Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Max Allan Collins Movie Reveiwer

Ed here: About the new Batman movie Al/Max Collins has this to say today on his fine blog:

"Speaking of Batman, count me among the minority who found THE DARK KNIGHT RISES the latest candidate for “Emperor’s New Clothes” status. The pretentiousness and the self-importance on display are almost as unbearable as the length of the thing, which contains more absurdities than a Dr. Seuss book (but is far less fun). What I come away with most are the unintelligible dialogue exchanges between pro-wrestler-like Bane, whose mouth is covered by a pointlessly grotesque mask, and Bale’s Batman, who talks in his now trademark low, lispy spooky Batman voice – not that any of it is worth hearing. Their muffled back-and-forth is the stuff that Riff Trax are made of. And if you like kettle drums, you’ll just love the score. Perfect for an endless Samoan war dance.

"On the plus side, Anne Hathaway makes a perfectly fine Catwoman who actually injects some humor into the mix (a rarity in these dour films). And while I like Ms. Hathaway’s rear view just fine, was it really necessary to design a bat-cycle that has her riding it prone with her butt in their air? Just wondering."

Ed here: Now if I bothered to see it I'd probably agree with Al. The review also reminded me of the letters I used to get about Al's long time movie review back when I was editing Mystery Scene. I could always count on him to stir things up. People either loved or loathed his reviews. As I recall after a few years the lovers outnumbered the loathers. I loved them.

I didn't always agree with Al. Still don't (see Adam Sandler who I can't believe gets work outside of handing out Big Macs through a drive-up window.) But Al's such a good writer and astute critic that I enjoy his reviews not only for his discussions of movies but just for the pleasure of reading him. His reviews were collected not too long ago. Somebody should make the book available in e form.

One thing I've always admired about his film reviews is his abhorrence of pretense. Some of these comic book movies--to name just one example--get treated with the kind of reverence usually reserved for films that have proved over decades to be masterpieces.

I'll admit to saying this with something of a grudge. When John Carter of Mars came out it was trashed in an orgy of loathing. That's fair. But to me it was not only a thoroughly entertaining movie and one--as a lifelong Edgar Rice Burroughs fan--that brought ERB's Mars to real life.

So I was laughing with great pleasure as I read Al's trashing of Batman's pomposity. And I'm sure he's right about Anne Hathaway's bottom. The rest of her is pretty damned nice, too.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bad Movie Histories Crown International

Ed here: I've never been a big fan of bad movie. True there are some true gems among the C-level pics but as with self-published books (though this is changing because so many pros are getting in the game) the odds are against you as to you begin to plow through mile high stacks of terrible writing.

But as you know I love Hwood history so histories of the little production companies that produced these movies fascinate me. Here from TCM Movie Morlocks is a brief bit from a long and enjoyable article on Crown International..

"Jacobs’ daughter, Marilyn J. Tenser, and her husband, Mark Tenser, became more involved as Crown executives at the start of the 1970s. “Mark knew dollars and cents but creatively he wasn’t that strong,” Crutcher says. “Red, on the other hand, was very good in all departments.” However, one department the Tensers excelled in was acquisitions. “I’d say they looked at six or seven films a week,” remembers Crutcher, who worked closely with the couple during the production ofSTANLEY (1972) and SUPERCHICK (1973). “They brought me in to see everything they screened for consideration. I saw a film with Lyle Waggoner in it called LOVE ME DEADLY (1973), which was about necrophilia. Another one I saw with them was LITTLE LAURA AND BIG JOHN (1973), which they actually ended up distributing. I thought it was pretty good, but when the lights came up I could see they weren’t a bit impressed by it. I told them it had a unique setting in the Everglades and that I liked the vintage cars and Karen Black, but they were ho-hum about it, and that’s why I was surprised later when I found out they had acquired it. I don’t think that was my doing at all though. They probably got a good price on it.” Sometimes filmmakers would screen incomplete movies for Crown in an attempt to interest Jacobs in putting up the funds needed to complete the pictures. This was writer-director Lee Frost’s plan for THE CHAIN, a low-budget prison escape movie released by Crown in 1971 as CHAIN GANG WOMEN (1971). As the late Frost explained to Shock Cinema magazine in 2002, “I got some guys together and we shot that, but then I got an AIP picture I had to do, which I think was CHROME AND HOT LEATHER (1971). So I put THE CHAIN on a shelf, didn’t touch it for a year, and one day I’m sittin’ there watching it, and I said, ‘Y’know, this picture has merit. This can be something in the major market.’ My partner [Wes Bishop] said, ‘I’ll talk to Red Jacobs about it at Crown and see what happens.’ So I made a presentation for them. I ran a part of the picture and I said, ‘Now we’re going to shoot this, this, this, and this,’ and then I ran another piece of the picture, did the same thing, and nobody understood what I was saying. They wouldn’t do anything with it. I said to my partner, ‘Let’s raise the money from somebody else.’ So we raised some more money, shot it, did all the stuff that you see in the picture — the chains, the guys fighting in the mountains, helicopter shots of the truck moving and all that — and then we finished it off with the old picture. We showed it to Crown, and they said, ‘Whoa, this is great!’ and they took it. I said, ‘But that’s what I was telling you — youassholes.’”

“They were more into the action pictures and sexy things than horror, but they’d look at anything,” Crutcher remembers of Crown. “If you were legit, you could call them up and very easily get a screening appointment. And they had a knack for knowing what would sell and how they could sell it.”

for the entire piece from TCM Movie Morlocks go here:


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Julius Katz by Dave Zeltserman; Top Suspense Group

Julius Katz and Archie (Julius Katz Detective)

ok Description

May 13, 2011
The award-winning Julius Katz mysteries have delighted thousands of mystery fans since first appearing on the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009, winning a Shamus, Derringer and Ellery Queen's Readers Choice Award . 'Julius Katz' introduced readers to Boston's most brilliant, eccentric and possibly laziest detective, Julius Katz, as well as his sidekick, Archie, a tiny marvel of whiz-bang computer technology with the heart and soul of a hard-boiled PI.

Now in Julius Katz and Archie's first full-length mystery, the stakes have never been higher when a famous Boston mystery writer, Kenneth Kingston, tells Julius he wants to find out who's planning to kill him. The problem is almost everyone in Kingston's life has good reason to want to kill him, and this case soon plunges Julius and Archie deep into the world of murder and publishing.

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Vicki Hendricks , Dave Zeltserman , Naomi Hirahara , Lee Goldberg ,Stephen Gallagher , Libby Fischer Hellmann , Harry Shannon , Paul Levine, Ed Gorman , Bill Crider

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Book Description

July 19, 2012
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Livia J. Washburn

"Earlier my daughter said she was going to cut her nails on the porch. Now my hearing isn't awful, but it's certainly not what it used to be. I heard that she was going to go cut her nails with a fork. I honestly sat there pondering how in the world she was going to do that, when I realized she'd gone out on the porch. Then did the mental smack of the head."

Livia Washburn is one talented and sweet woman. The above was posted on her blog the other night. I laughed out loud. My hearing sure ain't that good any more either.

The other night Carol and I sat on the family room couch maybe four feet apart, the space between us filled with three of our cats. When CBS Evening News Scott Pelley said "Good Night" and Carol said "Good Night, Scott" I thought she'd made some remark about my "socks." So I said "So what's wrong with my socks?" She looked at my socks and said "Nothing. Why?" "Because you made some kind of remark about them." "No I didn't." She looked at me if I'd finally gone irretrievably around the bend. "Yeah you did. A minute ago." Then she laughed. "I said "Good Night Scott. I was talking back to the TV screen." Maybe I HAVE gone irretrievably around the bend. I'm getting just as bad at scanning headlines. I always have to carefully reread headline that startle me because these days I sometimes mis-read them. And I'm wearing my brand new Mt. Palomars, too.

And speaking of Livia...

New Book Available From Livia:

It's been a busy week! Not only did I publish James's new book FORT WORTH NIGHTS, I wrapped up A PECK OF PICKLED WARLOCKS, the second book in my Tongue-Tied Witch series, and now it's on sale as well for both the Kindle and the Nook. This 61,000 word novel wraps up all the plotlines from the first book in the series and is full of action, humor, and romance in a fast-paced story that takes the reader from the picturesque Gulf Coast of Texas to the glittering lights of Las Vegas.

It's been wIGHTS, I wrapped up A PECK OF PICKLED WARLOCKS, the second book in my Tongue-Tied Witch series, and now it's on sale as well for both the Kindle and the Nook. This 61,000 word novel wraps up all the plotlines from the first book in the series and is full of action, humor, and romance in a fast-paced story that takes the reader from the picturesque Gulf Coast of Texas to the glittering lights of Las Vegas.

To celebrate the release of A PECK OF PICKLED WARLOCKS, the first book in the series, WITCH GOT YOUR TONGUE, is now on sale for both the Kindle and the Nook for 99 cents. If you've been meaning to give this series a try, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. I really love writing them and hope some of you enjoy them as much as I do.

Friday, July 27, 2012

One of my all-time favorite private eyes: James Reasoners' Cody

Fort Worth Nights: A Collection of Cody PI Stories

Only $2.99

FORT WORTH NIGHTS reprints all the short fiction featuring Cody, the private eye protagonist of New York Times best-selling author James Reasoner's first novel, the cult classic TEXAS WIND. Available for the first time in one place are the acclaimed stories "Dead in Friday", "The Elephant's Graveyard", "The Spanish Blade", "The Safest Place in the World", and "In the Blood". Plus, FORT WORTH NIGHTS marks the first publication anywhere of the first new Cody story in nearly 25 years, a 10,000 word novelette entitled "Assisted Dying". Over 50,000 words in collection.
Ed Gorman calls Cody's first appearance TEXAS WIND "one of the finest private eye novels I've ever read . . . a virtually perfect utterance, a story of a man, an era, and a place". If you haven't made Cody's acquaintance yet, FORT WORTH NIGHTS is the perfect introduction.

From James:Cody is back. FORT WORTH NIGHTS, now available on Amazon, collects the five stories I wrote in the Eighties about Fort Worth private eye Cody, the protagonist of my first novel TEXAS WIND. But that's not all. I figured there was a good chance I'd never write another Cody story, but publishing this collection seemed like a perfect opportunity to do just that. So . . . FORT WORTH NIGHTS also includes the first new Cody story in almost 25 years, a 10,000 word novelette called "Assisted Dying". It's not a flashback or anything like that. Cody's older and so am I, but we're both still plugging away at it. What's more, I had great fun writing this story and, uh, Cody might be back again one of these days. Sooner than 25 more years, I hope. I also hope some of you will check out FORT WORTH NIGHTS and that you enjoy these stories. (Livia designed a great cover for the book, too.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

About Terry Manion by Dick Lochte


Terry Manion, the private detective protagonist of my two New Orleans-based novels, BLUE BAYOU and THE NEON SMILE (both now happily back in print as trade paperbacks and as eBooks, from Perfect Crime Books), began his fictional life in a supporting role as a loser and a victim.

The loser part was explained by his back story. Manion’s mother died in the delivery room and he was raised by a distant but indulgent father, growing up protected and somewhat isolated from the harsher side of life by wealth and social position. He attended the best schools, married well and was just beginning a career in the diplomatic corps when his father committed suicide by jumping from a high window of the bank where he had been president.

Suddenly orphaned and ostracized for his father’s sins (a rumor floated through the city that Manion’s father had embezzled a small fortune that the bank was keeping secret from its depositors), Terry found himself unprotected, unemployed, nearly penniless and divorced. As one of the book’s characters explains, “When Jack Manion took that ten-story jump onto St. Charles Avenue, he might as well have pulled his boy after him. Poor Terry’s been going downhill ever since.”

He was on the brink of suicide-by-bourbon when Nadia Welles, the elderly CEO of a statewide detective agency, rescued him, very much against his wishes. She felt obliged to help him because of an as yet unspecified relationship she’d had with his father, possibly going back to the time when she was one of the crescent city’s most infamous and successful madams. She saw to Manion’s drying out, then put him through a rigorous apprenticeship with her agency’s best sleuth, a former NOPD homicide detective named J.J. Legendre.

All of this was in Manion’s past the moment he appeared in my second novel, LAUGHING DOG. Like my debut book, SLEEPING DOG, its two main sleuths were Leo Bloodworth, a middle aged Los Angeles private eye, and his self-proclaimed “assistant,” Serendipity Dahlquist, a precocious teenager smarter, more resourceful and more pragmatic than he.

I wanted the sequel to delve a little deeper into the darker, more demented side of Southern California’s sunny paradise. Since Leo and Serendipity, being L.A. natives, were familiar with and adaptable to the city’s obvious and subtle challenges, I felt I needed a new character, preferably a capable one, who would get into trouble because of an unfamiliarity with the territory. I was thinking of PSYCHO’s self-confident private eye, Arbogast (a great Chandler-like name, by the way), strolling into Norman Bates’ house to be confronted by something quite beyond his expectation or capability.

Enter Terry Manion of New Orleans, searching for his ex-wife’s errant niece and convinced that surviving nearly a decade as a PI in the Crescent City has equipped him to handle anything he might find in the City of the Angels. Too young to have a memory of the Manson killings and too early for the Watts riots, he meet his own brand of nightmare at the hands of villains who in short order seduce, kidnap and hook him on drugs. My original plan was for him to be murdered, but he turned out to be such an odd, complex character, I wanted to find out more about him.

Because of that, and thanks to the efforts of Leo and Serendipity, he survives to become the lead of my third and fourth novels. BLUE BAYOU begins with Manion recovering from his West Coast vacation in rehab at a “spa” in Louisiana’s Evangeline country, with his string of hard luck not quite played out. He doesn’t know it but his mentor J.J. Legendre has been murdered, the death officially declared a suicide.

Because of Manion’s association with Legendre, three men have become suddenly interested in him -- an uninhibited, outspoken but oddly likeable cop named Eben Munn, Reeves Benedetto, the cool, handsome, over-educated son of the local Mafia don, and Marcus Steiner, a bestselling author and recovering addict who has asked to become his sobriety sponsor.

Even though Manion is back on home turf, living in his familiar house in the French Quarter, in close proximity of friends like Nadia Wells, he experiences a sense of uncertainty that keeps him an outsider. Some of it has to do with the diligence required to stay drug and booze-free in a paradise for the self-indulgent. Most of it is his determination to find out why J.J. Legendre was murdered and who did it.

In spite of interference from Munn, Benedetto and Steiner, among others, Manion succeeds. But it takes a couple of shootouts, several other murders, a Cajun Romeo and Juliet romance, the emergence of legalized gambling and a trip through the Louisiana swamplands with J.J.’s killer before the job is done. The novel ends with Manion seemingly on his way to happiness with Munn’s sister, Lucille.

THE NEON SMILE begins with Lucille accepting an invitation from her former lover to return to Boston. Trying to keep his mind off of the broken romance, Manion allows himself to be talked into working for Pierre Reynaldo, the exploitation king of cable TV. The assignment is for him to research the 30-year-old suicide in prison of an African American named Tyrone Pano, AKA the Panther Man, who’d been the leader of a militant organization called The Southern Cross. Reynaldo’s Crime Busters TV series is planning an episode exposing Pano as an FBI agent and his death as murder.

Manion discovers that his late mentor, J.J. Legendre, had been involved in Pano’s arrest during his years on the NOPD. At that point, the book takes a three decade backward leap, with Legendre guiding readers through New Orleans in the mid-1960s as he investigates not only Tyrone Pano’s supposed suicide but the murders of several young women by a killer calling himself the Meddler, a name used by a murderer back in the voodoo era of Marie Laveau.

In the course of nearly a third of the book, Legendre solves both crimes. But, thirty years later, Manion discovers that his mentor, the man he most respected, made a few mistakes and these old mistakes are having fatal consequences.

I wanted to write a novel about how the passage of time changes, or more to the point, doesn’t change things in New Orleans. It occurred to me that a comparison of the city as it was in the mid-Sixties, a period when it faced social and racial upheaval, to what was then the 1995 present, would suggest that the same old problems still existed.

My most vivid memories of Nola come from the late Sixties, which is when I moved away. Every time I have returned, even after Katrina, that period remains my point of reference. Neighborhoods change. Streetcars are replaced by busses. The river rises. Restaurants come and go. My family and friends grow older. But New Orleans remains oddly the same -- infuriatingly traditional and yet exotic, conservative and flamboyant, religious and decadent, violent and always exciting.

Because I am a New Orleans native who did a few odd jobs with a local detective agency during college, back when the novels were first published I was often asked how much of the material was autobiographical. Well, Manion is younger than I was when the books were written, and blond and thin and needs eyeglasses to see. (Michael Caine in THE IPCRESS FILE was my point of reference.) He’s divorced. He has an older sister. His mother died in childbirth and his father committed suicide. He’s a recovering addict. And he solves murders.

Other than that we’re practically identical.

Actually, some of Manion’s memories -- of a traveling salesman grandfather who took him on trips through the Cajun countryside, of school days and people and places and restaurants and night life -- are my memories, too. And, since we’re both still making memories, I haven’t written Terry off. There have been a couple of short stories. And, not long ago, I started a new Manion novel, tentatively titled DEAD MAN’S BLUES, set about five years after THE NEON SMILE, at the start of the new millennium.

In it, a young, very successful, very undisciplined local horror novelist (“a freaky follower of Ann Rice”) hires Manion to look for the diary of an executed murderer rumored to have sold his soul to the devil. In the course of a suspenseful and dangerous investigation, Manion will probably not have a confrontation with Satan, at least not literally. But he will finally discover the true story of his father’s relationship to Nadia Wells and whether Jack Manion’s death really was a suicide.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dead Man Series: The Beast Within, Fire & Ice, Carnival of Death

Dead Man Vol 3 (The Beast Within, Fire & Ice, Carnival of Death)

Kindle Purchase Price:$4.99

Ed here: These Bill Crider's contributions to this great series. Knockout stories! This is my kind of pulp fiction.
After dying in a freak accident, Matt Cahill inexplicably “wakes up” three months later with the disturbing ability to see things—terrible things—that others cannot. Drafted as a warrior in the battle between good and evil, Matt will stop at nothing to destroy the malevolent Mr. Dark. In The Dead Man Volume 3, a trio of sinister new stories tracks the reluctant hero on his nightmarish quest.

Matt’s search for a paranoid visionary who claims to have defeated a supernatural entity like Mr. Dark leads him deep into the Michigan woods. But when he finds himself trapped in a bloody siege between warring factions, his only hope for escape from an unstoppable advance of mayhem, carnage, and black magic is to trust his instincts, grab his ax, and unleash the ferocity of The Beast Within.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What You Don’t Know About Elvis the Movie Star, Part 1

TCM Movie Morlocks by Susan Coll

Next month, TCM has scheduled an Elvis Presley Day as part of Summer Under the Stars. On August 16, which is the anniversary of Presley’s death and the high point of Elvis Presley Week in Memphis, TCM will air 14 of the King’s films. This represents almost half of his 33-film career. One of the selections is a documentary (Elvis on Tour); another is a signature film that includes some of his best songs (Jailhouse Rock); some films represent the best of his musical comedies (Viva, Las Vegas; Girl Happy); others are prime examples of those much-maligned “Presley Travelogues” (Harum Scarum; Double Trouble; Speedway; Spinout; and more.)

Elvis’s movies are brutally criticized especially by rock ‘n’ roll historians who still blame his film career for his shift to pop music. And, many biographers and pop culture historians are convinced that if it weren’t for Colonel Tom Parker, then Presley would have been a really good actor. These are the most prevalent perspectives on his movie career, and these two (mis)assumptions or over-simplifications tend to overshadow any fun facts, unusual aspects, or noteworthy observations about his decade in Hollywood. In my years of writing about Elvis Presley, I have collected hundreds of newspaper, fanzine, and magazine articles that chronicle his career as it unfolded. These articles are filled with tasty tidbits, ridiculous opinions by columnists, humorous quotes by actors and celebrities, and insight into how popular movies were promoted in another era. To celebrate Elvis Presley Day, I offer a two-part series: Today’s post is devoted to titillating and tantalizing tidbits; next week, I will offer quotes, opinions, and perspectives on Elvis from columnists, reviewers, and stars.

for the rest go here:http://moviemorlocks.com/2012/07/23/what-you-dont-know-about-elvis-the-movie-star-part-1/