Classic Cinema: Perils Of Nyoka (1942)

Adventure For A Cure

Considered by many to be the best “jungle adventure” serial ever produced, 1942’s Perils of Nyoka gives us two female leads, a gorilla named Satan, and a journey to find a cure for cancer. The Republic Pictures fifteen chapter serial also featured a cast loaded with serial legends, future superstars, and tons of action. It was also a loose sequel to the 1941 serial Jungle Girl that starred Frances Gifford. Both of these serials were inspired by the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, but Republic remained vague enough with Perils of Nyoka that they didn’t have to pay Burroughs a second time.

The serials plot was fairly simple. An expedition in the African desert are on the hunt for the legendary tablets of Hippocrates. The tablets supposedly contain medical cures for tons of ailments including cancer, which is the main reason that the expedition is searching for them. A second group, headed up by Vultura, an Arab ruler, is also seeking out the tablets, but only to find the treasure that is hidden with it.

When the expedition discovers a papyrus map they seek out the help of Nyoka Gordon, a young woman who lives in the jungle whom they believe can interpret it. Vultura uses deception and a spy in order to figure out the translation for herself. The two parties then go on an adventure through the desert and jungle in order to find the tablets, fortune, and medical miracles.

This serial is surprisingly well done. Directed by William Witney, a legend in serial history, the chapters move along at a great pace and are filled with action. There are also a number of brilliant cliffhangers at the end of many of the chapters. Some of my favorites include a bladed pendulum, Nyoka being blown off of a cliff, Nyoka suspended above a flaming pit, and a classic bridge sequence that reminded me of a similar scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

The serial stars many familiar faces. Kay Aldridge portrays Nyoka. While her overall performance is a bit lacking, she seems to have no problems with getting tied up, nearly burned, almost crushed by a spiked wall, or finding herself in all sorts of jeopardy. Her nemesis in the film, Vultura, was portrayed by Lorna Gray. Gray, who would earn a Golden Boot in the 1990’s for her work in western films, had a short but very successful career. Aside from starring in a number of serials, Gray also starred in films with actors such as John Wayne and Monte Hale. Speaking of westerns, Nyoka’s hero in the film, Dr. Larry Grayson, was portrayed by the Lone Ranger himself, Clayton Moore. In a much smaller role was Jay Silverheels. He portrayed Tonto in the long running Lone Ranger series with Moore. Also in the serial was Charles Middleton as Cassib. Middleton thrived as Ming the Merciless in the Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon serials. Throw in serial regulars such as the hilarious William Benedict and the reliable Tristram Coffin and you’ve got an amazing cast.

The serial also featured a few furry friends. Ace the Wonder Dog portrayed Nyoka’s loyal German Shepherd named Fang. Professor, a Capuchin monkey, stole all of the scenes that he appeared in as Jitters, the distracting pet of Red Davis (William Benedict). Emil Van Horn wore a gorilla suit as Satan, Vultura’s personal guard.

Howard Lydecker handled special effects. Stunts were provided by legends of the day including Yakima Canutt, David Sharpe, Helen Thurston, Tom Steele, and many more.

The serial was released under its original name in June, 1942, and then released again ten years later as Nyoka and the Tigermen. In 1966 it was repackaged and heavily edited and released on television as Nyoka and the Lost Secrets of Hippocrates.

Thanks for checking out my post. I really enjoyed this serial. Lorna Gray won me over with her performance as Vultura. Any lady that uses a chariot as her primary means of transportation is always cool in my book!

The Year Of KISS: Unmasked (1980)

“All I want is a little conversation….”

KISS entered the 1980’s in a state of flux. Peter Criss was out of the band and Ace Frehley was becoming disenchanted with the direction of the group. Despite this, he soldiered on and wrote two songs, co-wrote a third song, and provided lead vocals for all three on KISS’ 1980 effort, Unmasked. In many circles this album is considered to be one of the band’s worst recordings. While I don’t entirely agree with that, I must say that this album is one of my least favorite KISS releases.

Front, L to R: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley. Top, the new drummer for KISS, Eric Carr, in his Fox persona makeup.

Even though Criss was out of the group, KISS still used his image on the album and credited him as a performer. He also appeared in the video for the album’s first single, Shandi. All of the drums on Unmasked were provided by Anton Fig. Fig had previously provided drums on KISS’ Dynasty album and Ace Frehley’s solo release. Most people probably know him best from his time in the World’s Most Dangerous Band headed up by Paul Shaffer on Late Night With David Letterman.

The album was KISS’ longest studio release at the time, featuring eleven tracks. It featured a lot of outside contributors as far as writing is concerned. Vini Poncia co-wrote almost all of the songs on the album with input from Simmons, Stanley, and Frehley. Gerard McMahon wrote Is That You? Three singles were released from the album. Shandi was the first single released. It peaked at #47 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart but proved to be much more popular outside of the United States. It made top ten lists in multiple countries. The next single was the Ace Frehley track Talk To Me. It only reached the top ten in Switzerland and was never released as a single in the United States. The final single, Tomorrow, was released worldwide but only charted in Germany.

Track Listing:

  1. Is That You?
  2. Shandi (single)
  3. Talk To Me (single outside of United States)
  4. Naked City
  5. What Makes The World Go Round
  6. Tomorrow (single)
  7. Two Sides Of The Coin
  8. She’s So European
  9. Easy As It Seems
  10. Torpedo Girl
  11. You’re All That I Want

Personnel: (please note that for simplicity’s sake, I am only giving a general listing of each contributor) Paul Stanley (lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bass guitar), Gene Simmons (lead and backing vocals, bass guitar, rhythm guitar), Ace Frehley (lead and backing vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, bass guitar), Peter Criss (credited as drums but did not perform on the album), Anton Fig (uncredited but provided all drums), Vini Poncia (keyboards, backing vocals, percussion), Holly Knight (keyboards), Tom Harper (bass guitar), and Bob Kulick (guitars).

I believe that this album is more of a disco album than Dynasty despite that album being declared the “disco” album by most fans. Unmasked strayed even farther from KISS’ classic hard rock sound. While it isn’t a very strong KISS album it is a very solid pop record. Whether you like the album or not, you cannot deny that there are a number of catchy tracks on this release. Easy As It Seems, Is That You?, Tomorrow, and She’s So European are all solid pop tracks that would most likely have been better served by being recorded by established pop acts of the day instead of being recorded by KISS.

Image capture of Peter Criss “performing” in the Shandi video.

My favorite song on this album and one of my favorite KISS tracks of all time is Shandi. There’s just something about this ballad that gets to me. Another favorite of mine from this album is Talk To Me. While it’s a bit tame when compared to other Frehley tracks, it’s his best performance vocally in my opinion. Other tracks on the album, especially Naked City and You’re All That I Want, left me wanting. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t terrible songs. They just don’t seem to fit in with the rest of KISS’ catalogue.

KISS toured in support of the album but only played one show in the United States. Played at the Palladium Theatre in New York, the group used the performance as the official reveal of Eric Carr as the new drummer. They then set out on a successful European and Australian tour. Their costumes on the tour were basically the same as the ones that they used during the Dynasty tour except for Eric Carr’s Fox costume. Although a few tracks from the album were played on that tour, only Shandi has been heard infrequently ever since over the years. It’s played almost always in Australia and makes appearances on KISS Kruises and pre-shows for hardcore KISS Army members.

The message from U.S. fans was clear with Unmasked sales. They wanted KISS to get back to their hard rock sound that hadn’t been heard since Love Gun. KISS made promises to do just that with their next album, released in 1981, but you’ll have to wait to see just what happened with that album next month.

Thanks for checking out my review of Unmasked. The Year Of KISS continues next month with one of the band’s most polarizing releases and one of its most beloved recordings. After that we’ll take a Summer Solo Break before tackling the “No Makeup” era, the Reunion tour, and the final days of KISS!

Throwback Thursday: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

“People are scared of things that are different.”

Tim Burton is one of my favorite creators. He’s an amazing director, writer, animator, and artist and I love his unique style. He has had a hand in many of my favorite films including Batman (1989), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Big Fish (2003), and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007). While I was growing up, his work inspired me. I saw a lot of myself in him. He was the outsider with a wild imagination. He was the weird guy that made cool things. The only difference between him and myself, at least in my mind, was that he made being weird cool and people wanted to hang out with him. Little did I know that he also struggled with being wanted or included much like I did growing up and still do to this day. His 1990 film, Edward Scissorhands, was a therapeutic retelling of his youth and how he desired to belong in the “normal” world.

The film stars Johnny Depp in the titular role. Edward is a young man that is created by a loving inventor (Vincent Price) who gives him everything for a human body except for hands. Instead, Edward is fitted with scissor-like appendages until the inventor can create a pair of hands for him. Sadly his creator passes away before attaching Edwards hands and Edward is eventually discovered living alone by the neighborhood Avon saleswoman, Peg (Dianne Wiest). Realizing that he is all alone and wanting to help him, Peg brings Edward to live with her and her family in a suburban neighborhood.

As Peg attempts to blend Edward into his new surroundings, they become the talk of the neighborhood. In an attempt to stop the rumors and to properly introduce Edward to the community, Peg and her husband, Bill (Alan Arkin), have a barbecue for the neighbors. Edward befriends most of the neighbors. One neighbor in particular, Joyce (Kathy Baker), becomes infatuated with him. As he continues to get to know the neighborhood and its residents, Edward develops relationships with many of them and he falls in love with Kim (Winona Ryder), Bill and Peg’s daughter.

Edward becomes popular for his sheering skills as he trims hedges into different designs for the neighborhood. He also does ice sculptures, grooms pets, and eventually begins cutting and styling the hair of the neighborhood’s women. His entry into their bland, cookie-cutter world breathes new life into the neighborhood’s residents. He’s something strange and different that most of them come to love and accept.

As the story continues, Edward acquires a few enemies. Kim’s boyfriend, Jim (Anthony Michael Hall), a jock with a huge ego, becomes jealous of Edward’s budding relationship with Kim. He gets Edward in trouble with the law. The town’s religious nut, Esmerelda (O-Lan Jones), fears Edward, believing that he is demonic. Joyce, after failing to seduce Edward, spreads a rumor that he tried to sexually assault her and is believed despite the fact that everyone in town knows that she’s the local “desperate housewife” who chases men. Eventually things come to a head and the neighborhood, save for a few people, turn on Edward and chase him back to the lonely castle where Peg found him. He remains there in hiding after Kim lies and tells everyone that Edward died in an altercation with Jim. I won’t spoil what really happened in case you haven’t seen the film.

This film is simply amazing. It features a ton of stereotypical characters and in a brilliant move, in my opinion, Burton cast actors against type. For example, Anthony Michael Hall was primarily known for playing high school nerds. In Edward Scissorhands, he plays the jock. Kathy Baker was known for her dramatic roles and for portraying strong women or the backbone of a family. She’s a seductress in this film and, might I say, very convincing in the role. Depp was best known for playing heartbreakers and love interests at the time and he completely embraced his role as the outsider. Even Winona Ryder, known for her “weird” roles, was cast against type as the generic popular girl. To see these actors work against type was wonderful.

This film marked the first time that Burton would work with Depp. The duo would go on to work on tons of films with one another (usually with Helena Bonham Carter in tow). Production Designer Bo Welch took a neighborhood in Tampa, FL and coated it in pastels. It was the perfect generic world for Edward to play in and disrupt. The cinematography was excellent. The music by Danny Elfman was amazing. Nothing at all was bad about this film. It’s simply a masterpiece and I love it.

Aside from the attempted sexual assault of Edward by Joyce, a murder done in self defense, a little bit of strong language, and the tragic death of a key character at the beginning of the film, Edward Scissorhands is pretty safe for the entire family. It’s a movie about an outsider who wins over new friends but is ultimately driven away from them just for being different. It doesn’t have the happiest of endings, but I believe that many people will be able to identify with Edward, Kim, Peg, or some of the other characters. If you identify with Joyce, well, I fear for your neighborhood’s repairmen!

This film has a special place in my heart. It’s an outsider’s film that outsiders will completely understand. It has references and callbacks to tons of classic films, the most obvious of which is Frankenstein (1931). It’s also the final major film role for Vincent Price, whose career spanned seven decades.

Thank you for reading this post and thanks to Tim Burton for making a film for freaks like us. See you again real soon.

L to R: Tim Burton, Vincent Price, and Johnny Depp.

Classic Cinema: Pay Day (1922)

“You’re Working By The Hour, Not The Ounce!”

Welcome to the first entry in my new series, Classic Cinema. This series will sporadically appear and will focus on classic films from the years prior to 1980. I’ll continue posting horror film reviews in my Classic Horror series and will utilize Throwback Thursday for any films released after 1980. I was inspired to start this new series after volunteering at the Calcasieu Parish Short Film Festival where we showed Charlie Chaplin’s final short film, Pay Day (1922), in celebration of its 100th anniversary.

In Pay Day, a silent short film, Chaplin portrays a worker at a construction site who digs a hole, stacks bricks, steals lunches, and believes that he is shorted on his wages at the end of the day. Upset, he heads out to a local bar in order to drink away his troubles. From there he ends up battling the rain, gets a bit lost, tries to catch a streetcar, and eventually makes his way home just in time to get in trouble with his wife.

The short is loaded with humorous gags. A work elevator is used for a running gag at the construction site. In one of the funniest moments in the film, Chaplin catches bricks from laborers below him. He catches them with his hands, back, legs, feet, and knees. He also falls for the foreman’s daughter (Edna Purviance) despite being married.

Speaking of his marriage in the film, Chaplin’s chemistry with Phyllis Allen is simply wonderful. The duo play off of one another to perfection. From quarreling over money to trying to sneak into the house without waking her up, Chaplin and Allen are hilarious together.

The short runs just over twenty minutes and is very funny. The musical accompaniment moves the story along at a great pace. The stunts and gags work to perfection. If you’ve never seen any of Chaplin’s work, check out this short. It serves as a bridge between his silent short film career and his amazing full length feature career.

Primary Cast:

  • Charlie Chaplin – Laborer
  • Phyllis Allen – His Wife
  • Mack Swain – Foreman
  • Edna Purviance – Foreman’s Daughter

Thanks for checking out my first Classic Cinema post. I hope that you enjoyed it. I might expand the category a bit more and focus a few of the posts on production, special effects, and film history. Let me know what you’d like to see in this series in the comments section below.

The Year Of KISS: Dynasty (1979)

“I’ve Been A Gambler But I’m Nobody’s Fool….”

1977 saw KISS on top of the world. A trio of massively popular albums were followed up by a second live album, Alive II, which actually sold better than the much beloved Alive. In April of 1978 the band released their first greatest hits collection, Double Platinum. On the surface, things looked great for the band. Behind the scenes, however, things were becoming toxic. The band’s members released four solo albums in September of 1978. All four albums shipped platinum, but failed to meet fan expectations for the most part. Many fans look at the solo releases as the beginning of the end for the original lineup. Things wouldn’t get much better for the group with the release of their first studio album in two years, 1979’s Dynasty.

With friction between the band’s members, Dynasty would become the first album to not feature all of the band members on all of the songs. This may or may not be why the album was a huge departure from KISS’ hard rock sound that had developed over all of their other albums. Dynasty is considered by many to be the band’s “disco” album and an attempt at winning over more pop music fans.

The album had nine tracks on it. Two singles were released. Despite straying from KISS’ signature sound, the album’s first single, I Was Made For Lovin’ You, was a huge success. It reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has become a concert mainstay over the years. The second single, Sure Know Something, peaked at #47 and experienced a mild resurgence in popularity in the mid 90’s thanks to the band’s MTV Unplugged live album.

Track Listing:

  1. I Was Made For Lovin’ You (Single)
  2. 2,000 Man
  3. Sure Know Something (Single)
  4. Dirty Livin’
  5. Charisma
  6. Magic Touch
  7. Hard Times
  8. X-Ray Eyes
  9. Save Your Love

Personnel: Peter Criss (lead vocals and drums on Dirty Livin’), Ace Frehley (lead and backing vocals, lead guitar and all guitars and bass on 2,000 Man, Hard Times, and Save Your Love), Paul Stanley (lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitars, lead guitar on Sure Know Something, bass on I Was Made For Lovin’ You and Magic Touch), Gene Simmons (lead and backing vocals, bass, rhythm guitar on X-Ray Eyes)

In addition to the four original members, there were two other primary musicians on the album. Anton Fig played all drums on the album except for Dirty Livin’. Vini Poncia played keyboards, percussion, and provided backing vocals.

The album is a bit all over the place in my opinion. Despite this I enjoy it quite a bit. The two singles strayed from KISS’ original sound the most with Dirty Livin’ not too far behind. While everyone talks about I Was Made For Lovin’ You, Sure Know Something is my favorite of the album’s two singles. It’s also my favorite track on the album overall. Charisma is actually a very solid track but it’s a bit left of center for KISS. X-Ray Eyes is a decent rocker that reminds me of Radioactive from Gene’s solo album. Magic Touch is an okay track but it’s probably my least favorite song on the album. All three of the Ace Frehley fronted tracks, Hard Times, Save Your Love, and 2,000 Man (a Rolling Stones cover), have a real rock and roll sound to them and are definitely the closest tracks to KISS’ original sound.

Paul Stanley sings lead vocals on three tracks. Ace Frehley does the same, perhaps due to the fact that he really got to test out his voice on his solo album. Surprisingly, Gene Simmons only contributes two lead vocal performances. Peter Criss only sang on Dirty Livin’.

Always conscious of their image, KISS went to extremes with their look for the Dynasty tour. Peter Criss wore a green fur coat full of what looks like tails. His boots, also green, featured poofy fur embellishments. Gene’s costume appears to have been heavily influenced by kaiju, especially Godzilla, and featured a red cape. Paul’s look featured a lot of puffy pink embellishments and stars. Ace won the costume contest with one of my favorite looks of his, a shimmering cape and a light blue chest piece that featured broken glass.

Dynasty was KISS’ seventh studio album. It did gain the band newer, younger fans, but fans of the band’s original sound felt forgotten and ignored by a band that at least appeared to be “selling out” in order to make more money. Merchandise sales were still high but album sales were leveling off and not meeting the expectations of the band or of the record label. Big changes were coming for KISS and they weren’t necessarily good ones.

Thanks for checking out my review of Dynasty. Despite all of the challenges faced by the band, it’s not that bad of an album. Come back next week to see my thoughts on Unmasked!

Metal Lords (2022)

“Why can’t we all not fit in together?”

I like Metal Lords. The 2022 Netflix tale drops us into the lives of three teens, Hunter, Kevin, and Emily, who don’t fit at their school. Hunter dreams of being in a metal band that takes over the world. Kevin is torn between helping his best friend form a metal band and trying to be a normal high school kid. Cello player Emily has to take medication for her rage issues and feels like a misfit because of it. The three of them ultimately come together and plan to win the upcoming Battle of the Bands.

There is absolutely nothing new about this coming-of-age film. We’ve all seen films where misfits try their darnedest to fit in and eventually except who they really are and succeed at being themselves. This film is exactly like all of those other films but with metal as the “misfit” modus operandi. Hunter is a somewhat unlikable kid who pushes away his best friend and refuses (at first) to allow another outsider (Emily) join his group until he realizes that he’s been wrong about both of them. Kevin is a good guy who is average at just about everything, awkward, and loyal to a fault but finally manages to unite his friends to achieve success. Emily is the ultimate outsider. She doesn’t fit in and believes that she doesn’t deserve to fit in because of her mental health issues. She sees herself as a freak and it is up to Kevin to bring her out of her shell.

The film has other standard tropes you’d find in teen comedies. There’s Clay, the good-hearted popular guy who befriends Kevin and “steals” him from Hunter’s band. Then we have Kendall, who is a character on the periphery of popularity. She’s liked by many of the popular kids at her school but still finds herself a little on the outside of everything. There’s also a former standout at the school who pops up late in the film with an inspirational message for one of the teens. Throw in a couple of parties, a little too much drinking, bullies, and a dream sequence featuring guys that metalheads will definitely recognize and you’ve got a standard teen flick.

The film has nothing new in it, but still managed to hold my attention. There are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, a couple of sugary sweet interactions between Kevin and Emily, and the aforementioned dream sequence where Rob Halford (Judas Priest, Fight), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave) give Kevin some sound relationship advice. It all adds up to a decent movie with heart, tons of great metal music, and some nice laughs.

I got a real Wayne and Garth vibe from Hunter and Kevin. Although they aren’t as dumb as Wayne and Garth, the duo interact and feed off of one another much like that duo. It also helps that Kevin wears glasses and plays the drums and Hunter plays guitar and goes off on rants at moments. Hunter is played by newcomer Adrian Greensmith. He shows a lot of heart and anger as the character. I really wish that his character’s friendship with Robbie (Christopher M. Lopes), a character with his own issues that he has no control over, would have been expanded a bit. Jaeden Martell portrays Kevin. Martell has awkward down pat. He’s an excellent character and the one that I identified with the most in the film. Isis Hainsworth plays Emily. Her character is broken emotionally and Hainsworth does a great job of revealing that in the film. Her awkward moments with Kevin were some of the best moments in the film. The cast is rounded out by Brett Gelman (Stranger Things, Fleabag), Sufe Bradshaw (Veep), Noah Urrea (Now United), Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Magic Mike), and Analesa Fisher (Pretty Little Liars, Chad).

The film is rated “R” for language, sexual references, nudity, and drug/alcohol use. The language is pretty strong in the film. The name of Hunter and Kevin’s band is Skullfucker (which Emily changes with a few supplies from the art department so that they can enter the Battle of the Bands). There are a ton of images on the walls of the teens’ rooms that some might deem inappropriate for younger viewers. A couple of the teens have sex but nothing is shown and there’s a brief bit of nudity during a skinny dipping scene where we see both male and female bottoms. The drug and alcohol use is limited to brief moments at the parties including Kevin puking after drinking too much.

The film isn’t amazing or cutting edge but it is a nice diversion for an afternoon. If you’re a fan of different types of metal as I am, you’ll definitely want to check this movie out for its soundtrack. Tom Morello was the film’s executive music producer and he definitely made sure to throw in metal from different ages and styles. He also wrote the film’s big track, Machinery Of Torment, which I highly recommend. Be on the lookout for a ton of metal references everywhere in the film as well.

I do recommend this film but I don’t expect you to be blown away by it. It’s a fun film with great music, comedic teen awkwardness, and characters that we can all identify with from different points in our lives. I hope that you watch it and I hope that you like it.

Thanks for checking out my review.

Calcasieu Parish Short Film Festival!

If you happen to be in the Lake Charles area this weekend, be sure to drop by the Calcasieu Parish Short Film Festival! This year the festival will take place at the Cinemark Theater located at the Prien Lake Mall. The festivities begin at 11AM and will feature three blocks of short films from local, state, national, and international filmmakers.

At 1PM in the afternoon the festival will celebrate the one hundred year anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s Pay Day. If you get your tickets early they are only five bucks! The price goes up to ten dollars at the door and only cash will be accepted. While you’re at the theater you might as well check out one of the films that Cinemark will be showing this weekend.

Yours truly will be on hand assisting with the event this year once again and I’m also an in kind sponsor this year. Check out for more information and support independent filmmakers!

I hope to see you at the show!!!!

Spin Master Batman Batcave

“Oh, you’re everything they say you are, aren’t ya???”

I really enjoyed The Batman. I recently reviewed it on my blog and loved almost everything about it. I was recently offered the chance to review one of the Spin Master toys based upon the film and decided to give it a shot. In all honesty I haven’t collected any Spin Master toys from the film because I’m much more interested in the McFarlane Toys figures that are being produced. Spin Master’s line is geared toward children and I love the company for that fact, but this film’s toys need to be grittier and more adult in my opinion. With that being said, here’s my review for Spin Master’s The Batman “Batman Batcave.”

This is definitely the biggest play set that I’ve ever personally reviewed from Spin Master. It comes with quite a few pieces. There’s the Batcave stairwell that must be assembled (two sets of stairs and the walkway snap together), a multi-screen computer desk, a work bench with places to store the included cowl and chest plate, the Batcycle, a red grappling gun, two Batarangs, a suitcase that opens, cash that can be stored in the suitcase, the Penguin’s umbrella with a blade that can be hidden in the handle, and two figures, an unmasked Batman and the Penguin. There’s also a parking stand for the Batcycle. I plan on using it in the future to display pretty much all of my Spin Master stuff as I review it.

The walkway features a trapdoor that opens whenever you apply just a little bit of pressure to it. There’s also a detachable rail that you can toss figures through but it’s locked in place rather tightly. I don’t see kids getting much use out of the rail but they’ll probably enjoy the trapdoor. The computer desk features monitors that have stickers on them. The stickers on the one that I received were bubbled up a bit and I had to smooth them out a bit. Once I did this, the desk looked great. I love the work bench. There are tools, Batarangs, and a pair of Batman’s gloves molded into the desktop and a place to store the cowl and chest plate. The cowl slides onto a molded head and the chest plate snaps into place on a molded chest. They look great on the desk. The grappling gun and extra Batarangs look fine enough, but the grappling gun looks nothing like the one from the film and that Batarangs fit poorly in Batman’s hands. Penguin’s suitcase and umbrella fit his hands better than than Batman’s accessories and, at least in my opinion, look better as well.

The Batcycle looks cool and is very similar to the one featured in the film. It’s a slick looking bike and it look great on its stand. It features a kickstand that prevents it from falling on its side. The best thing about this bike to me is the fact that Batman can actually sit on it without any difficulties or awkward posing. This is one of the first Spin Master vehicles that I’ve found that actually fits their action figures properly.

The two action figures that come with this set are pretty good. The likeness of Robert Pattinson as Batman/Bruce Wayne is okay, especially for a Spin Master figure, but the figure’s cape sits loosely on its back and looks very cheap. The cowl that comes with the set can be placed on Batman’s head, but the back of the cowl is completely open and looks oversized on the figure. I recommend purchasing another cowled Batman figure if you want that look and keep this one unmasked. The Penguin figure doesn’t look much like Colin Farrell in the film. The figure features a much gentler looking face without all of the scarring that Farrell’s version of the character features in the film. Despite this fact, I love this figure. There’ssomething about him that screams “Businessman who just had a bad day” and I love it. Both of the figures feature the standard eleven points of articulation expected to come with Spin Master figures.

I’m sure that kids will get a kick out of playing with the Batcycle, the workbench, and the computer desk as well as both figures. The stairs and walkway aren’t as impressive, but they make for a darn nice display. I think that collectors will appreciate both of the figures and the Batcycle. I also believe that they’ll love using one or all of the pieces for display. Overall, a decent set with just a few minor issues.

Thanks for checking out this review. Let me know what you think about this set in the comments.

Throwback Thursday: Just One Of The Guys (1985)

“Hey, who do you think you are? Tootsie?”

On the surface, 1985’s Just One Of The Guys seems like just another light teen 80’s comedy. When you dig deeper, however, you see that the film is about the imbalance between the sexes (both ways), the social hierarchy of high schools in the 1980’s (and beyond), and the ways that deception can break down relationships. It works well as both of those types of films.

Terri Griffith (Joyce Hyser) believes the only reason that her article was rejected by her journalism teacher for an internship at the local newspaper was because she’s a pretty girl. When a conversation overheard at the school somewhat confirms her theory, she decides to disguise herself as a boy, attend another school, and turn in her article there to prove that she’s right. She battles bullies, avoids getting dressed in gym class, and gets a taste of life as a boy at the new school. She also attracts unwanted attention from a girl and befriends one of the school’s outsiders, determined to get him a date for the prom.

In the end she discovers that her original article just wasn’t that good and decides to write a new article about her experiences as a boy. She also falls for the outsider, loses her boyfriend, and has to deal with her oversexed brother.

The film reveals that we are all judged (often unfairly) to some degree by our looks, our interests, and our friends. It also shows that even the pretty, popular girl will experience rejection because sometimes she’s actually not the best at something. The film also covers standing up to bullies, young love, and heartbreak. It does all of this with plenty of humor and a ton of heart.

Joyce Hyser carries the film as Terri. While her “Terry” male character is a bit hard to accept as completely blending in as a male, she does an excellent job as “Terri.” Clayton Rohner portrays Rick, a James Brown-addicted outsider that Terri takes under her wing and attempts to find him a date. She ultimately falls in love with him. Billy Jacoby portrays Terri’s little brother, Buddy. He provides most of the film’s funniest moments. Toni Hudson plays Denise, Terri’s best friend. Leigh McCloskey appears in the film as Terri’s jilted boyfriend, Kevin. Sherilyn Fenn has a small role (one of her earliest) as Sandy, a young lady that is attracted to Terry. She references The Karate Kid early in the film, stating that Terry looks like Ralph Macchio’s titular character from that film. The funny thing is that William Zabka, who portrays the school’s top bully, Greg, also tortured Macchio’s character in The Karate Kid. As attractive as Hyser is, she definitely does look a little like Daniel LaRusso.

Of course I can’t talk about this film without mentioning that moment in the movie. The moment that I am referring to is the point in the film where Terri declares her love for a very confused Rick and then rips her shirt open to reveal her breasts. The PG-13 rating was was still in its infancy at the time. Red Dawn, released in August of 1984, was the first PG-13 film. Just One Of The Guys was released less than a year later in April of 1985. Prior to 1984, there were quite a few films with nude scenes in them that received a PG rating, but most of them featured non-sexual nudity. While the “reveal” scene wasn’t necessarily sexual, it was surprising and shocked quite a few filmgoers. Hyser, director Lisa Gottlieb, and Clayton Rohner all agreed that the reveal definitely sent home the message of the moment, but Hyser has said on many occasions that she would not have done the seen if she knew that it would end up on numerous porn sites on the internet (which didn’t exist in 1985).

I definitely recommend checking out this film if you missed it when it was first released. It’s currently available on demand on Pluto TV for free. It’s also available on a number of other streaming services. Outside of the breast reveal scene, there are a ton of photos from Playboy Magazine plastered on the walls of Buddy’s room. There are quite a few male bottoms in view during a shower sequence as well. There are also a few scenes with teens making moves on one another. The language is surprisingly tame. Violence is relegated to a few bullying and light fight scenes.

Thanks for reading my review. Hyser does a great job as both the “beautiful and popular girl” and the “new kid” that attracts both positive and negative attention. It’s definitely worth checking out on a rainy day or a slow weekday evening.

A New Horizon!

Polishing Up The Old Site

You might have noticed that things look a little different on this blog. Have no fear! While the look is different, the content remains the same! I just decided to come up with a proper logo for the blog and have plans to expand the brand. I hope to have stickers, flyers, t-shirts, and more to help promote the blog in the very near future. Let me know if there’s anything that any of you would like to see and I’ll try to make it happen!

Until then, check out some the different looks for the new logo. Thanks for being a reader!