Thursday, April 24, 2008

SWORD AND THE SORCERER SEQUEL... Wizards, Warriors and Wenches... Talon and Company Return!... It's Really Happening!!!

Albert Pyun has made dozens of B-movies over the years. Some of them have been thoroughly entertaining ( RADIOACTIVE DREAMS, DOWN TWISTED, CYBORG, NEMESIS ). Some have been unforgivable ( CAPTAIN AMERICA, the single worst comic adaptation AWS has ever seen ). It's easy to forget within this vast filmography that Pyun's first ( and probably best ) film was a big production for Universal Studios. It was still low budget compared to most of the films out there, but it was given an enthusiastic release and was indeed met with fandom from its target audience.

That film was THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER, and the timing of Universal was curious but well-placed. It provided a whetting of the appetite for its bigger production, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, which would be released one month later. But if there was ever a big movie to echo the then-recent phenomenon that was the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, this was it. Even the film's promotional materials invoked the phrase, "dungeons and dragons." The poster also looked all the world like a fantasy novel, TSR guidebook or at the very least, an Iron Maiden album cover. Though some may disagree, the film delivered on its promise.

The last shot of SWORD AND THE SORCERER had our surviving heroes riding off into the sunset, after which a message on the screen promised a sequel, TALES OF THE ANCIENT EMPIRE, coming soon. But what was curious was that despite earning nearly $40 million at the U.S. box office ( that would be more than $85 million today, a major success for a mid-budget film ), we never heard from our heroes again.

Now, more than a quarter century later ( damn, I'm getting old ), the sequel is fully and truly on the way. There were whispers before that Pyun was finally making TALES OF THE ANCIENT EMPIRE, but nothing concrete. But now reports that production is gearing up and it looks like a done deal. Fans of sword & sorcery cinema, epic adventure or just fans of CONAN rip-offs ( I'm all three ) can rejoice and let out of "yalp!" of joy.

“It’s got a sexy sorceress, hordes of demonic vampires, a giant serpent, sea pirates, nasty sword (and axe, spear, leg of cow) fights and gore and nudity galore. Everything that a rousing adventure needs to have.”

Pyun has made some alterations to make this a true continuation. In the original film, Talon was played by Lee Horsley, who would have success in the 1980s on the MATT HOUSTON TV series. Rather than cast a younger person in the role of Talon, Pyun is brining back Horsley in the Talon role. However, the focus will be on Talon's children, played by Christopher Lambert, Kevin Sorbo and Victoria Maurette ( recent star of Pyun's BULLETFACE and LEFT FOR DEAD ). Of those three, only Maurette is truly young enough to be Horsley's son, but I guess you can't be consistent with everything.

'Aint It Cool News reports Yancy Butler will play a half-sister to Sorbo's character, but its unknown on which side of the family. I have always liked Butler. She's had an unfortunate track record over the years at being excellent in projects that weren't all they were cracked up to be, at least not the ones I've seen. These include the TV series MANN & MACHINE as well as the films HARD TARGET ( the director's cut is supposedly much better ) and THE HIT LIST. Butler is best known for her starring role on the WITCHBLADE TV series, a show I'm sorry to say I missed.

Also cast is Leah Cairns, formerly of KYLE XY and recently seen in 88 MINUTES. Fans will of course recognize Cairns from the "how the hell can a TV show be this good?" revamp of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, on which she played Viper pilot, Racetrack.

And of course, we will get the tri-blade sword that in addition to being incredibly powerful, also launches it's blades into the guts of its foes. By itself, that's worth the price of admission.

But the biggest treat comes from Pyun himself, who told the folks at, “It’s got a sexy sorceress, hordes of demonic vampires, a giant serpent, sea pirates, nasty sword (and axe, spear, leg of cow) fights and gore and nudity galore. Everything that a rousing adventure needs to have.” That's pretty much everything this website is about so you can bet your ass I'll be first in line for this one. Twitch also confirms that unlike recent sword & sorcery reboots which have aimed for a younger audience, this film will be geared for a hard R-rating. Hells yeah!

TALES OF THE ANCIENT EMPIRE starts filming next month in Buenos Aires and Tunisia. If you aren't excited, you are clinically dead.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER AGAIN!... Return of the Bionic European Tough Guys!

The story broke on the net like a thunderclap from Odin himself. Okay, maybe not. But putting my love of these things clearly in the public eye, a guy can dream. Cinemablend has reported that Jean-Claude Van Damme may be gearing up for another UNIVERSAL SOLDIER sequel. This is not huge news, since Van Damme already did the sequel route in the gutbustingly awful UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN, a film that pretty much crushed any hopes Bill Goldberg had for crossover appeal ( not that those were very high ). No, the real news is that Van Damme's nemesis from the original, played by Dolph Lungren, may be joining him.

The first UNIVERSAL SOLDIER helped increase the reputation of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. It involved Vietnam vets who killed in action, listed missing, and then awakened as bionic super-soldiers decades later to do wetwork for the government. Two of the Universal Soldiers go off the reservation when they become sentient of their previous lives. Van Damme was a heroic soldier who just wanted to go home, but got killed trying to destroy Lundgren, his platoon leader who went insane and wiped out a village as well as his own soldiers. Now, as Van Damme tries to piece his life together, Lundgren aims to finish the fight, leading the other Universal Soldiers, now under his command, to help him out. Yes, younger generation, you read that right. And doesn't that sound so much cooler than the standard, "thugs try to steal money but cross the wrong security guard"-type action film we would expect these days?

Okay, so UNIVERSAL SOLDIER wasn't quite as great as its premise. It was a lot of fun, however, and it hurt to see the promise of an entertaining franchise get squandered.

Not that they haven't tried. UNIVERSAL SOLIDER: THE RETURN may have been bad, but it was the second attempt to resurrect the series. Two obscure straight-to-video titles, UNIVERSAL SOLIDER II: BROTHERS IN ARMS and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER III: UNFINISHED BUSINESS ( I have not personally seen those latter two films ) were even smaller affairs, and featured different actors.

Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin will not be returning for the latest UNIVERSAL SOLDIER film. If anyone has seen the stuff they've been putting out lately, that can only be a good thing. It is expected to go straight-to-DVD and is in the early stages of pre-production.

People may be interested to note that Van Damme has an intriguing genre-bending French film coming out, JCVD. Those are his intials for the extra-drowsy out there. It is, no kidding, one of my most awaited films this year. Thanks to the guys at JoBlo and Arrow In the Head for posting the trailer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

HAZEL COURT 1926 - 2008

Hazel Court, a very talented actress featured in many films beloved in these pages, passed away recently. As is sadly the case with many thespians from the genre, her death was briefly mentioned in several entertainment outlets and then quickly forgotten.

But Court was someone who had a fascinating and storied career, working for more than three decades at her craft, only to pursue an entirely different art form later in life.

A fine English lady, Court was one of the "Gainsborough Girls" so important to the British film industry following World War II. She appeared in many mysteries, thrillers and film noir films throughout the 1940s. Her first appearance in genre circles came with Vernon Sewell's GHOST SHIP, a 1952 obscurity that is starting to get a small following, thanks in part to renewed interest in Sewell's filmography among cult cinema fans. Next came a starring role in the cheeseball classic, DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS, where she played a very non-devilish human at the mercy of the title character.

In 1957, he truly endeared herself to a new generation of horror fans by starring in Terence Fisher's unquestionable classic, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN as the tormented Elizabeth. She teamed with Fisher again two years later with THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH.

Court did not confine herself to British film roles. After starring in Sidney J. Furie's DR. BLOOD'S COFFIN, she began to appear in another gothic horror mainstay. When Roger Corman began his classic Edgar Allen Poe cycle, he saw an immediate talent in Court. He first starring role for Corman was in his third Poe adaptation, THE PREMATURE BURIAL. She would also star in Corman's comedic THE RAVEN and my personal favorite of the Poe films, THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. The featured role in this latter film is truly a departure for Court. Just as THE RAVEN was a comedic change of pace, RED DEATH showed Court could be villainous and duplicitous as well. In that film, she played Juliana the mistress to the demonic Prospero, played by Vincent Price. Her wickedness is trumped only by her jealousy as Prospero becomes enamored with the pure and virginal Francesca.


And yet, after the early 1970s, she for the most part retired. She would appear uncredited in THE FINAL CONFLICT in a passing role, but otherwise her filmography ends in 1972. She focused mainly on painting and sculpting in later years, something for which she became widely respected. She still remembered her fans however and could be seen at events and conventions until very recently.

Hazel Court was married to Dermont Walsh in 1949 and the two had one child together. That child, Sally Walsh, appeared as a younger version of Court's character in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Court and Walsh divorced in 1963 and the following year she married Don Taylor, director of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1977), DAMIEN: OMEN II and THE FINAL COUNTDOWN among others. They had two children together, Courtney and John Taylor. Court and Taylor were together until his death in 1998.

Hazel Court suffered a fatal heart attack on April 15th, 2008. She leaves behind legions of mourning fans who will continue to remember and support her amazing work.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

FUN WITH PROMO ART: Day of the Dead 2008

The DAY OF THE DEAD remake has been released to DVD, bypassing U.S. theatres altogether. And what pray tell is the image being used to sell the general public on this hot new film? Why only one of the ugliest and most bafflingly wrong-headed pieces of DVD cover art I've ever seen.

CHUNDER OF THE DEAD is more like it. We don't know why the zombie on the cover is projectile vomiting or why said vomit seems to defy the laws of physics. But one suspects that if you're going to swallow eyeballs, ears and ring fingers without even cooking them first, you're going to be a little sick to your stomach. Backer cards in many DVD rental shops feature a holographic image that makes this look as if its moving. Honestly, what were they thinking?

As horrible as this looks and as much as it stings to be yet another remake wholly unrelated to the original, the fact is the film itself isn't bad. More on that later.

In the meantime, it appears someone needs some napkins and Pepto Bismol.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Hammer Films is responsible for some of the finest examples of gothic horror in the history of cinema. Their newest film... is not gothic horror. However, the fact that they have a newest film is reason for interest. This is the first film Hammer has done in forty years. The title and theme don't give me goosebumps of joy. It's called BEYOND THE RAVE and is about, you guessed it, vampires at a rave. Huh. The trailer does not look anything like the old Hammer films, so it might be best if we put the glory days of Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Terence Fisher out of our minds. I cannot deny that the film does not look fun however, and that I was not expecting. Take a peek:

Did you see it? Yes, the new Hammer film is being released via MySpace. In fact, the first three episodes seem to already be up. Me, I'm just going to wait for the whole thing to be releaeed on a DVD or something. I don't like my horror in bite-size chunks. I have seen the first ep and things could go either way. The production does look more impoverished than expected and the editing seems to be tailored straight for the ADD crowd. It's quite obvious that this isn't our father's Hammer, but we'll see if the film can stand on its own.

By the way, Adventure Without Shame has a MySpace page as well. You can add us by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

UWE BOLL: "I'm the only f--cking genius in the business."

Tuesday marked the DVD release of IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE, the newest film from Uwe Boll. Several years into his growing filmography, Uwe Boll is being met with just as much vitriol as ever. There is even a much-publicized Internet position urging him to stop making movies. It's entirely likely that no director in modern history has had as much raw sewage heaped upon them as Uwe Boll. I should know, as I was one of the folks wielding the first shovels. But time has passed and I now must admit that I have grown to love Uwe Boll.

If you look back on my reviews of HOUSE OF THE DEAD and ALONE IN THE DARK, they are some of the most negative I have ever written. Many of the opinions expressed in those pieces still stand. One I would like to take back, as I have no idea what I was thinking is this comment from the ALONE review: "Yes, in fact ALONE IN THE DARK is one of the most boring films I've seen in some time. You won't know what's going on it's true, but you probably won't care either." Did I really write that? ALONE IN THE DARK is stupid, inept, poorly acted, choppily directed and altogether incomprehensible. But boring it is not. Attention, AWS readers: I have no idea what happened to me that day or what I was on that could possibly make me think ALONE IN THE DARK was one of the most boring films even of that year. Hell, didn't that come out the same year as THE BROWN BUNNY, a film so dull unsimulated oral sex couldn't save it?

Don't get me wrong, Boll's films are typically awful. But they are awful in such a wonderful and unique way. And one cannot deny that the films are now entertaining in totally different ways. These days, his films have enough interesting aspects to warrant mention along the lines of, "Hey, that was pretty cool right there.". At the same time, they also have the same multitude of goofiness that causes the viewer to smack themselves upside the head and scream, "What the hell was that about?" Yes, he indeed has gotten a lot of trash talk. But I suspect one day, Dr. Boll will be remembered ( Records show Uwe Boll has a doctorate in literature, but I like to think of him as a Doctor of Funk ).. He won't be remembered as one of the great directors. But he will at least be looked upon fondly by future generations of cult movie lovers, much like Al Adamson and Ted V. Mikels are today. Even moreso probably, because cult movie lovers seriously enjoy a subversion of the system and doing a ridiculous movie at $250,000 is a lot different than doing one at $40 million.

But Boll was bound to get detractors even worse than the ones that met those other directors. After all, he's not just pillaging his own material for many of his cinematic disasters, he's pillaging the realm of video games. Now, video games have rarely spawned great films. Boll's indeed are some of the worse ones out there, although I would argue that early misfires like DOUBLE DRAGON, SUPER MARIO BROTHERS and MORTAL KOMBAT: ARMAGEDDON are worse still. But one thing video game fans do have in common is their undying loyalty to the world of gaming. These people are fiercely territorial. Good on them, I say. But it does get a little tiring to see someone pull out their hair as they insist Boll completely shit upon the wondrous legacy that was HOUSE OF THE DEAD.

What gets me most though is how literally people take Dr. Boll. Not the swiftest animal in the pack, I admit it took me a while to realize the truth as well. The truth is Boll is messing with you, people! You keep cursing him and challenging him and he loves it. Do you really think he believes he is the next Stanley Kubrick? Of course not! I'm sure he enjoys the films he makes very much, but I'm sure most of the proclamations out there are just meant to get the superfans in a tizzy. He is the one who challenged his critics to a boxing match. Some folks, like Rue Morgue's Chris Alexander, got the joke. Others, like Lowtax, did not. His latest is the boast that since his next film POSTAL is due to be released on the same day as the new INDIANA JONES film, he fully expects POSTAL to decimate the competition. Guys, it's a joke. People really need to lighten up and stop taking him so seriously.

Now comes his response to the online petition to get him to stop making movies. In it, he baits the crowd even more and I love every second of it. He trash talks Michael Bay ( whom I don't like ) and Eli Roth ( whom I do ). And of course, he spices it up with many German-accented curse words.

There is also a pro-Boll petition out there to sign if anyone is interested. I signed it. I want more Ray Liotta playing lizard-like wizards. I want more totally inappropriate love scenes like the one in BLOODRAYNE. God help me, I want more Uwe Boll.

Monday, April 14, 2008

GETTING SCREWED ON PROM NIGHT... Panic At the Disco, Circa 1980 and Beyond

The immense success of PROM NIGHT this weekend may keep horror films coming out for some time. But it also encourages more remakes, more studio formula and more PG-13 rated fare in order to bring the kiddies in the theatre, whether its appropriate or not. So, PROM NIGHT has screwed us, but this should come as no surprise. Truth be told, PROM NIGHT has been ruining the day for nearly thirty years.

The original PROM NIGHT was a blatant cash grab. The slasher genre was really picking up steam, thanks to HALLOWEEN a couple years prior. In a bit of serendipity, a small film called FRIDAY THE 13TH had been released two months before PROM NIGHT and proved that masked killers would not be vacating theaters anytime soon. The Canadian producers even insured that their production would be more high profile than most by snagging HALLOWEEN's star, Jamie Lee Curtis. But even this was not enough for the intrepid producers. No, they had to make sure their film had a tie-in that has now become common but was at least a little more rare back then. I'm talking about the music tie-in, shoehorned in so haphazardly that half the time it seems as though we're watching a knock-off of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, not HALLOWEEN.

And why did they do this? Because PROM NIGHT was a truly mediocre film. It moves at a snail's pace, where nearly an hour passes before the killer even appears. The setting is a generic high school with a generic name. The characters are thinly written and dialog could be interchangeable In the lead, Curtis has never had to do less and in fact does not seem all that important to the storyline - a big problem when you're talking about the main character. It's the type of performance where Curtis is not made to act, but react to what is happening around her and she is made to react with passive bewilderment. The identity of the killer, while considered shocking to some, really makes no sense when you think about it for more than two minutes. There is very little blood, even smaller amounts of skin and an overall feeling that every moment of the film is padding. One extended chase scene towards the end of the film redeems it somewhat, but even that is something we have seen before. The film even looks bland and the D.P. glazes everything over in a nauseating soft focus as if the hide this fact.

If Curtis were not in the film, it's hard to imagine anyone would remember PROM NIGHT. There were other slasher films around that time, many of them much better. In fact, I hold a very special place in my heart for J. Lee Thompson's HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, Joseph Zito's THE PROWLER, Armand Mastroianni's HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE, George Mihalka's MY BLOODY VALENTINE and Roger Spottiswoode's TERROR TRAIN (which also starred Curtis, but to better effect). The only thing that makes the original PROM NIGHT stand out is the marketing. The then-burgeoning star power of Curtis is coupled with many scenes of disco dancing and phoned-in teen angst. The whole thing focuses very little on story, just so it can get from point A to point B and hopefully make a few bucks. And it worked.

Maybe that's why producers went back to the well and remade PROM NIGHT recently. Like the original film, it was a slap-dash effort and like the original, it made it's budget back in record time. Now, I need to point out here that I have not seen the 2008 version of PROM NIGHT, hence I will not be reviewing it per se. I will be looking at the marketing of the film and what it signifies to the rest of the genre however.

The very title is an obvious marketing ploy. The fact that it is a horror film centered around the event of PROM NIGHT is reportedly the only connection with the previous film. The lead actress, while not riding immense buzz in genre circles, is certainly known to the young teen crowd the filmmakers which to attract. It's Brittany Snow, who did a decent job in HAIRSPRAY and presumably okay in JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE, a film I could not watch more than five minutes of without retching I have nothing against Snow. She's a local around these parts and I would rather not get slapped for something I know nothing about thankyouverymuch.

The film also uses the music tie-in as a marketing ploy. Rather than use music as a driving force in many films today, it's simply to get tickets sold and maybe a few soundtrack CDs as well ( fat chance on the latter ). Alt-pop covers of 80s songs are big, so some insipid cover of "Time After Time" plays in the trailer. A quick look at the IMDB shows that songs from Rhianna, Britney Spears and Timbaland also appear. Thus, the film is aiming for the same appeal as the disco soundtrack of the original PROM NIGHT which had it's own ridiculous tunes like "Love Me 'Til I Die."

Paul Lynch, director of the 1980 PROM NIGHT has stayed active over the last 28 years, working mainly in television. Conversely, the remake's Nelson McCormick makes his feature debut after spending 15 years in... you guessed it, television.

Everything about this stresses a lack of originality and feedback both within genre circles and with the public at large are reflecting this. But the money has been made and it looks like PROM NIGHT will earn around $40 million before disappearing. Don't be surprised if a sequel, probably straight to video, is already in the works. Maybe that's where the hope lies. Lynch's PROM NIGHT spawned a few in-name only sequels of varying quality. The first one at least, HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II was much more entertaining than it's predecessor.

As for director Nelson McCormick and writer J.S. Cardone (who every now and then does something good like BLACK DAY BLUE NIGHT) on a new project.... a remake of 1987's THE STEPFATHER. We're not out of the woods yet, people. The money train is rolling again, originality need not apply.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

DOWN WITH MEDIOCRITY! ADVENTURE WITHOUT SHAME!... An Introduction and a Mission Statement

Well, here it is. And after much procrastination, it would seem the only sane thing to do is to just sit down and do it. I'll spare you all by refraining from quoting that oft-used line from GODFATHER PART III. Nevertheless, whenever I put any distance between my writing and myself, it seems a little itch in the back of my lizard brain starts screaming. So, here I am again, writing. But not just writing, writing in a more free-form setting and on something I truly love. More on that in a second.

For those of you who don't know my background, or who are just catching up again, I'll lay down some of the details. My name is Scott W. Davis. I have been a fan of film since my earliest days. I love films from all walks of life. Any budget, any era, any culture, I love it all for what the art stands for. I have written on the subject professionally in the past. Starting on middle and high school newspapers, then onto the college paper (The Hamline Oracle, should anyone want to do digging - I don't necessarily recommend it) and magazine. My most well-known gig was as the editor of the website, Horror Express. The website is still there, although I am not. I was also a contributing writer to CultCuts. Again, same story. I do recommend everyone check those sites out for the continuing work they put out. Some of my previous reviews have been quoted in the past. You can see my name on the back of Jim Hemphill's film, BAD REPUTATION and Horror Express got a nice "thank you" in the end credits. A review I did for LUST FOR DRACULA was quoted in Shock-O-Rama's one year anniversary reel, which is available on the Internet and on multiple DVDs. It's also come to my attention that I was quoted from a CultCuts review I did for HELL HOLE HIGH, although I can't find a copy of the DVD.

I will not go into details about why I am not with these sites anymore, but I left on my volition and there was no ill will I am aware of. The reasons why I left both sites were due in large part to personal problems - me needing time to get my act together. I am still not sure I left the sites in as professional a manner as I would have liked, and I certainly hope they forgave me for slacking off in the waning months. That is part of the reason for the more free-form approach here. I will have a big position again soon, one that paid would be swell too (hint, hint/poke, poke). However, I wanted to do something a little more stress free, where I update the thing myself - sometimes with big things, sometimes with little things.

The topic is more entertainment-oriented as well. Lately, I hate movies. And I hate movies because I love movies. Let me explain.

2007 was a banner year for cinema, as far as I'm concerned. As I was compiling my personal best and worst lists (oh yes, that's the type of person you're dealing with here), I noticed that never before had I had so many high-ranking films on my best list. However, my worst list was also severely overcrowded. It was not crowded with films that were as wretchedly awful as BATTLEFIELD EARTH. That film was at least amusingly insipid (And if you thought that was bad, I live in an area where one can check out the Scientology training videos - Wow!). No, I am talking about movies that are worse than bad movies. I am talking about mediocre movies. I cannot abide, and will no longer stand for mediocrity in my entertainment. These films walk the line, without taking any chances, their bloated budgets coasting by like so much unclean air. The scripts are filled out like a template as ready-made as the one I used for this blog. The thing is, if you are dealing with something generic or coasting on the success of another, more original film, shouldn't you stand out? No, these guys do not consider such things. They keep their head down as much as possible, not even choosing to amplify anything in their film that might make their film more successful both critically and financially over time. We can all bemoan the poor choices made by some of the most derided directors out there. But what of the ones that have no style whatsoever? The hacks and hired guns like Shawn Levy (NIGHT AT THE MUSUEM), Tom Shadyac (EVAN ALMIGHTY), Brian Robbins (NORBIT), Sean McNamara (BRATZ) or Brett Ratner (RUSH HOUR 3)? Let me tell you, I would take IN THE NAME OF THE KING any day over that garbage.

So, here I celebrate the films that do take a chance. And keep in mind that there are numerous ways to stand out. Sure, there's the part of me that loves a good Goddard film. I can be an elitist as much as the next armchair critic. But that is not what I will be expounding the virtues of on Adventure Without Shame. No, I will be talking about my one true love - the one that has never let me down. Namely, cult cinema. It came to me as I was watching yet another film that left me feeling rotten. The film was Frank Darabont's THE MIST. Now, before everyone gets up in arms, I will point out the irony of this. THE MIST is far from being a bad film. In fact, it is very well made and took huge chances were many films do not. But looking upon my favorite genre of horror, I was getting sick and tired of having to choose between films that are as generic as Brand X or films that have to go out of their way to be dark and depressing such to get their message across. No animosity towards Darabont or his film, but THE MIST did provide the catharsis for Adventure Without Shame. I needed cheering up later on and couldn't get to sleep. I popped in a film I had wanted to watch for years but never got around to it. The film was GATOR BAIT, an ultra-cheap 1970s film starring the late, great Claudia Jennings. I had a fantastic time with this film. Part of the time laughing at the inanity of the proceedings, another half being both entertained and enthralled by not only the action but the character depth boiling just beneath the surface. Dammit, this is what I love about film.

I love action, entertainment, a sense of the absurd, a rollicking good time. But I have a deep appreciation for these films that goes beyond those of the casual viewer. So, here at Adventure Without Shame, I will not only be talking about the beauty of what are often called B-movies. I will also be analyzing them in a manner which only a film studies minor can. Because there is stuff there. Maybe it was intentional, but it is there all the same. Just because one can have a full meal with one of these films does not mean they are all filled with empty calories. Often, they are treated as such and it is time for this disrespect to cease. You're not just going to get good times and satire here, although that will happen too. Nope, you're hopefully also going to get some depth.

One more thing, it is important to note where the name Adventure Without Shame comes from. It was a tagline to one of my favorite films of all time. It was the type of film one usually calls a guilty pleasure, although I would like to try to remove some of that guilt here. The film was GWENDOLINE, or as it was known in it's cut down U.S. form, THE PERILS OF GWENDOLINE IN THE LAND OF THE YIK-YAK. The film combined INDIANA JONES, BUCK ROGERS and softcore eroticism It had adventures across the Orient, cannibals, underground cities, pagan rites, alien civilizations, frequent nudity and a sense of fun and whimsy that you are hard pressed to find anywhere else. It also had a pedigree that ensured entertainment. It was directed by Just Jaeckin in yet another attempt to emulate the success he had from EMANEULLE. It starred Tawny Kitaen just before she did BACHELOR PARTY and her co-star was a swaggering guy named Brent Huff (who can also be seen in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA and a couple other notable cult items). The poster trumpeted "Adventure Without Shame!" and that's exactly what it delivered. I have looked at that poster multiple times over the years, around the time I would re-watch GWENDOLINE for the umpteenth time and would use that phrase occasionally. It is only lately however, being fed up with cookie-cutter entertainment, that I truly realize that "Adventure Without Shame" is not just a tagline, it's a philosophy. It's a way of life, a manner in which we should approach life and art.

That is what we will hope to accomplish here. So, say it with me, people...