Why? No idea. Maybe he had a woody. Ha ha ha! Get it? A woody? Nevermind. Then the bright as all get out Americans get the idea that if they could shoot the end of the dagger, it would be driven fully into the Tobanga’s heart and kill it! Yeah! Don’t you feel silly for not thinking of that? Well, it takes several shots, but they succeed and the Tobanga falls over dead into the quicksand. The grateful natives now love the Americans!

Yep it’s just as silly as it sounds. There a few good lines:

One of the scientists laments. “Why did I have to fall in love with a dedicated female scientist?”
Keeno says just befoe he is killed, “In death I will be stronger than in life! I shall come back from Hell and make you pay for your crimes!” Okay, okay, we get it!

There is a shower scene with the hot blond scientist, but it was the 50’s, so we get to see her legs below the towel and her shoulders above it. Wow! The native girls show more. I guess this was included for the boys in the audience.

And of course there is the required comic relief provided by an Australian widow who runs a trading post and who is quite simply a slut. Unless she is in imminent danger of being killed, she is letting any male nearby know that this could be his lucky day. Unfortunately for her she is rather long in the tooth and the island is filled with young native babes. The accent the obviously not Australian actress uses is horrible. I felt cheated because she did not get killed.

This movie inspired a critic at the time to write, ‘And to hell it can go!’

Guess what kids – that was the good one!

Zontar The Thing From Venus! 1966 apparently made for TV.

Yikes! This pile o’ stuff makes From Hell It Came! look…well…like a better b-movie. Yeah my similes suck.

The Plot:

Zontar – he’s a thing from Venus – hijacks a satellite, comes to Earth and tries to take over the planet with the help of a “brilliant” scientist.

The Hook:

Zontar communicates with Keith the scientist via a special laser radio Keith has made and keeps in a closet in his living room. Yeah. Zontar convinces Keith that he will help human beings bring an end to war and poverty and disease and hunger and Communism and modern art and crazy teen-agers and rock & roll and all the other problems of modern civilization. There will be peace and mankind will work with Zontar to evolve into “something better.” Yeah, we all know that’s bullflop, but Keith is…well…a dork.

The Goodies:

Keith – who looks like an adult Millhouse from ‘The Simpsons’ – has issues. He is a brilliant scientist who has a gift for conceptualization. He is also an emotional basket case. He believes everything Zontar tells him, and because no one else can hear Zontar, everybody else thinks Keith is a bit bent. This just makes him paranoid and resentful.

In one of those only-in-the-movies situations, Keith happens to be married to a hot blond southern beauty pageant winner. He ignores her and would rather spend his time with Zontar. He’s just a thing kind of guy I guess.

Keith’s boss and friend Kurt is played by veteran b-movie star John Agar, best known from The Thing From Another World. I guess John was a thing kind of guy too. Keith tries to convince Kurt that Zontar is real and that he means to help man.

Once Zontar lands and takes up residence in a nearby cave, he gets Keith to give him the names of all of the important and powerful people in the area. Zontar then sends out “injecter pods” which are little bits of Zontar himself that fly and inject people with some of Zontar so that he can control them. In effect, they become part of Zontar. These people have little antennae sticking out of their necks where the injecter pods…uh…injected them. Once injected, the folks lose their emotions. The injector pods look like lobsters with wing make-up.

Zontar also stops all power “at its source” (?). So, no cars or radios or TVs or heaters or lights or anything that requires power work. Sucks for those on life support at the hospital, eh?

Well, Kurt soon finds out that Zontar is real and he is controlling folks and making them help him take over. He confronts Keith, but Keith says that it is all part of the plan to make a peaceful world. Once Kurt leaves, Keith tells Zontar where Kurt lives and when he will be home. When Kurt gets home, his wife Ann flings an injecter pod at him. Kurt kills it with a fire poker and then coldly gut-shoots Ann!

Kurt goes to Keith’s place to kill him. Meanwhile, Martha – Keith’s hot little southern belle wife – goes out to the cave with a gun to kill Zontar in the hopes that that will save Keith. Oh yeah, and the world. Well, as noted in the above review, guns ain’t no good versus…uh…things. Zontar kills Martha – and lets Keith watch! This breaks Keith and he agrees to help Kurt kill Zontar using the laser power source from his laser radio. Okay, everybody make quote fingers and do your best Dr. Evil, “Laser!”

Keith kills Zontar, but he dies too. The end.

Dear God was this thing made on the cheap! It was fimed on 16mm color film and the print I saw had faded so much it looked almost like balck and white. The “research installation” Kurt and Keith work at seems to consist of a couple of rooms with some generic 60’s style honkin big computers with the big magnetic tape spools. Oh and lots of oscilloscopes. Can’t have a research installation without oscilloscopes.

Great lines:

Keith: “The days of people making fun of me are over!”
“Although his name is untranslateable into any Earth language, it sort of sounds like Zontar.”
“You will beg to save your world!”

General: “Understand it? Of course not! No one understands it, but it’s the scientific discovery of the century!”

Kurt: “I just saw you kill, in cold blood, your dearest friend. Now, I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask for an explanation.”

Martha: “You took my husband away from me and now I’m going to kill you!”

Zontar: “buzz buzz buzz buzz”

This is one of those films that is so bad it is good – but just barely!

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

What kind of beer do you drink when you watch a couple of really cheap American b-movies? A really cheap American beer! This may be the start of another quest! I just might try to find a good cheap beer. What is cheap? Well, I say it’s any beer that sells for $4 or less a six-pack. And that brings me to…

Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor! $3.95 a six. Mickey’s is made in Milwaukee, WI. It is 5.60% ABV with a very low IBU rating.

What is the difference between beer and malt liquor? Well, it has to do with ingredients. Some malt liquors don’t have barley or hops in them. Some are just fermented processed grain malt or even extract or corn syrup! They are the most basic fermented beverage. Some real beers are also called malt liquor. Why? Not sure, and frankly, it’s not worth going into here.

Mickey’s has a light yellow color, a non-persistent head with big bubbles and not much aroma. It also is over carbonated, which produces lots of big bubbles that practically race to the top of the glass.

Ya know, when I was in my late teens I drank quite a bit of Mickey’s at parties and just hanging out with friends. We liked it because it was cheap and had little taste and therefore we could drink ’em down quick. The bottles are green and shaped like barrels. We used to call them “hand grenades.” Mickey’s still has little taste. It’s rather watery, with just a little sour taste during the finish and a slight aftertaste.

No bones about it – Mickey’s is a “Let’s get wasted!” beer.

Under the cap, there is a little definition joke. For example: “nonbusted – a cross-dresser named Ed.” Yuk, yuk yuk!

Oh and the label on cans of Mickey’s, is a picture of the bottle!

It’s cheap, but good? I would not go that far! Although I would be willing to bet that if Keith had kicked back with a few Mickey’s now and then…nah! He would still have been a dork!


Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2005 by bigruta

Oh ho ho! My little peach-fuzz! Posted by Hello

"Camelot!" Camelot!" "Camelot!" "It’s only a model." Shhh!"

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2005 by bigruta

Well, the old saying is that three is the charm. But, are you freakin kidding me!? After trying only three brews could our search for Bibliobabe’s fabled sweet and yummy beer be over? So soon? Ya know what – I think it may just be true.

As you may recall, I have mentioned the nation of Belgium several times in this here blog. The Belgians love beer. They also love to experiment with their beer. Sure, Germany and to a lesser extent Eastern Europe and Britain get lots of props for the brews they produce. However many beer snobs consider the little country just north of France to be the most interesting beer region in Europe. Some consider Trappist ales – ales brewed by Trappist monks in their abbeys – to be the finest beers available. I happen to really like Trappist ales. You will hear about them soon!

By now you should have guessed that the beer that I think will win over Bibliobabe’s heart hails from Belgium. Yep! So, do you remember when I mentioned lambics? Lambics are a style of beer that originated in the region now occupied by Belgium. Lambics rely on spontaneous fermentation (as opposed to induced fermentation) and generally consist of about 30% or more wheat. There is a lot more to them, but that is enough for our purposes. A real lambic fan could write books about them, and of course many have. Like other beers lambics can be young or aged. Young lambics have a distinctive cider-like taste. Aged lambics tend to be much more acidic and therefore much more bitter.

Now when I say that young lambics taste like cider, I don’t mean the dark brown opaque stuff with all the extra worm squish in it that you get from apple orchards in the fall. I mean fermented cider. Like Woodchuck or Strongbow. Never heard of those? Truck it on down to your local beverage store – you’ll find ’em. They have a nice crisp apple taste and as much alcohol as mass market beers. In fact ‘cider’ is a category in many brewing competitions. Bibliobabe might want to try a cider or two. However, I personally do not consider ciders to be beer.

Lambics do not have to be flavored with fruit, but many are. And so…drumroll please! The beer I consider to be the winner of the sweet and yummy award is…Lindemans Peche Lambic! Or if the Flemish bugs you: Lindemans Belgian Peach Ale. TAA DAA! To keep things simple, I will just refer to it as LPL.

LPL is brewed by Brouwerij Lindemans, Vlezenbeek, Belgium. Now, the bottle states that this lambic is aged in oak and then a secondary fermentation is caused by the addition of fresh peaches. That’s a big thing to lambic folks; if it is a fruit lambic, the fruit has to be fresh and should be whole when added to the brew.

LPL is an ale – which means what class? Anybody? Hmm? Damn it all! Haven’t you people been paying attention!? It means that the brew is top fermented at relatively warm temperatures. “Oh, yeah, now I remember!” Shut up! You’re all worthless and weak! Remember I told you that many ales are dark and heavier than lagers – but not all of them? LPL is a great example of a light ale.

Okay, here we go: ABV 4.0%, IBU very low. The first thing I noticed when I took the foil off the neck of the bottle was that LPL has both a cap and a cork! Kind of slows down chugg-a-lugging, which all things considered, is a good thing. The color is great! This is a very attractive beer. A light amber with a hint of pink – kind of like a peach! The aroma is all soft peach with a hint of that cider-like crispness. LPL forms a foamy, large bubbled non-persistent head – again, like a cider.

The taste is wonderful. It reminds you very much of peach nectar, but with the wheat ale sort of in the background to keep it from getting too sweet. It is nice and crisp, never bitter, with just a slight sourness evident in the finish and a short aftertaste. In fact the wheat ale component reminded me of the taste of peach flesh that is near the pit; ya know the white part that is not really ripe? Cool how they pulled that off! The sweetness is gentle and refreshing, never cloying. This is some good shit!

Sometimes certain sweet beers or wines are recommended to be drunk with dessert. I’ve never been too sure about such claims, but I could definitely see myself drinking LPL with peach or apple pie! In fact LPL may be one of the few beers that would make a good topping for ice-cream!

This stuff is the real deal. I whole heartedly recommend this to Bibliobabe or anyone who may enjoy a sweet and yummy beer.

I plan on introducing LPL to BB in person. I’ll post her opinion right here on The Duh Spot!


Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2005 by bigruta

Dig Dr. Phibes’ organ! Posted by Hello

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2005 by bigruta

Just about all we see of her . Posted by Hello

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2005 by bigruta

I’m a headshrinker, you know. Posted by Hello

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2005 by bigruta

Doctor, what decade do you live in? Posted by Hello