Monday, December 26, 2011

26 Films: World Gone Wild

World Gone Wild is a 1988 post-apocalypse which is based on the model of the classic Western The Magnificent Seven. It's got a pretty simple plot, a village in the desert is being pillaged by a roving cult which takes the young men. The village needs to hire protectors and well you can pretty much guess the rest. 

I saw this film in the theater when it was released and have owned my VHS copy for a number of years. It's not a great film, but it's watchable and entertaining in it's own way. Stars Bruce Dern and Michael Pare carry the film with enough grit to keep it real, and of course Catherine Mary Stewart is always a welcome addition to any 80s film. As far as I know this is not on DVD and it's likely to be (but it would be a great double disc with Neon City) any time soon.

So this is the last of the films I am covering for 2011. I am not planning to keep the same every other week film write up, but I will have some movie coverage in the coming year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

FFB Thieves World

I am pretty sure that I first heard of Thieves's World from my cousin Dan, which is strange in that Editor Robert Asprin was my brother's Cub Scout troop leader. Anyway, Thieves's World was a series of 12 anthologies set in a shared world, written by a cadre of Sci Fi and Fantasy authors.

Set in the city of Sanctuary the stories are range in topics from the stories of city administrators to that of Shadowspawn the thief. The Shadowspawn stories were my favorites, and I did end up reading the spin off novel Shadowspawn by Andrew J Offutt. I think I read almost all 12 of the volumes and even stayed on after the original set of authors left the series. 

Later on there was a Role Playing Game and a Graphic Novel incarnation of the series, along with a series of spin off books and an relaunch of the series in the early 2000s. I have fond memories of the books and their covers and have been tempted to revisit series in the last couple of years but have yet to pick up and crack one open.  I have to wonder what a Crime Anthology called Thieves City might look like from todays new Noir and Crime Writers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

26 films: Off Beat

The best dancing cop film ever… maybe the only one I know of as well.  The plot is kinda on the wacky side. After messing up a undercover drug bust, Joe Gower (Judge Reinhold) is pressured by his buddy police officer Abe Washington into taking his place at the try out for a charity dance performance. Shocking I know but Joe gets caught up in the moment and manages to get selected for the dance… in part because he has fallen for Meg Tilly.

It’s a kinda strange film; on the one hand you have this comedic set up with the whole dance bit, which has some fun moments and elements. There is a waiting for Guffman tone to that part of the film. Also the classic getting tough guys to do something girly trope is deployed in those scenes.  The other hand is a story of a man who has let life happen to him and finally is able to take charge of his life and step up and take control.

The two story elements don’t completely gel, and there is a fair amount of humor that is very dated. However the performances are solid, and both Reinhold and Tilly are likeable enough to leave me wondering why they didn’t have more leading roles and why have both seem to have vanished from film in the last couple of decades. I honestly didn’t have a lot of hope for this one when I started it, but found it to be a charming, fun little romp.

Friday, December 9, 2011

FFB License Renewed by John Gardner

This was the first Bond book that I read. I only recall that we were on a family trip out east when I was reading it, but nothing about the book or the plot. It was a big deal that these new Bond books were coming out in the 80s and I read most of them long before I cracked any of the Fleming books. Looking back I am really not sure that there needed to be new Bond books in the 80s, and I am not sure that they need new ones now... at least not ones set in the current landscape. I might be on board with some retro adventures set in the 50s, 60s, and maybe even into the 70s.

I'm going to open this one up to the readers, thoughts, comments, anything that you recall about the Gardner Bond?

Friday, December 2, 2011

26 Soundtracks: Demon Knight

Yet another 90s Hard Alt Rock soundtrack, Demon Knight is of note for the inclusion of Pantera and Filters best songs. Really not much else to say  other than if you are looking for another document of the era this one is worth rescuing from the dollar bin.

1. "Cemetery Gates" - 5:47 (Pantera)
2. "Tonight We Murder" - 3:56 (Ministry)
3. "My Misery" - 4:28 (Machine Head)
4. "Diadems" - 4:17 (Megadeth)
5. "Instant Larry" - 4:06 (Melvins)
6. "Fall Guy" - 3:53 (Rollins Band)
7. "Beaten" - 3:10 (Biohazard)
8. "Polícia" - 1:46 (Sepultura)
9. "Hey Man, Nice Shot" - 5:20 (Filter)
10. "1-800 Suicide" - 4:17 (Gravediggaz)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monthly Reads: Nov 2011

The Topless Tulip Caper (1975) by Lawrence Block 
This Chip Harrison novel was a fun romp with just enough drive to keep it going. A tank of fish have been killed along with a stripper and Chip and his boss have to figure out who done it.

Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music edited by Greg Prato.
This oral history of the Seattle Grunge Scene gives a good over  view of the major moments and major events of the late 80s early 90s scene. I do wish that it had gone a little more into the also ran bands and some of the hidden gems, but if you are looking for a solid overview you can't do much better than this.

yep that's been pretty much it for the month. I started and put down a couple of others,... but hey I hope there will be more next week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

26 Films: Rolling Thunder

from imdb:

from imdb:
Plot: Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver dollars from him. In the process they also manage to kill his wife and son and destroy his hand. The Major wants revenge so he enlists the help of his war buddy Johnny to meet the thugs in a final showdown

The 70s were of course the era of not only the revenge film but also post Vietnam film. Co- written by Paul Schrader, the film has a tie to Taxi Driver in that it deals with men who have been thought a change in not only of the culture around them, but with in.  William Devane is not an actor that I have ever been a big fan of, although I dig his role in the  Jesse Stone  films, but he carries this film hitting just the right notes of knowing how to give Rane a public face and a private face. I don't have a whole lot to say about the film other than it is well worth checking out and re-watching.

Friday, November 25, 2011

FFB: ILL Wind By

    The two pillars of the post apocalypse fiction world are Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank and Earth Abides by George R Stewart and every other book in the genre owes some debt to one or the other. Alas, Babylon deals with the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, and Earth Abides deals with the aftermath of a plague which wipes out a chunk of humanity.

Illwinds falls mostly into the Earth Abides camp, telling the story of what happens when microbes intended to eat oil spills end up eating all petroleum based products on the planets. Airplanes fall from the sky, the combustion engine is useless and the infrastructure of the world just seems to fall apart.

I don’t recall much from the book aside from the plot other than I enjoyed it, as I enjoyed most of the books in the genre that I read at the time. There were a few that I read and didn’t really get or like. With some of these books that I recall liking and some that I recall fondly I wonder if they would hold up for me. I was a different kind of reader then, I was living a life that had different expectations and a different perspective on life. I have to admit that I have some fear of opening one of these books and finding that I have changed too much, or worse yet finding that I haven’t.

Anyway, Ill Winds was once worth reading for me, and if you are looking for something to follow up The Stand or Swan Song, it might just fit the bill.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

FTM The Valentine Six

I think that I heard these guys on a college radio show somewhere, and got my hands on a copy of a 7” of theirs soon after. I listened to the 7” once or twice and filed it away in my box of records.  I had a vague thought that they had a dark, nourish jazzy feel, and the name of the band lodged in that dark rarely visited file cabinet in the back of my brain…. And then I really found noir, I started reading both the cannon and the new cannon of the genre along with starting to watch the films. Being a Rockfiends, I naturally went looking for Noir Music… and recalled The Valentine Six

     Listening to them via their self titled CD I can hear a rocking Jazzy dusk cacophony of squealing that recalls Hoppers Night Hawks at the Diner, rundown motels. Vocally singer Parker Valentine (and I am thinking Lee Marvin big time just reading his name, and I expect that the FFB Noir crowd will know exactly why that tickled my fancy) emits a groaning croon that you might find on a micro stage at the back of a dingy roadhouse in a 40s crime pic.  This is music for sitting in a rundown motel smoking that last cigarette, downing that last shot of rotgut while looking at your last dollar on the table. 

The Valentine Six
1. Ghost Face    
2. Sonic    
3. Motel girl
4. Thin Red Line    
5. Blood Orange    
6. Silencer    
7. Tucson    
8. Always is my Name    
9. Bad Penny         
10.         Kill Street    
11.         Motel Lights    

The album was released by PCP Entertainment (nope I never heard of them either) and never seemed to get much distribution… and like so many of the lost gems of the 90s is most likely going to be found circling the drain of you local used record shop’s discount bin. Needless to say, if you spot a copy, I recommend picking it up.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

26 Soundtracks: The Crow

Aside from Singles, no soundtrack in the early 90s showcased hard rock, metal and alternative music better than The Crow. Finding music to fill out the apocalyptic vision of the motor city in it’s post job creator downfall was a challenge that met by bringing in the harder edge of the burgeoning Alternative music scene.

Mixing cover tunes and originals the sounds present vary from heavy to sweet, primitive to refined. In many ways the soundtrack is a Rosetta stone of the music of the era, with Stone Temple Pilots (with the Big Empty being a hit track of time), and Rage Against the Machine adding their heavy anger and groove to the mix and of course you couldn’t have a dark soundtrack of the time without the Nine Inch Nails.

  I had almost forgotten about Jane Siberry and her angelic anthem for the film that closes out the sound track, It Can’t Rain All The Time.  It’s a haunting number that I am sure will send those of us who once lived with this soundtrack back to a moment, to a place where someone was saying that all this darkness will end sometime and some place.

1. "Burn" - The Cure (Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Boris Williams, Perry Bamonte) – 6:39

2.    "Golgotha Tenement Blues" - Machines of Loving Grace (Scott Benzel, Mike Fisher, Stuart Kupers, Brad Kemp) – 4:01
3.    "Big Empty" - Stone Temple Pilots (Dean DeLeo, Scott Weiland) – 4:56
4.    "Dead Souls" - Nine Inch Nails (Joy Division) – 4:54
5.    "Darkness" - Rage Against the Machine (Rage Against the Machine) – 3:41
6.    "Color Me Once" - Violent Femmes (Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie) – 4:09
7.    "Ghostrider" - Rollins Band (Suicide)(Martin Rev, Alan Vega) – 5:45
8.    "Milktoast" (also known as "Milquetoast") - Helmet (Page Nye Hamilton) – 3:59
9.    "The Badge" - Pantera (Poison Idea) – 3:54*
10. "Slip Slide Melting" - For Love Not Lisa (For Love Not Lisa) – 5:47
11. "After the Flesh" - My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (Buzz McCoy, Groovie Mann) – 2:59
12. "Snakedriver" - The Jesus and Mary Chain (William Reid, Jim Reid) – 3:41
13. "Time Baby III" - Medicine (Jim Goodall, Brad Laner, Jim Putnam, Ed Ruscha, Beth Thompson) – 3:52
14. "It Can't Rain All the Time" - Jane Siberry (Graeme Revell, Jane Siberry) – 5:34

Edited to try and fix the formatting issues... 11/17/2011
Also I urge readers to check out these TIG posts on Movie Soundtracks I Can't Live Without, Part I and The Sequel

Monday, November 14, 2011

26 Films: The Annihilators

 The 80s was the era of the big action flick… what people forget was that there were also the smaller action flicks. The Annihilators was one of those, a revenge film featuring a small squad of Nam vets who reunite after one of there own, Joey who saved all of their lives, is killed by the local gang. They fight back and get the residents of the neighborhood to stand up for themselves as well.

    The films isn’t any great shakes, it’s pretty straight forward. It never gets boring, and moves along quickly enough. There are a few things to recommend the film. Solid acting from Christopher Stone and Gerrit Graham, and there is a nicely played and shown but not dwelled upon element of the plight of veterans of Vietnam. The action and the film making are just enough above average to recommend it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

FFB Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Elves, Swords, a quest, magic, it’s all pretty standard Fantasy stuff, and that’s why I have largely forgotten The Wishsong of Shannara aside from the fact that once upon a time I read it and liked it. The Shannara series started out in the late 70s and the third book arrived almost a decade later, just in time for me to find it at the end of elementary school and the start of Jr High.

            I am going to pause here from talking about the book and talk about my relationship with reading. I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old in the fall of 1977, and turned 5 about three weeks later, I had to be the youngest kid in my class until I became the oldest. When I was in the second grade my reading did not improve over the course of the year and my parents had me held back and repeat the second grade. I can recall clearly being annoyed and bored with the reading books we were given, Honeycomb and Cloverleaf. I also recall being attracted to the older schoolbooks from the 40s and 50s that some teachers kept in their rooms, and I recall visits to the school library and not finding many books that really related to my world there.

            When I was in the 4th grade I had one of those old school teachers who wasn’t going to fall in line with all the new fangled education theory and among other things she insisted that we read. She also read to us, Where the Red Fern Grows and Call it Courage were both read aloud in class… along with a couple of 50s text books, one called If I Were Going that ignited my imagination about seeing Norway, and that we do book reports. To this day I look back on the structure of her reports, synopsis, tell what you liked, tell what you didn’t like and tell the class if you recommend the book as THEE structure for any kind of review. I think that it is safe to credit her more than another teacher for getting me to read, and by the time I was in the sixth grade I was reading at an eight-grade level.

Somewhere in there I picked up the Shannara books the first two were already out, the second one The Elf Stones was the first book that I literally stayed up all night reading. It was the 4th of July in the mid 80s…. when the Wishsong came out I was ready for it. The plot was about evil coming back into the world, and the Omsford clan once again is called upon to put a stop to it. Quests are started, Allies gathered and danger faced in route, but it all works out pretty well in the end… until the next series of course.  I don’t recall any of those books either, even though I did end up reading the next 5 or 6 entries in the series. .. It’s true that I have forgotten the book and it’s plot and most of the characters and what I really liked about it…. But in this case maybe what is important is that I remember that it was important to me once upon a time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

26 Soundtracks: Return of the Living Dead Pt. 1

The Return of the Living Dead Original Soundtrack

I can’t really say how many times I have written about this soundtrack. It changed my life, or maybe it’s more that I allowed it to change my life. It was the catalyst for something in my life, A move away from rock and roll and pop tunes that extolled love with all of it’s complex highs and lows had left me low. It was in a moment of transition when things hadn’t been working out for me that I found the album on cassette and took it home to open a new chapter in my life.

The album came out at the same time as a new chapter was occurring in the underground music world. The bands represented on the soundtrack; The Cramps, The Damned, The Tallboys, The Flesheater, T.S.O.L., The Jet Black Berries and 45 Grave were all going though their own changes, reflecting differing moments in the scenes they belonged to both on the macro scale and the micro scale. Over all, Punk Rock had made it to its second wave. The early days of art rock and weird kids making a noise had given way to the Hard Core, loud, fast and out of control sound of stripped down Rawk.

 The Cramps and The Tall Boys (an off shoot of The Meteors) were moving from their Psychobilly beginnings towards a sound that we now think of as Garage Punk. 45 Grave and TSOL were moving from their Deathpunk phases into a sound that was more hair metal with 45 Grave going more and more Goth as time went on. The Damned were also on the Goth train with their Punk Rawk sound getting more and more pop and smooth. The Flesheaters were headed towards becoming The Divine Horsemen and The Jet Black Berries has moved from their Dark Psych New Math days to a cowpunk sound.  Most of the bands were headed for their last days of their initial run as they entered their final phases. Interestingly, all of these changes reflected new influences and refined musical skills, and even some maturity and growth as songwriters.

The Film famously is about the adventures of a group of punk who encounter the living dead while hanging out in a graveyard. It’s not that far fetched to think that the soundtrack would feature punk bands, and it’s just lucky that Enigma records was able to provide the soundtrack. Rather than getting some limp major label form of punk some true greats of the horror punk landscape were included along with some of the outliers.  It’s a special soundtrack to me, and one that I hope people keep on discovering and listening to.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oct 2011 Reads

Choke Hold by Christa Faust
We are not only seeing the return of Hard Case Crime, but of Chirsta Faust and Angel Dare. The former Porn Star turned on the run WITSEC participant…. It appears that she didn’t have Marshal Marshall and Mary protecting her, this time she ends up in the middle of nowhere when an old flame wanders back into her life. Things go from bad to worse and Angel finds that she can’t escape the curse that seems to be following her. Faust knows noir and how to keep things rolling along. It’s a tough rolling adventure, and I of course look forward to the next tour of the darkness that Faust illuminates.

Gangway by Donald Westlake and Brian Garfield
A 70s effort from the authors of The Hunter and Deathwish. Set in San Francisco of the 1890, this heist tale was fun, but not anything amazing. I enjoyed it enough to finish, but was never really engaged by it. If you have made your way though the Westlake cannon and need a fix of something you haven’t read before, check this out, other wise I wouldn’t made any big effort to seek it out.

Lawrence Block book of the Month: Getting Off
The first of the new Hard Case Crime releases, Blocks Getting Off is also their first Hard Cover…. And it’s a about a killer on the road and her adventures as she tries to some to terms with her past. I thought it was pretty good, if a little long,

Bad Cop by  Paul Bacon
The true adventures of the author as he became a NYPD officer in the wake of 911. As a liberal he’s an outsider easy to read style and a nice insight to the works of the lower levels of policing. It was a very nice quick read that was engaging and I highly recommend it.

Stark House Press novel of the Month:
Body and Passion by Harry Whittington
A sharp tale of two men who get caught in a fire and only one survives… only he has no idea which man he is. One is a criminal and the other the DA, and you can guess who things play out from there --- maybe. Clocking in at a brisk 107 pages it’s a lean tale that nicely fills out the three stories in the book.

Monday, October 31, 2011

26 Films: Keys to Tulsa

As I noted in my review of I Went Down [Link] the post Pulp Fiction video landscape was suddenly open to Indie crime films from around the world, it was also open to a number of US indie crime flicks sent in such far flung locals as: Denver, Boston, New Mexico, and in this case…. Tulsa.  Telling the story of rich kids who had grown up to not find their way to make their own fortunes (shockingly we were talking about a group of Gen xers here), Keys to Tulsa finds our principals engaged in grasping for the cash that they have managed to get their hands on. There is blackmail, betrayal, and an underlying sense of failure and doom.

Eric Stoltz is given the chance to step up and carry a film, and along with James Spader doing his best Elvis manages to keep things rolling along. Some nice character moments from James Colburn and others make the film worth checking out. I liked the moment when Colburn tries to get Stoltz to get the hell out of dodge and send him the bills. This is a Noir so of course he’s not smart enough to take the hint.

Over all it’s not the best of the regional noirs of the era, but it’s not the worst either. If you haven’t seen Things to Do In Denver When Your Dead, check that out first, but after that… and Two Hands, I Went Down … I would recommend checking out Keys to Tulsa.

Friday, October 28, 2011

FFB: THE Spy by Clive Cussler & Justin Scott

Back when I got out of college in the bad old days of 1996, my first job was a minimum wage security gig.  I worked Midnight to Noon on Saturday and Sunday the guy who worked the opposite 12 hour shifts spent a lot of his time reading and Clive Cussler was one of the authors he was a fan of and I started making my way though the Cussler books. I had read Raise the Titanic in college, but hadn’t picked up any of the other Cussler books.  After a couple of years my tastes changed and I stopped picking up the Cussler books and the increasing number of books that he was writing with others. 

I checked out The Spy on Audio book on a whim, and didn’t get around to listening to it until I was on an long drive to the other side of the state. I found The Spy to be a fun, fast adventure story set in the early 1900s. PI Isaac Bell is hired to find the killer of a weapon designer for the Navy. His investigation takes him all over the country and into the obit of a few soon to be famous people and events. There is a secret weapon in the Dreadnaught race and industrial espionage ensues. It’s a solid story and it passed the hours of my driving and downtime during my vacation last spring. I don’t know that I am interested in sitting down and reading any more Cussler books, but I have already queued up the other adventures of Isaac Bell in Audio Book form.

Isaac Bell tales
1.     The Chase (2007)
2.     The Wrecker (2009)
3.     The Spy (2010)
4.     The Race (2011)
5.     The Thief (2012)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Final Thursday Music: Jeeves And Wooster (theme melody) by Anne Dudley

On the list of soundtracks that I have yet to find a copy of you can list the Frye and Laurie series Jeeves And Wooster based on the books of P.G. Woodhouse. The theme by Anne Dudley is a great homage to the music of the era of the series; with its Jazzy hints of both Lounge and Swing.  It also holds up on it’s own, and leaves me wanting to hear what else she could come up with in the same vein. 

Apparently there was a CD release of the soundtrack for the show, which not only included the theme, but also Hugh Laurie’s numbers from the show. IT went quickly out of print in the UK and never appears to have made it to US shores. You would think that in this day and age of iTunes that music featuring Hugh Laurie would at least be available for download, but last time I checked it was MIA.            Over time there have been several TV series themes that have become classics on their own, and Anne Dudley has created one of the greats that is out there waiting to be rediscovered.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Forgotten.... Liner Notes? Nuggets Box Set

I think I have a bead on the kind of people that follow the FFBs, and one thing that I think many of you will find something to like in is the Nuggets set of 60s Garage Rock tunes and the accompanying liner notes.  While the music on the set is some of the greatest Rock and Roll tunes ever recorded by bands like; The Electric Prunes, The Castaways, The Sonics, The Amboy Dukes and The Standells to name just a few, it’s the liner notes that I really want to focus on today. For those not in the know, Garage Rock in it’s 60s form was really about young bands inspired by 50s Rock, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Dylan, playing teen clubs, writing fast furious and sometimes primal pop songs.

 Running just under 100 pages the booklet included with the box set a work of art by itself.  It is to the point where the last two entries in the Nuggets series of sets by Rhino Records have been in book form with the attached. The liner notes in the first set include lots of photos and reproductions of the cover art from the singles that the tunes are drawn from. Nuggets started as and LP collecting many of the one hit wonder singles of the late 60s; it was released in 1972, and included in the booklet is the original essay written by compiler and music critic Lenny Kaye. A couple of other essays are included in the book, but the real story is the track-by-track reviews of the songs.  The box covers 118 songs across 4 CDs, and each of them is given a history, context and information on labels, where the band was from, and chart date. On it’s own it is a history and puzzle that is worth checking out… and of course the music is first rate.

The Nuggets box set was enough of a hit that of course Rhino had to follow it up with others.  Nuggets II focused on non-US bands, Children of Nuggets focused on the neo-garage movement of the 80s, and the last two Love is the Song We Sing (about the San Francisco scene) and Where the Action Is? (about the LA scene) have been region specific. In many ways the last two have been a bit of a let down, and I haven’t bothered to pick them up… however if a Seattle, Scandinavian or Detroit set appears you can bet that I will be in line to pick up a copy.

Rather than the standard call for thoughts, comments and the like, I think this time I am going to call for your Juke Box picks from the bands and songs on this set….

While I love so many of these songs, the one that today calls out to me is … Cold Outside by The Choir

Thursday, October 20, 2011

26 Soundtracks: Fast Track To Nowhere OST

Along with remaking the AIP films of the 50s and 60s, the Rebel Highway also included remakes of the music of the era. Roadracers featured Charlie Sexton’s cover of Race with the Devil and Girls in Prison featured the Jody Reynolds classic Endless Sleep as coved by Concrete Blonde and the music fits well with the films. As stand alone tracks they are a mixed bag, like any covers album. There are some standouts, Concrete Blonde has long been a favorite of mine, and I have developed a fondness for the Meat Puppets and their House of Blue Lights. I think over all it’s a solid album, that if you find it isn’t going to cost all that much and if you like these songs or bands you should enjoy.

Going back to my comments about the rebel highway series needing a reissue on DVD (wide screen if possible) or on Bluray, If I was going to do a boxset I think that I would add copy of the soundtrack, and if not a special feature on the music, at least a directory of all the songs used in the films.

C'mon Everybody by Iggy Pop
The House Of Blue Lights by Meat Puppets
Lights Out by  Los Lobos    
Endless Sleep by Concrete Blonde
Let The Good Times Roll by Neville Brothers
I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday by Sheryl Crow
Gene Vincent’s Race With The Devil by Charlie Sexton
I'm Walkin' by Blues Traveler    
Evil by The Wild Colonials    
Stroll by The Smithereens    
The Girl Can't Help It by Babes In Toyland    

Monday, October 17, 2011

26 Films: Roadracers

A throw back to 50s JD pictures should open with a car chase intercut with a rockabilly band. Robert Rodriguez knows this and that exactly how he opens his entry in the Rebel Highway series, Roadracers.  The series, a revival of the American International Pictures of the 50s and 60s, ran for ten-feature length made for Cable TV films. Roadracers is about Dude Delany, a small town outsider who dreams of leaving to become a rockabilly star. He’s on the outs with the town sheriff.

     The film includes an early performance by John Hawkes from Winters Bone and Deadwood, along with a solid turn with by William Saddler.  The perfect music selection included Link Wray and Hasil Adkins, and Gene Vincent. It’s not some long lost treasure, it’s simply a solid entertaining film that catches a young cast and crew making a B film and having some fun.

     Re-watching it has gotten me geeked to revisit the rest of the series. and thanks to the magic of the Internet I have 5 of them on the way on DVD. I do have to wonder why we don’t have a box set of these from the Shout Factory or someone like that.

The complete series includes:

        Girls in Prison - Directed by John McNaughton and starring Anne Heche and Ione Skye.
        Dragstrip Girl - Directed by Mary Lambert and starring Mark Dacascos and Natasha Gregson Wagner.
        Shake, Rattle and Rock! - Directed by Allan Arkush and starring Renée Zellweger and Howie Mandel.
        Runaway Daughters - Directed by Joe Dante and starring Julie Bowen and Paul Rudd.
        Roadracers - Directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring David Arquette and Salma Hayek.
        Reform School Girl - Directed by Jonathan Kaplan and starring Aimee Graham and Matt LeBlanc.
        Motorcycle Gang - Directed by John Milius and starring Gerald McRaney and Jake Busey.
        Jailbreakers - Directed by William Friedkin and starring Antonio Sabato Jr. and Shannen Doherty.
        Cool and the Crazy - Directed by Ralph Bakshi and starring Jared Leto and Alicia Silverstone.

 Check out my thoughts on the soundtrack later this week.