Mondo Double Feature : “Mondo Groovy Horrorshow” #1

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

If you read my review of Jeremy Rogers and C.J. Patterson’s Mondo Groovy issue one, you’ll recall that one of the things I appreciated most about that admittedly trashy — hell, deliberately trashy — comic was that it was totally un-pretentious and utterly lacking in both self-awareness, and awareness of the broader comics “scene” in general. And all of that goes double for its companion book, Mondo Groovy Horrorshow #1. And you kind of can’t help but tend to love this one, too.

Look, let’s be honest — normally a cartoonist has to be a fairly “known quantity” before they decide to try to monetize the contents of their old sketchbooks, but here’s Rogers, a fairly “unknown quantity” if ever there was one, doing it right the fuck now, before anybody has much of a clue who he is. Not because he seems particularly arrogant, mind you. Not because his…

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The Airzone Solution? (1993, directed by Bill Baggs)

In the near future, the UK has become so polluted that people have to wear masks when they go outside.  (Save your COVID-19 jokes, the villain here is pollution not a pandemic.)  A mysterious corporation called Airzone claims that they have a solution but some are skeptical.  Journalist Al Dunbar (Peter Davison) and environmentalist Anthony Stanwick (Sylvester McCoy) are determined to investigate on their own and discover what’s actually going on at Airzone.  Unfortunately, Al discovers a bit too much and is murdered by the corporation.

However, Al is not prepared to let something like death get in the way of exposing Airzone.  His ghost appears to both his mentor, Prof. Oliver Threthaway (Jon Pertwee), and to local weatherman Arnie Davis (Colin Baker).  Freaked out by Al’s ghost, Arnie and his girlfriend, Ellie Brown (Nicola Bryant), launch their own investigation into the corporation and they discover that Airzone’s solution comes at a terrible cost.

This low-budget, straight-to-video production is best-known for featuring four actors who starred as the Doctor during the original run of Doctor Who.  In fact, when this film was first made, it featured every living Doctor with the exception of Tom Baker.  (Jon Pertwee would die just three years after the film’s release.)  Nicola Bryant, who played Colin Baker’s companion on Doctor Who, plays his girlfriend here while Michael Wisher, who played Davros, shows up as a duplicitous politician.  Even Alan Cumming, who was frequently mentioned as a possible Doctor should the series ever be renewed, has a small role.  If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, you almost have to watch this movie for the cast along.

But is the movie itself any good?  The special effects are cheap, the story is full of plot holes, and there’s a lot of dodgy acting from the supporting cast.  The movie never explains why Al Dunbar’s spirit appears to Arnie Davis instead of someone who could actually do something to stop Airzone.  Jon Pertwee’s role was reportedly added at the last moment and his appearances feel random.  In fact, the film is flawed in much the same way that Doctor Who was often flawed.  And like Doctor Who, it’s often fun despite those flaws.  It’s fast-paced and, despite its weighty environmental theme, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

All of the former Doctors acquit themselves well in their roles.  Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy, who were probably the best actors among the original Doctors, are the cast stand-outs but Colin Baker is far more sympathetic and likable here than he ever was on Doctor Who.  I’ve always felt that Colin Baker had the potential to be a good Doctor but he was sabotaged by some of the worst scripts and production decisions in the history of the series and The Airzone Solution? shows what Baker could have done with the role if he’d been given the opportunity.  Jon Pertwee was obviously not in good health when he appeared in The Airzone Solution? but he still hams it up with an entertaining gusto.

The Airzone Solution? will be best appreciated by fans of the original Doctor Who.  It’s not great but it’s worth it just to see everyone gathered together.

Mondo Double Feature : “Mondo Groovy” Issue One

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

So, yeah, my first thought when I got Mondo Groovy issue one — along with its companion comic, Mondo Groovy Horrorshow #1 — in the mail from cartoonist Jeremy Rogers was “these guys are trying too hard.” I mean, that title alone is just way too spot-on, right? You know this is probably going to be about a couple pothead dudes who are into trash cinema and don’t have much else going on. Maybe with a Fat Freddy’s Cat-type pet/sidekick thrown in for good measure.

And so it is. But here’s the thing : while it may, indeed, be every bit as obvious as it seems at first glance, and while it may be as all-over-the-map in terms of its effectiveness (or lack thereof) as any “gag humor” comic aimed squarely at the stoner crowd, it’s so damn unpretentious, and utterly lacking in fucks to give, that you can’t help…

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Song of the Day: Malena by Ennio Moricone

Today’s song of the day comes from Ennio Morricone’s score for the 2000 Italian film, Malena!

Here, from a performance in Chile, is Morricone’s Malena:

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)
  14. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)
  15. Theme From Frantic (Frantic)
  16. La Lucertola (Lizard In A Woman’s Skin)
  17. Spasmodicamente (Spasmo)
  18. The Theme From The Stendhal Syndrome (The Stendhal Syndrome)
  19. My Name Is Nobody (My Name Is Nobody)
  20. Piume di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage)
  21. For Love One Can Die (D’amore si muore)
  22. Chi Mai (various)
  23. La Resa (The Big Gundown)
  24. Main Title Theme (Red Sonja)
  25. The Main Theme From The Cat O’Nine Tails (The Cat O’Nine Tails)
  26. Deep Down (Danger Diabolik!)
  27. Main Theme From Autopsy (Autopsy)
  28. Main Theme From Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion) 
  29. Main Theme From A Fistful of Dollars (A Fistful of Dollars)
  30. Main Theme From For A Few Dollars More (For A Few Dollars More)
  31. Gui La Tesa (Duck, You Sucker!)

Music Video of the Day: Aeroplane by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1996, directed by Gavin Bowden)

A song about drug abuse that features a children’s chorus?

Not creepy at all!

Aeroplane makes a lot more sense if you know that it’s based on a traditional blues song called Jesus is my Areoplane.  In their version of the song, the Chili Peppers are saying that music has saved them and taken them to a higher plane of existence.  Whenever Anthony Kiedis struggled with his addictions and was tempted to turn to dust in his kitchen, it was music that kept him from destroying himself.  The original song was about people flying away with Jesus.  The Chili Peppers are flying away with songs like this one.  The Chili Peppers might be going to Hell but at least they got to make some music and shoot his video with a group of smoking hot models and synchronized swimmers.

The children’s chorus, which shows up at the end and changes the entire feel of the video, were reportedly all friends of Flea’s daughter.  Flea’s daughter is among the children singing.  At the end of the song, when you hear one girl outsinging all the rest with “You’re my areoplane!,” that’s her.