Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Bikers, Babes and Colonel Sanders

Hell's Bloody Devils was one of those gritty motorcycle movies that was so popular with the kids of the late 1960's, right?

"Crimes, man! They commit crimes!"

Not exactly. This was actually a secret agent film where a detective goes undercover to defeat a Neo-Fascist group that was operating in California. In fact, the film was originally entitled Operation M and was partially backed by Harland Sanders in exchange for some bizarre screen time in which all action stops while Mr. Sanders shills for his Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.

"When in Kentucky, guests of Hell's Bloody Devils eat at KFC."

However, by the time this film hit theaters, the young people weren't interested in films about secret agents and fried chicken. The filmmakers found it difficult to get someone to distribute the film, so they decided to shoot gratuitous motorcycle scenes and tack them onto the picture.

"Let's commit some crimes, man!"

They then changed the name to Hell's Bloody Devils. Mr. Sanders probably wouldn't have committed funds and food to the project if he knew all of this would happen. Promoting a family chicken restaurant in a film with filthy bikers and a 

sketchy title wasn't something he had intended. Things would get a bit worse, however. 

Some scenes were filmed at the notorious Spahn Ranch, which had previously been a successful old west shooting location for countless westerns. By 1969, it had become a filthy, derelict shanty town, populated by filthy, degenerate cult members who were followers of Charlie Manson.

Yeah, certainly nothing shady happening here...

Charlie Manson and his "family" were present during filming, but this was well before their eventual murderous crime spree. Mr. Manson allegedly tried to get involved with the production, but other than mooching fried chicken from the KFC catered craft services table or being a pest to the crew, he had little involvement with the production. Rumors of Charlie Manson rubbing elbows with Colonel Sanders were preposterous; a busy businessman like Sanders would have only been on set during his own scene. He would not have been involved in the rest of the shoot other than to arrange for KFC staff members to take the agreed upon chicken and fixings to the set each day.

Hell's Bloody Devils didn't set the box office on fire. Its effect on Kentucky Fried Chicken's sales figures was probably not very big either. Colonel Sanders wouldn't find much success in film, with his other appearance in the movie The Phynx only garnering slightly more attention. He would pass away in 1980.

To complete this strange story, here’s a picture of two legends enjoying a chat- Colonel Sanders and Joan Crawford.

"Wire hangers? To threaten the chickens with? That's just crazy."

It's unclear what they're discussing here, but in a strange twist of fate their companies would merge years after they had both passed away; PepsiCo would eventually buy Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Great Moments in Movie-Making Incompetence: "Alien From L.A."

Imagine you’re making a movie and you cast a sexy supermodel in her prime. Sure, she’s a lousy actress with an annoying voice, but who cares? Just come up with excuses to have her display her “assets” in tight, revealing clothing and the guys in the audience won’t care about anything else. The film Species is a perfect example of this; an alternate title could have been Let’s Have A Look At Natasha Henstridge’s Tits.

The makers of Alien From L.A. had it easy- they had the hot supermodel Kathy Ireland in their film. Just put her in a bikini, tight tops and sexy clothes and you’ll have them lining up around the block. The producers of Alien From L.A., however, chose to make Ms. Ireland a nerdy, heavily clothed, dowdy woman who doesn’t appear in a bikini until the last scene of the film. Since this film was produced by schlockmeisters Golan and Globus, producers of the horrific Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, it isn’t hard to believe they’d skimp on the one thing that George Weiss felt would guarantee a hit film- “Tits”.

Monday, July 20, 2020

When Time Ran Out.... Newman's Own Was Born!

The 1970's were a high time for disaster films and the king of disaster was producer Irwin Allen. Mr. Allen's The Poseidon Adventure ushered in a decade filled with films that put a list of hasbeen actors and up and coming stars in a plethora of peril. By the end of the decade, however, the world had enough of disasters and the genre was Hanging by a Thread. (Sorry about that, folks!) In any case, Mr. Allen was not about to let his favorite genre sink, so he even made a sequel to his first disaster opus- Beyond the Poseidon Adventure which promptly tanked at the box office.

Desperate to repeat his prior success, Irwin decided to go for broke and make the ultimate disaster film that he was certain would resurrect the genre- When Time Ran Out... Eager to cast a name, Irwin called Paul Newman, who wasn't the biggest star around, but could still be choosy about which roles he selected. Paul Newman hated the script, hated the genre and had no intention of taking the role. Irwin was persistent, however, and Paul later remarked that when Allen asked him how much money he wanted for the role, he came up with an outlandish sum that he was certain Irwin would reject. Of course, Allen willingly accepted it without question.

So it was a large sum of money that got Paul to star alongside former NFL player Alex Karras and past their prime stars like Burgess Meredith, Ernest Borgnine and Edward Albert, Jr. son of Eddie Albert, playing an unconvincing Polynesian. The movie was a disaster itself, firmly putting the lid on the disaster craze's coffin. It would be a mere footnote in Hollywood history were it not for that large check Paul Newman collected. Rather than pocket the money, Mr. Newman used it as seed money to establish the Newman's Own line of organic foods. In addition to providing healthy alternatives for consumers, proceeds from the sale of the products go to worthy charities, with hundreds of millions donated to date. So while the movie was forgotten, its legacy lives on.

The movie remained elusive on home video, but it ironically got a full restoration after Mr. Newman passed away, becoming part of the "Paul Newman Film Series". While he certainly would have regretted the choice of packaging for the film he actively hated, Paul probably got a kick put of literally making Newman's Own lemonade out of a big lemon.

Friday, July 10, 2020

When At First You Don’t Succeed...

...rename your movie and try again!

We've seen this picture of the German DVD box for Ruckus...

But did you know they also apparently called it "Eat My Smoke"?

And also "Ruckus in Madoc County"?

I wonder if this fooled many people... Did someone go to see "Ruckus" to see a shoot 'em up commando film, then "Eat My Smoke" for a raucous yokel car chase comedy, then an action-filled dirt bike movie?

Perhaps "After Earth" could have benefited from a similar ad campaign...

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Great Moments in Movie-Making Incompetence: "Airport '79: The Concorde"

Airport ’79: The Concorde

Despite the fact that this movie is nothing but an incompetent mess, it wasn’t too hard to choose the most incompetent moment in a film full of them. In a film featuring latin sexpot Charo in her 1970′s prime, the producers chose another actress to appear in a wet T-Shirt: the ancient Martha Raye. Needless to say, this was the last of the infamous Airport films.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

“Smiley Takes Over The World”

BENTONVILLE, AR (RL)- Eager to fix its battered reputation, The Wal-Mart Corporation today announced that it and Dreamworks Animation planned to create a movie based on the popular “Smiley” character that rolls back prices in the discount giant’s commercials.

“We are eager to show the world that we are not the type of company that our detractors portray us as being,” noted Wal-Mart spokesman Hugh Spitzer, “We might take advantage of our employees and shut down local businesses, but we certainly don’t enjoy doing it. Besides, don’t you like only paying eighty eight cents for a two liter bottle of generic cola?”

The film will be entirely animated and feature the excitable Smiley as he protects his Wal-Mart store from union organizers, hostile community members, OSHA inspectors and any others who stand in Wal-Mart’s way of providing so-called “Every Day Low Prices”. “We’ve seen him use lots of devices to lower prices in the past- whips, sledgehammers, knives, etc. I would imagine he’d find those handy in his war against the hippies and communists who don’t like Wal-Mart,” noted the spokesman.

Many Hollywood observers were surprised that Dreamworks Animation would undertake such a project, but as Dreamworks head Jeffrey Katzenberg explained, “This is a no-brainer for us. We are excited to bring the Wal-Mart Smiley into the same enchanted world of Shrek and the Donkey,” he noted, “Besides, they threatened to stop selling our DVDs, so that sealed the deal.”

Wal-Mart and Dreamworks Animation were reluctant to provide too many details about the movie but did mention that Smiley’s main enemy will be a female character named “Commy U. Nion”. Joining Commy will be her team of villains, most of whom are government bureaucrats. “The message we want to give the next generation of children is that Smiley will take over the world eventually, so you should just roll over and accept it,” noted the Wal-Mart spokesman. When asked to provide further comment, Mr. Katzenberg merely shook his head and took another swig from his flask.

Smiley Takes Over the World will begin production immediately and feature the voices of Kathie Lee Gifford, Tom Selleck, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Despite the fact that production hadn’t yet started, the FOX News Channel already gave the movie its highest rating of five stars. “I haven’t seen this movie yet,” noted the FOX News reviewer, “But I think the movie is as good if not better than The Passion of the Christ because that’s what the RNC wants us to say.” A release date has not yet been set.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Fake Movie Anecdotes

"... Jimmy was fond of telling obscene stories to the film crew and never hesitated even when a woman was within hearing distance. Once an older member of the crew cautioned him about a lady being in the room and Jimmy blew his top. 'Lady? That Trollop is no lady! She let me have relations with her yesterday!' The blushing woman quickly left the room, humiliated..."