‘The Lonely Lady’ with co-star Jared Martin

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Film: The Lonely Lady (1983)
Rated: R
Written by:
Harold Robbins (novel)
Ellen Shepard (screenplay)
Directed by:
Peter Sasdy
Starring:
Pia Zadora as Jerilee Randal
Lloyd Bochner as Walter Thorton
Bibi Besch as Veronica Randal
Jared Martin as Goerge Ballantine
Ray Liotta as Joe Heron

 

By Rob R. (and Bo from Last Blog on the Left)

Rob’s Pre-screening Memories: The scrambler. It was the bane of existence for every young boy growing up in the 80s. For us, it was a torture device similar to the medival  iron maiden or the cat’s paw.

For those who did not grow up in that tome frame or did not poses hormones that raged like a ‘roided-up UFC fighter, the scrambler was used to twist and distort images on premium cable channels that to which you did not subscribe. But do not underestimate the power and perseverance of pre-teen boys first learning about sex.

Like the Pavlovian pooch that never learns that it’s “treat” is hooked up to an electric charge, we continued to revisit it, hoping that for whatever reason we would somehow be rewarded.

Now, if it was merely treated to a blank screen, we would have moved on, but no…. This scrambler offered not one, but two tiny teases that kept us coming back for more…

hotdog

Sadly, this was only one of many times Pia was offered a hot dog in the film.

1) For perhaps 1/100th of a second, we would be treated to a glimpse of the channel. That meant, if we tune in at just the right time, we could perhaps get flashbulb-fast view of perhaps a nipple, if the late night soft-core offerings were being screened.

2) The sound was still crystal clear. This meant that every groan or sloppy kiss would violate our ears like a siren’s song.

This all leads me to The Lonely Lady. It was a film that in its TV Guide ratings, had a bold “N” at the end of the blurb, which any youth knew promised “nudity.” It starred the era’s it girl, Pia Zadora, a celeb not afraid to show skin in an era in which not every young starlet posed for pics on her iPhone and broadcasts it over the Internet.

One fateful weekend, I got wind that our area was to recieve a “free preview” weekend, in which The Movie Channel was to unleash its contents of late-night lewd, lascivious pictures– heretofore banned from viewing — into our neighborhood, into our homes. Pia Zadora was going to be in my very living room.

The premeditation of my dance with the premium channel devil was in motion. The TV Guide was hidden so my parents would be unaware of the gift the cable gods were about to bestow on our household. The fateful evening came and I feigned sleep at an earlier-than-usual hour, and they were none the wiser.

Once I heard them retire for the evening, I slowly crept downstairs, sensitive to every creak and whistle echoing through my home. Bathed in the warm glow of filth that I was sure to watch, I sat with the old-style cable box in front of me, finger nervously resting on a “family friendly” alternative (as if my parents would come downstairs and buy my excuse of wanting to watch a late-night “Faulty Towers” episode on PBS).

accepting award

Accepting one of six Razzies the film won.

There was little plot I recall, or even cared about at the time. For one, I was too busy trying to discern if that sound was a floorbaord above or the wind outside; and I really did not care to see Pia give her acceptance speech at the Osca…I mean, and “awards show.” I just wanted her to slip into something more naked.

I do recall that the sex was not as titillating as I would later come to appreciate in films like Fanny Hill. In fact, I remember being a little more scared than excited. A particular scene with a garden hose gave me pause every time my weekend chores involved watering the lawn. Though there was a certain shower scene that seemed to help keep me from all the water-based activities altogether.

Ray Liotta, not a good fella.

Ray Liotta, not a good fella.

It was certainly not the casual, bare-breasted shennanigans promised in films like My Tutor, Screwballs, or Joysticks — late-night staples that would pique the interest of young, corrupt minds. In fact, even though it displayed ample amounts of skin, it was, I recall, far too disturbing to leave me with loving mental imprints that could be stored away for later use.

In an empty theater, no one can hear you scream.

In an empty theater, no one can hear you scream.

New memories: Yeah,there is little wonder I turned out the way I did. Filled with countless freak-outs (dig that mental breakdown, man!), corrupt sexual encounters and general depravity,The Lonely Lady can certainly be appreciated as a morally bankrupt camp classic (a la Showgirls), but that glimpse of female nudity comes with a heavy price. Thankfully, one of its stars, Jared Martin, who played the lusty George Ballentine was along for the viewing this go-round to remind me it was only a movie. Now, if only I could have learned this decades ago, my folks would have a much cheaper therapy tab.

Download Natuskashi’s ‘The Lonely Lady’ podcast here

Or, wallow in our dirty, dirty on-site player below:

Our Featured Guest: Jared Martin

jarensmoulderJared returns to Natsukashi to discuss a film for which he has much to say. The Lonely Lady was nominated for 11 Razzies, of which it won six. 

 on viewers on television, starring in series such as Fantastic Journey, as “Lusty” Dusty Farlow in Dallas, and, Martin’s personal favorite, as the lead in the popular syndicated sci-fi series War of the Worlds as Dr. Harrison Blackwood.

Martin is the co-founder and creative director of the Big Picture Alliance in Philadelphia, a non-profit youth development media program which fosters an appreciation of film in underserved communities.

chinese villageAs a writer and photographer, his poetry has been anthologized and his photographs exhibited in both group and single shows. He has written the novel Sand Wasp, two photo-narratives “Dazhengzhou, a 1000 Year Old Chinese Village” and “Letter From Zibo” and is completing a third ‘Caprivi”. While acting he began recording events with a camera. He has been exhibited in group shows, and his image “Temple Workers” was awarded the National Association of Photoshop Professionals best Landscape Photograph of 2008. NAPP also selected ‘Man Admiring his House’, and “Approaching Storm” as featured Images of the Week.

A Renaissance man in the truest sense, we consider Jared an invaluable contributor to our little podcast, and we thank him for sharing all of his stories and insight from his massive resume of films and television. Below are some pictures of his photography, and you can click through them to get to his site.

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‘Popcorn’ featuring lead Derek Rydall

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Film: Popcorn (1991)
Rated: R
Written by:
Alan Ormsby (screenplay)
Mitchell Smith (story)
Directed by:
Mark Herrier
Starring:
Jill Schoelen as Maggie
Tom Villare as Toby
Derek Rydall as Mark
Dee Wallace as Suzanne
Tony Roberts as Mr. Davis
Ray Walston as Dr. Mnesyne

By the Divemistress from
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Pre-screening memories: When I was a kid we had First Choice on our TV.  First Choice was awesome— 24 hours of movies, seven days a week. I was introduced to a lot of films via that movie channel, many of which I shouldn’t have seen. Not at that tender age. And so it came to pass that I sat down to watch Popcorn. I think the synopsis in the movie guide read something like “people killed at movie theatre.” 

Whatever, I was sold.

In point of fact, the only thing I actually remember about the story is that people are killed in a movie theatre. I vaguely recall something about the final girl being the killer’s daughter, or object of obsession. I don’t even know if I was scared, or if I actually liked the movie.

popcornfestI do remember Popcorn’s setting, though. The film takes place in an old theatre which a group of film students have rigged to create an immersive B-movie watching experience; they shock the audience with electrified seats, they release stink bombs, they have a huge paper-maché ant that descends from the ceiling. I guess this part really stuck with me because it sounds like a lot of fun. Other things that stuck with me are the killer’s weird looking face and a dress that doubles as an iron maiden. That sounds less fun.

New memories: I was wrong about the ant. It was a mosquito.

As I said, I really can’t comment on my initial reaction to Popcorn—whether I found it campy or legitimately scary. The film, it is safe to say, is total camp. And though it stops short of being offensively recursive, the camp is reflected in the quality of the movie marathon being shown in the film. Equally ridiculous but also unbelievably pretentious is “The Possessor”, an old art-house film that lays the foundation for Popcorn’s plot. popcornscary

I had completely forgotten about that.

The killer’s weird looking face was even more impressive than I remembered. And I wasn’t too far off on the villain’s motivations, which was surprising, given how little I actually remembered about the plot, but kind of vindicating as well.

Download Natsukashi’s ‘Popcorn’ with Derek Rydall podcast here

or, grab an audio box of hot-buttered nostalgia right here…

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derekrydallOur featured guest: Derek Rydall

Derek played Mark, the accident-prone punching bag-of-a-boyfriend to Popcorn’s lead, Maggie.

Though he was fresh-faced in the film, Rydall was no stranger to the genre, having starred in both Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (with a young Pauly Shore) and Night Visitor.

During the shooting of Popcorn, Derek had a life-altering experience that led him on a different path in Hollywood. Derek shared his tale with us on this very episode, so listen up, punks.

As a screenwriter, screenplay consultant, and script doctor, he has been on staff for Fox (Wildforce Rangers) and Disney, developed projects for RKO, United Artists, Miramax, Fine Line, Universal, Saturn (Nicolas Cage’s company), Deepak Chopra, Wildrice, Longbow, and the creators of Air Force One and Ghost. Additionally, Rydall script doctored on the feature films Diamonds and No Turning Back.

Rydall has worked one-on-one with numerous screenwriters, independent producers, and executives from around the world; and has sold, optioned, or been hired to write over 20 film and TV projects.

Rydall is the author of “I Could’ve Written a Better Movie than That!: How to Make Six Figures as a Screenplay Consultant – Even if You’re Not a Screenwriter,” and “There’s No Business Like Soul Business: a Spiritual Path to Enlightened Screenwriting, Filmmaking, and Performing Arts.”

Rydall’s website www.ScriptwriterCentral.com, is geared toward assisting screenwriters in taking their scripts to the next level, and training the next-generation of script consultants to analyze scripts deeper, broader, and clearer than every before.

Rydall’s website, www.EnlightenedEntertainer.com is geared toward empowering artists and entertainment professionals to walk a more purposeful and prosperous path in show business.

For those who want to keep up with all things Rydall, you can check out his personal site at DerekRydall.com.

Thanks, Derek for sharing your tales behind the scenes of Popcorn, as well as your path to your current endeavors and we wish you all the best.

‘BeetleJuice’ with Glenn Shadix

beetlejuiceposterFilm: BeetleJuice (1988)
Rated: PG
Directed by:
Tim Burton
Written by:
Michael McDowell
Starring:
Michael Keaton as Beetlegeuse
Alec Baldwin as Adam Maitland
Geena Davis as Barbara Maitland
Catherine O'Hara as Delia Deetz
Jeffrey Jones as Charles Deetz
Winona Ryder as Lydia Deetz
Glenn Shadix as Otho Fenlock

 

By Scott Knopf of He Shot Cyrus

beetlejuice

Pre-screening memoriesNo R-rated movies.  PG-13 movies only with parental consent.  That was my childhood.  Being raised in a strict religious family is just as fun as you’d imagine, and if you were one of those kids who got to watch whatever you wanted, consider yourself lucky.  I was the movie ratings expert.  I knew the rating for EVERY movie Blockbuster had to offer.  Before even reading what the movie was about, I’d flip over the box, scroll down to the bottom, and search out that powerful box that would determine my movie-watching fate.  PG-13  YES!  I can watch this one!  R Dang!  That one looked good.  The MPAA directly contributed to my unhappiness in the 90s.  Looking back on those years, it’s either a miracle that I enjoy film at all or it was those restrictions that made movies the forbidden fruit that I had to obtain by any means possible.

PG-13 Movies I Wasn’t Allowed to Watch: 

  • Jurassic Park – Heartbreaking.  We couldn’t even watch the VHS tape my brother got for his birthday!  I don’t know how old I was before I finally got to watch Jurassic Park.  Luckily, the hype didn’t ruin the movie and when I did see the movie it was still incredible.  Forgiveness is difficult to find when it comes to Jurassic Park
  • Beavis and Butt-Head Do America – I still can’t believe that this was PG-13, maybe it’s because they knew that no one over 17 would watch this garbage.  In retrospect, I have to thank my parents for not allowing me to waste my time with Beavis and Butt-Head.  
  • Gremlins – When I asked my Grandma to take me to Gremlins, she said that my parents wouldn’t approve (she was probably right) and we watched White Fang.  Needless to say, White Fang was absolutely terrible and still holds a spot on my Top 5 Least Favorite Movies of All-Time list.

And then there’s Beetlejuice.  It didn’t make that list for one reason, because it’s rated PG!  I can’t describe the frustration of not being allowed to watch a PG movie.  Hell, I wasn’t allowed to watch the Beetlejuice cartoon on Nickelodeon.  Maybe it had something to do with subject matter but I have no clue why such a strict ban of Beetlejuice was held in my house.  It was like Beetlejuice drove his car through my mom’s flower bed or borrowed my dad’s lawnmower and never brought it back.  We’re talking about a vendetta situation, a Romeo and Juliet scenario. 

But rather than poisoning myself, I just set up a secret screening at my friend’s house to watch The Forbidden Film. 

And to quote the Lord: it was good.   

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Download ‘Natsukashi’s ‘Beetlejuice’ with Glenn Shadix’ podcast

or say it three times and listen to it on the site right here:

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Our featured guest: Glenn Shadix

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(courtesy of Glenn’s personal collection)

In a film filled with countless arresting visuals, dialogue and performances, Glenn’s Otho, the interior decorator/paranormal expert still manages to steal every scene he is in.

Beelejuice marked Glenn’s first real foray into film (one line involving a chicken salad sandwich in The Postman Always Rings Twice remake doesn’t count).
After a fateful meeting with a young up-and-coming film director named Tim Burton, Shadix went on to collaborate on three films: BeetleJuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Planet of the Apes(Shadix also provides the voice for Burton’s animated webisodes titled Stain Boy, which can be found on Shadix’s site GlennShadix.com).
20th-Beetle27Glenn went on to star in a host of other popular titles (many of which we hope to grab him back here at Natsukashi to recall). He then relocated to his hometown in Alabama, working on both sides of the camera as well as the stage. Of course, you can follow all of Glenn’s adventures on GlennShadix.com, as well as staying tuned to Natsukashi, as we are planning to share memories with him on several of his iconic roles.

‘The Sender’ (with notes from script supervisor Sally Jones)

senderposter
Film: The Sender (1982)
Rated: R
Written by:
Thomas Baum
Directed by:
Roger Christian
Starring:
Zeljko Ivanek as John Doe
Kathryn Harrold as Dr. Gail Farmer
Paul Freeman as Dr. Joseph Denman
Shirley Knight as Jerolyn, The Sender's Mommy

By Rob R.

Pre-screening memories: The Sender was a film that was one of those under-the-skin creepouts that truly affected my young mind.

By the time I was able to catch it on my friend’s HBO, I had already been exposed to the blood and guts of Friday the 13th and that ilk, which I appreciated more for gore and special effects.

As an aforementioned devotee of Fangoria, I had my horror cherry popped at an age shared only by early American frontiersman and the Palin children. I was therefore able to distance my mind from the more splatter-centric brethren of the horror genre. They occupied my interest on a purely technical level.

The Sender, though, was one I recall being something that “could actually happen.” I remember there being long periods of silence, which allowed a young mind to ruminate over what was being shown to it. Of course, now two decades later I cannot remember but a few isolated scenes:

drowning* The opening in which lead (played by a young Zeljko Ivanek, whose name I committed to memory even way back then), walks directly into a public swimming beach in an attempt to drown himself. The sheer terror of his near drowning had one of those lasting ‘Jaws‘- like impacts on my land-lubbing psyche.

mouthrat* The other scene involved a rat exiting the mouth of one of the characters. I do not recall the circumstances that would precipitate a large rodent to dwell in one’s esophogus, but on a freak-out scale, it was off the charts.

loonybin* I recall a female psychologist trying to help poor Zeljko, and in my mind’s eye I can only remember Kelly McGillis, but that is most likely due to my decidedly un-Amish-like crush I held for her at that time, thanks to the double threat of Top Gun and Witness.

*There was also some climactic scene with electroshock that rivaled Jack Nicholson’s in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but with much more gore.

Memories of the film play  more like a dream, which I’m sure have more to do with the psychosis suffered by its lead, but I’m happy to revisit electroshock of nostalgia just the same.

New memories: Man, did I have good taste as a kid. Not only was this film still creepy, but the performances still held up, music was haunting, plot deeper than I remember. And all this from the guy who directed ‘Battlefield Earth?’

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Download Natsukashi’s ‘The Sender’ podcast

or you can return to Sender with Rob and Count Vardulon right on this page:

Our ‘guest’ Script Supervisor Sally Jones:

Sally is entering her fourth decade in film, overseeing scripts from a wildly diverse lot of films.  As the supervisor, Sally’s job was to help interpret the words of the script into physical action, and she was present throughout the filming of The Sender.

Included in her long list of supervisory credentials are a few you may have heard of, such as:

  • Return to Oz
  • Heaven’s Gate
  • Withnail & I
  • Willow
  • Patriot Games
  • Braveheart
  • Black Hawk Down
  • Vanity Fair
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • Mamma Mia!

Jones is currently working again with The Sender director Roger Christian on the horror-mystery Prisoners of the Sun, starring David Carvet, John Rhys-Davies and Emily Holmes.

We thank Sally for sending us her Sender memories.

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