Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Drag Odyssey, Part One by Greg Dziawer

Prepare to enter the strange world of author Carlson Wade (pictured in the center).

Wade-ing Into Wood

While we've previously played numerous rounds of Eddie or Not?, delving into the world of mistaken adult paperback Ed-tributions, let's not forget that the same holds true for Ed Wood's magazine work. Though lack of credits and a multitude of colorful pseudonyms in his magazine work conspire to challenge the dream of a full accounting of Ed's written word, we've got to start some-vere.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Once a year, a new 'Zomby'

That's the deal.

A brief history of this blog's many, many logos

The first two logos this blog ever had.

When this blog started back in October 2009, it was focused almost exclusively on zombie movies and zombie-related humor. Dead 2 Rights was created specifically as a forum for a fictional character I played on a podcast called Mail Order Zombie from 2008 to 2013. I didn't even set up this blog myself. It was done for me by the people who ran that podcast. The original logo, featuring a group of smiling, blue-eyed zombies with perfect teeth, was designed by an artist named Scott Cole. I loved it and kept it for years. Mail Order Zombie ceased production in 2013, and I completely dropped the pretense of writing the blog in character. By then, the blog was mostly about my own life and my own interests anyway. Reluctantly, I decided to junk the old, beautifully designed logo in favor of a crude one I made myself. It was just black lettering on a white background. The full name of the blog became Dead 2 Rights: The Personal Blog Of Joe Blevins. I made that switch because the old articles had been credited to the nonexistent character I played on Mail Order Zombie. Those skinny, hand-drawn letters reading "DEAD 2 RIGHTS" are meant to resemble the opening credits of Dr. Strangelove, by the way.

Functional as the black-and-white logo was, it was a little spartan for my taste, so I moved on to a series of more fanciful mastheads. Like the following:

We'll miss ya, Fran.

Aren't those cute? For a while, this blog's mascot was an old-timey character actor named Slim Summerville. I cancelled out his eyes and pasted his picture over the carpet pattern from The Shining. So that was another Kubrick reference. By then, I was pretty heavily into the Ed Wood Wednesdays phase of Dead 2 Rights. Since Eddie made a lot of adult movies, I found myself doing Internet searches for porno actresses and pin-up models. Somewhere along the way, I must have discovered the name of Fran Gerard, who didn't appear in any movies but was a memorable Playboy Playmate in 1967. She might have been the first Playmate to wear glasses in her pictorial. I thought she was adorable, so she became the face of Dead 2 Rights for a while. The logo was kitschy and sexy and retro -- all the things I wanted the blog to be. You'll see I was enamored of Cooper Black and those damned Dr. Strangelove letters. During this era, the blog also acquired a new subtitle: The Journal Of Important Matters.

Then a weird thing happened, and the blog's appearance had to reflect that change.

The most recent logos. Notice how unsexy they are.

Sometime in late 2014, Google got really uptight about having sexually-related content on Blogger, the platform I use to publish Dead 2 Rights. People with Blogger sites got a bunch of threatening e-mails about what content was and was not appropriate and said that blogs that didn't comply would be restricted from searches and could be blocked altogether for some users. My blog got a voluntary but still embarrassing orange "Content Warning" screen slapped on it, and some readers found that they could no longer access the site at all. Google eventually relented (somewhat), but I'd had enough. I censored the holy hell out of Dead 2 Rights and lobbied to get the warning screen taken off. After some rigmarole, I was successful. At that point, it was no longer appropriate to have a Playboy Playmate as the unwitting "face" of the blog, so Fran Gerard was replaced by Thomas Bowdler, the man whose name became synonymous with censorship. The subtitle was changed to A Decent Blog For Decent People in order to emphasize my moral turpitude.

I got sick of looking at Bowlder pretty quickly, and I'd always wanted to experiment with a "log cabin" motif, so the site became Dead 2 Rights: A Folksy, Down-Home Blog. I liked this much better, but I thought it was getting a little corny. Therefore, I ditched the backwoods design altogether and went for a super-plain look with a skinny, nondescript logo, once again (yawn) employing those skinny Dr. Strangelove letters. The problem with this version of the site was that it was so bland it was hideous. I hated looking at it, so I gave Dead 2 Rights its most recent makeover. The current banner is minimalist but colorful and takes its version of the logo directly from Scott Cole's original 2009 design. I thought it paired well with the Soviet propaganda posters I currently use as the site's wallpaper.

And that's a pocket history of Dead 2 Rights. Not that you asked for it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Trailer Odyssey, Part One by Greg Dziawer

Ed Wood's movies often had some very interesting trailers.

Bad, Bad, Gang! on DVD.
Although I've implicitly established the precepts of my little strain of Woodology in previous Ed Wood Wednesdays posts , this week we're detouring down another road, fittingly violating the principal Principle, i.e. foisting a speculative Ed-tribution on an unsuspecting public, minus the facts.

It was mere days ago when porn archaeologist Dimitrios Otis, the resurrector of Wood's then-unknown last-directed feature The Young Marriedsmentioned in an exchange with me that he would be penning the liner notes to John Donne/Donn Greer's Bad, Bad Gang! from 1972 – a cross between a roughie and a biker film – featuring Ric Lutze and a pre-boob job Rene Bond. Soon to be released on DVD by Synapse/Impulse Films in the longest version yet available, Bad, Bad, Gang! has no previously known association with Ed Wood. Then again, Dimitrios and I have previously discussed his compelling proposition that Ed worked on the script for Donne/Greer's Shot On Location. See his liner notes in the Ed Wood's Dirty Movies  DVD triple-feature from After Hours Cinema for the details.

In one of those happy accidents, the very next day, I was looking through listings of old Something Weird Video compilations for the trailer to The Only House In Town, which is included in the out-of-print Bucky's '70s Triple XXX Movie Trailers Vol. 2 (1994), when I stumbled upon the trailer for Bad, Bad, Gang! listed in Vol. 7 of that same series.

As soon as I heard the voice-over once I tossed it on, I sensed something... familiar. It sounded to me like Ed Wood himself. I played it back. Then I pulled up the trailer for Fugitive Girls, which we know is Ed in the voice-over, for comparison. Though it felt inconclusive to me, it seemed a strong possibility that this was the selfsame voice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sometimes, you just have to draw Orson Welles in Microsoft Paint

Sorry to do this to you, Orson.

Sometimes, when I am very, very bored or short on inspiration, what I'll do is open up YouTube and Microsoft Paint at the same time and draw my interpretation of what's on screen. My time limit is however long the video runs. When it's over, I'm done. Ready or not. It's a simple, stupid game that helps pass the time and calm my nerves. What I like about it is that there's (generally) not much time to concentrate on little details. You get the essence of something and move on. So today, I was doing that with a 1962 interview with director Orson Welles on a British TV show called Monitor. He was already getting heavy by '62, and he looked sweaty, tired, and uncomfortable while talking to the host about Citizen Kane for the bazillionth time. But he got through the interview anyway. Something about that struck me as interesting, so I made the picture you see above. Hope you enjoy it. Either way, have a nice day.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Today's 'B.C.' needed to go on for a couple more panels

That's, uh, that's some overbite you've got there.

And now it does. You're welcome.

See, a caveman would have no paradigm for "greeter," "candelabra," or "bed and breakfast." He'd feel like Alvy Singer visiting Annie Hall's family here. "They're talking swap meets and boat basins." I would like to point out that the background for this strip, particularly those mountains behind the blond-haired caveman, might fit in on a Yes album cover... if they were drawn with more detail.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Collaborator Odyssey, Part Two by Greg Dziawer

Some of the films of sound mixer Sam Kopetzky.

Sam Kopetzky
"Sam the man. I liked Sam," Jacques Descent recently told me.

Just because Jacques had produced two Ed Wood scripts, 1972's The Undergraduate and 1969's gone-missing Operation Redlight (for which he also served as cinematographer), I had no reason to think he also knew sound mixer Sam Kopetzky (1937-2003) when I emailed him the credits to Sam's only directorial effort listed on the IMDb: 2069 A.D., a sci-fi soft porn feature starring Marsha Jordan (as Marsha Kopete). I wondered if, given the associations and credits, it was something he had somehow worked on. As it turned out, Jacques knew Sam well, and ended his reminiscences by saying, "Speak well of Sam." I will.

Perhaps we need to back up a moment. Who is Sam Kopetzky?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

An open letter from 'Captain America: Civil War'

Captain America: Civil War wants you to know a few things.

Hello, America.

I'm Captain America: Civil War. I'm a major motion picture from Marvel Studios and Walt Disney coming to a theater near you on May 6, 2016. That's just around the corner. Maybe you've seen an advertisement for me at a movie theater. Or on television. Or on the Internet. Or in the back of a cab. Or on one of those little screens they have at gas pumps now. So you have heard of me? That's nice.


'Sup? Let's get to know each other. Mind if I put on some music?

There. Isn't that better? I thought so, too. Why don't you lie down while I pour you a glass of Amaretto and give you a nice, relaxing foot massage?

That's more like it. Can't you just feel all the stress leaving your body? Oh, yeah.

Now, baby -- do you mind if I call you baby?

Baby, I know that you've been hurt by big budget, major studio superhero films in the past. And I mean the very recent past. Not to be too forward, but I heard through the grapevine that you just suffered a bad breakup with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Someone told me that you came out of the theater depressed and disoriented. You even said you were "done" with superhero movies forever. Is that right? Don't be shy, America. Captain America: Civil War is here to listen to you. Speak from the heart.

Okay. That's what I thought.

Well, baby, I'm here to tell you that the bad times are over and the good times are just beginning. I know you've been down some tough roads, and, believe me, I feel your pain. Dawn of Justice may have broken your heart, but that's just because he's a chump who doesn't respect and cherish you like I do. That ain't gonna happen with Captain America: Civil War. I know it's difficult, but I'm asking you to trust again. Captain America: Civil War is here to make everything all right.

Don't forget: I'm just a $250 million franchise film standing in front of a nation of ticket buyers, asking them to love him.

Yeah, I took that line from Notting Hill. I'm genuinely sorry about that. But my screenplay is all new, baby, I swear. Take my hand, America. You won't regret it.

Did I mention that I have Spider-Man? And no origin story this time? Oh, you like that, don't you? Yeah,  you do, you saucy little minx.

So, what do you say? Do we have a date on May 6? In 3D and IMAX in selected locations?

Oh, yeah.