Archive for March, 2018

The year was 1985, basic cable television in the form we now know it was still crawling towards its teenage years, and an eight-year-old USA Network decided to start the new year off with a new Saturday afternoon show. The USA Network had access to more quality films and programming than your average local UHF channel, but, despite this advantage, their access to films was still a wee bit higher on the ratio of the stinkers vs the great films out there. As such, the early day weekend blocks were often showcasing the not even close to being the best in science fiction and horror on the USA Network; a common thing with many early basic cable channels.

In order to make these less than stellar movies stand out from the crowd, the powers that be at the USA Network decided to take a page out of the broadcast channel playbook from years earlier and have the movies hosted by someone playing a character. The USA Network held a casting call in late 1984, and among the people that tried out for the role of the host was Jim Hendricks. Hendricks apparently had what they were looking for, and on January 5, 1985, the costumed persona of Commander USA strolled onto the TV screens of America to beam mostly so bad they were good films into American homes from his secret headquarters under a New Jersey shopping mall. By the time the show saw its last episode in 1989, it had seen more than 200 shows air, Commander USA had hosted a few events along the way, and an (unintentionally) one shot magazine, Commander USA’s World of Horror, had been produced.

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The Assignment: Horror Podcast

XThis week’s assignment was chosen by John because of the year he was born and because it’s just a great film all around.X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyeswas at  the time of its filming the best of the Roger Corman science fiction efforts, and it’s a favorite of the Assignment Horror crew. But will Richard find it an entertaining cautionary tale of science (or a scientist) gone wrong or will he find it dated and stale? 

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A movie that has to be seen to be believed!

And then forgotten as quickly as possible.

The Assignment: Horror Podcast

By Jerry Chandler

CoverMonsteris one of those films you watch and then immediately try to forget you ever saw it. Of course, the danger in that is you might accidently watch it again one day, and repeated exposure to this film could cause lasting damage to the otherwise sane mind. The danger of doing so is increased when the film found itself receiving multiple new names in a fairly short amount of time. It’s also been known as It Came from the Lake, Monstroid, Monstroid: It Came from the Lake, The Toxic Horror, Toxic Monster, The Beast from Beyond, and Monster, the Legend That Became a Terror. I suspect there were a few other titles that have been missed as they likely renamed it as much as possible in the early cable era and the age of the Mom & Pop Video…

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It is the annual tradition around this time to have a discussion of the State Of Wrestling! So, John, Richard, & Jerry join around the roundtable to discussion the latest and current happenings going on in the wrestling world. The WWE naming the Women’s Battle Royal after Moolah is certain a hot topic that we could not, not talk about so the fellas weigh in on the latest controversy. The Young Bucks & Cody are bringing us All In which is going to be a huge event in more ways than one in the wrestling world this year. And Braun Strowman is one of the best things going around in WWE so we have to talk about THESE HANDS!

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Thoughts about Jessica Jones, WrestleMania, and Black Lightning.

March 7, 1986, 32 years ago yesterday, a low budget film written and directed by no one most anyone had heard of hit American theaters with very little fanfare. For many people- one of whom was my father who took me to see it in theaters only because of the presence of this star -the only reason the film got their attention at all was Sean Connery, the 007 most of them had grown up on, being featured heavily in the ads. It went on to earn just under $6 million at the domestic box office at a time when successful movies were earning anywhere from $35 million to $50 million. In its inglorious domestic box office run, it was written off by critics and moviegoers alike, and was even beaten out by things like The Care Bears Movie 2 as a money earner. But in the decades to follow, the original Highlander would become one of the most popular and most loved cult films of its era. 

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The Assignment: Horror Podcast

Cover

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead

Strangler of the Swampwas a 1946 production from Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) and quite possibly one of their best early films. That may not be saying much, though. PRC films from that era also included things like The Devil Bat, Jungle Man, and Nabonga.

Strangler of the Swampwas written and directed by Frank Wisbar with additional contributions to the screenplay by Leo McCarthy and Harold Erickson. It may be worth noting here that of the lot of them, only Wisbar has more than a handful of credits on his filmmaking resume, but the vast majority of his credits are as unknown to most film fans as most of theirs. Judging by the quality of Strangler of the Swamp, there’s probably a good reason for this.

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