‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ with producer Dennis Murphy, fx artist Hank Carlson


Film: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (PG-13)
Directed by: Fran Rubel Kuzui
Written by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Kristy Swanson as Buffy
                   Luke Perry as Pike
                   Donald Sutherland as Merrick
                   Paul Reubens as Amilyn
                   Rutger Hauer as Lothos

actionflickchickBy Action Flick Chick

One of the first things I remembered from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was that vampires were getting their asses kicked and I freakin’ loved it. It was an added bonus that all of the damage was being done by a highly capable female. That was the cherry on top of the pile of dead vampires. This flick is the first movie I saw that had a lead female role doing all the butt kicking and saving the day, which is another reason why it stands out to me even after all these years. She wasn’t the damsel in distress needing to be saved. Luke Perry was the damsel needing saved this time, and I loved it.

buffyfightI wanted to be like Buffy, a strong female saving all the men from vampires. Of course, my skill and coordination at the time had other ideas, but I was still a little sad when I never got to try to protect my school from the undead. Oh well. Other than that, I didn’t remember much else from the movie.

There was one scene that stuck with me throughout the years, though. It was at the end where Buffy is at the dance. The vampires are trying to come in and, naturally, suck everybody’s blood. Everyone is screaming in terror, even the boys, when Buffy grabs a bag of stakes, the frilly part of her dress gets ripped off and she goes outside to face the vampires alone. That scene is the embodiment of the Buffy character for me. She wasn’t afraid, she was on an vampire ass-kicking mission and everyone else was content to hide behind her. What more can you ask for?

buffy promNew memories: After watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer again, it was somewhat different from what I remembered as a little kid. So it was not nearly as full of action as I thought it was; however, it was a lot more focused on empowering women that I’d ever realized. For instance, there’s a part where a guy grabs Buffy’s butt in the hallway at school and she totally takes him to the floor and tells him to not ever do that again. He was shaking in his awful 90’s sweater. How many times has this happened in a movie and the woman wasn’t able to do anything about it? There were a lot of little things like that that I really enjoyed this time around.

Overall, even though this flick is not as full of action as I remembered, it’s got so many other aspects that keeps it on my list of favorite movies.

Download the Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast here

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Our featured guests: Dennis Murphy, Hank Carlson

Dennis Murphy: Dennis has produced features and television for over 20 years. Fans of this site might recognize such titles as Friday the 13th Part 2 (with our buddy, Stu Charno!), Re-Animator, Dolls, Powder and Blind Fury among others.

On television he served as producer for the pilot episode of a little hospital drama known as ER, as well as the long-running family drama Wildfire.

He has shot all over the U.S. including New Mexico, California, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington, Connecticut, Florida, Puerto Rico and New York. Outside of the U.S., he has shot in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Italy.

He is a member of the Directors’ Guild of America (as Unit Production Manager and Director).

Awards include the Humanitas Award for “Wildflower”, the George Peabody Award, Norman Felton Producer of the Year Award, and an Emmy nomination for “E.R.” (the pilot episode).


wickedwoodHank Carlson: Hank was the man who literally added bite to all the background characters in Buffy, as we was responsible for vamp-ing up the cast at a lightning speed. It is a skill he has honed over the years in various independent films, such as Doppelganger with Drew Barrymore, Mindwarp with Bruce Campbell, Jigsaw, and has several other works wrapped and ready for a distribution deal (including Wicked Wood, pictured).

Carlson’s prowess for prosthetics took his career on a different trajectory of late. To find out just what it is, I guess you will have to listen to the podcast, now, won’t you?


A big Natsukashi thanks to both Buffy backers who returned to the set in their mind and recalled their time making the film that started an industry.

‘Peter Pan’ (1960) with Lost Boy Edmund Gaynes

peter pan poster1

Title: Peter Pan (1960) Stage play
Directed by: Vincent J. Donehue
Written by: J.M. Barrie (original play) and Jerome Robbins (adaptation)
Starring: Mary Martin as Peter Pan
                   Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook
                   Maureen Bailey as Wendy
                   Sondra Lee as Tiger Lily
                   Joey Trent as John
                   Kent Fletcher as Michael
                   Edmund Gaynes as Slightly

By Whitney from dearjesus

Pre-screening memories: screencap1My cousins introduced me to a lot of great movies. A few years older than my sister and me, they would come babysit and bring West Side Story, or Adventures in Babysitting. They took me to the movies to see The Witches (which terrified me and I resented them for it for a long time). And one special Sunday long ago, they introduced me to Mary Martin’s Peter Pan

I remember immediately loving this version of the familiar tale. This was before I saw Hook – a very influential movie for my generation – and probably even before I saw the animated Disney film. All versions of Peter Pan, including the book, were fascinating to me. But this one held a special place in my heart.

Ppeter_panposter3art of that might be the record we had with some of the songs on it. My parents were no lovers of music, so we owned a whole three records that my sister and I played to shreds. One was the Brigham Young University choir doing their renditions of musical hits. And both Tiger Lily songs were on there. I’m sure we coordinated dances…because we always coordinated dances. And even on this rewatching of the film, I remembered all the words. Ugga-wugga-wig-wam. Racist. So racist. So fun.

It’s great rewatching a film that you think has been almost completely wiped from memory, but then discovering that all of it is so familiar. Uncanny, really.

New memories:The movie definitely loses a little of its appeal. What seemed charmingly simple to a child, is a little threadbare as an adult. Also, I’m not sure I realized it was just a filmed production of a Broadway play when I was a kid. It’s definitely an entirely different movie to someone now familiar with different aspects of filmmaking.

That said, I still loved the movie for what it was. A 47-year-old woman playing a little boy is delightful, no matter what the decade.


Download the Peter Pan with Edmund Gaynes podcast here

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Our featured guest: ‘Lost Boy’ Edmund Gaynes

Ascreencappeter and lost boyss a theatre producer, Mr. Gaynes’ Off-Broadway productions include the current hit Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical, as well as the recent hit plays The Rise of Dorothy Hale, The Big Voice: God or Merman?, the long-running Picon Pie, Emily Mann’s Annulla, A Brush With Georgia O’Keeffe, Trolls, Panache, Chaim’s Love Song, Matty: An Evening with Christy Mathewson, Einstein: A Stage Portrait and Bein’ With Behan, which was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. He produced the West Coast premieres of Marry Me a Little and Starting Here, Starting Now and was nominated for four Ovation Awards, Los Angeles’ highest theatre honors, for his productions of The Taffetas and Songs the Girls Sang.

Mr. Gaynes is currently producing the National Tour of Gilligan’s Island: The Musical, playing coast to coast prior to a Broadway opening in the fall. He will also later this season be presenting Liberace: The Man, The Music and The Memories on Broadway.

 He currently operates four Off-Broadway theatres in New York City (St. Luke’s Theatre, the Actors Temple Theatre and the Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street complex), as well as the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center and Sherry Theatre in Los Angeles. In addition to the above New York producing credits, he has produced throughout the country, with over forty productions in Los Angeles alone.

He has also appeared as an actor in 13 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows including Greenwillow with Anthony Perkins, The Body Beautiful  with Jack Warden, Promenade  with Madeline Kahn, Edward Albee’s Bartleby and Best Foot Forward, in which he co-starred with Christopher Walken and Liza Minnelli and sang “Buckle Down, Winsocki” on the original cast album. Directors he has worked with include Elia Kazan, Stella Adler, Herb Ross, George Abbott, George Roy Hill, Bobby Lewis, Peter Hunt, George Schaeffer, Robert Moore, Alan Schneider, Joe Layton, Gene Saks, Martin Charnin and Jerome Robbins.

TV credits range from Mary Martin’s Peter Pan to Cheers, Kojak, a recurring role on The Patty Duke Show, The Sid Caesar Hour, Playhouse 90, The Ed Sullivan Show, among many others, as well as a two-year run as Paul Stewart on As the World Turns.

Other than that, not much (!!!). Kidding, of course. We want to thank Mr. Gaynes for taking the time from his many theatrical endeavors to join us.

‘Christine’ with Alexandra Paul


Film: Christine (1983)
Rated: R
Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: Stephen King (story)
Starring:  Keith Gordon as Arnie Cunningham
                    John Stockwell as Dennis Guilder
                    Alexandra Paul as Leigh Cabot

By Shelley Stillo

Pre-screening memories: The first novel I remember reading for fun was by Stephen King.cujo  It was Cujo and I picked it up from around the house after my mother had finished reading it. I was intrigued by the cover: a snarling snout with teeth bared emerging from a dull beige background.  I was nine, I was terrified, and I loved every minute of it.  In these post-PMRC days, when parental warnings air even before shows on the Family Channel, some Natsukashi-readers might be horrified by the idea of an elementary school student reading Stephen King novels cover to cover, one after the other (or, given that you’re a fan of this site, maybe you aren’t!).

There was strong violence, horrific imagery, indecent language, and a surprising amount of sex (I’m still a little bit traumatized by the pre-pubescent gang bang in It).  But this was the 80s, and King was, well, king. It seemed that every novel he published was more acclaimed and more successful than the last.  And far from corrupting my youth or warping my psychology, being a pre-teen King fan gave me entrée in the adult world.  It was something I could talk about with my family and my parents’ friends.

My mother was a King fan (this was how I gained access to all of those novels—they were just there), my uncle was a King fan. For the first time, I had something in common with adults. We could talk about King novels on something like equal ground. I felt like I had knowledge and authority about a subject for the first time. It is likely significant that this equality was achieved through literature; I am sure it is no accident that I am an English professor today, even though some of my peers might balk at applying the “L” word to King.

christine2Some of my earliest cinematic memories are thanks to King as well.  Despite the appellation of the label “misogynist” to the horror genre, King often wrote about strong female characters a young woman, especially one who didn’t quite “fit in” could identify with. There was the intensely sad, yet satisfying, prom scene in Carrie, there was little Drew Barrymore, just about my own age at the time, in Firestarter.  Amidst this mini-King storm of my childhood was Christine, a novel and a film in which the strong female character is imagined with a hemi-sized twist:  “she” is a car, and one hell of a car.  I really don’t remember the particulars of my first viewing of Christine.  It was just a part of my “King phase,” and the details have blurred together with all the other King films I saw around the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at that age, I preferred Maximum Overdrive to Christine:  the evil car in that film was almost cartoon-like, which I am sure would appeal to children more than the Detroit muscle car beauty of Christine. Besides, I was going through a bit of an Emilio Estevez phase back then as well, so I am sure his presence in Maximum Overdrive appealed to me on a completely different level.

inside carNew memories: In some ways, Christine is the male version of Carrie.  The nerdy, effeminate, and consistently bullied Arnie (Stuart Gordon) undergoes a transformation as a result of his relationship with Christine that allows him to become the coolest guy in school, to get the girl, and to avenge his enemies, but all of this comes at a tremendous cost.  Christine is a possessive lover, and she makes it difficult for Arnie to take full advantage of his new-found popularity by killing anyone who garners even the slightest of Arnie‘s time and affection. 

I’ve been reading a lot of Poe and Hawthorne lately, so the first thing that struck me as I re-viewed this film for the first time in 20 years was how frequently male anxiety is displaced onto the female body in the Gothic genre.  In Poe and Hawthorne, men grapple with scientific advances, with male competition in the workplace, and with their own psychology in the presence of dead and dying women.  In Christine, Arnie and  best friend, popular jock Dennis (John Stockwell) grapple with their emerging sexualities, their position in the intense social hierarchy of high school, and male competition through their highly charged relationship to a feminized automobile.  In a way, the character of Christine turns this male-centered Gothic trope on its head.  In one sense, it is very traditional—the female, sexualized body, Christine, serves as a sort of lynch pin for male anxiety. 

From another perspective though, Christine is a highly ironic feminized symbol, being that cars, especially sexy cars like the stingray, have long been associated with male sexual and social identities.  King is able to parody the Gothic’s use of femininity and America’s “masculine” obsession with the automobile in one character.  This parody troubles the typical 80s high school stereotypes in the film.  As a friend of mine pointed out to me (Christianne from http://krelllabs.blogspot.com/), Arnie and Dennis look like traditional types initially, the cool guy and the loser, with the cool guy as white in shining armor.

But not only are their roles quickly reversed by Christine’s influence on Arnie, King immediately emasculates Dennis’s jock hero when his character suffers a debilitating injury during a football game early in the film, a scenario that could be read as a symbolic castration.  As with many of the 80s films we have discussed on this site, Christine provides an ironic commentary on the genres—horror, teen flicks, high school dramas—from which it is fashioned. 

carIn addition to the complex gender issues in the film, the other thing I will take away from my recent viewing of Christine is how beautifully made it is.  Christine is a exquisite car, she is the kind of car any exploitation film fan dreams about at night (eat your heart out, Quentin Tarantino), and she is photographed beautifully throughout the film.  The camera angles early in the film render familiar scenes, of high school hallways and family living rooms, uncomfortable and hint at the horror to come, suggesting to viewers that terror is always lurking at the edges of the familiar.  One scene in particular, of Christine, engulfed in flames, running down one of Arnie‘s tormentors, is one of the most beautiful sequences of film I’ve seen in a long time. And I couldn’t help but wonder, as I watched this moment, if it was the inspiration for Radiohead’s ethereal “Karma Police” video? 

honda civic(Ed. note: I was extremely happy to re-view this, as the first car I ever owned had an appearance in the film, briefly. It was a canary yellow 1975 Honda Civic with a pull choke.  And yes, she had a name: Charo, for she shook when she got really excited.)


Download the ‘Christine’ with Alexandra Paul podcast here

…or, steer into our little on-site player below:


paulOur featured guest: Alexandra Paul

Christine marked one of Ms. Paul’s first big-screen outings, where she played Leigh, the new girl in school and the “other woman” to a 1958 Plymouth Fury.

Since then, Ms. Paul has been active both on screen and off, starring in such big-screen films as American Flyers, Dragnet, 8 Million Ways to Die, and Spy Hard. On television, Paul has performed on Melrose Place and has hosted  Outdoor Life Network’s Wild Watersand We’s Winning Women.

But perhaps her biggest pop-culture legacy is that of Lt. Stephanie Holden on the globally popular Baywatch series.

But Paul’s passions run deep and she has carved a formidable path for herself away from the camera as well, signing up voters well before she was age to cast her own ballot, co-writing and producing JamPacked, a documentary on overpopulation, as well as The Cost of Cool, about simple living. As an owner of an electric car since 1990, Paul was also featured in the riveting documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, where she strapped herself to the last GM EV1 to be taken off the Burbank lot.

And if that were not enough, Paul is an award recipient from both the ACLU and the United Nations.

And dare you doubt her Baywatch athleticism, she is a finisher in the grueling IronMan Triathlon competition (Ed. note: time to rethink the title of that race!), an accomplished swimmer who has propelled herself in distances ranging from 6.2 to 10 miles in the water (and preparing for another this year, as you will hear in the podcast).

We are truly honored to have Ms. Paul join us to reflect on a film that many of our listeners recall so fondly and wish her the best in all her future endeavors.

‘Tremors’ with co-star Charlotte Stewart


Film: ‘Tremors (1990)
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Ron Underwood
Written by: S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock
Starring: Kevin Bacon as Val McKee
                   Fred Wardas Earl Bassett
                   Michael Grossas Burt Gummer
                   Reba McEntire as Heather Gummer
                   Charlotte Stewartas Nancy Sterngood

actionflickchick1By Action Flick Chick

group-shotPre-screening memoriesI love, love, loved Tremors as a little kid. It had everything a girl could want in a movie: big monsters eating people and then people turning the tides and blowing up the monsters. Awesome! It did scare me just a tiny bit… enough that if I had to go outside I would make sure to run to the destination and get off the ground as soon as I could. I didn’t reallybelieve that Graboids existed but I wasn’t going to take any chances… y’know, just in case.graboid

New Memories: Tremorsholds up very well over time. Partly because they didn’t use all that CGI back then and partly because the acting is all so good. I mean, I really believe all the actors in this film. There is not one person who you think, “Hmm, that person’s not so great.” Even the kids who populate Perfection are good. And, since the Graboids were man-made and not CGI, they look great even today, and not cheesy or outdated. So, after watching Tremors again, I still love this movie. This is hands-down my favorite movie to watch over and over and over again.kevin-and-fred

(Ed. note: We would like to welcome Action Flick Chick to the podcast and look forward to future contributions from this intrepid blogger as she recalls films that made her the action-lovin’ gal she is today.)


Download the ‘Tremors’ with Charlotte Stewart podcast

Or dig a little deeper and listen to it right here:


charlotteOur featured guest: Charlotte Stewart

During the course of the Tremorsfilm trilogy, Charlotte went from mousy mommy to a Graboid-killin’ machine who saves the day. Charlotte’s career also mirrored this spectrum, playing the schoolmarm Ms. Beadle on Little House on the Prairie for five years while also playing mother to a mutated, reptilian-like “skinned goat” in the cult classic David Lynch film, Eraserhead.

She would again work with the director in his series  Twin Peaks and continued to act in both film and television.

Charlotte also hung with such musical icons as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Jim Morrison back in the day. Does she hide some heretofore unexplored musical talent? You’ll just have to hear the podcast to find out…

It may be under construction right now, but you can check out some exciting things at Charlotte’s site, LiquidButterfly.com, where she will features some of her own fashionable creations (with proceeds going to fight breast cancer).

Thank you,Charlotte, from the gang here at Natsukashi, for heading back to Perfection with us for gabbin’ about Graboids.

‘Just One of the Guys’ with Stu Charno


Film: Just One of the Guys (PG-13)
Directed by: Lisa Gotlieb
Written by: Dennis Feldman and Jeff Franklin
Starring: Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith
                   Clayton Bohner as Rick Moorehouse
                   Billy Jacoby as Buddy Griffith
                   William Zabka as Greg Tolan
                   Stu Charno as “Reptile” Sherpico

(Ed. note: We want to welcome E Dagger to his first podcast with us and encourage listeners to swing by his site to some wonderfully eclectic diversions. Dagger fits in well with the Natsukashi family and we look forward to hearing more from this fella.)

By E Dagger from CruJonesSociety

horny-brother2I remember happening upon Just One of the Guys for the first time when I was about 13. I had joined the movie somewhere in the middle and it was a scene in Buddy’s room. If you remember this movie well, you’ll recall that Buddy had covered his walls in Playboy centerfolds. Well, being 13, lousy with hormones, and hungry for nudity wherever I could get it, I stuck with the movie all the way to the end. I empathized with Buddy trying desperately to get laid (although at that point in my life, all I wanted was some heavy petting), and picked up the plot fairly quickly. It’s an 80s movie, so it’s not like trying to decode James Joyce mid-novel, and surprisingly (or perhaps not), I loved the hell out of it.

Zabka was there playing a slightly less evil of Johnny from The Karate Kid, and the rest of the cast was just sort of effortlessly charming and fun to watch. Since this was the early 90s, and I was watching it on HBO, I was able to catch it somewhere between 10 and 500 times over the next couple months as it rapidly became one of my favorites.

New memories: It now sits proudly on my DVD shelf, and I think it holds up reasonably well. Sure, it’s aged in the same way all 80s movies have – hilarious fashion choices, parents mysteriously out of town to remove any unnecessary plot contrivances, culmination of the story at a prom, clearly delineated character archetypes (e.g. nerds claiming to be from space with tape on their glasses), Zabka – but it’s sort of a timeless story. And why shouldn’t it be? At its most base, Just One of the Guys is a modern allusion to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and if I recall correctly, was recently rebooted with Amanda Bynes.

Three things stand out for me watching it today:

1) The climax where Terry reveals to Rick that she’s a girl by flashing him and his indignant reaction, “Where do you get off having tits?” is probably one of the all-time top five 80s movie moments, and definitely the all-time best boob scene in movie history. It’s surprising, reveals the spectacular gifts of Joyce Hyser, and serves as a major plot point. All movie nudity should aspire to this level of greatness.

2) Billy Jayne’s over-the-top horndog antics are at once charming, cornball, mildly morally reprehensible given the culture of AIDS arising in the 80s, basically harmless, and altogether entertaining as hell to watch. He chews the scenery in this movie, and chews it with gusto. He’s one of this movie’s purest pleasures.

at-typewriter3) This was the biggest thing I was struck by watching the movie in 2009: Terry goes through all the trouble of cutting her hair, wearing drag, changing schools, alienating her boyfriend, and turning her life upside down for the sake of an opportunity to write for a newspaper. Think about that. As we redefine traditional media as we know it every day and newspapers close all across the country, 25 years ago Terry would do anything to write for The Sun Sentinel. For those who mourn the death of newspapers in this country, this movie is romantic in its portrayal of the inherent nobility of journalism. And in that way, it serves as sort of a sweet elegy to a time past. And the fact that Just One of the Guys achieves that level of poetic nostalgia completely unintentionally makes it a fascinating cultural time capsule.

Plus, y’know, it’s got tits.


Download  ‘Just One of the Guys’ with Stu Charno podcast, or

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Our featured guest: Stu Charnostu-charno

A veteran of more than 25 years of film and theater, more than three decades in music (Charno’s jazz pianist stylings can be heard on this Natsukashi podcast), woodworking, poetry,martial arts…there’s much in the orbit of Charno’s universe, or Stuniverse, if you will. Charno is officially retired from acting, but is hardly idle. He’s currently hard at work on Brainwax, his second CD (you can hear a sample of his song on this episode).

Film fans will most likely remember Charno for roles in Friday the 13th Part 2, Christine, Once Bitten and Sleepwalkers, or TV viewers will recall his roles in M*A*S*H, Newhart or The X-Files.

But tonight we are here to celebrate him as “Reptile,” that lizard-lovin’ outcast from Just One of the Guys. Thanks, Stu, for sharing your music and memories, and be sure to get your copy of Brainwax for some wild and woolly ear candy.

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