If you grew up in the 70’s and 80’s like I did and have fond memories of those decades, you should be listening to the Pop Ninja Podcast! Hosts Lisa Everetts and Patrick Bennett take listeners on a journey back in time to the days of The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, Air Supply, Manimal, and so many more wonderful TV shows, films, and musical groups. Most episodes feature a favorite film, musical artist, and television show from Lisa and Patrick, who riff off of one another as they talk about each subject. Some episodes focus on specific topics, such as favorite Christmas toys, and a few even feature interviews with celebrity guests!
Some of my favorite episodes include interviews with author Billie Rae Bates and film stars Adrienne King (Friday the 13th) and Paul Kelman (My Bloody Valentine). Other excellent episodes include interviews with Stella, the Maneater of Manayunk, and producer Dick Atkins.
Every episode includes a giveaway. In order to be eligible for the giveaway, you have to listen for the secret word mentioned during each episode. Past prizes include signed DVDs and books (I won an autographed copy of Let’s Roll, Kato by Billie Rae Bates), exclusive prints, and even a bag handmade by Charlotte Steward from Little House On The Prairie!
Be sure to check out the Pop Ninja Podcast on social media and on their webpage. The webpage is very active as is the Facebook page. You can find the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podbean, Overcast, and just about anywhere else you get your podcasts.
Thanks for checking out my latest post. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for me, so I’m sorry for the delay in posts. I’ll try my best to post more often in the coming weeks.
Spin Master continues to hit it out of the park with their new Bat-Tech wave of action figures. Part of that wave includes the Batman Vs. Bane Moto-Tank set. There are two versions of this set available. One set includes an exclusive Batman figure, Bane figure, the Moto-Tank, and twelve accessories. The other set features the same figures and tank minus the multiple accessories. I’ve seen both sets in abundance at Walmart, especially the set with the twelve accessories, so if anyone wishes to purchase the set at the retail price, it’s up for grabs. Don’t fall for the insane prices on eBay and other sites like it. Despite being a Walmart exclusive, it’s still available on the shelf.
The set comes in a great looking package that features a photo of the Batcave. It’s the same photo included on the inserts for individual action figure packs in the Bat-Tech wave. Also included are twelve accessories in a light blue color. These accessories can all be found in other figure packs, but the color is apparently exclusive to this set.
The Moto-Tank is essentially a souped up motorcycle. There are no firing projectiles or features on the tank. It’s simply a cool looking vehicle that Batman and other figures in this line can ride on or, at least in the case of villains like Bane, can be tossed around at playtime.
The Batman figure looks great. It’s the same mold as the Bat-Tech Batman figure in the standard line but with a few slight differences in the placement of the bright blue color on the figure. The most notable difference between the two figures is that the Batman in the Moto-Tank set has completely blue forearms, less blue on the chest, and no blue at all on the legs.
The Bane figure is the largest figure that I’ve seen in the four inch line. In the photo above, I have a Batman and Killer Croc from the Caped Crusader series for reference. The figure looks great and goes to show that Spin Master is willing to give both children and collectors a scale-accurate figure.
This is a great set for children and collectors alike. As with every other figure in the Spin Master line, most of the accessories are forgettable for collectors. Children will love them, however, and they (and, admittedly, probably most collectors) will love the bright blue colors as well. Snag this set for yourself or your kids!
Thanks for reading my review of the Spin Master Batman Vs. Bane Moto-Tank set. More Spin Master reviews are on the way!
At the end of 2020, I offered up my first Dime Store Reads post. It was a brief review of the novelization of the film The Predator from 2018. I enjoyed the book well enough so I decided to head back to the same Dollar General that I purchased the novel at to pick up its prequel, The Predator: Hunters and Hunted. Written by James A. Moore, Hunters proved to be even more enjoyable than the film and book that it sets up.
In the story, an elite group of soldiers called the Reapers have been training for years in preparation for engaging and capturing a Yautja (Predator). Trained by Pappy Elliot, the only survivor of an attack in Vietnam, the group finds themselves outsourced to other departments to dispatch drug rings and other ne’er do wells. The group is lethal and chomping at the bit for a real challenge. Unfortunately, funding is on the verge of being cut for the team and Project Stargazer, a research project that hopes to study one of the Yautjas in order to reverse engineer its technology for the benefit of the U.S. government.
With two members of Project Stargazer in Washington, D.C. pleading their case, the Reapers finally get to engage a Predator on the Florida/Georgia border in the Okefenokee Swamp and the surrounding areas. They quickly find themselves in a battle for their lives while attempting to capture the alien visitor. After successfully trapping the Yautja and suffering major casualties, the group bring the hunter back to Project Stargazer’s base of operations. The monster manages to escape and the thinned out group has to battle it once more. With the loss of their comrades in mind, the Reapers plan to kill the Yautja in their second confrontation. Who wins? Read the book for yourself and find out!
Moore does an excellent job of alternating the story between the perspectives of the Reapers, the Predator, and other characters in the story. The Reapers feature some very interesting characters that are all given a decent amount of development. My favorite Reaper was a character named Hyde who, based on a quick search on other reviews of this book, proved to be one of the most popular characters in the story overall. Two characters featured in the film that follows the book, Traeger and Keyes, make an appearance, with Traeger getting some heavy development in the novel.
Parts of the story remind me of the first two Predator films, especially the second one starring Danny Glover and Gary Busey. There are brief callbacks to both of these films but this novel does well to stand on its own. Moore is no stranger to writing stories based upon established film and television series. He’s written novels that are parts of the Alien and Buffy The Vampire Slayer universes and is also a successful novelist of original series as well (Seven Forges novels, Bloodstained series, etc.). In this novel specifically, he does a great job of setting up and executing battle scenes. A favorite of mine is the Predator’s encounter with an alligator.
I really enjoyed this book and would love to see some of the surviving characters return in other novels or even in future films in the Predator series. As stated before, I picked this book up at Dollar General. It cost me three bucks and was more than worth it. I definitely recommend this novel.
Thanks for checking out this post. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this novel or any other Predator books. Feel free to tell me what you liked, disliked, or absolutely hated about any of the books.
Just over a year after the release of the film that made him an icon of horror, Bela Lugosi traded in Dracula‘s cape for the wild eyebrows of Dr. Mirakle in Universal’s Murders In The Rue Morgue. Loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name, the film tells the story of Dr. Mirakle and his attempt at finding a mate for his gorilla, Erik. In order to do this, he captures young women (primarily prostitutes) and injects them with gorilla blood in order to see if they would be a suitable mate for Erik. Those who fail to be successful candidates are murdered and dumped into the river. When Dr. Mirakle sees the lovely Camille (Sidney Fox), he notices that Erik is fascinated by her. Mirakle has Camille kidnapped and attempts to mingle her blood with Erik’s. Can Camille’s pre-med fiancee (who has a passion for forensics) figure out what is happening to the young women of Paris before she becomes Erik and Dr. Mirakle’s next victim? You’ll have to watch Murders In The Rue Morgue to find out!
The film was ripped by contemporary critics for multiple reasons. One of the more justified reasons is the poor editing throughout the film. Many critics also believed that the film exploited the young women in the cast and, in a personal favorite critique, a Variety magazine critic accused the film of being “sexed up to the limit.” As time has passed, the film has become a favorite of both Lugosi and horror fans in general. The film consistently receives praise for the amazing cinematography by Karl W. Freund, who would go on to direct another Universal classic, The Mummy (1932), and invent the unchained camera, a predecessor to numerous camera techniques and designs.
The film’s cast is wonderful in my opinion. Lugosi’s commanding presence stands out from the pack, but Sidney Fox does an excellent job as Camille as well. Camille’s fiancee, Pierre Dupin, is portrayed by Leon Ames. He does a fine job as a man framed for murder and intent on finding the true fiend. His best friend, Paul (Bert Roach) and Paul’s girlfriend, Mignette (Edna Maron), along with some of the townspeople, provide some much needed comedy in an otherwise serious horror film. Other standouts include Noble Johnson as Janos, Dr. Mirakle’s assistant, D’Arcy Corrigan as the Morgue Keeper, and Brandon Hurst as the prefect. Joe Bonomo portrayed Erik the gorilla in closeups and action scenes involving human interaction.
This was a very dark film. Much like 1934’s The Black Cat, another Poe adaptation, Murders In The Rue Morgue pushed the limits with its violence and subject matter. For this reason alone it is an important film. Director Robert Florey (Daughter of Shanghai) does a fine job with the film as a whole, but the film is stilted by some of the jarring edits done my Milton Carruth (Imitation of Life).
With a mad scientist, a woman-hungry gorilla, and a med student turned detective, Murders In The Rue Morgue is a cinematic curiosity. Brilliant cinematography and direction lift the film above its poor editing. Come for the gorillas and the prostitutes, stay for the sickening story and great pacing.
Thanks for checking out my post. See you again real soon!