Blood Of Dracula’s Castle

I’ve been wanting to write a running commentary as I watched a cheesy movie but I haven’t taken the time to do it. Sometimes bad movies can be a lot of fun to watch if you’re in the write mood, especially bad horror movies. One time horror author Douglas Clegg said that horror is the one genre of film where watching a bad movie can be just as much fun as watching a good movie. He’s right, I love trying to find bad horror movies to watch and luckily there are plenty to choose from. This week I decided to watch Blood Of Dracula’s Castle off of Comet TV. If you’re not familiar with Comet TV I urge you to check it out, they really have some great stuff on but keep in mind that this is coming from someone who admittedly has bad taste in movies. Which reminds me I have to set my dvr up to record King Kong Lives when its on.

Blood Of Dracula’s Castle is a 1969 movie that was directed by the late great Al Adamson. We have Alex D’Arcy in the roll of Dracula, Paula Raymond as Countess Townsend and Horror movie legend John Carradine as George The Butler. The movie opens with a woman driving down the highway as a catchy little tune that seems to be called The Next Train Out. It sounds like a song that would have been popular in this time. So far the movie isn’t looking like much of a horror movie. The lighting looks bad and I’m already wondering what was the budget for this movie? $10? Though I have to say the convertible the woman is driving looks pretty cool. At this point in the movie I’m envisioning people in 1969 sitting in a drive in movie theater and rocking out to this song or rolling their eyes, one or the other.

The woman finally gets out of her car and goes to take a walk in the woods she then promptly screams and faints. She is then taken away by Dracula’s evil assistant named Mango. Mango doesn’t look very threatening to me which makes me wonder if maybe the woman fainted because she had a bad mango for lunch. I mean looking at this woman and looking at Mango I just think this woman probably could have taken him in a fight.

After the fainting scene we get the opening credits and the movie switches over to a bunch of dolphins at a place that looks like Sea World. At this point I’m wondering what the hell does this have to do with Dracula? Are they vampire dolphins? There is a walrus too, maybe he’s a vampire. After a few minutes of this we finally see Dracula sitting by the fireplace in his castle with Countess Townsend. They’re talking about the lease on Dracula’s Castle. I can’t see Dracula worrying about a lease but I guess even he has to pay the bills. We finally get to see George The Butler as he is taking a blood sample from the woman who ate a bad mango.  she faints again and I can’t help to roll my eyes, gosh what a wimp.

The next scene is Dracula and the countess sampling the mango woman’s blood in wine glasses. They say its delicious I guess it’s always fun to have new blood. There blood is served up by John Carradine as George The Butler. Throughout this movie George always looks like he’s trying not to crack up. Which makes me wonder did he beak out in laughter every time Al Adamson called cut?  Did he give the guy playing Dracula any advice since he played the role at least 3 times that I can think of.

We then get to Dracula and the Countess checking out the women they have chained up in their dungeon and they start talking about them like they’re bottles of wine. Dracula and the Mrs. seem to really be loving life. The dialogue in this movie is actually pretty good, this may not be a good movie but I get the impression that the people making it were having a good time. As I’m writing this I keep thinking of that Next Train Out song from the opening of the movie, guess that’s going to stick with me awhile.

We’re still in the middle of a long scene in the dungeon. Dracula is so nice to reward Mango he gives him one of the women chained up in the dungeon. The woman needs to work on her screaming and Mango needs to work on acting scarier. We then hear Dracula telling the newbie in the dungeon that he and the countess are vampires but really prefer to be called the living dead. Nice to know Dracula has standards. In the background there is some really weird music playing. It reminds me of when you go to a children’s museum and you use the rubber sandals to tap out a song on a big set of plastic pipes. We then get a shot of Dracula and the countess going to bed in their caskets, they both say good night, love lives at Dracula’s castle.

Now we have a scene of a guy being chased through the woods by some people with dogs. Early on Dracula kept talking about a guy named Johnny so I’m thinking this must be Johnny. Just as I’m starting to get bored and wonder what the people watching this movie in the 60’s were thinking, the guy on the run comes across a woman in a bikini by a stream. He grabs her and drowns the screaming woman in the river, what the hell was that all about? I’m also wondering at this point why don’t any of these women try to fight their attackers? I’m I supposed to think women at that time didn’t believe in fighting. I guess that’s why they call them scream queens. We eventually find out that this man is indeed Johnny but not before we see him kill a guy and push a car over a cliff. He then gives an evil laugh, I guess killing gives you a good sense of humor.

We then have Johnny talking to George at the castle and he says that the full moon makes him do things he doesn’t want to do. He’s killing people in the daylight so what’s he doing when the moon is full? Does he collect donations for the Salvation Army? I can see for a murderer that may be something you don’t want to do. We then get to Dracula’s landlord visiting with Dracula and the Mrs. The countess is talking about how dangerous the world is and they don’t go out much. I can see how the social turmoil of the 60’s may be something vampires want to avoid.

Dracula was given some bad news the landlords want them  out and its up to Johnny to kill them. We also have Dracula saying the secret to staying young is drinking the blood from young people. Then the countess says that they are hoping that someone someday will invent a synthetic blood so they can obey the law again and not kill, hopefully they are still around when Charlaine Harris gives us True Blood.

We then have a bunch of scenes with the landlord and his girl friend walking around Dracula’s castle at night. Eventually the landlord and the girl friend get chained up in the basement. You knew things weren’t going to go well when they decided to kick Dracula out. There sure is a lot of talking in this movie, the writer must have had a really long script. I wonder what movie goers from the 60’s were thinking as they watched this movie.

We have a couple of really long scenes here in the dungeon one with Johnny threatening a woman with a knife and one with rats running around the dungeon with the female captives in the dungeon screaming in terror. Maybe they’re just screaming because they don’t think they’re getting paid enough to shoot this movie. Things are getting really weird in the movie now as one of the captives are taken outside to be sacrificed by being burned at the stake for the great god Luna. This movie may only be an hour and a half but at this point it feels like about three hours. We then finally get to the end of the movie and a dinner party given by Dracula.

It’s kind of funny but as we get to the action packed fight scene at the end the music doesn’t match what’s going on and it looks more like a dance competition then a fight. Dracula and his wife get tied up and it’s up to Mango to save them. This is supposed to be the exciting climax but its more of an anti-climax as Mango doesn’t do a very good job being a hero. What can you expect from a guy named Mango.

This movie really ended with a wimper but there was some really funny scenes in it. If you actually read this whole thing then I’m in shock since this is pretty much just me randomly typing as I watch a bad movie. If you want to see a sample of this movie then check out the youtube link  for the trailer and let me know in the comments what bad movies you love:.

 

Advertisements

Lost Girl of the Lake

It was the Summer of 1961 and young Mark Gaitlin was on vacation with his  family in Lake Livingston Texas. Mark was like any other 15-year-old, his body was changing, his family was driving him nuts and he was obsessed with sex. His dream of meeting a girl comes true one night when a mysterious girl invites him to go skinny dipping. Mark is on the verge of becoming a man and everything is about to change.

Mark is starting to see the social injustices in the world and also realizes that Lake Livingston is a mysterious place. He’s surrounded by abandoned villages haunted by family secrets and finds evidence of a cult of religious backwoods snake handlers. As he journeys into manhood he finds the world is more complicated than he thought and wrong decisions may cost him his life.

Lost Girl Of The Lake by Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty is about how a series of odd events shape a young man’s life. The passage that really hooked me into this story was early on when we hear Mark being introspective as an adult about his childhood. He states that “the man and the boy don’t speak the same language anymore.” He then describes the difference between how an adult thinks compared to how a child’s mind works. The beginning of this coming of age tale had a Stephen King feel to it that made me want to keep reading.

What I enjoyed most in this story is how a lot of it is open to interpretation. The authors paint a picture by the way they describe the setting. Also the use of imagery like the butterflies that gather at the lake, the abandoned town, the Copperhead snakes and the dreams that Mark is having are metaphors and they all shape the man he will become. It’s up to the reader to wonder what the meaning behind everything and how it affects the characters in the story.

For a short novella there is a lot going on in this book and every little detail seems to have a deeper meaning. I enjoyed the references to pulp fiction magazines in the story and since at points it felt like the pulp fiction that Mark reads I thought it was a good metaphor. Another scene I liked that illustrated what its like to be on the edge of adulthood was when Mark and his friend are heading to the lake to look at “spicy” pulp magazines and have to keep a look out for anyone who may get them in trouble for having them. At one point Mark tries to walk away but his friend urges him to stay which leads to something that illustrates what 15-year-old boys are like.

Whether you like this book or not will depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re expecting a good horror story or a tale with a lot of supernatural activity you may be disappointed. On the other hand if you are into coming of age stories that make you think about how certain events shape your life then you will like this novella. This is a story of the loss of innocence, the road to adulthood and how your reaction to what’s happening around you affects your life.

For a Glimpse Beyond the Terminus

When you think of Terminus you think of the end of line. You also think of the ultimate end which is death. In For a Glimpse Beyond the Terminus Jordan R. Anderson gives us Nine stories having to do with death, cosmic horror and the paranormal. These stories are hard-core and give a serious look at what truly scares us.

My favorite story in this book was Under And In And So It All Begins. This story is simply enough about the beginning of the apocalypse. It all starts with a recently divorced man who is down on his luck and just happens to have a portal to another dimension under his car. What makes this interesting is it’s like two stories in one. In the beginning it’s just a man who is dealing with his own depression over his failed marriage, he finds an opportunity to be a hero but everything goes horribly wrong. The end of this story turns out to be an all out gore fest. As simple as it was my favorite part of this story was when the man decides to go into the other dimension in order to save a life and he wonders what his ex-wife would think of him now. He’s doing what he needs to do and wants to be a hero but the despair over his wife divorcing him never leaves his thoughts. This story had a real Lovecraft feel to it with an awesome ending.

Another story I really liked was The Harem Within. You have to give this story points for originality. The star of it is a sexually awkward man who has a unique power. When he finally has the opportunity to have sex with someone he absorbs them into his body and the victim lives inside of him. His new power turns him into an addict and he wants to take as many souls as he can. I enjoyed the concept here and  how the main character keeps referring to himself as a fiend. I love how the character sees himself at the end and the reader is left to wonder was he really a fiend? Or was he just a lonely man with no idea what was happening to him.

For a Glimpse Beyond the Terminus was a mixed bag for me. The book has the feel of being written by someone who hasn’t been professionally writing for very long. There are some great ideas and content here but some situations and settings get over described which takes you out of the story. That being said I found the book entertaining and thought there were some great concepts and good content here. Jordan shows he has a passion for writing horror and I think his writing will get better in the future. I ‘m looking forward to seeing what he will write about next.

https://jordanandersonfiction.com/

An Interview with Rod A. Walters

What inspired you to write Golden Gremlin?

A dream one night.

Kidding. Don’t believe people who say that.

The thing grew as different ideas & topics piled up. No exciting personal story here, just basic writer stuff: one essay at a time, one draft at a time, one edit at a time, 10 “final” proofs at a time.

What is the significance of the title?

The book was written by a wise-aleck senior writer, me, who often prefers his own company—a golden gremlin and happy misanthrope. I have noticed how most people, especially and shamefully me too, wear an invisible but obvious sign on their backs, “I don’t brake for seniors.” Well, bad for me, both ways. A small, vigorous push from us goldens with some timely experience to share, just might get a small audience to sit down and listen for a minute or two. If there’s a chair behind them. Or a beer on a nearby table. As I say on a “Gremlin” lead page, what good is your experience if you don’t help someone else with it?

How long did it take you to write Golden Gremlin?

A year and one-half, because I seem to edit everything 19 times.

Do you have a favorite story in the book?

Sigh. All the un-favorites got pitched into the trash bag before publishing. I suppose I’d give my Naughty Award to “When Hell Froze Over.” I suspect that many readers would not vote this one their favorite, though, as it pokes humor at some environmentalists’ exaggerations, and maybe worse, it’s longer than most of the other pieces. It truly brings out the gremlin boy in me. Still, I can’t imagine too many not letting a chuckle or two loose when reading it. Oh heavens, the piece can be read in only six and one-half short minutes, tops!

Well also, under duress, “The Vacuum is Mightier than the Pen” (or else). It’s a weensy three minutes to read.

What do you hope people will get out of this book?

Their wallets. Oh wait, I have that backwards.

Well, then, laughter. Above all, get some laughs out of “Gremlin”! Most readers will surely find that most of the pieces have humorous patches, because they are also true. Mostly. Anyone not finding something funny in the book should go get an immediate refund back into their wallet; with my blessings.

What was the hardest part about writing the book?

Finding a hard surface to write on. This is not smart-alecky. My first notes and drafts are all written with pen & legal pad. This makes a squishy writing surface useless, except for raising my temper, and that’s pretty useless too.

How long have you been writing?

24 years, at least intentionally.

What are some of the other books you have out?

Previous books have all been poetry (“Toxic Assets,” the last one), all nonfiction of course. People don’t buy poetry, so no more of that fun for a long while.

Are you planning another book?

Three, actually. “Captain [OF] America: Old Enough to Know Better—And I Do,” an equally poking look at the world’s greatest problems: Money, Politics, and Religion. [Summer, 2018]

“OPORD: Did I Kill Somebody?” composed of military-based essays built around the Army’s so-named “Five Paragraph Field Order,” or Operations Order—the OPORD. [Fall, 2018]

“A Cat’s Guide to Global Warming,” no subtitle necessary. Yet. [some time after the above 2]

Thank you for asking me that—you are my hero for life for a month!

Do you have a website?

Yes, www.ieWriter.com, but it truly sucks as of Feb, 2018. It will be improved by summer.

NOT kidding.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Thank you for the interview. It made me chuckle, and that makes you my hero for life for—all time.

Rod Walters lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife, and somewhat human step-cat. “Walters” is a writing name, but those who know him easily recognizes him from that mediocre head shot, improved by an excellent quality B&W film. He spent the first part of his working life as an Army officer, then a corporate engineer. Now he writes.

https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Gremlin-Vigorous-Misanthropes-Geezers-ebook/dp/B00ZQ8HI4W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1518546161&sr=8-2&keywords=golden+gremlin

https://www.ireadbooktours.com/

Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers

Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers by Rod a Walters is a book of essays, opinions, short stories and humorous anecdotes. This is one man’s observations on life, with opinions on nature, carbon footprints, business advice and kitchen advice. In the end you even get a few songs. To put it another way this is a book written from the viewpoint of a geezer and a misanthrope. That means it’s coming from someone that’s been around the block and prefers their own company instead of being in a large group of people. He may not care but he still has a lot to say about society and a lot of good stories to share.

Golden Gremlin is a hard book to describe. Going into it I wasn’t sure what to expect because I have never read anything like it. The way the book is set up is different from most books. The essays are fairly short and at the end of each one there is a link that will take you back to the beginning or sometimes to a different essay. The word that comes to mind for me as I try to describe this book is “interesting.” Some of it I didn’t fully understand but it has its moments and there are some funny parts in it. This book feels like the author was trying to say life isn’t meant to be taken seriously and he was trying to entertain himself first and foremost. If you try to sit and read this book from cover to cover you may not like it but if you read a couple of stories every day you will find it to be an entertaining read.

One of my favorite parts was when he was poking fun at how absurd Facebook and twitter is and says what his first tweet would be: “If U don’t follow me, U won’t hear if I really do have purple undies on 2day. Another part I liked was when he talks about the joys of being a misanthrope.  Some of the benefits are not caring what others have to say and having more time to yourself because your time is your own. Some of his opinions will put a smile on your face, such as when he points out that all decisions in society should be made by the young or the old and not by the people between the ages of 20 and 50. If you are looking for a book that’s a little different from someone who has seen it all and doesn’t take himself too seriously then give this one a try,

https://www.ireadbooktours.com/

An interview with Gabriel Valjan

How did you do research for your book?

I read history books, books by or about artists of the era. In addition to learning context and circumstances, I found you start to ask yourself questions. For instance, jazz was all the rage during Prohibition, Big Band music during the war years, then, in the 1950s, jazz reappeared as the music of rebellion. Why is that? In my research for the novel, I had to revisit the roles of women during the war, and how it must’ve felt for these ladies to work in munitions plants, be single parents in some cases, and then be asked to forfeit their jobs, their first taste of financial freedom, and return to domesticity. I read about the GI Bill, which got veterans back on their feet by subsidizing their education and mortgages, yet the current GI Bill can barely get a young veteran through a community college.

Research helps convey fidelity to the historical period in the writing, provide the accurate detail, but it should provoke questions. I read diary entries and interviews about the men who fought in Europe and the Pacific. The late actor Charles Durning’s accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and D-Day were harrowing. I read about nurses and women spies. In doing the legwork for The Good Man, I got to know the era that my grandparents had lived through. One of the critical lessons I learned is that men who had survived combat did not – for better or worse — talk about their experiences. The prevalence of wartime memoirs that we have today, writing about battle exploits, would have been offensive to them, and, in their view, disrespectful to their lost comrades. You did your duty and you came home. It’s a very macho, a John Wayne, attitude, but that was how they were.

There are many books out there. What makes yours different?

The Good Man is a hybrid of historical fiction and noir crime fiction. The story is set in Vienna as the Cold War is about to begin. A real CIA operation inspired the plot. Where I differ from, say, Phillip Kerr, who has written the Bernie Gunther series, is that my novel involves a team of operatives and not one individual. Kerr’s stories start in 1930s Berlin in the thick of Hitler’s SA and SS and moves incrementally through the war, whereas as The Company Files series is anchored in post-war Europe and moves stateside in the sequels. My writing is, I believe, atmospheric and focuses on the relationships between the characters. I portray the homophobia, racism, and sexism that were engrained in the era in ways that may surprise readers, while maintaining historical accuracy.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

No. That’s not to say I don’t have self-doubts or the experience of writing myself into a corner, or that I don’t struggle with solving plot points. I realized a long time ago that everything has been said or written at least once. Decades of reading should convince you of that fact. The challenge is to say it better, write it better, and challenge yourself as a writer. A library card is a passport for your imagination.

Do you write every day?

On average, I write daily and if I’m not writing, I am editing.

What is your next project?

I have an editing and writing project ahead of me in 2018. I plan to edit the five books I’ve written about a 1970s Boston-based PI. Inspired by Breaking Bad writer Vince Gilligan and his team, I want to edit the long arc for the principle characters. The writing project is to complete books 3 to 5 of my series set in Shanghai.

Bio: Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series and The Company Files from Winter Goose Publishing as well as numerous short stories. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

Website: www.gabrielvaljan.com

Blog: https://gabrielswharf.wordpress.com

Purchase link: Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2COa5HY 

https://www.ireadbooktours.com/

The Company Files: The Good Man

World war 2 has ended and everyone’s life is changing. Now a new conflict is starting to take shape as both the Russians and the United States are looking to recruit former Nazis in search of information. They aren’t the only people looking for Nazis though, someone is hunting and killing them.

Jack Marshall and Walker served together during the war and now work in Vienna. Along with fellow spy Leslie they are taking on the task to find the killer and bring former Nazis to their side. The problem is that in this new post war world, no one is who they appear and everyone has something to hide.

The Company Files: The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan is an old fashion Noir spy thriller set in the early days of the cold war. The story is what you would expect from a spy novel, It’s complex with twists, turns and surprises along the way. What really makes it a great read is how it gives you a history lesson by way of realistic characters that feel like they were really there. For example in the beginning you see the Russians as villains but as you get to know the characters you see that they are shades of grey and they don’t trust Americans. any more than Americans trust them. We meet Russians that are doing what they need to do to keep the communist government off there backs. We have one fleeing from the government and another who just wants to live a normal life and not be involved in the cold war or politics. There are no real villains in this book, instead everyone is just doing what they need to do to survive. Right and wrong is in the eye of the reader.

As much as I loved the story in this book I loved the use of the time period and the character’s backstories even more. You feel for Walker as he keeps having flashbacks of combat in World War 2, but you also hear of his life before the war and how he can’t get over being in battle or what happened to him before that. We also hear about a character named Sheldon and how he survived being an officer in the concentration camps. We also learn that the female spy Lesile knows several different languages and infiltrated Hitler’s inner circle.  Despite her accomplishments in the intelligence field she still doesn’t get the respect she deserves because she’s a woman. In one scene her fellow male spies comment that she may be a woman but she thinks like a man. This is an attitude that probably all women in this period had to face.

The Company Files: The Good Man is well researched and makes the time period come alive. At this point in history we had just gotten rid of one enemy and were getting a new one The atomic age had begun and the world was becoming a different place. This is a period of history that I didn’t know a lot about but Gabriel Valjan made me feel like I was there. He gives you a good look at what’s going on in his character’s heads as you hear about their pasts, their regrets and their hopes for the future.. There were times when I was reading this that I couldn’t help but hear the popular jazz of the day playing in my head. If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be transported to another place in another time then get this book.

https://www.ireadbooktours.com/