Author: Tom Panarese

Pop Culture Affidavit Episode 90: Geekfest! The 2018 Baltimore Comic-Con

Episode 90 Website CoverIt’s that time of year again! I go back to Baltimore for the 2018 Baltimore Comic-Con. And this time, I’m not alone! Join me and Brett as we meet Tom Grummett, Karl Kesel, Mike Zeck, and Terry Moore. Plus, we get to talk with author Andrea Rose Washington, author and artist Javier Cruz Winnik, artist Luke Daab, and spend the day with fellow comics podcasters Gene Hendricks, Stella, and the Irredeemable Shagg! It’s one of the most jam-packed convention episodes yet and it’s here just for you!

You can listen here:

iTunes:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

Here’s some links for the people I talked to at the show …

eacd16_ef2867debee740e298c7771813b9299dmv2Andrea Rose Washington, sci-fi/fantasy author:

company-logoLuke Daab, artist:

loveandcapes_stripThom Zahler, writer and artist:

7a58278b0805d1e2569c6eed9d89e177_originalJavier Cruz Winnik, writer and artist:

 

Advertisements

Take me to “The Church”

The Church DVDI have little to no experience with Italian horror films.  I mean, if I am being completely honest, I don’t have a ton of horror movie experience overall.  I was easily scared as a kid and kept my distance from horror flicks while at the same time always found myself lingering over the boxes of horror movies at the video store.  I’ve written about this before, but those boxes were almost pornographically alluring–this was the stuff only my dad was allowed to rent, and maybe I would catch a glimpse of it if I walked into the room while he was watching it.

Such was the case with The Church, a late 1980s film produced by Dario Argento and directed by Michele Soavi, which my dad rented at random sometime in 1990 or so and which my friends and I happened to catch the last half of one afternoon when he was home watching it (probably because he’d fallen asleep watching it the night before and needed to return the rental).  Back then, my experience with horror was limited to The Lost Boys, Fright Night, Carrie, and bits and pieces of horror movies that would air on TV, such as Dracula: Prince of Darkness.

I don’t think I understood what was going on when I watched The Church nearly 30 years ago and the movie didn’t scare me, but two images stuck with me:  a woman painted with weird symbols being put on an altar so that she could have ritualistic sex with a demon, and a naked woman making out with a demon who is grabbing her naked behind.  A couple of years later, I saw the latter image–which was Boris Vallejo’s “Vampire’s Kiss”–on some guy’s T-shirt when I was at Mission Beach in San Diego.

But I never saw The Church again, even in my browsing through the more random depths of the video stores of my youth and even when I had gotten over my trepidation about horror and rented some of the classics.  In fact, I had forgotten it had existed until I began compiling my list of topics for this blog and had thrown it into my Netflix queue where it lay buried until it showed up on the mail a few weeks ago.

Which segues into my very brief summary of the movie’s plot:  The Tetonic Knights slaughter a village of Satan worshippers, although one of them (played by a tween-aged Asia Argento) escapes.  They bury the bodies and over the years, a gothic cathedral is built on top of it.  Flash forward to modern day where a small group of main characters both accidentally and deliberately brings about the chain of events that will unleash the evil contained underneath.  All that stands between that evil and our world is Father Gus (Hugh Quarshie–Castigir from Highlander), who seems to be the only person in the entire film not possessed, driven insane, or otherwise affected by the coming evil.

This is not a movie that you watch for its story or for its character beats.  This is a movie you watch because when things get going, a lot of really weird shit happens.  People get possessed and rip out their own organs, they get impaled, they have sex with demons, they use other people’s severed heads to ring church bells–it’s almost like the writers sat around a room and brainstormed the hell out of what you could do to a group of people trapped in a demonically possessed gothic cathedral.

It’s not an all-time great movie, but I did find that The Church still stuck with me all these years later, much like it had in the 30 minutes or so that I saw back in 1990.  As of my writing this post, it’s not available on a streaming service, but a Blu-Ray was released earlier this year that apparently cleaned up some of the picture issues seen on the DVD and may have even remastered the sound (if there’s one thing you have to get used to, it’s the amount of dialogue that was obviously looped in post-production).  I’d check it out if you’re a fan of schlocky, crazy horror or really like gothic cathedrals.

In Country: Marvel Comics’ “The ‘Nam” — Episode 85

IC 85 Website CoverIt is an extra-sized episode and an extra-sized issue as The ‘Nam hits issue #75.  In four different stories that take us in country and back again, we look at events and perspectives surrounding the My Lai massacre.  Creators in this one include original ‘Nam writer Doug Murray, Scott Lobdell, Don Lomax, Mike Harris, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Herb Trimpe.

Plus, I also take a long look at the final season of China Beach with expanded coverage of the events of the season and its final three episodes.

You can download the episode via iTunes or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 84 direct link

Nam 75

When All the Stand-Ups Got Their Shows

There’s a line in Swingers where Mikey, played by Jon Favreau, talks about heading out to LA and mentions that part of it was because he was pretty sure they were “giving out sitcoms at the airport” to stand-up comics like him (or something like that, anyway).  Naturally, this isn’t true and Mike’s really a struggling actor and comedian who spends the better part of his days lamenting his breakup with his girlfriend back home in New York.  At the same time, there’s some truth to the line he has about stand-up comics and sitcoms, especially when you consider that both Jerry Seinfeld and Ray Romano had two of the longest-running sitcoms of the decade.

In 1993, NBC, which was riding the high of the success of two stand-up comedian-driven sitcoms, Mad About You and Seinfeld, decided to show off how much success it had been having by airing a one-hour primetime special called The NBC Super Special All-Star Comedy Hour.  Meant to be a showcase of current talent as well as upcoming shows, it kind of acted like a comedian and sitcom version of the Saturday morning cartoon preview shows that we used to love as kids–an hour to stay up later than usual to see what we’d be seeing in the fall.

This show, which was hosted by Bill Cosby with some help from Paul Reiser, was something that I actually had been pretty sure for years I was actually misremembering.  For years, I had been searching for some sort of evidence of it, evidence I thought would be easy to find since Reiser was on it, but a look at his IMDb profile didn’t bring anything up and I couldn’t find anything on the resumes of any of the other people I remembered.  Until, that is, this past summer, I was going through a pile of old videotapes that I had grabbed from my parents’ basement and there it was, sitting on one of those random tapes.  Yes, I’m sure I could have found this on YouTube if I really tried, but there was something so cool about scanning through an old VHS labeled “Tom’s Blank” and saying out loud to nobody at all, “I found it!  I’ve been looking for this for years!”

The picture quality was solid even though the sound on the tape had deteriorated quite a bit, but it was good enough for me to watch it all the way through and take some pictures along the way (because nothing says quality blogging than pointing my cell phone at the basement TV).

20180619_145357.jpg

We open with two women in NBC Peacock costumes doing a song and dance bit as Paul Reiser, who was going into his second season of Mad About You, which I think at that point was on Thursday nights at 8:00 with Seinfeld having officially moved into the 9:00 Thursday slot vacated by Cheers, doing a quick opening monologue before introducing Bill Cosby as well as Branford Marsalis and The Tonight Show Band, who were the musical accompaniment for the evening. (more…)