All posts by Brett Summers

Crawled out of the Black Lodge in 1976, only to find himself in the Village.

Below The Belt (1980)

Filmed in 1974 but not released until 1980, Below The Belt paints the picture of one woman’s journey through professional wrestling and life.

When waitress Rosa Rubinsky (Regina Baff) tires of serving food, she decides to change her career and become a professional wrestler named “The Mexican Spitfire.” She receives training from wrestling legend Mildred Burke (playing herself) who helps her work her way toward the top as Rosa Carlo “The Mexican Spitfire”.

One night wrestling promoter Bobby Fox (John C. Becher) witnesses Rosa physically handle the unwanted advances of a co-worker. Fox thinks she looks like a natural for the sport despite she being diminutive in size.

Rosa is sent to professional wrestling school, and then on the road with Bobby’s stable of wrestlers to watch and learn. In both situations, what Rosa also learns is that there is much camaraderie amongst the wrestlers out of emotional need as it is a lonely life. While some look for their soul mate within their traveling partners, others just want a body – any body – to keep them warm at night. She also learns the pros and cons of the sport itself.

Danger arises as Rosa’s first professional wrestling first is to be against Terrible Tommy J. (Jane O’Brien), the queen of the sport. Although professional wrestling is acting more than anything, Tommy, who has forty pounds over Rosa, often treats it like real life to exert her power and superiority over her colleagues, who she sees more as competitors wanting to dethrone her.

The film is based on Rosalyn Drexler’s autobiography To Smithereens. Drexler wrote the novel because she hated her time as a wrestler but thought it should not be wasted, and she should “at least get a book out of it.

In the autobiography it was  Billy Wolfe, who was organizing a women’s wrestling team. After having to call her husband for permission, Drexler went down in Florida to train, wrestle, and tour under the character of “Rosa Carlo, the Mexican Spitfire. She did it out of a need to “get away from this family thing for a while…[it] was too much for [her]”. While on tour, she wrestled in odd places such as a graveyard and an airplane-hangar. There is also a photo of her getting ready with an advertisement that she would be fighting Mae Young, a famous professional wrestler. She went on tour around the country, but returned home after becoming upset about racism in the southern states, such as segregated seating and water fountains. Andy Warhol made a series of silkscreen paintings based on a photograph of Drexler as Rosa Carlo

 

Batfink

Originally running from April 21st 1966 – October 4th 1967 (A total of 100 6 minute episodes were made), Batfink was created by Hal Seeger as a parody of Batman and The Green Hornet.

Batfink (voiced by Frank Buxton) was a superpowered anthropomorphic grey bat in a yellow costume that had a massive red B on the its chest. These were  accessorised with red gauntlets and boots. He uses his super-sonic sonar radar and metallic black wings to fight crime. In the last episode of the series (“Batfink: This Is Your Life”), it is revealed that he obtained his powers when he was born in an abandoned plutonium mine and that he lost his natural wings as a child while saving his mother’s life, after escaped convicts blew up their mountain-top cave. This incident is what motivated him to become a crime-fighter.

Batfink lives in a split-level cave with Karate (voiced by Len Maxwell). Karate is a martial arts expert and driver of the Battillac. He is slightly dim but is strong enough to help Batfink out of any situation. He carries a wide variety of objects and gadgets in his “utility sleeve” (a parody of Batman’s utility belt), but he often has trouble finding what he needs in it. Karate tends to succeed by dumb luck rather than by skill or ingenuity, and often Karate’s involvement will make a bad situation worse. In early episodes, his voice is a stereotypical Asian accent, but in later episodes, Len Maxwell adopts a clipped and nasal speech pattern which was inspired by Don Adams, whose Get Smart character, Maxwell Smart, was popular at the time. Karate on occasion even utters the Maxwell-inspired catchphrase, “Sorry about that, Batfink.”

 

It is later revealed that Karate’s father was the blacksmith who made Batfink’s “wings of steel”.

Whilst many cartoons at the time cut costs by reusing footage, Batfink was more than happy to reuse almost everything! Commonly repeated scenes include the intro to the initial briefings by the Chief, Batfink and Karate getting into the Battillac, the Battillac going round mountain bends, the Battillac going over a bridge, Batfink’s radar.

Hellboy and BPRD 1955 – Occult Intelligence #1

A layover on a remote island drops Hellboy into a web of intrigue involving government secrets and foreign agents waging their own cold war over a weapon that might be right up the BPRD’s alley. In England, Bruttenholm uncovers more secrets, indicating a worldwide supernatural conflict about to boil over.

Written by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson with art by Shawn Martinbrough.

Stephen Furst passes away at the age of 63 years old

It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that actor Stephen Furst has passed away at the age of 63 years old.  The news was broken by his son Nathan who confirmed that Furst died on Friday at his home in Moorpark, California, north of Los Angeles. When speaking of his father Nathan said:

“He was proudest of his family, and he felt blessed and incredibly privileged to have the career that he had and enjoyed.”

Furst burst onto the Cult Faction radar playing naive fraternity pledge Flounder in Animal House, he continued the role in the TV spin off Delta House. He also played Vir Cotto in Babylon 5.

Other roles included CHiPS, St. Elsewhere, Have Faith, Night Court, Murder She Wrote, Magic Kid, Misery Loves Company, Freakazoid!, Diagnosis Murder, Jungle Cubs, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, and Scrubs. He also played the Principal in Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” music video.

Doctor Who – The Companion Chronicles: The First Doctor Volume 2

Big Finish have dropped four brand new adventures, as seen and told by those closest to the First Doctor: his companions.

Out today, and starring Maureen O’Brien as Vicki, Peter Purves as Steven Taylor, Anneke Wills as Polly, and Elliot Chapman as Ben Jackson, Doctor Who – The Companion Chronicles: The First Doctor Volume 2 is available now. These four new stories come with additional exclusive download extras from Big Finish!

1. Fields of Terror by John Pritchard

The TARDIS has brought the Doctor back to Revolutionary France, a place that’s always fascinated him. But this time he, along with Steven and Vicki, are drawn into a devastated land, caught between the soldiers who are burning all before them and a monstrous shape that follows in their wake.

2. Across the Darkened City by David Bartlett

On the planet Shade, The Chaons, an invading race of strange, amorphous creatures that ravenously absorb energy, have reduced the city there to a desolate ruin. Separated from the Doctor and Vicki, Steven has to join forces with an unexpected ally to find his way back to the TARDIS. Ahead, lies a nightmare journey through the dark – a test of endurance and trust.

3. The Bonfires of the Vanities by Una McCormack

When the Doctor, Polly, and Ben arrive in Lewes in the late 1950s, they’re just in time to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ Night. But there’s no fun on the streets tonight – the town is in the grip of fear. There are imps on the loose in Lewes, the Bonfire Boys are on the march, and nobody is safe from the fire.

4. The Plague of Dreams by Guy Adams

“Pray welcome, one and all, to this, a fantasy in two acts, presented, most humbly, for your pleasure. We bring you drama and magic, angels and demons, a tale of mysterious plague… of nightmares made flesh… of a war fought both in this world and those immeasurably distant. A war, in fact, fought through the mists of time itself. It will make you gasp! It will make you weep! It may even make some of you wake-up…”

With this release you can also pick up some exclusive extras! All four scripts for these stories will be downloadable as PDFs, as well as a 38 minute music suite from composer Rob Harvey. Have a taster below, as Rob takes you through how he recreated the original sound of the First Doctor’s adventures:

“Working with Rob on this set has been a highlight, not only with his input to the recording process – where he even attended a couple of the studio days and joined the rest of us with shouting on the wild tracks! – but in hearing his music work as it came together,” producer Ian Atkins tells us, “I used to buy movie soundtrack CDs by the score, and this fits beautifully alongside them.”

“One benefit of this release is getting a companion’s perspective on a new story, which gives a wonderful human colour to events, be it from Vicki encountering the darkness of history at its worst, to Polly finding herself stranded and alone with only a shifty thespian for company. We’re lucky to have such a talented cast prepared to really push themselves, and directors who can work so well with each character. This set of stories seeing the light of day is something I’m hugely proud of.”

This release, and the extras, are available for £20 and £15 on CD and Download, but only until the end of July. And you can download Part 1 of The Bonfires of the Vanities with a code, if you sign up to the Big Finish newsletter.

Godzilla: Monster Planet will have the largest Godzilla ever!

Polygon Pictures’ upcoming anime film trilogy on Godzilla has revealed their Godzilla will be the biggest in history at 118.5m-tall.

The first of their trilogy: Godzilla: Monster Planet will be written by Kamen Rider Gaim‘s Gen Urobuchi.

The film will open in Japan on November 17th 2017 and then will be streamed worldwide through Netflix.

El Orfanato (2007)

Written by Sergio G. Sánchez, El Orfanato (aka The Orphanage) was the directorial debut of J.A. Bayona.

The Spanish horror begins in the year 1975 where we see a young Spanish girl named Laura being adopted. Years later, adult Laura (Belén Rueda) returns to the closed orphanage, accompanied by her husband, Carlos (Fernando Cayo), and their seven-year-old son, Simón (Roger Príncep). Laura has big plans to reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children.

As they get used to the building Simón starts to talk about a new friend he has made – a boy named Tomás. Simón begins to draw pictures of Tomás wearing a sack mask.

Social worker Benigna Escobedo (Montserrat Carulla) visits the house to inquire after Simón, and the audience learn that Laura and Carlos adopted Simón and that he is HIV positive. Incensed at Benigna’s intrusion, Laura asks her to leave. Later that night Laura finds Benigna in the orphanage’s coal shed, but Benigna flees the scene.

Later, Simón teaches Laura a game which grants its winner a wish. Clues lead the two to Simón’s adoption file. Simón becomes angry, and says that Tomás told him that Laura is not his biological mother and that he is going to die soon.

During a party for the orphanage’s opening, Laura and Simón argue, and Simón hides from her. While looking for him, she encounters a child wearing a sack mask who shoves her into a bathroom and locks her inside. When Laura escapes, she realizes that Simón is missing and is unable to find him…