Posted on October 31st, 2010 No comments
See you next month…
-Tiki Chris P.
Posted on October 29th, 2010 2 comments
It’s Halloweekend at the Tiki Bar! From one of the worst directors to one of the best, on this week’s Mod Movie Monday we’ll look at two kats who changed the way we look at movies forever.
Let’s start with our favorite bad director, Ed Wood, Jr. Ed brought us some of the most poorly written, directed and produced films of all kind, with the zenith (or basement) of his work being Plan 9 from Outer Space. I feel bad for this kid. He just wanted to make movies that people would enjoy. Unfortunately for him, nobody really dug his stuff until years after his alcohol-soaked death. Now, we can love these lowest-budget flicks for what they are: So incredibly bad they are great. Fun to watch, fun to make fun of, fun to imagine yourself on the set 50+ years ago as walls shook and gravestones fell over.
Plan 9 is actually an interesting premise. Originally entitled “Grave Robbers from Outer Space”, the title was deemed too gory for the film’s religious backers. So it’s about space aliens who come to earth and resurrect dead people to do stuff like slowly walk into people, killing them. Or something. Actually, I’ve seen this movie several times and I’m still not sure what it’s about. Maybe because I can’t get through it sober.
Ed Wood extensively used free, stock footage to fill in the holes in his films. Scenes of cattle stampeding, WWII footage, and people walking around get spliced in at the strangest places. Add Bela Lugosi, who died during filming, Tor Johnson and Vampira to the cast. Then add in a stand-in for Bela, a guy who had the same shaped head, skulking around with a cape over his face for the rest of the flick. Tin pie plates on strings attacking California. Car chases where the cars change to different models when showed in different angles. A shower curtain in the cockpit. Are you confused? Wait’ll ya see the movie.
But it’s fun to watch, for certain. So much fun that one of Hollywood’s top weirdos, Tim Burton, made a film about Ed Wood, Jr. and his repertoire of canned junk. Shot in black and white and starring Johnny Depp (of course), Ed Wood is a thousand times better-made movie than any of Wood’s movies ever were. Martin Landau steals the show with his Bela Lugosi character. Vampira looks and acts like the original Vampira. And Ed Wood is so goofy, so much fun you have to wonder if he was really like that, or if that’s how Burton envisions how he must have been.
Either of these films is great on its own. Back to back, they’re a riot. And speaking of Bella Lugosi…
Turn this duet into a trio this Halloweekend with one of the movies that started it all, the original Bela Lugosi Dracula from 1931. Still scary and creepy today as it was 70 years ago, no vintage-style ‘ween is complete without this master of horror flicks.
Your Halloweekend Drinks!
So here’s a few drink ideas for Hallowe’en Weekend, to sip with your movies or push at your party…
Vampire’s Blood Martini
1.5 oz Russian Vodka
1 oz orange juice
1 oz cranberry juice
1 small scoop raspberry sorbet
Shake vodka, OJ, & cranberry in shaker with ice until well chilled. Strain into a large martini glass, add a small (about a teaspoon) scoop of sorbet and top with seltzer. You can add a few drops of red food coloring to make it really bloody.
There are a few variations on the Zombie Cocktail. This one, close to the old version but frozen, is probably my favorite:
1/2 oz 151 rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz apricot brandy
1 tsp sugar
2 oz light rum
1 oz dark rum
1 oz lime juice
Blend all ingredients with ice except the 15. Pour it into a tall Tiki mug and flloat the 151 rum on top. Garnish with a fruit slice, sprig of mint, and a cherry. To give it a real kick, add a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper into the mix. Yow!
Yep, made this one up at the Tiki Bar. Not really an exotic drink, as there’s no rum, but it’s strong and will probably tear your guts out, so…
2 oz Jack Daniels (or Jim Beam, which will be a little sweeter)
1 oz Goldschlager or Cinnamon Schnapps
1/2 Orange Curacau
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
2-3 drops Bitters (optional)
Apple and pumpkin, chopped into small cubes
This can be served over the rocks, or warmed up in a mug. Stir all ingredients together. float small cubes of apple and pumpkin on top and garnish with a cinnamon stick stirrer. Like I said, strong as hell but krazy fun!
-Tiki Chris P, in ghost form floating around Haunted Tiki Island Resort. Reporting for Tiki Lounge Talk, the Tiki Culture Tiki Blog for retro lovers and Tikiphiles all over the world.Drink Recipies, Halloween, History, Mod Movie Mondays, Movies, Noir & Vintage Stories, Personal Stories, Tiki Talk, Uncategorized, Vintage Cars Add new tag, cocktail party, cocktails, dracula, drink recipes, ed wood, Halloween, Mod Movie Mondays, plan 9 from outer space, retro, retro culture, tiki bar, tiki blog, tiki culture, tiki life, tiki lounge, Tiki Talk
Posted on October 20th, 2010 4 comments
This masterpiece of cardboard fun came from an era when board games were no longer relegated to the flat world, and rose up in glorious three dimensions. Games like Mousetrap, Operation and Hungry Hungry Hippos transformed the single-layer concepts into mechanical miracles of light, sound, and moving parts. And marbles. Which Witch? is an engineering marvel that must have taken the brains at Milton-Bradley many LSD-laden hours to conjure up.
It starts with a typical game board, covered in 60’s style cartoon graphics of the floors of four rooms (in what is apparently a haunted-type house infected with three witches). Next, cardboard walls rise to form the four rooms: The Broom Room, Spell Cell, Witchin’ Kitchen and Bat’s Ballroom. In the center is a chimney which (witch?) doubles as the means to the demise of snoopy little children who enter the abode. (If you pick the card that says, “Ghoulish Gerty Drops It Down The Chimney”, you have to drop the ruby red marble down the top of the roof;
the marble can go in any of four dimensions and wreak havoc on the ill-fated children). In the Bat’s Ballroom, the final room, sets a staircase. The first meddling kid to reach the top of the stairs and land on the “Charmed Circle” (without being turned into a mouse or knocked off his keister) wins the game!
Two young-girl pieces and two young-boy pieces (made of plastic and very 50’s Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys looking) try to make it through these danger-ridden rooms, desperately attempting to avoid the hidden traps and spells. The fear of being hit by a broom, pushed down the stairs, crippled on loose floorboards or plain old hit-in-the-head with a giant ruby marble doesn’t seem to thwart our intrepid explorers. They roll the die and move their spaces, pick a witch card and hope for the best.
I remember playing this game with my mother (something of a witch herself) when I was a young kid. Once, I spent almost the entire game as a mouse. That’s no fun, because you don’t get to move. Another time I got knocked over like eight times in a row. The worst part about this game was that since it was made of cardboard & plastic, it didn’t last. Putting the cardboard walls together meant twisting, bending, and ultimately tearing the parts. My original game died an illustrious wrecking-ball death in the 1970s; I was lucky enough to come across one cheap a few years ago to replace it. You can still find them on eBay for anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on condition (and the market). These are only going to get rarer and more expensive, so if you dig this sort of thing I’d recommend finding one soon!
Posted on October 18th, 2010 No comments
The Halloween Season is a very busy one for Ole Tiki Chris P. I’ve been going bananas decorating every day for our big Halloween bash, and have been too beat to lay down some groovy stories. So I’m cheating a little…here’s a kool post from last year with some great movie ideas. Tomorrow I’ll post two new horror flicks and a couple of drink recipes too!
If you’re into old movies, I don’t have to speil about the wonders of the original Dracula, Frankenstein & Wolfman. You’ve probably seen them, or they’re already on your list. So here’s a few creepy flicks that may have escaped your radar…some you’ve heard of, but maybe never got around to witness. Some you’ve probably never heard of, but take it from this kat, they’re fun to watch and might even give you the heebee-geebees. I’ve included the IMDB link so you can get more info. So here goes, in no particular odor (I mean order. Damned spellchecker.)
The Haunting (1963) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057129/
One of the first ghost stories I ever saw as a kid, this black & white thriller sets three unsuspecting volunteers in a secluded, creepy mansion with a scientist conducting an experiment on sleep deprivation. Secretly the well-intended scientist believes the mansion to harbor spirits, and his volunteers have been selected for their apparent sensitivity to the spirit world. The spirits come. It’s krazy. A well-crafted movie from a well-written book, you’ll want to watch this one with the lights off and some spiked hot chocolate.
The Uninvited (1944) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037415/
Ray Milland leads this Noir thriller centering around a haunted house on the English coast. He and his sister move into the lovely old home only to find there are skeletons lurking in every closet. A well-written and well-acted movie, this one is at the top of my ghost movie list.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081505/
Jack Nicholson at his craziest/finest. Stephen King may have hated this adaptation, but there’s no denying this is one of the creepiest, scariest, most disturbing movies ever made. From blood pouring out of the elevators to butchered children to eerie music from a not so distant past, The Shining will leave you with chills and craving for more. The sets of the Overlook Hotel are so evil and creepy looking that the hotel itself becomes one of the main characters (as intended). Even the opening credits are scary!
A Bucket of Blood (1959) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052655/
Beatniks, jazz, pretty girls and ‘innocently’ unintentional murder for the sake of art. This early Roger Corman film is as dark as dark comedy can get. Creepy, BW & even an actual bucket with blood in it. This is one of those movies where you’ll be saying “They got away with THAT in 1959?”
House of Wax (1953) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045888/
No Paris Hilton, but plenty of Vincent Price at his best. Murder, wax and insanity. Need I say more?
Mark of the Devil (1970) (aka Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065491/
Hot 60’s European chicks getting tortured as witches. Amazingly realistic and gory for the time, the plot centers around Inquisitors using their power to satisfy their sadistic lusts. Pretty damned disturbing, actually. The American version is dubbed pretty well, so you don’t have to read subtitles. Lots of torture devices, dirty villagers, and torture of pretty medieval women that borders on a snuff flick. Don’t let the kids near this one.
Young Frankenstein (1974) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072431/
It’s not easy to pull off a really great spoof of a really great movie, but they really nailed it with this one. Mel Brooks in his heyday with Harvey Korman, Peter Boyal, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, a cameo by Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder at the reins. Wilder plays the grandson of Victor von Frankenstein. He refuses to believe his grandfather’s work had any merit until he visits the ‘old country’ and finds his journal. When he decides to try the experiments himself, hilarity ensues. Shot in black and white with the same techniques as movies from the 30’s (and with some of the same sets as the original “Frankenstein”) this flick is timeless, with great gags, great writing, and Teri Garr looking like a real honey.
The Exorcist (1973) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/
Speaks for itself. If you ain’t seen it, see it. It’ll blow your mind. Scary, evil, disturbing. Interesting note: Max von Sydow played Father Merrin, the old priest. He was only 43 at the time. He also played the role of Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and Director Burgess in Minority Report (2002). Talk about a career!
The Changeling (1980) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080516/
Probably the best Ghost Story I’ve ever seen on film. George C. Scott stars as John Russell, a music composer who moves to a secluded vintage mansion outside of Seattle, hoping for some peace and quiet. What he gets are strange noises, visions, and visitations. As he unravels the mystery he gets drawn deeper into the web of the strengthening spirit. I don’t want to give anything else away! This has been one of my favorites from when I first saw it as a kid. Even though it was released in 1980, it has that old 60’s-70’s production style that makes it even creepier than any of the newer flicks can go for. Sure, new movies have great effects, but when they’re too slick they just don’t have that gritty creep factor.
Ghost Story (1981) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082449/
What happens when you get Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks and John Houseman together in their retirement years? A very creepy ghost story, that’s what. Add Patricia Neal, Alice Krige and a 50 year old bloody secret and you’ve got the makings of a very spooky film. 80’s production values are laughable, but if you can get past that it’s a fun flick to watch.
Christine (1983) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085333/
“She’s Death On Wheels” was the movie’s slogan. Another Stephen King adaptation, this time by John Carpenter. Nerdy teenager finds a beat to hell ’58 Fury “That’s uglier than he is”, spends all his time fixing it up and driving it, all the time becoming possessed by the demon car. It follows the book fairly well, but the way Carpenter translated the story to the screen has become legend. There’s even a Christine Car Club dedicated to restoring and preserving ’58 Plymouth Fury Christine clones (and a few real movie cars). With no computer graphics to help them, 25 Plymouths were used in the film, with about 15 of them being destroyed (which brought car guys like me to tears). It was later said that many of the destroyed cars were junkyard dogs anyway, didn’t run, didn’t even have engines, and were just painted rustbuckets used for the shots. A little Trivia: When my family and I went to see this in the movies around Christmas, 1983, we drove to the theater in my father’s ’64 Caddy. When we came out, people were pointing at his finned car and yelling, “It’s Christine!”…even though it was powder blue and didn’t look anything like a Fury! A few years later my Dad and I bought a ’59 Plymouth Savoy (with a ’58 front end on it) with the intention of making a Christine Clone. Turns out the motor was shot, and it was too much trouble to do it so we sold it back to the guy we bought it from for the same $200 we paid for it.
Posted on October 10th, 2010 3 comments
If you’ve followed TLT or The Retro Tiki Lounge on Facebook for very long, then you know that Halloween is my favorite season of the year. I have a big, krazy party and decorate the whole house like a haunted attraction. This year’s theme is “Ghosts of Tiki Island,” in keeping with the story of the book I’m currently writing, “Murder on Tiki Island.” Since the house already looks something like a Tiki bar from the 1940s, it’s turning out to be a very easy theme to decorate.
So I’m turning the house into Tiki Island Resort, complete with Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, The Hukilau Ballroom and The Moai Coffee Shop. It’s going to be a fun party…as long as I can keep these damned kittens off of the decorations!