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Showing posts from 2020

So long, and thanks for all the fish

All things must pass.

I started this blog almost five years ago and now it feels like the time to end it. Everything falls apart, after all. It was a hell of a ride, but I'm ready to hit refresh and begin anew. Now you can find me at my new site, The Starfire Lounge. Susie Diamond sang there, you know. Stop by, catch a performance, and stay awhile.

I've been ready to do this for a year or more, and I'm thrilled to make this move. Even so, some part of me will miss it here. After having lost my way for a time, this is where I dipped my toes back into the writing pool and then branched out to contribute regularly at a number of sites, most of which I still write for today. It also gave me the confidence to contribute several chapters to three upcoming books, all of which are still in production, but you can be sure that I'll let you know - over at the Starfire, of course - when they're published. All of this, everything I've done these last five years with my wr…

Misspent Youth: Randi Brooks

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen-Xer's gloriously misspent youth.

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A note on the series and this site: This might be the final post in the "Misspent Youth" series - at least here. Maybe it'll eventually move with me. Oh, right, I buried the lede: I've moved, and would love for you to come visit me at my new site, The Starfire Lounge! Moving forward, this site will likely cease to be updated, but will remain around for posterity and your continued reading pleasure. I have a few more things to post here over the coming days or weeks as a sort of "everything must go" send-off to the old girl. I also plan to write a final farewell post to my main online home for the last five years. Stay tuned and, as always, thanks for reading.

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It's no surprise that the talented but now mostly forgotten Randi Brooks would make an appearance in the Misspent Youth series. She may not be a household name, but her resume is packed with 1980s to…

This Workout'll Kill You: Aerobicide, aka Killer Workout

I recently revisited Aerobicide (1987), also known as Killer Workout, a film that's usually considered a fairly unremarkable example of the slasher genre. The plot is straightforward enough: a mysterious killer is murdering people at a posh Hollywood health spa. His or her weapon of death? A large safety pin, of course. I mean, if that isn't remarkable, I don't know what is.


While the film's plot might be simple, the final act makes tries to throw in a bunch of shocker twists, none of which make a lick of sense. The acting throughout is mostly forgettable, except when star Marcia Karr glares menacingly at everyone, which she does in almost every scene. She's glorious as Rhonda, owner of the aptly named Rhonda's Workout. There are also some laughably silly fight scenes between big burly dudes with mullets. The kill scenes are quick and dirty, nothing too memorable.


If this all sounds like I'm telling you Aerobicide isn't worth your time, that is so not t…

Capsule Reviews: Splatter University

Quick-hit movie reviews for the masses.

Slasher University is definitely one of the dopier slashers of its era, but there's still enjoyment to be had reveling in its endearing amateurism. It feels like a student film padded out to feature length. In fact, 65 minutes of it were filmed in 1981 by director Richard W. Haines, with additional scenes shot the next year to bump it up to a brisk 78 minute running time, then sat on the shelf for several years before Troma Entertainment unleashed into an uncaring world in 1984. As often happens with films like this, though, it eventually turned into a word-of-mouth underground classic.


The plot, paper-thin as it is, involves a string of gruesome murders on a non-specified but totally Catholic college campus, and one plucky new teacher's quest to unearth the identity of the mystery killer - which is so hard to do because everyone on the faculty is acting suspiciously, especially the priests. In between death scenes, we're treated to a…

It Came From the '90s: The Memory of Her

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade. This entry is the result of a friendly challenge to take a brief, seemingly inconsequential moment from my life and explore why it made an impact on me.
Sometimes, when something or other triggers the memory of her, I think about that summer night a hundred years ago when a beautiful dancer invited me to join her in the back room of the strip club, to "get to know each other." I wonder what might've happened had I taken her up on that offer. I wonder how she's doing now.
I'm getting ahead of myself. It all happened one June night in the pivotal year of 1995, when my friends took me a strip club to celebrate my newfound freedom. I had just broken off a monumentally bad several-months long relationship (we were just so wrong for each other) and was currently navigating the start of a healthy, new relationship with an old friend, Naomi, one that would…

Misspent Youth: It's a Living

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen-Xer's gloriously misspent youth.

When a friend tweeted recently that the first season of the criminally underrated 1980 sitcom It's a Living, about waitresses at the Above the Top restaurant located atop a swanky Los Angeles hotel, had appeared on Amazon Prime, I literally shouted out loud with joy. Then I spent the rest of the work day eagerly anticipating binging it later that night.


Now, I hadn't seen the show since the 1980s, probably in reruns and when it was in its syndicated run (and retitled as Making a Living). The series debuted in 1980, when I was in kindergarten, and it's entirely possible I watched it as it aired because, as I keep coming back to in this series, we Gen Xers were practically raised by the plethora of excellent pop culture of an era that coincided with the true golden age of the television sitcom.


It's a Living will likely never be considered among the greats, but it was much better th…

Writing Roundup: Cult Classics

It's been a while, so I'm overdue for another odds 'n' sods post, rounding up stuff I've written elsewhere in the great beyond we call the internet. Some of these go back several months, into last year even, and others are more recent, but all of them are about one of my favorite topics: cult classic films. And for me there's no doubt the films discussed in these articles and reviews are absolute cult movie solid gold.


From wisecracking, half-naked interstellar space babes to erotically charged nurses behaving badly, from several different women on brutally single-minded revenge missions to one of the great movie urban legends of all time, these pieces run the exploitation gamut.


For lovers of all things cult cinema—my fellow disciples of Rhonda Shear and USA Up All Night and all you fellow members of Joe Bob Briggs's Drive-In movie mutant family—these are for you. Enjoy.


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The Legend of Demi Moore's Backside, Or, I Stripteased on Your Grave
(The Af…