BackThrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat

Thrillville's Horror Host Palooza!   It's a SUPERSONIC SPY SHOW!   Halloween Fiesta!
Click for larger image | Click for larger image | Click for larger image
Miles Goodrich - artist | Miles Goodrich - artist | Strephon Taylor - artist
The Thrillville Beat
Waa! - Waa!
By Will ("The Thrill") Viharo




The Unbelievable happened to me recently: Monica, Tiki Goddess and I hung out the legendary Tura Satana. I mean personally, mano a womano, just us and her and her swingin' manager Siouxzan Perry. It happened very simply: I contacted Tura via email years ago, and we've kept in touch ever since, though we'd never met in the flesh. Then a couple of months ago I found out she was coming to town to appear on stage with Peaches Christ at a Midnight Mass screening of Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill. I asked Tura if she'd like to join us for dinner when she arrived- and she accepted! This in itself instantly erased years of youthful rejection by snooty bimbos. I had a date with Tura Satana, just like that! Well, me and her and my wife and Tura's manager, but still, it was a major, MAJOR dream come true.

We met her at her hotel in SF (the Bijou) and took her up the street to a swank sushi restaurant in the posh Hotel Nikko. The thing that struck me right away was how little she's changed since her Pussycat/Astro Zombies days. Everything about her screams TURA SATANA. Walking down the street next to her was like taking a stroll with the Statue of Liberty or some other historical icon or landmark. She's an unassuming icon, though, very friendly, dressed in black, radiating exotic beauty and danger, apparently ready to either kick some ass or just eat some sushi. We ate sushi.

She may look as formidable as ever, but she is anything but intimidating in person. She is very gracious and sweet, and Siouxzan, a talented artist amongst many other attributes, rocks. She and I connected instantly since we both are not only fans of Tura, but classic TV, Tikis and pretty much all things Cool and Retro. Siouxzan manages most of the Russ Meyer Babes now, including our dear friend Raven de la Croix. It was a bond session, baby. Siouxzan also does Tura's web site,

During dinner Tura enthralled us with tales of her days an exotic dancer, movie starlet, dating Elvis (she still wears a ring he gave her), Frank and the Rat Pack, Steve McQueen, Russ Meyer and much more. I don't feel at liberty to share them - though the one in Atlantic City about candles and masturbation is a classic - since Tura is currently peddling her memoirs. She's yet to find a publisher! Can we stop throwing money at mudslinging politicians and pundits and give the world some literature we can actually USE?! Thank you.

Afterwards we went back to her hotel room and fooled around. You know, posed for pictures and stuff, what did you think I meant? But hey, we were IN TURA'S HOTEL ROOM. I'll let your imaginations run wild from there. Here are a few pics to help inspire you, though. Thank you, Tura and Siouxzan, from all of us Thrill Seekers:

Tura meets the Tiki Goddess
Tura meets the Tiki Goddess
Tura and Siouxzan, yummy...
Tura and Siouxzan, yummy...
Will in bed with Tura, a fantasy in the flesh...
Will in bed with Tura, a fantasy in the flesh...


Anyone who's followed this column for a while knows how haphazard my "Best Movies of the Year" list tends to be. I start out with a Top 10 that normally becomes 12 or 14 by the time I've actually seen all the candidates. It's not scientific and it sure ain't significant, so I just wing it. For what it's worth, here are the 6 Films To Beat this year - all of which will go down as bona fide classics, making '05 a pretty thrilling year for cinema, box office slump notwithstanding. I can say that about very few flicks from my personal annual lists. The following movies will all be in my Top 10 (or 14 or whatever I feel like) of '05 by year's end (or whenever). The only movie I KNOW will be added to these right now is Peter Jackson's KING KONG, due in December. The trailer looks a bit Jurassic Park-y for my tastes but I have faith that the man who gave us Dead Alive and Meet the Feebles can come up with some innovative, creative new ways to approach a classic giant ape-blonde babe romance... He also plans to stick to the original story and time period, which is promising. His Kong will probably be a fine example of what can happen when a director is actually a big fan of the source material he's plagiarizing (yes that's one more slap at Soderbergh). Most of these are still in theaters so catch them on the big screen while you can:


    This is the Pulp Fiction of the New Millennium, but even that accolade doesn't do this masterpiece justice. It's wholly unique and innovative, a truly revolutionary piece of work that brilliantly blends old school noir sensibilities and style with contemporary computer graphic effects, creating a whole new genre. This is also my old, old pal Mickey Rourke's "comeback" piece - he was born to play Marv, even if had to fuck up his face with that boxing shit and botched cosmetic surgery to really live up to the task. Robert Rodriguez, already a force to be reckoned with, instantly launched himself into the same rarified movie stratosphere occupied by legends like Sam Peckinpah, Sam Fuller and Seijun Suzuki, all master action stylists. He's definitely just as important to indie cinema as his pal Tarantino. Word is they are next adapting more of Frank Miller's graphic novels for at least two more sequels, back to back. Along with the Tarantino-Rodriguez collaboration Grindhouse already in the works, this means we'll have plenty of blood, bullets, brutes and broads to look forward to. Amen.


    I waited twenty friggin' long painful years for God of Gore George A. Romero to finally bring his influential and inimitable "Dead" series to some kind of epic conclusion. This ain't exactly it, but close enough and given its relatively poor performance at the box office and George's advancing age (though he ain't a zombie just yet), this may be the one we have to settle for. It took me five viewings to finally disregard all my built-up expectations and hopes of this wrap-up being a horror masterpiece like his nihilistic nightmares Night, Dawn and Day (still my favorite). Instead what George decided to give us drooling fans is a post-apocalyptic action adventure/social satire - with zombies. And taken on that level, it works. The zombie attacks are cool and clever and the acting, particularly by Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo, is superior. There are several classic lines and scenes (the flip-tip priest zombie is priceless). I also am still waiting for a Big Daddy action figure. This will be remembered and celebrated more as a dead-on political allegory of post 9/11 hysteria and hypocrisy than a chilling horror classic like its three predecessors, but that doesn't make it any less worthwhile. And it certainly makes the inexplicably popular big screen video game kiddie matinee remake of Dawn look like the pathetic wannabe it is. Fast moving "zombies" who act like a bunch of rabid Tasmanian Devils - scary and original? Not. Romero's unique legions of slowing advancing flesh-eating corpses still creep me out more than anything. He remains the Elvis of the Undead, and this is his Comeback Special. Next stop: Vegas.


    I am both in awe of this movie and repulsed by it, making me feel like one of those neurotic college girls I used to date that just couldn't make up their minds whether they loved or hated me. It's the most depraved, depressing, disturbing piece of shit to spew out of someone's psychotic butthole in at least thirty years. It's also a masterful, artistic, and uncompromising throwback to the heyday of balls-out grindhouse exploitation cinema. Taken on both levels, it's compelling and undeniably brilliant. With this hellish slasher/road movie, Rob Zombie flipped off all the fanboys who for whatever reason didn't dig the prequel, House of 1,000 Corpses (I liked it as the EC Comics cheese-and-blood fest it was). He also told the mainstream to go fuck themselves, big time, with this audacious masterpiece. For that alone he has my undying respect. Plus it has a tiki motel and a hilarious Elvis reference. Now excuse me while I go power wash my brain.


    While I remain forever an Adam West purist, I have to give this latest "re-invention" of the comic book legend its props. It's the best interpretation of the "Dark Knight" outside of the 90s animated series, and Christian Bale is easily the best of the modern Batmen, and in fact this entire movie was perfectly cast except for Katie Holmes, who acts like she wandered in from a Gidget movie. I wanted to see more of the Scarecrow but what they did show was surprisingly terrifying. This ain't a kids' movie by a long shot. I still prefer the campy version, but if you like your caped crusaders all dark and brooding, nobody has done it better. Tim Burton's two movies are more colorful and electrifying - and just plain fun - but not nearly as organic and gritty. The notorious Schumacher sequels (which I enjoyed, taken as the live action cartoons they were) don't even exist in the same universe. For Dark Knight fans, it's a dream come true. Now I hope they do Two-Face soon and get it right this time - Tommy Lee Jones really fucked up one of Batman's greatest foes with his hammy, over-the-top performance in Batman Forever. I think director Christopher Nolan has a solid handle on things, though, and I look forward to more installments. His Batmobile sucks, though. Looks like a hummer. Hopefully they'll streamline it a bit in the next one. Sean Penn would make an excellent Joker, too.


    God, how I wanted to hate this movie. I am not a fan of Spielberg - who, along with Lucas, completely ruined the drive-in movie genre by co-opting B movie concepts for mainstream billion dollar mall-ready blockbusters - and Tom Cruise may be a nice, insane guy in person but he's duller as yesterday's donuts onscreen. Also, as a 50s sci-fi freak, I felt a tad defensive of the 1953 version even though this is really another H.G. Wells adaptation than a "remake" of a classic film. Or so I thought. This updated version actually has a lot in common with the 50s one and in fact even borrows a few scenes and concepts. But bottom line: the alien invaders here are much more effective. They're god damn terrifying. I didn't mind the fact I found all the humans were boring since I was rooting for the aliens anyway. The special effects are simply awe-inspiring in their realism, and that godawful sound the marauding machines make as they go around blasting people out of their skin is downright chilling. I gotta give Steve his props on this one - this is not only his greatest work but also one of the greatest alien invasion movies of all time, right up there with Earth vs the Flying Saucers and Mars Attacks!. And it's a Tom Cruise movie!? God DAMN it!!


    Ignore the critics (as you should anyway) who gave this movie an undeservedly bad rap. They obviously were unfamiliar with the source material. F4 was always pure fantasy, never meant to be taken as 'seriously' as Spider-man or The X-Men, and this movie ably reflects that lighter sensibility. Overall this was a pretty faithful adaptation. F4 was never one of my favorite Marvel Comics but I still feel like I grew up with these characters and couldn't wait to see this, especially after enduring that cheapjack Roger Corman version from the 90s (which, to be fair, I only saw on a third generation tape from Professor Curtis). This time they nailed the original look, feel and most of all the characterizations almost to the letter - The Thing is right on the money, from look to voice to attitude - and the effects are extremely impressive and convincing in context. This is a real fun ride. It does suffer from the Curse of the Origin Story, but still, I was never bored. Hope they do a sequel thats pure stupid action.


Listen up, kids, it's real simple: Sean Connery is James Bond. Diamonds Are Forever is a 1972 James Bond movie starring Sean Connery, which makes it required viewing (Parkway, Thursday Sept. 8). It's also the only Connery Bond I haven't shown before, either. After swearing he'd never do another 007 flick after You Only Live Twice in '67, Sean reluctantly returned to the role he made famous and vice versa. (We've learned to ignore Never Say Never Again around here, since it proved saying "never again" may not be such a bad thing after all.) American actor John Gavin almost walked away with the part before they lured Sean back one last time. This movie follows the excellent 1969 Bond On Her Majesty's Secret Service which I showed last year and not enough people came to see, since George Lazenby stepped in 007's shoes and he doesn't get enough credit for doing such a credible job in a superior 007 classic. Too bad for you if you missed it. After Diamonds Are Forever, Roger Moore came aboard. His first effort, Live and Let Die, is actually one of my favorite Bonds, due to the Voodoo aspect, and Roger is okay, but for me it was downhill from there. DAF may not be the best of the Bonds, but it still has Connery, is set largely in a pre-Disneyfied Vegas, has Jill St. John walking around in skimpy outfits that'll curl your toes in frustrated lust, features a great Shirley Bassey theme song, and on top of all that - the World's #1 Theremin Lounge Band, PROJECT PIMENTO,, returns to thrill us live on stage. Congrats to lead singer Lori Carsillo on her impending motherhood, too. Hope she can still sing at this gig, though...anyway, you have your assignment, just be there.


I’m getting tired now and October is always my busiest month, and this shit here sells itself. For the sake of brevity, economy, my tired fingers and your weary eyes I’m going to now employ the Larry King/Herb Caen dot-dot-dot technique….here goes…this year marks my Third Annual HORROR HOST PALOOZA (October 13, Parkway) and my sixth CREATURE FEATURES REUNION, which means we’ll have all on one stage at one time John Stanley, a “Surprise Mystery Guest” (hint: he smokes cigars), Doktor Goulfinger, Mister Lobo, Robert Silverman on theremin, and joining us for the first time ever, all the way from the Midwest, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RAY WHALEN, my fez-wearin’ doppelganger who is also a moviemaker/musician/impresario and overall madman, plus SF’s own TV horror hostess, the sexy and statuesque MS. MONSTER, …hopefully her Highness PEACHES CHRIST, will join the onstage mayhem and grace us with her presence as well….Television Horror Hosts have become a thriving subculture like Tiki, and we have many of the best right here in the Bay Area…looking forward to Sandy Clark’s documentary on the history of this phenom, AMERICAN SCARY,, due out next year if all goes well, stay tuned…anyway, the double bill for this year’s Horror Host Palooza will include Al Adamson’s notorious 1972 shocker DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN and Ted V. Mikels’ 1968 cult fave ASTRO ZOMBIES (starring our pal Tura Satana)….Adamson was mysteriously murdered in a scenario right out of one of his Z grade drive-in flicks, many of which co-starred his blond bombshell wife Regina Carrol, who plays a burlesque dancer in this one…other Adamson faves include the incredible Brain of Blood and the violent biker classic Satan’s Sadists starring Russ Tamblyn…Russ also shows up in Dracula vs Frankenstein, a real sleazefest which has to be seen to be believed…it was Lon Chaney Jr.’s last screen role, I believe, and he looks it…it was also the cinematic swansong for J. Carroll Naish, and even Forrest J. Ackerman has a cameo…the monster makeup is, well, again, you just gotta see it, I mean, for one thing, Dracula has an afro…Ted Mikels, is still alive and well and making movies in Vegas, where he recently completed the sequels MARK OF THE ASTRO ZOMBIES (which I showed a couple of years ago) and CORPSE GRINDERS 2…the only other TVM flick I’ve shown is THE DOLL SQUAD, also starring Tura, and it was reportedly the un-credited inspiration for Charlie’s Angels…Ted’s still pissed about it…Astro Zombies is my favorite of his flicks, the last hurrah for Wendell Corey and one of the last for John Carradine, too…this is truly a Double Feature From Drive-In Hell, and we got the horror hosts with the most to present it all to you…then the following week, on Tuesday October 18 at The Parkway, get ready for the World Re-Premiere of John Stanley’s own 1975 horror flick NIGHTMARE IN BLOOD, in a recently unearthed 35mm print…it’s a great flick for fans of cheesy monster movies, horror hosts, comic book conventions, etc., all shot right here in the Bay Area, including the old Fox Oakland movie palace…John will be there to present this World Re-Premiere, don’t let him down…next, on Friday October 28, we return to COPIA up in Napa, for A HALLOWEEN FIESTA, featuring John, Dok, Lobo, and psychedelic surfers POLLO DEL MAR, warming up the audience for a rare screening of SANTO VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN (1962), one of the legendary masked wrestlers greatest flicks. I friggin’ LOVE Mexican Monster Movies, man, it is one of my favorite genres Nothing like wrestling superheroes, voluptuous vamps, cool sports cars, atmospheric South of the Border locations, and moody black and white photography to put you in that Tequila-soaked mood of tropical terror.

Or something like that. I don't know what I'm saying anymore. Tura scrambled my brains, and these fucked up movies have fried them. Over, easy and out. The point is of no return, and I've reached it. Till next time, keep your own passions sizzlin'. Aloha and adios from Turasville.


BackThrillville - Archives for Thrillville Beat