big shutdown 2

Good Morning Space Soldiers.

Orders of the day:

(1) Clean out a nest of Nomads hiding near Wishbone Pass.

(2) Check out reports of a woman held hostage in Black Creek.

(3) Serve notice on the last of the oil riggers working at Leedsville.

The main course tonight will be roast lamb with two sides. Mess hall closes at 8 p.m.

Tonight’s feature film: THE BIG SHUTDOWN. Click here for  a preview.

To order the book click here. 



I always get a little excited when I hear some new TV network exec has dropped the axe on a host of lousy shows.

There were reports yesterday of a number of fatalities, including the unwatchable “Castle” and “Agent Carter.” “Supergirl” goes to CW where it can rejoice in the mediocrity of that networks other offerings (The Flash and Arrow). It probably won’t look as bad in that company. There were a other cancelations of shows whose names I can’t remember, they were so forgettable.

I get a little excited but it doesn’t last because before you know it the execs will be announcing the replacements for these shows, which are guaranteed to be as bad if not worse. The only cure is to pull the plug on TV. The vast wasteland of the sixties has become The Dismal Swamp of the 20-teens.


It’s Friday the 13th and what better day for my latest review for Cinema Retro.

THE CHASE stars Robert Cummings as a down-on-his luck guy in Miami who thinks his luck is changing when he finds the wallet of a rich gangster played menacingly by Steve Cochran. Eddie Roman is such a tough guy, his personal assistant is Peter Lorre.

Check it out here.


Are weird westerns going to become the next big thing?

Ridley Scott is going to direct WRAITHS OF THE BROKEN LAND, based on Craig Zoller’s novel. Zoller wrote and directed BONE TOMAHAWK, and has written a couple of other western novels known for vivid characters and plenty of brutality and violence.

WRAITHS OF THE BROKEN LAND is currently No. 1 in the top 100 horror/western Kindles. I haven’t read it, but the reviews have been outstanding.

I personally wasn’t crazy about BONE TOMAHAWK. I thought it was okay but not great. I gave it two stars here on my blog.

But I’m glad Zoller got himself a big movie deal. It can only help the rest of us horror/western writers. Maybe people will stop asking, what exactly is a weird western?


I keep hearing that the latest franchise movie (you know, the latest Marvel, DC, Star Wars flicks, etc.) “reinvigorates” the franchise. So, that prompts the question: Like the franchise was dead? It needed reinvigorating?

Makes you wonder, if the franchise was on its last legs, maybe it had lived out its normal life span and was just 0VER. And then you gotta ask: Why retread these things and pretend it’s like it used to be. It never is. It’s OVER.

Why junk up movie theaters with endless repackaging of these titanic flops? They’re OVER.

Frankenstein tried reinvigorating a lifeless corpse. Look how that turned out. But it’s big bucks and monopolistic movie studios that keep cranking wasted electricity into these dumb, dumb juvenile super hero movies. Apparently there are a lot more to come.

Guess the studios and the morons making these things just don’t know– they’re OVER.

slate pose

The big day has arrived.The Mordecai Slate Action Figure came in the mail today. Randy Shilling, action figure artist extraordinaire, has done a fantastic job. Pictures don’t do it justice. There’s a lot of detail in the figure, the clothing and accessories that is really cool. Here are the first pictures out of the box. I’ve got to set up a better background for later. But for now, here it is.Many thanks, Randy.


It was 20 years ago today that screenwriter, novelist Stirling Silliphant died in Bangkok, Thailand. I remember sitting in my office at the Bureau of National Affairs in Washington, DC seeing the news on the AP wire. I was shattered. I didn’t know him, never met him, but he was a huge influence, mainly through the route 66 TV series that he wrote for CBS from 1960 to 1964. That series has been called the best ever written for television.

I couldn’t work the rest of the day. I called up Fred Blosser a fellow Silliphant fan. We’d followed his work since the sixties. He had a long career with lots of ups and downs, including winning an Oscar, but nothing he wrote later ever equaled his 66 output. He had complete creative control on that series.

In 1999, three years after he died I made a trip to the UCLA Charles Young Library and gained access to some of the 35 boxes of material he had donated before expatriating to Thailand. It was there, in that library, holding his actual manuscripts in hand, that I realized it all starts with a man putting words on paper. In my own humble way, I decided to try and do what he did. I was late to the game, but I’ve managed to turn out a few things that I feel he would recognize were his influences.

In one episode of 66 one of his characters said of her short-lived marriage: “How can anything so brief, be so enduring?” So it is with Stirling’s four brief years on route 66. His words, his thoughts, his emotions endure, and so do we.Thanks for making us believe that, somehow, it’s all worth it, Stirling.


Every so often I read about this or that director wanting to bring the Creature from the Black Lagoon back to the big screen. But would a Creature remake even be possible today? I mean would people even want to see it? Given the likes of Jurassic World and Godzilla, and Pacific Rim– movies made on a big, big scale, with budgets to match– movie goers now are used to over-sized monsters capable of knocking skyscrapers over and wasting an entire city. How could the Creature possibly compete?

The Creature from the Black Lagoon was a monster built on a more human scale. He’s not even seven feet tall! The worst thing the Creature ever did was rollover a car, capsize a rowboat, and mess up a few cops.

CGI has changed the way horror and science fiction movies are made and it’s a shame that today’s giganticism has come at the cost of intimacy. The thing about the Creature was that you felt empathy for him. A poor creature dragged from his nice peaceful black lagoon into a strange, hostile world by scientists,who wanted to study and analyze him. You could identify with him. That was me skulking down there in the weeds ogling Julia Adams in her one piece bathing suit. I can’t identify as closely with T Rex and Godzilla. They’re just too big to worry about.

Hopefully the Gill Man is back in his lagoon now, enjoying retirement. I hope they just leave him alone.


Okay. Jurassic Park worked because Michael Chrichton had the sense to set the story in the park before it opened. It was credible as a failed experiment type of story. But Jurassic World (shown last night on HBO) as a theme park full of thousands of people walking and riding and canoeing amidst living dinosaurs is totally ridiculous. The concept doesn’t touch base with reality. There are so many implausibilities in the whole premise and in plot development they aren’t worth discussing. Chris Pratt continues as the modern version of an alpha male hero– he’s a dinosaur whisperer. He’d rather have them for tea than shoot ’em. It scores high points for visual effects and is probably a movie I would have loved when I was 12. In fact, I know I would. Wish I could be 12 again.


I’ve got a new review up today on Cinema Retro. ROBBERS ROOST is an obscure but interesting western based on a Zane Grey story, that might have been influenced by Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest. George Montgomery and Richard Boone star with a cast full of familiar actors who populated the movies of the  1950s.


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