Mr. Boogedy (1986)

When you move to a town called Lucifer Falls and are warned immediately about Mr. Boogedy, well, chances are that things are going to get pretty scary, particularly if you’re a child. It turns out that there’s not just one ghost on the loose in this one, but three.

That’s because three hundred years ago, William Hanover fell in love with a beautiful widow named Marion who didn’t return his affection. He made a deal with the devil to gain a magical cloak and used it to kidnap the widow’s son Jonathan, but when he cast his first spell, he destroyed his home, his crush and her child, stranded all three of them in our plane of existence.

Now, Mr. Boogedy — William Hanover — and Jonathan are trapped inside the home of the newly arrived Davis family, along with young Jonathan, while his mother is unable to enter the home and ever see her son again.

Yeah, like I’ve said more than once, live action Disney gets pretty dark.

There’s a pretty good cast in this with Richard Masur (Rhoda) as the dad, Mimi Kennedy as the mom and Benji Gregory (ALF), David Faustino and Kristy Swanson as their children. Plus, it’s always great to see John Astin in anything.

Writer Michael Janover’s original version of this movie was called Cheap Thrills and was an Airplane!-style parody of horror films. It was meant to star Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, but when Disney picked the project, the humor got toned down. Janover got the name Boogedy from Robert Hayes — speaking of Airplane! — yelling that as he walks the ledge in Cat’s Eye.

Fuzzbucket (1986)

Fuzzbucket is a hairy creature that lives in the swamps of Dead Man’s Marsh — does he know Dr. Syn? — with many other fuzzbuckets and yet here he is, in the life of a junior high kid, creating all manner of hijinks. And yet I demand that you gaze upon him — he’s invisible at times, so you’ll have to wait for a bit — because Fuzzbucket looks like some kind of naked humanoid rat, the kind of creature that one imagines lives beyond the Wall of Sleep, some Lovecraftian menace sent here to take root inside our minds and then destroy them from the inside out instead of a loveable Disney Channel creature.

You know who is to blame? Mick Garris.

Yes, the man who directed Critters 2Psycho IV and Sleepwalkers got his first directing credit with this Disney film.

I guess that also explains how John Vernon ended playing the principal. And Teen Witch Robyn Lively being in this. And Phil Fondacaro — the voice of Creeper in The Black Cauldron, as well as Sir Nigel Pennyweight from Ghoulies II and Greaser Greg in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie — playing the monster.

All I know is that if Fuzzbucket suddenly appeared in my movie room, after years of speaking to me only as a ghost, I’d react as if there was no God.

Norman J. Warren Week: Gunpowder (1986)

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet . . . or swallow the gunpowder. This is that one, elusive Norman J. Warren movie that I haven’t seen — and so wanted to. And, in our quest to complete our Norman J. Warren tribute week — and since there’s no online streams of the PPV or free-with-ads stream variety to be found — I bought a beat-to-hell-but-plays VHS copy online. It just arrived in the mail. I watched it. And didn’t disappoint.

Well, it did, pretty much.

Sing it, everyone! He wears a suit and a bow-tie! / He wears jeans and a leather jacket! / One’s prim. One’s scruffy / He’s Gunn. He’s Powder (dah-dum).

Gunpowder is not the action-adventure knockoff of a ’70 Italian Poliziotteschi film that I was expecting: it was the action (bad) comedy I wasn’t expecting. And I can’t believe the guy who made my favorites of Satan’s Slaves, Prey, and Inseminoid made this. Gunpowder is also known as Explosive Gold (a great title) and Commando Gold Crash (a crappy title that evokes a low-budget Philippines-shot Namploitation flick) in overseas markets, but here, in the U.S., it’s known as Gunpowder — because the two secret agents in this dopey Bond wannabe are named Gunn and Powder. And they’re not named that for the comedy, either.

So, our intrepid Interpol agents (played by David Gillum and Martin Potter; Potter starred in Satan’s Slave, while you’ll recall Gillum from the when-animals-attack classic, Frogs, and the Jaws-rip, Sharks’ Treasure) are assigned by their “M” (which is known as Sir Anthony Phelps, here) to figure out who’s flooding the market with a gold surplus that can ruin the world’s economy. Of course, opposites must attract: Gunn is the dashing, American-bred ladies man and Powder is the proper English gent who files his nails at inopportune times because, well, it’s “funny,” you know, back in the days when insinuating a character was “gay” (for having proper hygiene) was funny.

Uh, dangerous cop? Proper cop? Cue-not Lethal Weapon. And not Austin Powers, either.

But do cue Auric Goldfinger — only not Gert Fröbe, thank you. We’ll take the lower-budgeted Dr. Vanche (David Miller . . . from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!), who’s discovered the formula to manufacture synthetic gold — and he’s selling it on the open market.

This has it all — and it doesn’t: Two martial arts baddies known as “The Cream Twins” (Alan and Brian Fontaine, if you care) who kidnap a metallurgical (lady) scientist/heiress. A super spy lair that puts Bruce Wayne’s joint to cheesy shame (Adam West would have been PERFECT as the American Spy, here; it’s totally in his wheelhouse). Super spy gadgets. A milk factory used as a front to smuggle liquid gold in milk cartons (ugh), which why the scientist/heiress is kidnapped. Then there’s bad dialog. Failed comedic one-liners. And, instead of bullets: vats of liquid gold death traps. Then there’s the stupid (ugh) costumes the bad doctor Vanche’s minions wear — with a big “V” on their chests. And Dr. V’s bad gold hair. And it goes on and on . . . such as our milk heiress having the first name of “Coffee.” Yuk, yuk.

I guess you (well, moi) have to be British to appreciate this one.

Their Mission: Entertainment. Their Method: Boredom. Me: Re-eBay’in the tape to another sap.

Editor’s Note: We planned this Norman J. Warren week on a whim — as result of our February Mill Creek box set blowout featuring two of his films among the celluloid ruins: Prey and Satan’s Slaves. We just lost him on March 11, 2021. You can read up on Warren’s career with his obituaries at The Irish Examiner and Metro UK News.

After Gunpowder, Warren wrapped his career with the mystery-horror Bloody New Year.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Ron Marchini Week Wrap Up!

Phew. We did it! Twelve Ron Marchini films in two days. You know the drill! Yee-haw, let’s round ’em up!

Born in California and rising through the U.S. Army’s ranks to become a drill sergeant, in his civilian life, Ron Marchini earned the distinction as the best defensive fighter in the U.S.; by 1972, he was ranked the third best fighter in the country. Upon winning several worldwide tournaments, and with Robert Clouse’s directing success igniting a worldwide martial arts film craze with Enter the Dragon (1973), the South Asian film industry beckoned.

After making his debut in 1974’s Murder in the Orient, Marchini began a long friendship with filmmaker Paul Kyriazi, who directed Ron in his next film, the epic Death Machines, then later, in the first of Ron’s two appearances as post-apoc law officer John Travis, in Omega Cop.

Ron also began a long friendship with Leo Fong (Kill Point) after their co-staring in Murder in the Orient; after his retirement from the film industry — after making eleven dramatic-action films and one documentary — Ron concentrated on training and writing martial arts books with Leo, as well as becoming a go-to arts teacher. Today, he’s a successful California almond farmer.

In the annals of martial arts tournaments, Marchini is remembered as Chuck Norris’s first tournament win (The May 1964 Takayuki Kubota’s All-Stars Tournament in Los Angeles, California) by defeating Marchini by a half a point. Another of Chuck’s old opponents, Tony Tullener, who beat Norris in the ring three times, pursued his own acting career with the William Riead-directed Scorpion.

You can learn more about Ron Marchini with his biography at USAdojo.com. An interview at The Action Elite, with Ron’s friend and Death Machines director Paul Kyriazi, also offers deeper insights.


Ron, second from right, with Chuck Norris, shaking hands, 1965. Courtesy of Ken Osbourne/Facebook.
Courtesy of USADojo.com.

The Flicks!

The Reviews!

New Gladiators (1973)
Murder in the Orient (1974)
Death Machines (1976)
Dragon’s Quest (1983)
Ninja Warriors (1985)
Forgotten Warrior (1986)
Jungle Wolf (1986)
Return Fire (1988)
Arctic Warriors (1989)
Omega Cop (1990)
Karate Cop (1991)
Karate Raider (1995)

Black tee-shirt image courtesy of Spreadshirt. Art work/text by B&S About Movies.

We love ya, Ron!

About the Review Authors: Sam Panico is the founder, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, and editor-in-chief of B&S About Movies. You can visit him on Lettebox’d and Twitter. R.D Francis is the grease bit scrubber, dumpster pad technician, and staff writer at B&S About Movies. You can visit him on Facebook.


Jungle Wolf (1986)

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For all the magical reasons that we love the old days of the video store, there was one drawback. Often, the movie that you wanted to rent just might be out of stock. So if you wanted to rent Rambo: First Blood Part II or Commando, there’s a chance that every copy of that movie may be out. Yes, in the days of streaming, this may seem crazy to you, but you couldn’t always get what you wanted.

But if you try sometimes, you just may find you get Ron Marchini.

A former U.S. Army drill sergeant, a survivor of a drive-by shooting, a martial arts tournament fighter said to be the best in the country in 1969 and the toughest opponent Chuck Norris ever faced — or so Black Belt Magazine would have us believe — Marchini appeared in a Murder in the Orient and New Gladiators before getting noticed in 1976’s Death Machines, a film in which he played White Death Machine.

It would be nearly a decade before Ron became a VHS industry all to himself, working with directors like Charlie Ordoñez and Alan Roberts to hit the rental audience with movies like Forgotten Warrior, Omega Cop and Return Fire. They aren’t good movies, but they’re great for what they are. And it’s always pretty amazing that in the midst of the jungle, Marchini chooses to always wear yellow t-shirts.

This film finds our hero — Steve Parrish is his name —in Central American but we all know it’s the Philippines. Some rebels have kidnapped American Ambassador Porter Worthington and only our man Ron — or Steve — can come in and set things right. This was probably shot at the same time as Forgotten Warrior and even goes all Boogeyman 2 on us by recycling plenty of footage and using it as flashbacks.

The best part of a military 80s movie is when the hero gears up, covering himself in weapons before killing everything and everyone. This movie has that happen twice and it has the theme song play so many times that you’ll swear it’s the only audio in the entire movie. Also, the bad guy wears a pirate hat and our hero has a samurai sword and man, this movie is so ridiculous I kind of want to watch it again. Oh, and is there a part two? You bet! And Jungle Wolf II is also known as Return Fire — and III, depending on the foreign repack.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Forgotten Warrior (1986)

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Man, this movie has some alternate titles. In France, they call it U.S. Warrior. In Spain, Traición a un Soldado or Betrayal of a Warrior. Greece? O Hamenos Polemistis (The Lost Warrior). In the UK, they call this Forgotten Warrior. But in West Germany, this gets my favorite title: Commander Rainbow.

Steve Parrish (Ron Marchini) was escaping a POW camp when Thompson, one of his fellow soldiers, doesn’t want to be slowed down by a wounded man. He shoots the soldier, then shoots Steve so that he couldn’t tell anyone else. Luckily, some villagers saved our hero and he chose to stay behind, choosing to marry Malia (Marilyn Bautista, Driving Force, Bloodfist), one of the women in the village where he has settled. His wife gives birth to a son and the warrior soul in Steve is content to be, well, forgotten, just like the title says, as he just likes teaching everyone martial arts.

Our hero plans to live out his days in the jungle, but Thompson’s orders send him back to ‘Nam with the goal of rescuing POWs. Instead, he works with the Viet Cong to try and kill Steve, pausing to assault and murder the wife of our protagonist. Somehow, Steve gas a sword and darned if he isn’t going to kill everyone in the Philippines — sorry, Vietnam — to get the payback that his warrior spirit demands.

This movie kills so many bad guys that it needs two directors, Nick Cacas (Deadly Commando) and Charlie Ordoñez (Jungle Wolf). Parrish would return in that movie, as well as Return Fire: Jungle Wolf III, which of course has nothing to do with any of these movies.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Body Slam (1986)

This movie nearly didn’t come out. Dirk Benedict, who stars in Body Slam, has said that he and director Hal Needham (MegaforceRad) fought with the film’s writer/producer team of Steve Burkow and Shel Lytton. Burkow didn’t have any other writing credits, but Lytton wrote a series of teen books titled Mustang and a few episodes of Death Valley Days. However, they were lawyers, and between the verbal and physical fights, lawsuits kept the movie out of theaters for an entire summer. It ended up going straight to video.

Also, and this is my favorite part of this movie, Benedict needed smartened up to the wrestling business. He plays M. Harry Smilac in this, a music promoter who only has one band left, Kick*. After falling for Candace (Tanya Roberts), Smilac tries to hire Rick Roberts (Roddy Piper in his second acting role after playing Leatherneck Joe Grady in The One and Only; his nickname is “Quick Rick,” which is ironic as Piper feuded with “Quick Draw” Rick McGraw in WWF before that man’s untimely death) to be a performer before learning that he’s a wrestler. So he ends up managing Rick and his tag partner Tonga Tom (Sam Fatu, the Tonga Kid who was wrestling Madison Square Garden at the age of 18, ironically feuding with Piper; you can also see him teaming with Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell to battle The Fabulous Freebirds in Highlander; he’s considered a relative of The Rock) and they have a pretty good run until they start dealing with politics.

Let me tell you, as someone who has spent way too many years in independent wrestling, I get it, M. Harry.

Captain Lou Murano (Captain Lou Albano, who had appeared in Below the Belt and Wise Guys before this) and his men, The Cannibals (Sione “The Barbarian” Vailahi and Tom “T. Joe Khan” Cassett) hurt all three of our leads and get them blacklisted, so they start booking themselves on outlaw rock and wrestling shows, getting back to the big time just in time to get a world tag title match.

This movie, beyond wrestling, has lots of 70s stars in it, such as John Astin, Charles Nelson Reilly and Billy Barty. And if you look carefully enough during the main event, you can spot Ric Flair, Freddie Blassie, Adnan Al-Kaissie, Bruno Sammartino and Alexis Smirnoff during the match.

Speaking of that main event, the crowd turned on the match as they could see that the moves were being redone for filming. At this time, there was no such thing as sports entertainment. As fans began to say the f word — fake — all of the wrestlers started brawling for real, even throwing Needham out of the ring. It took a ton of people to break up the fight, leading to chaos amongst the crowd, cast and even the crew. When they all got backstage, Piper finally smartened Dirk Benedict up as to why they had to make everyone believe that it was real.

You can watch this on Tubi or buy the 2K scan blu ray from Kino Lorber.

*Kick is made up of drummer Jack D’Amore (Rock Rose), Kelley Dillard, David Hallowren and Bruce Wallenstein, who composed the soundtracks to Twisted Nightmare and Demon Wind.

Alone in the T-Shirt Zone (1986)

Writer/director/t-shirt designer/sound man and probably everything else Mike B. Anderson went from creating this to working on The Simpsons. None of that will prepare you for this movie.

Michael Mikaele is in an insane asylum, a place where his doctor assaults him while he sleeps in a coma, trapped in his mind, a victim of the past where he’s made t-shirts for the last eight years. He once made a shirt for a girl and it said Foxy Lady, but she left him, took the money from the profits and now he keeps making that shirt day after day after day. And when he tries to escape, he just ends up at parties where every woman seems to be wearing that Foxy Lady shirt.  Finally, after a series of t-shirts with the logos of body organs come out of his chest, he ends up back where the film started.

Somehow, New Concorde got the rights to this movie and had to figure out how to sell it. Maybe make it seem like a sex comedy instead of a voyage into arty sadness? Or do what they did in Argentina and change the title to Sexy Lady? Can you imagine being a horny teen and renting this, then realizing that you got a paean to hopelessness?

You can watch this on YouTube.

Welcome to 18 (1986)

Joey (Mariska Hargitay, daughter of Mickey and Jayne Mansfield, who is probably on your TV right now on one of many episodes of Law and Order), Lindsey (Courtney Thorne-Smith) and Robin (Lindsey JoAnn Willette) are three high school graduates out to have fun for their last summer, which leads to a job at a dude ranch and then a casino and then, well, a night in jail.

If there’s one thing you can learn from this movie, it’s that you can have cocaine in jail and use it as makeup and none of the guards will know the difference.

This is the only movie Terry Carr ever directed. Carr usually worked as a production manager (King KongBad Ronald) or a producer (Predator 2Double Impact). Sadly, he died in 2005 when he had a heart attack. Even worse, his 9-year-old daughter Ariekla’s body was found under his in the back of his car a day after he left his wife behind in a grocery store. He’d been acting strangely in the days before his death, including dumping all of his important paperwork and photos in a field.

Back to School (1986)

I always wondered if William Atherton and Billy Zapka had a support group. They’re great actors, but they seemed to excel at one role: being the absolute biggest jerks possible. I’d love to see a movie where they were in community service together, trying to right their wrongs, but slowly seething that society is throwing trash at them when they’re trying to clean a highway, knowing that they’re going to eventually become bullies again, but this time in the service of good. Their case worker? Ron Silver.

Anyways, Back to School was dedicated to Estelle Endler, Rodney Dangerfield’s longtime manager who guided him in his second time as a stand-up and got him into movies, where he’d find the kind of eternal life that he never could have dreamed of in his youth. To say Rodney had a hard life was life saying he told jokes. So many of them — “I was so ugly my parents had to hang a pork chop around my neck to get the dog to play with me.” — come from the pain he felt as an abandoned child.

Born Jacob Rodney Cohen, he claimed that his mother never kissed, hugged or showed any sign of affection toward him; he was also molested by a neighbor. He legally changed his name to Jack Roy at the age of 19, following the father who left him behind by taking his name and telling jokes and working as a singing waiter in the Catskills. After he was fired, he went into selling aluminum siding.

When he went back into comedy in the 60s, he was in deep debt and couldn’t get booked. That’s when he realized he’d need a hook. His new name Rodney Dangerfield came from a Jack Benny routine — indeed, Benny even visited him once backstage and complimented him on his act — and came from a place he understood very well: he got no respect.

In just a few years, he’d headline Vegas and own his own club, a place where young comedians came to get a break. Rodney never forgot what it was like to struggle and gave so many young performers their start. He also kept struggling mentally throughout his life, using marijuana to self-medicate.

Unlike his stand-up persona and maybe even the real Jacob/Jack/Rodney, his film characters in movies like Caddyshack and Easy Money were portrayed as successful, happy and popular men. However, they had gone from nothing to something all on their own, thereby becoming the enemy of the ruling rich. They may have money, but Rodney’s characters would never truly be part of the 1%.

Yet despite their success, the club of Hollywood kept him at arm’s length. Dangerfield was rejected for membership in the Motion Picture Academy in 1995 by the head of the Academy’s Actors Section, Roddy McDowall. His fans protested and the Academy reconsidered, but Dangerfield then refused their membership.

Actually, those fans were really important to him. He was the first celebrity to operate a website and he’d often directly e-mail the fans who visited the site, which had to be a huge surprise.

Rodney used to say, “I tell ya I get no respect from anyone. I bought a cemetery plot. The guy said, “There goes the neighborhood!”” That phrase is emblazoned on his tombstone. Man, I get teared up even thinking about Rodney, because while I never met the man, he meant so much to me and my family. I’d get the opportunity to stay up late if we knew he was on Carson and I can still recall a riotous screening of Easy Money where the film was barely audible from all the laughing from my father and uncle.

Anyways — Back to School is the big starring role from Rodney, the chance to shine on his own. He plays yet another of his regular guys made good, Thornton Melon. His plus-size clothing stores have made him rich, yet he can’t connect with his son Jason (Keith Gordon). After leaving his newest wife (Adrienne Barbeau), he goes, well, Back to School to be part of his son’s life. But he does it as only a rich man can, taking over most of the campus and living it up while his son pretty much is embarrassed.

This film completely understands the pure comic formula: set up a simple premise and allow hijinks to ensue. To wit: A rich regular guy goes back to school and hijinks ensue.

Those hijinks include Burt Young as Rodney’s tough butler and best friend, Robert Downey Jr. as his son’s punk roommate, Kurt Vonnegut as a guest speaker hired by Rodney, a romance with Sally Kellerman*, a memorable Sam Kinison cameo and the aforementioned Zapka being, well, Billy Zapka.

And oh yeah, the Triple Lindy.

This film is pretty autobiographical in parts, as Rodney was a diver and truck driver in his youth. I’ve always loved its message that he may have changed with wealth, but he’s remained a kind-hearted man throughout it all. Harold Ramis was one of the co-writers and his comedic sensibilities really help the picture.

For metal fans, you can hear Michael Bolton’s pre-crooner metal song “Everybody’s Crazy” during a party scene, and the Alice Cooper song “The Great American Success Story” was intended to be in this film. It appears on Constrictor and features the lyrics “Back to school, he’s gonna take that plunge.”

We all need more Rodney in our lives.

You can watch this on Tubi.

*She lives in Tommy Doyle’s house from Halloween. Seriously.