The Lightning Bug
The Lightning Bug is the Boss Man of the Moon. When he’s not teaching people how to talk like him (“reaaaal sexy”) or taking his flying wing out for a spin, he enjoys watching and reviewing all kinds of cult, exploitation, sci fi, b-movies, and horror goodness to bring to the people of Earth. New reviews come out every couple of days so check back early and often.
From the Desk of T.L. Bugg
My thoughts about movies can’t be contained by a brief profile. Legend has it they are bigger than a breadbox, and four times as dangerous, and with a better beard than George Eastman. Ok, that last part is not true… Here’s what is true. Five days a week. One year running. Reviews at your service. Thanks for visiting the Lightning Bug’s Lair.
Greenville, South Carolina, United States
Fabio Testi, the last time we saw him he came out of the grab bag with a gripping performance in What Have You Done To Solonge? With a beard and cardigan he was the very manner of the '70's scamp. Tonight's film finds him in a very different seventies, but still a scoundrel in his own right. The clean shaven Stubby Preston fancies himself as a dandy and a card sharp, but soon he will be one of the... Four of the Apocalypse (1975) starring Fabio Testi, Thomas Milian, Lynn Frederick, Michael J. Pollard, and Harry Baird. Directed by Lucio Fulci. It's Utah, 1873, and the town of Salt Flats is as wild as they come. Card sharp Stubby Preston hits town with a suitcase of tricks only get accosted by the local sheriff and thrown into a cell. Turns out to be a lucky turn for the gambler when the town erupts in vigilante justice. Masked gunmen stalk the streets cutting down anyone involved in unsavory activities. The sheriff cast a blind eye while he sneaks his prisoners out the back. And so Stubby Preston sets out across the flats with his three companions. Stubby is joined by town drunk Clem (Pollard), the crazy or clairvoyant Bud (Baird), and pregnant prostitute Bunny (Frederick). They begin to form an unlikely band as they avoid gunmen, encounter the faithful, and scrape to survive. While having a meager dinner, they are joined by Chaco (Miliard), a strange gunman with dead eye aim, who wants to join the group in their travels. The gunman offers his services as a hunter, but soon proves to be protection as they are ambushed. Stubby and the group soon discover all is not as it seems when the assailants turn out to be the law, and Chacoexacts a bloody execution. Soon the group falls under his sway, all except Mr. Preston. When Chaco convinces his companions ...Read More
Heya, Moonies. As you may have noticed I made a few changes to my weekly lineup. Gone are the Sunday Funnies and in it's place you'll now find The Grab Bag. I've started this segment because I felt that I had given myself precious little wiggle room on what to cover, and some of what I was losing is my original focus on horror. So with The Grab Bag on Sundays, It Came From Video Tape on Mondays, and Terrifying Tuesdays, it will give me more of a chance to cover Horror flicks, but don't be surprised to find a comedy, musical, or who knows what on Sundays. I just review what The Bag tells me to, and can you blame me that Bag looks crazy. Without further ado, I give you.... What Have You Done To Solange? (1972) starring Fabio Testi, Karin Baal, Cristina Galbo, Joachim Fuschsberger, and Camille Keaton. Directed by Massimo Dallamano. Enrico Rosseni (Testi), a gym teacher at a Catholic high school in London, is having an affair with Elizabeth (Galbo) right under the nose of his stoic wife Herta (Baal). One afternoon while they are out together, Elizabeth claims to see a murder happen, but Enrico does not believe her until the next day when it is reported on the news. He rushes to the scene and sees it was where they were yesterday. Enrico comes under suspicion when a picture of him at the crime scene turns up in the newspaper. Soon the police and his wife learn of his dalliances. As other girls begin to turn up dead, the heat is turned up on the teacher, but when Elizabeth becomes a victim and a priest is seen leaving the scene, Enrico is finally cleared. Soon the gym teacher is on the case as well, and clues lead him to learn of a mysterious girl named ...Read More
Welcome back to week 3 of Feature Presentation:The Nightmare on Christmas. Having already seen wrestlers grapple with puns in Santa's Slay and why traumatized kids should never grow up to play Santa in Silent Night, Deadly Night, this week's feature includes a special Christmas treat for me, or so I thought. As I've stated many, many, many (perhaps too many) times on The Lair, I have quite a predilection for the films of Debbie Rochon. After seeing her in a bit part in Mulva:Zombie Asskicker and taking the lead role in the sequel Mulva 2:Kill Teen Ape, I quickly became a fan and began to track down her films. So when i came across this Christmas themed flick which promises festive slasher goodness with not only the pedigree of Ms Rochon but also veteran horror flick writer/director John Russo, I thought I was in for some fun. Well there is a little fun to have but overall I wish I had never crossed paths with.... Santa Claws (1996) starring Debbie Rochon, Grant Cramer, John Mowad, Marilyn Eastman, and Karl Hardman. Directed by John Russo. Rayven Quinn (Rochon) has got it all, or so it seems. She's a top b-movie actress for Scream productions and she's got two darling daughters, but there's trouble at home between her and her photographer husband Eric (Mowad). While he goes off to the midwest for a photo shoot,Rayven is left to prepare for Christmas on her own. Little does she know that mild mannered next door neighbor Wayne is actually a former killer. When he was a kid he shot his mom and her boyfriend in a fit of oedipal rage. Now on the streets and reformed, he has found a new obsession in the Scream Queen starlet. He hordes tons of memorabilia of Rayven's ...Read More
Hello folks, and welcome to October. Let me tell you, I’m super excited for Halloween this year. It’s my favorite time of year, as I am sure it is for many of the LBL’s readers, and it just so happens that I have an incredible way to kick off the month. What I’m talking about is an early look at Grave Encounters 2. You may recall my review of Grave Encounters which I paired with the classic British spookshow Ghost Watch for an article I cleverly titled Grave Encounters on a Ghost Watch. The first Grave Encounters focused on Lance Preston (Sean Robertson) and his band of Ghost Adventuresque paranormal hunters who stumbled into an abandoned asylum which was filled with actual ghosts. Through the found footage film, we see the team gets picked off as time and space begin to have no meaning in the supernatural vortex in which they have stepped. In other words, it was one of my favorite movie conceits, ghost hunters find more than they were bargaining for. Grave Encounters was easily one of my favorite movies of 2011, and I’ve actually gone back to it on a couple of occasions when I wanted to watch a quality spook show. So when I got the e-mail inviting me so see a pre-release screener ofGrave Encounters 2, I leapt at the opportunity. While I didn’t know what direction the film might take, I was interested to see what driving force, The Vicious Brothers, had in mind for this installment. Generally sequels are a tricky proposition, and sequels to found footage films are even more bothersome (I count myself as one the folks who lost all interest after Paranormal Activity 1.) as there has to be some cogent reason why all this footage has been found. Well, ...Read More
Welcome back to B.L.O.G. and the second week of looking at porn stars gone mainstream. When I think porn stars certain names come to mind right off, Seka, Christy Canyon, Anna Malle, and Raquel Darrian always spring to mind. These are the gals that I discovered early on in my porn watching life, and they still rank as some of the best I have seen. While none of these stars ever made the break into mainstream movies, there is one actress who not only gave it a shot, but also still occasionally shows up in a major motion picture. She’s the ultimate girl next door, a blonde goddess, a porn legend, and she is… In 1983, after answering an advertisement for a modeling agency, Ginger Lynn made her adult debut in the pages of Penthouse magazine, and less than a year later, she was shooting her first adult scene with none other than the Hedgehog himself, Ron Jeremy. Ginger starred in 69 films over her three years in the adult industry, but starting in 1987, she began her transition to mainstream films with starring roles in Blow Off! (1987), Wild Man (1989), and Hollywood Boulevard II (1989). She would continue to appear in films over the years, but missed her chance at a big break when she almost landed the Sharon Stone part in Casino. Recently, as well as returning to porn, Ginger Lynn appeared as the object of Captain Spaulding’s fantasy girl in The Devil’s Rejects. Tonight I want to talk to you about one of the mainstream films Ginger is most known for. It’s not one of her biggest roles, but perhaps one of her best. Plus, she wrestles with Linnea Quigley. With that being said who wouldn’t want to enroll in…. Vice Academy (1989) starring Linnea Quigley, ...Read More
From the first shot, a intense close-up of teeth that pulls out slowly to reveal the sweaty upper lip, the eyes, and the horn rim glasses of William ‘D-Fens’ Foster, director Joel Schumacher establishes the pressure cooker feeling pervades his 1993 film Falling Down. As he sits in a traffic jam, the inside of his car seems to be visibly steaming with heat as he sits motionless. The world is a cacophony of sound. The air conditioner doesn’t work. The window won’t roll down. A child stares. The sharp, pointed,painted on teeth of a stuffed Garfield doll suddenly become filled with malice. William Foster has had enough, and all he wants to do is go home. So he gets out of his car and begins a journey that will take him far into the depth of Los Angeles and far out of his mind. These days Joel Schumacher is best remembered as the man who put nipples on Batman, but in the late ’80’s he was on an incredible run of films that conventional wisdom would say started with 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire. If you ask me it kicked off two years earlier with D.C. Cab. I mean that film had Busey in it, and that alone merits it a mention in a post about crazy people in films. After looking at all sides of death with Flatliners, The Lost Boys, and Dying Young, Schumacher turned his eye to the world of the living with Falling Down. The script by actor and occasional screenwriter Ebbe Roe Smith was so prescient of the tension building on the streets of L.A. that while the film was being shot, the riots that followed the O.J. Simpson verdict broke out. After Falling Down came out, Michael Douglas’ performance as the out of work defense ...Read More
Heya folks. Welcome to my second new feature this month, Thanksgiving with Alejandro. When I was trying to come up with a feature this month, I really wanted to feature a director I wasn’t all that familiar with and do something with Thanksgiving. Perusing my DVDs, my eyes landed on my as yet untouched Alejandro Jowderowky box set, and I thought, “What person would be stranger to have at your family dinner than the legendary Mexican freak out director?.” It didn’t take much thinking after that to come up with the feature, and that brings us back to today. Jowderowky is a director who I’ve read plenty about, heard several pod casts about his films, and seen some clips in various film documentaries, but I’ve been hesitant to check out his films. I like to profess I would give any film an even shot, but art house films, of any stripe, are something of a sticking point. That being said, I chose to review Alejandro’s films in order. It left me in the uncomfortable position of my first film being his most art house, Fando Y Lis, a film that had drawn comparisons to the work of Luis Buñuel and Fedrico Fellini. A film so revolutionary in 1968 to the point where it caused rioting when it appeared at the Acapulco Film Festival and went on to be banned in Mexico for years. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was getting into, and the experience turned out to be as difficult as I expected. Alejandro’s film is full of unexpected wonder and strange imagery that didn’t make me want to riot in the streets as much as scratch my chin as the film unfolded. Fando (Sergio Kleiner), an impotent, possibly sexually confused dumbass, travels the post apocalyptic ...Read More
Once again, it’s time to throw open the video tape vaults here at the Lair and delve into another diabolical selection from the world of VHS. That’s right; it’s time for another thrilling installment of It Came From Video Tape. Today’s selection, I, Madman, is one that I recall staring at me from the racks of my local video emporium, and now that I got my hands on a copy, I cold not resist firing up the old VCR and giving it a whirl. Plus, I love things that start with I and a Comma, I, Robot (Asimov’s book not Will Smith’s travesty), Christopher Lee’s I, Monster, and the British mini-series I, Claudius come to mind. So with a name like I, Madman and the director of The Gate at the helm, it’s time to press play and see if I‘ll be a happy Bugg or if it ends up with me being I, Mad Man. Virginia (Jenny Wright) just can’t get enough of Malcolm Brand’s books. After reading his first novel, Much of Madness, More of Sin, she scours the used bookstore she works in to find his other tome, I, Madman. She can’t find it, but when she comes home from acting class, she finds a package containing the book on her doorstep. Virginia can’t put the book down much to the chagrin of her boyfriend Richard (Clayton Rohner). She is deeply disturbed by the book, but can’t get enough of the story of the demented Doctor Kessler. In the book, Kessler is harvesting facial features to make himself more attractive to a girl who says he is ugly. As Virginia gets deeper into the book, the book gets deeper into her world. Murders that are eerily similar to the ones Virginia reads about begin to happen around ...Read More
So last week I took some for watching non-traditional giallo The House with Laughing Windows and coming away with less than a smile on my face. For this week I thought I would look at another giallo that doesn’t fit the typical mold. While La ragazza dal pigiama giallo (a.k.a The Pajama Girl Case or The Girl in the Yellow Pajamas) definitely doesn’t try to be your average giallo, but it maintains some elements including the amateur detective (sort of), stylish locales (well, Australia), and foreigners (in this case an Italian) living abroad. By taking elements from gialli and mixing them up with a clever twist, director Flavio Mogherini created a singular film that stands out from the legion of rote gialli. When a woman’s body in yellow pajamas is found on an Australian beach, the police are baffled, but retired detective Inspector Thompson (Ray Milland) takes the opportunity to get back to solving crimes. Glenda Blythe (Dalila Di Lazzaro) is a promiscuous young woman with a trio of lovers, a distinguished college professor, a macho lunkhead, and a sweet waiter who worships her. She marries the waiter, but that doesn’t stop her from seeing her other lovers. As Thompson closes in on the killer, his story and Glenda’s draw ever closer. When they meet, the solution to the crime becomes all too clear. In some ways Mogherini’s film is like an ancient episode of Law & Order, and if Milland’s Inspector was not retired, I would be tempted to call this one more of a poliziotteschi than a giallo. Another thing that might almost knock it from the giallo label is the absence of a pile of bodies as the film only boasts two murders. What was key to me deciding if I was going to call this one ...Read More
As I wasn’t able to get around to as many of the Horrorhound Weekend attendees as I wanted to, I thought I would compile this little primer out of the Lair’s archives for myself and anyone else that's going to be in attendance. I guess I’ll start off with top billed Corey Feldman. While I recall liking some of the two Coreys movies when I was a lad, they haven't really stayed with me, and as one of the few horror fans who could care less about The Lost Boys, Feldman doesn't really excite me much. He was in Gremlins though, and here's a review of the film from a previous Ladies Night that never mentions Corey at all. Now, let's move on to people I actually look forward to seeing if not getting a chance to meet. First off, Barbara Steele. I'm totally stoked she's going to be in attendance, and I am definitely going to meet her. I don't have anything brilliant to take to have her sign so I might try and find something once I am there. I hold Ms. Steele in the highest regard, and I have fond memories of old favorites like Black Sunday and She Beast as well as more recent watches like The Horrible Doctor Hichock, Then there's Sid Haig. Ask ask of my friends and they'll tell you that I love this guy. Plus he worked with Eddie Romero, and I'm interested to ask him about any recollections of The Woman Hunt. (review is about halfway down the page). He's also appearing for a special ($50) photo op in his Captain Spalding makeup. It's kind of going to be hard to pass that up, and well, I might not. Andrew Robinson,sheesh. You're talking about a guy who co-starred with Pinhead and Dirty Harry. Robinson looks like a creep naturally ...Read More