Tuesday, July 16, 2019

An early birthday present

When it comes to birthday presents, my birthday presents to be more specific, I've made it a habit over the last couple of years to wait until my birthday has come and gone, usually letting a few weeks pass, before getting around to showing any of the presents. I also rarely mention it beforehand, and never post on the day of, mostly because I don't want anybody to have to feel like they have to leave any sort of well wishes down in the comments, well, that I'm not big on birthdays, or my birthday to be more specific.

This year is different though, as I received my birthday presents this past weekend, so the only reason I'm mentioning that my birthday is tomorrow (please forgo any well wishes), is because it's pertinent to today's title.

I only receive birthday presents from one person anymore, my mom, and it's highly unusual for her to give them to me early, but she hit up a hot estate sale late last week, and didn't want to wait to show me what she had gotten for my "special" day.

The bulk of the present(s) ended up being LaserDiscs, which are kind of a rarity here in Tennessee, at least from what I've seen over the last 4+ years.

Apparently this person had had quite the collection, but I was told that a lot of it wouldn't have been of much interest to me (Disney, RomCom's, etc.), I'll take my mom's word on this, as she does know what I like when it comes to movies, she is after all responsible for a large percentage of what I do, and don't like. Thankfully though, there was a few things that she thought I would like, and for the most part, she was right!

Before I jump in to the meat of the post, I wanted to note that while I usually make it a point to show the front and backs of the films that I do posts about, no matter the format, but today you'll just be getting the fronts. As mentioned in my previous post, taking pictures by natural light hasn't been very easy as of late, and trying to do so on these was proving to be just as difficult. I got the fronts done alright, but before I could flip them over, dark clouds showed up, and within moments it was thunderstormmageddon. I haven't had the opportunity to go back and finish what I started, so it was either hold off the post for a little bit, or go with what I got, obviously I chose the latter -- most of these however are fairly well known films, so you should already have some sense of what they're about, and if not, they'd be easy enough to look up.

There are few things that remind me of childhood more than the Universal Monsters, in fact if I made a quick list (in no particular order) of the top five things that take me back to wee me, it would probably look a bit like this:

1. G.I. Joe: ARAH
2. Universal Monsters
3. Godzilla
5. WWF (WWF Superstars in particular)

Universal's entire horror catalog is like comfort food for me, no matter how bad things are, or how stressed out I am, I can always pop in one of their offerings and everything else will disappear for the next 70-90 minutes. Thanks to my mom and grandpa, I started watching these (and Godzilla) when I was probably 3 or 4 years old, although I do seem to remember my grandpa saying once that he/we would watch Godzilla movies when I was still just a baby (literally). In retrospect, I wish that I could've had just one friend during childhood who would've been into such things. I always had a lot of friends when I was kid, but none of them were ever interested in old horror movies, just once it would've been nice to talk to someone my age about Creature from the Black Lagoon without their eyes glazing over. I did know plenty of adults at the time that I could discuss all things geek with, and I am eternally grateful for that, otherwise things would have been considerably worse for me.

I don't know if anyone cares or not, but with this most recent addition, I now have Dracula on: 8mm (200'), Beta, Laserdisc, VHS, and DVD. I'm running out of formats! I don't really care for Blu-ray, so unless I find one crazy cheap, I probably won't get that one -- I definitely wouldn't mind getting the rest of the 8mm version's though.

There was a thing that was going around on the Twitter a couple of months ago about perfect films, or something to that effect, like a choose you're top five kind of deal. I didn't see it until a couple of days after it was a thing, and knowing that everyone had probably already moved on by that point, I didn't bother to respond, but if I had, Psycho would've been on my list... it's that good! Not only is it flawless, but it still holds up really well. It's one of those movies that's so good that I wish I could go back and see for the first time again (that would be fun a list to make as well).

I saw the Dead series at pretty young age as well, probably too young, I think it was at a friend's house, and it would've most certainly been without my mom's consent. I have no shame in admitting that I had to avert my eyes during a couple of scenes from the series, one of them being the infamous evisceration from Day of the Dead. A few years later my grandpa and I watched a show on the Discovery channel about cinematic special effects that had a bunch of behind the scenes stuff in it, and one of those just happened to be the Day scene in question. At that particular time in my life I was still very interested in the idea of possibly working in the film industry at some point, so a show like that was always a must see for me. Future viewings of the movie were made considerably easier after I saw how that scene was made... still kind of gross though.

I always tell people, at least when asked, that I don't collect movies, in any format, I just buy what I like and what I think I might like -- and if I buy something that I think I might like, which turns out to be something that I didn't care for, I get rid of it, either by donation, or if it's a film that's out of print or hard to find, eBay. I have absolutely no interest in keeping everything just so I can go post on a message board somewhere, or make a YouTube video, to try and impress a couple of people with my "collection" of mostly unliked and/or unwatched movies (I have a few specific people in mind here). With that being said, I'm not a fan of John Carpenter's The Thing, but I'll still be keeping this laserdisc, if only because it was given to me, and more importantly, because it was given to me for my birthday... by my mom!

The Thing is probably my second least favorite John Carpenter film (only behind Ghosts of Mars). I know that there are a lot of people out there who love this film, I'm just not one of them. I mean it does have it's moments, some of the special effects were pretty groundbreaking, I like Kurt Russell, and I enjoyed the Lovecraftian elements, but overall, it just wasn't for me. It probably doesn't help too, that I was, and still am, a big fan of the original -- and still don't understand why it was necessary to remake it?

Here's a bit of a rarity from Starlog Video, aka Starlog Magazine. It's a behind the scenes retrospective of Tom Savini's career, at least through 1986. According to my mom, this was by far the most out of place LD at this sale -- I guess one could say that it stood out like the proverbial sore thumb, or rather like the proverbial machete thru the head :)

As just a film, Species is really quite average, one could even refer to it as below average and not have to worry about offending too many people. However, as an event and/or moment in time, it was kind of a big deal, well, at least by 1995 standards it was (I really miss those standards BTW). There was so much hype over this film, most of which was probably the studio's doing, but still, it was everywhere! And then of course there was Natasha Henstridge, the hot (in more ways than one) young actress who was taking Hollywood by storm (how'd that work out?). God, she was everywhere, between gracing the cover of literally every single magazine cover in existence at the time, and her many appearances on the late night circuit, you couldn't get away from her if you tried. I'm not overly fond of the film itself, and I never did see the appeal of Ms. Henstridge, but I am very nostalgic for the time period (the good and the bad), so even though I wouldn't have bought this one for myself, it'll be nice to have around, if only so I can hopefully never completely forget all of the doings from said time period.

If it's not something that I saw in the theatre, I usually can't recall the first time that I saw a particular film, however, Predator is a movie that I didn't see in the theatre, but I have Total Recall (do you see what I did there?) of the first time I saw it. This memory goes back to 1989, I don't remember what time of the year it was, so I'd be roughly seven years old at the time. I was staying the night at a kid named Marcus' house, this was part of a birthday celebration -- it's funny too because he and I weren't the greatest of friends, he was more of a friend to my best friend at the time, but we lived in the same apartment complex, and there weren't a lot of other kids around, so I think I was probably invited because of these things, more so than because he and I were such great friends (he was a year or two older too, so that might've had something to do with us not being friends per se). Anyways, I don't remember the actual party itself, but what I do remember is his mom renting a couple of videos for us to watch that night, namely Predator and The Terminator, both of which I would be seeing for the first time. Both films had an impact on me, but Predator was the one that stood out more at the time, as I was probably a little too young to pick up on most of the nuances in The Terminator. Predator was much more simple, just humans v. monster, with lots of shooting and 'splosions, for a kid like me, things didn't get too much better than that.

On a loosely related note, as I'm sitting here typing this, another partial memory involving Marcus came to mind, so I might as well share it. This one happened a few years later while I was working at one of my uncle's comic book conventions. I was probably 10 or 11 at the time, and one of the guests at the show was a very attractive woman, who I believe may have posed for Playboy, but she would've had to have done more than that (actress? comic book model?) to be amongst the guests, because my uncle wouldn't have invited her just for being in Playboy, that's just the only part of her credentials that I remember (I wonder why!). I was much more social at that time, so it wasn't an uncommon occurrence for me to mingle with the guests, most of whom were great to me (save for Bernie Wrightson), including this woman (I sure wish I could remember her name). Anyway, the memory is just of her hugging me at some point, I don't why exactly, but it was a good thing, and this wasn't just a hug hug, it was more like bear hug/shake kind of hug, and it was long one (all of the fellows reading this can probably understand why I would cherish this memory so much, right?). Now the hug itself was nice, but here's what made it even better: After being released from her embrace (why did it ever have to end?), I looked over to see none other than Marcus, standing in the middle of an aisle, eyes wide open and mouth agape, staring at me and this woman. With her arm still around me, and Marcus still looking on in shock, well, I can honestly say that I don't think that I've ever felt cooler than I did at that particular moment in time.

I should note too that we moved away from those apartments the same year as Marcus' birthday party, but he was into comics, so I usually saw him a couple of times a year at the shows -- but hadn't seen him yet on the day of the hug, which made the moment just that much better.

Like a bunch of the other stuff in this post, I've seen The Maltese Falcon more times than I can remember. Humphrey Bogart is one of my all-time favorite actors, and as such I've seen a number of films far too many times, heck, I could probably recite 3/4 of the dialogue from memory on this one. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that this might be a nearly perfect film as well. Some folks, especially those of the pretentious variety, will claim that the original pre-code version is the better of the two -- and while I would agree that they were able to push the envelope a little more (it was pre-code after all), that alone does not make it a better picture. If it's a Falcon without Bogart, and the national treasure that was Sydney Greenstreet, I don't want it!

Raiders of the Lost Ark had such a big impact on me as a kid, not only did it fuel my imagination - playing outside, as well as indoors with my G.I. Joes - but it also ignited my lifelong interest in archaeology. As far as play goes, the only movie that I can think of that may have had a bigger impact was 1959's Journey to the Center of the Earth, unfortunately for me, I never had any childhood friends who had seen either film, and trying to explain either of them for playing purposes never went over too well. And as far as my interest archaeology goes, well, I'm fairly convinced that if I hadn't zigged when I should of zagged, I'd probably be working in that profession, and if by chance I had a blog, it would probably be very different from the one that you are currently reading.

Getting this on LD was pretty cool, but what made even better was that I was also given...

... the second film! And of course the only thing better than getting the first two films, would be...

... to get the third film as well, thus completing the trilogy! Like half of the other movies in this post, I now own these in at least three different formats too.

And if these weren't enough, my mom also gave me, courtesy of the same sale, a number of 100+ year old bottles. I don't think that I've ever mentioned it before, but I have an interest in old bottles as well, and do collect them, hence the gift of old bottles. The ones from this sale need some serious cleaning, and some research will need to be done, so whether or not there's any demand for it, you can probably expect too see at least one bottle post somewhere down the road.

On a somewhat related note, I made a few increasingly rare trips out last week. Two of the places, a local book sale, and McKay's, both yielded some pretty good stuff, so if you like the non-card content, there's more of that coming too!

On a completely unrelated note, I got a bit of a surprise yesterday when I went to the mailbox and found this:

People don't send me postcards very often, well actually that's a lie, it should read as no one ever sends me postcards, so imagine my surprise when I saw this Pedro card looking up at me from the bottom of the mailbox. Apparently, Jim (gcrl), found himself off of U.S. soil, and was kind enough to send me this postcard. I don't know if it's something that's supposed to be shared publicly or not, so I won't mention where it was mailed from, but I will say that it was very nice of Jim to think of me while so far away from home, receiving this really made my day.

Thanks for taking a moment to look at my page.


  1. The complete Indiana Jones trilogy on laserdisc -- nice! Interested to see what some of those old bottles look like.

    1. Well, they kind of look like old bottles :)

      Seriously though, I will do something at some point. I haven't had a lot of time for cleaning or research as of late, so that post might not be up and running for a couple of months.

  2. We have such different taste in movies that even though I would likely never watch them, I enjoy seeing your commentary on them.
    Tom Savini is a regular in my favorite comic group on Facebook, and has commented on at least one of my posts in the group. I don't make all that many, on Facebook I tend to comment on other people's posts more than make my own.
    I'd love to hear the story about Wrightson. If you don't want to post publicly my inbox on Twitter is open, and I won't say a word about it.
    I am looking forward to the bottles. One of my cousins collects them and has a pretty nice display...when I occasionally go on the coin forum I usually see some cool stuff in the metal detecting section, including bottles. It's one of the few things I don't collect, lol.
    I'm sorry, I can't. I hope you have a happy birthday. Whenever I see someone say well wishes all I can think of is the line from Simpsons, "I'm a well wisher, in that I don't wish you any specific harm"

    1. I'm sure that we would have some overlap, but even if we don't, I still appreciate you reading my ramblings.

      I have never used Facebook before, and probably never will, but that is pretty neat that you have been able to have some interaction with someone like Tom. The general public might still not know who he is, but for those in the know, he's kind of an icon.

      I'll probably tell the story on here at some point, it's not a secret or anything, it's just a little long, and the opportunity to do so just hasn't presented itself yet.

      We've finally found something that you don't collect! I knew that there had to be something!

      Well wishes that are associated with a Simpsons quote are an entirely different animal, thank you!

  3. There were a literal TON of horror laserdiscs for sale at the video store I was at last weekend. I don't recall specifically what they had but I remember Exorcist III was one of them.

    1. If you're trying to make me jealous... it's working :)

      I absolutely love Exorcist III, not only is it my favorite film in the franchise, but it's also one of my favorite horror movies of all-time, easily in the top 10.

  4. When it comes to laserdiscs, they're much more scarce compared to VHS and DVD's... and way more attractive (IMHO). But I'm just talking from a Bay Area flea market perspective. I only see them maybe a few times a year for sale. I have grabbed a few like the original SW Trilogy, but since I don't have a player... I don't usually inquire about them. That being said... they look really cool... so maybe I should start collecting them.

    As for your special day... it's so weird not typing or saying the "H B" words... but I'll respect your wishes and just say have a nice day.

    1. There seems to be a number of people who collect them without ever owning a player, I've even seen folks who frame them like others do with vinyl album covers, they certainly do look good on the wall. I'd prefer that people actually be watching them still, but I know that's not very practical for a lot of people. At least the non-watching collectors out there are keeping them out of landfills, which obviously is a good thing.

      Thank you, I really don't like birthdays (mine), although at least this year's didn't seem to bring on as much depression as the last couple have.

  5. Nice. Yeah, whatever happened to Natasha Henstridge? *I* thought she was pretty cute.

    I'll be looking forward to the bottles and the Wrightson story.

    It's your birthday, huh? Ok, fine. lol

    1. Your guess is as good as mine! She wasn't the greatest of actors, so that might've had a little something to do with her disappearing from the limelight.

      Folks say that they're looking forward to the bottles, but I have a feeling that those posts will end up with both minimal views and comments, I guess we'll see when the time comes.

  6. Laser discs are cool. Very rare to find them in my neck of the woods but, I can remember when they first came out. The were pricey enough in the stores.

    Saw plenty of Godzilla and friends on tv growing up as one of our UHF local channels use to have what they called Creature Double Feature every Saturday. As I tend to think you like this stuff you can actually read a bit more about it here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creature_Double_Feature

    I also dated a girl when I was in my late teens who enjoyed horror flicks as much as I did. Especially the B-rated kind. It just so happened that there was a drive in Theater 15 minutes away that would load up on those kind of movies every Saturday night. I watched so so many. Too bad I can't remember most of them now but, had a great time back then.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my all time favorites. Two of my cousins and I went and saw that movie 14 times over the summer of 1981. Would take the bus from my relatives to the mall to see it. All 3 are extremely well done but the original is still by a landslide my favorite of the three.

    I'd also like to give a huge shout out and Happy Birthday wishes to David Hasselhoff.

    1. I didn't have the good fortune to have been around when they were introduced, but I have acquired quite the affinity for them over the years.

      I'm familiar with the Creature Double Feature, it's mentioned briefly in a book that I have. You're very lucky to have been around to experience so many of these great things.

      She might've been a keeper! Too bad you didn't keep a journal of some sorts, it would've been neat to hear about all of the films that you saw during that time.

      14 times? That's really impressive! Jurassic Park is the movie that holds my personal record for seeing the most times in the theatre, but even with that I only saw it four times.

      And I'm sure that The Hoff appreciates your birthday wishes :)