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  • Watching Old Movies on the Big Screen: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    Posted on June 15th, 2018 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    Most of us were born too late to watch flicks like The Maltese Falcon and Gone With The Wind in the theater. In my case, I was born too late to even see things like Jaws on the big screen.

    Luckily for us, over the years some local art house theaters showed some of the best…lucky, if you were lucky enough to live near one. For most of my life the best I could hope for was a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, although in the 90’s I did get to see Casablanca at the local 4-screen cinema, and Dracula vs. Frankenstein at an Art House.

    Now, between Fathom Events doing special viewings at out local multi-plex, and multiple art houses doing special engagements, I’ve been lucky enough to catch some great ones…and some not so great but really fun ones.

    In the past two years I FINALLY got to see The Shining on the big screen…Raiders of the Lost Ark again…The Maltese Falcon…and more recently Killer Clowns from Outer Space. Not all from the mid-century era, I know, but still cool.

    Tonight we are going to see one of my top favorite movies of all time…The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original from 1974. It’s part of the Popcorn Fright Nights Film Festival being held at Savor Cinema, aka/previously Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In a wonderful tribute to the theme of the movie, they are including a BBQ dinner. I’m not asking what kind of meat it is.

    It may seem odd to consider “Chainsaw” to be an old movie. But when you think about it…Maltese Falcon is from 1941…which means Falcon was only 33 years old when Chainsaw came out…and Chainsaw, at the time of this writing, came out 44 years ago! Mind blown yet?

    What’s the big deal about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

    When I was a kid, the movie was already a legend. This was before VHS or cable, so the only way to see old movies was on TV. And this movie, as far as I know, NEVER made it to TV. It was talked about as being so violent, so gory, that it had been banned in several countries (this turned out to be true). So kids like us never got to see it, at all.

    Then HBO came along in the 1980s, along with video tape rentals. I got to see The Shining for the first time on HBO (and it screwed with my head for years). Then I finally got to rent Chainsaw as a teenager. I was not disappointed. Not only was it a good horror movie, it was just insane. The way it was filmed, the art direction, everything about this movie was so different from Freddie and Jason and Micheal, so gritty and a REAL. Disturbingly real. The low-budget only affected the quality in so much as it made it more realistic, more insane.

    Some of the things that stood out to me, that made the film really stand out and enjoyable:

    (Spoilers ahead):

    • That claustrophobic van. It reminded me of the stifling heat riding in my Dad’s van, no AC, middle of the summer. Horrifying.
    • The creepy guy washing the bugs off the van at the gas station.
    • Realizing later in the movie what the “barbecue” they ate at the gas station actually was.
    • Creepy abandoned looking house with dozens of cars parked close together, under camo. Who’s cars are they?
    • That sliding steel door.
    • The body jumping around as his nervous system reacted and died out.
    • Are those real chickens? Are those real bones?
    • Nice sofa.
    • Girl on a hook.
    • Finally killed that annoying guy in the wheel chair.
    • Poking the girl with the broom handle and laughing.
    • Whack on the head with the hammer.
    • Are those dead bodies mummified in those chairs?
    • Holy cow that guy isn’t a mummy, he’s still alive!
    • Who’s your interior decorator? Oh, right.
    • Guy getting run over with all the wheels of the truck.
    • Chainsaw on the leg!

    I can go on and on, but I think you get the idea. If you’re a fan of the movie, you’re saying, “Oh yeah!”, if you haven’t seen it, you’re saying, “Whut?” That’s ok. You need to see it. Here’s the trailer:


    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the Screening Room at Tiki Lounge Talk

  • Lolita, 1962 – Your Old Movie Recommendation for Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on September 10th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    lolita-1962Get a new suggestion for an old movie every Monday at Tiki Lounge Talk.

    This week we venture into the slightly disturbing yet engaging mind of Stanley Kubrick, with his first independent film,

    Lolita, 1962

    Starring James Mason, Shelly Winters, Peter Sellers and Sue Lyon.

    For those of you who don’t know the original story of Lolita, it was a book about a middle-aged man who fell in love with a sexually active 12 year old girl. The censors insisted on making the movie slightly less creepy by increasing the girl’s age to 14…and Kubrick took off with it.



    Kubrick scrapped much of the book (and a screenplay written by the book’s author) to make his own brand of dark comedy, a movie fun and disturbing at the same time. He masterfully turns each scene, making the viewer sympathize with Professor Humbert (Mason) just long enough to then realize he is basically a starstruck pedophile. By the end of the flick you don’t know what’s right, what’s wrong, or how to feel. It’s a groovy scene, man.

    lolitaConsider this flick, which goes pretty far in suggesting Professor Humbert is sleeping with Lolita, was released in 1962. This was the same era when absolutely zero cursing, nudity or realistic gore was allowed in American movies. This was the era when Rock ‘n’ Roll music was still considered “devil music” and Chuck Berry was in jail for transporting an underage girl across state lines.

    The plot is simple…Humbert, a British literature professor, takes up residence in a quaint New Hampshire house run by Charlotte Haze (Winters). At first he doesn’t want to take the room…until he sees Charlotte’s daughter, Lolita. We assume he probably doesn’t realize at first how young she is, considering she looks like she’s about 20 and acts as sleazily flirtatious as an experienced stripper. This sets up the audience to accept the blooming relationship, at least on some level, as one of a guy in his 40s with a chick in her 20s (perfectly acceptable, right?). Then Kubrick slams us over the head with scenes that very definitely show us her true age, and our brains go swimming with idea of a grown man cheating on his wife with his 14 year old stepdaughter. In a sort of a dark, funny way, of course. Eh, yeah.

    Lolita and Humbert in a very suggestive scene.

    Lolita and Humbert in a very suggestive scene.

    The movie moves from a sordid fantasy to a sordid affair, to a journey across America for the stepfather and stepdaughter on the run from themselves and others. I won’t give anymore than that away, you’ll have to watch the flick for yourself to get the details.

    Keep in mind this movie was made under the probing eyes of strict mid-century censors. It’s almost unbelievable that the flick passed ANY censorship, considering its context. I suppose calling it a “dark comedy” helped, but even with Peter Sellers in the movie you won’t find too many “laugh out loud” moments. It’s more like “it’s funny because it’s so far out and so damned uncomfortable”, IMHO.

    sue-lyon-lolita-1962-09-gYou also won’t find as much symbolism in the movie as you will in later Kubrick films. There is some, no doubt, but I’m guessing he was having a hard enough time getting the movie made without getting arrested without having to figure out two hours of symbolism.

    Trivia: Carry Grant turned down the Humbert role “in indignation”. Haley Mills turned down the roll of Lolita…probably under the direction of Walt Disney. Over 800 girls auditioned for the roll of Lolita…proving that plenty of young actresses and their stage Moms were A-OK with this controversial role.

    Food & Booze: Just booze. The hard stuff. You’ll need it watching this flick.

    Sue Lyon: Went on to make a few more movies, including Night of the Iguana in 1964 and Tony Rome in 1967. Her last movie was Alligator (yes, the one with the giant alligator in the sewers) in 1980 where she had a small part as a newswomen. She retired after that and, at the time of this posting, she’s 66 years old. Yep.

    Here’s the Mod Movie Trailer for Lolita:

    -Tiki Chris reporting from a seedy motel where the clerk doesn’t check ID, for Tiki Lounge Talk

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Another Great Vintage Flick for Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on March 5th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    breakfast_at_tiffanys-posterLet’s face it kats and kittens, there are few flicks more romantic or more charming than

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s

    Starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Paticia Neal.

    Swing back to New York City in 1961, and immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the time, where a pretty girl from the country can take some eloquence lessons and charm her way into society. Hepburn, as Holly Golightly, creates an imaginative, magical character that’ll have you wishing you had a friend (or lover) just like her.

    The settings (filmed on location) and scenes will really give you the feeling you’re back in the MAD MEN era of the early 1960s. There’s a crazy party scene…possibly one of the longest in film history, second only to “The Party”…complete with plenty of cocktails, wolf-like bachelors, and agreeable women. There’s even a raid!

    Party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's, full of Blake Edwards-style gags.

    Party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany's, full of Blake Edwards-style gags.

    But the movie is more than just silly fun. The movie is based on a book originally written by Truman Capote, and follows the book fairly closely (as much as the producers could get away with. See notes at IMDB). Holly’s character is multi-dimensional, swinging from a sophisticated socialite to…well, just watch the flick. Notable nuances include The Cat, named simply “Cat”, that lives with Holly but doesn’t belong to her; George Peppard’s character Paul, a down-on-his-luck writer who has become a “kept man”, and Buddy Ebsen as Doc Golightly…who I won’t spoil by giving away any more info.

    Why you should watch this movie: First of all, it’s just a great movie directed by the incomparable Blake Edwards, winning the Oscar for best original song (Moon River, Manicini/Mercer) and best music score, plus nominations for best actress, art direction and screenplay.

    This was some pretty racy stuff for 1961.

    This was some pretty racy stuff for 1961.

    Second, it’s a phenomenal time capsule into the look and lives of early ’60s New York, with plenty of shots of streets, businesses and cars, and to me, that makes an old movie even better. Third, you won’t find a more interesting, fun and well-played character than Holly Golightly, and Hepburn pulled it off so well that 50 years later people are still praising her performance.


    My take: I saw this movie for the first time when I was a kid, so I of course didn’t get most of the innuendo (There’s a hell of a lot of sex going on in this movie for a flick that came out in 1961). I saw it again in my 20s and loved it. Then I convinced my wife, Colleen, to watch it…she’s very picky when it comes to watching movies, old or new, and didn’t think she’d dig it…and it became one of her all time favorites. I tell you, there’s magic in that film.

    Food & Booze: Ok, this is a no-brainer. Breakfast foods, of course. For drinks, they seem to drink a lot of straight liquor in this flick, but if you’re going with the breakfast them you should probably stick to Screwdrivers or Mimosas.

    Holly's sofa, made from a tub.

    Holly's sofa, made from a tub.

    Holly sings "Moon River"

    Holly sings "Moon River"

    Below is the original trailer. Notice how the announcer mispronounces “Capote”.

    -Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from the screening room at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, Fort Lauderdale, FL

  • Mod Movie Monday: The Wizard of Oz, 1939

    Posted on November 22nd, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    oz_posterI think we’d be hard-pressed to find anyone over the age of 12 who hasn’t seen (and loved) The Wizard of Oz. So this week’s Mod Movie Monday isn’t really a recommendation for something you’ve probably already seen, it’s a celebration of one of our favorite movies of all time. Dig some trivia, a story or two, and some groovy pix and video here at Tiki Lounge Talk. From 1939, here’s one of our top favorites,

    The Wizard of Oz

    Back in the old days, ya know, the 70’s, when there were only three networks and a few UHF stations on the tube, TV stations would show old movies just once a year, and they’d make a big deal about it (remember?). Every Thanksgiving my parents would drive us up to Philly to have a giant Italian Thanksgiving dinner with our giant Italian family. Football would be on the TV in living room until eight o’clock, when my uncles would be shooed away to the upstairs bedroom so the rest of us could watch that spectacular of spectaculars, The Wizard of Oz.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • A Collection of Fun Old Scary Movies for Halloween

    Posted on October 18th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    No Paris Hilton, but plenty of Vincent Price at his best. Murder, wax and insanity. Need I say more?

    mark_of_devil_posterMark of the Devil (1970) (aka Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält)
    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)
    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)
    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-posterThe Changeling (1980)
    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)
    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_poster1Christine (1983)
    “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.