This piece was originally published June 7th, 2010.

Curly Post IconThere was a time in the mid nineties when I was attempting to collect every short made by The Three Stooges. 

I sat patiently every evening with my snappy VHS recorder while tuned to WSBK Channel 36, the local independent UHF station out of Boston, which not only ran a nightly serving ofStooge laughs, but also held their annual Three Stooges New Years Eve “Countdown” all night marathon, and most of the time a healthy dose of afternoon Stooges shorts as well.

For as long as I could recall, from my childhood, on into my teens and beyond, The Three Stooges were a part of my family’s television viewing.

I grew up knowing that this was the creme de la creme of timeless laughs who easily beat out any other comedy team that came up against them. Gratefully, there must have been some heavily devoted knuckleheadaficionados at Channel 38 as well, since they had always been a part of the station’s programming for as long as I could remember, all the while helping to feed my Stooges obsession.
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JAMES HONG: He’s Probably In The Film You’re Watching Right Now

This piece was originally published May 10th, 2010

James Hong Post IconRecently while watching an episode of I Dream Of Jeannie from Season One (in glorious, non colorized black and white) I happened across an appearance by James Hong.

This got me thinking, wow, this guy really has been around forever and shows up in everything!


Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1929, Hong spent school time until the age of ten in his family’s original home of Hong Kong, where he studied and then became an engineer for 7 1/2 years, eventually he abandoned this career and decided to devote himself to his hobby of acting and voice over work full time.

Hong’s first notable voice over was for the (uncredited) re dubbing of Dr. Serizawa (and the character Ogata) in the Japanese film Gojira (1954) when it was released for the American market in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

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This piece was originally published Monday, April 12th, 2010.

Klaus Nomi Post IconFilmed in 1980 and released in 1981, the concert film, URGH! A Music War, was then and still is, a revelation.

Not only was it one of the few film examples at the time where you could actually experience 38 punk rock, “New Wave” and post punk acts performing in one 122 minute back to back smörgåsbord, but a large number of the acts at the time were operating at their peaks of creativity.

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This piece was originally published March 29th, 2010.

Morlock Post IconTime travel is something that has fascinated, charmed and bewildered humans for centuries.

Who among us has not pondered the thought of traveling back and forth via “the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past”?

To celebrate the latest film offering which features a uniquely entertaining method of time travel, I decided to list my Top 10 fave Time Machines.

I have decided to only list those films and television shows where an actual device that you must either get into, sit on, or otherwise operate as a big machine, is used for the time travel. So no funky wristwatches, drug induced methods, or mind manipulation will be mentioned this time around…

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42nd Street Forever: Five’s The Charm!

This piece was originally published March 22nd, 2010.Vincent Price 3D Icon I’ve been a fan of watching movie trailers for as long as I can remember being a fan of watching movies.

Occasionally, and when dealing with certain film genres especially, the trailers are far more entertaining than the actual films.

There are times when a film can mostly stink, but its trailer can still give you a splendid few minutes of encapsulated quality or relentless action, while leaving out that bad 90% waste of time wretchedness.

Sure, you have to be careful and not wind up wanting to see that “hilarious” comedy, only to find out that the trailer did a remarkable stitch job (a.k.a. edit) and made a lackluster no-laugh or dull romantic depression groaner into something that it never really was (take for instance one of the worst films EVER with a fairly funny trailer that ropes you unwittingly in: 2005’s Must Love Dogs).

With the advent of home video collections on vhs, so too did the idea of putting out trailer collections begin. Whether it was genre specific collections geared to the Spaghetti Western, arthouse or horror aficionado, or more of a looser style that collected the type of schlock double bill fare that one would have encountered at the drive-in or a midnite cult movie festival.

Available trailer collections have now grown considerably on dvd with larger selections and an increase in superb companies offering great remastered trailers, and a more thorough trawling through the vast collections of 16mm and 35mm archives for lesser known, little seen or extremely rare films from throughout the world.


Volume 1 is a gem


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This piece was originally published December 28th, 2009.

Mod 2009 Year-End IconThankfully, here at The Mystery Box H.Q. I am kissing goodbye to what has been a roller coaster of a year.

One that has been filled with the lowest of lows, albeit also with some very beautiful  happiness.

In retrospect, this seems to be a transitionally positive and better year than last year, which downright sucked dirty motor oil and exhaust fumes.

Without reporting the downers or becoming mired in too much negativity, since I get enough of that through reading Twitter and Facebook updates from the cranky or through my own venting outbursts, I am going to run down a list of a few of the standout things that have really helped make this year more fun than not, more up than down…

Listed may also be some things that I will be doing future column pieces on, so for now I won’t fully elaborate on everything in long detail and unfortunately, I am probably going to forget quite a few that I would love to add, but I will try my best to spill out a selection of The Mystery Box 2009 for your reading pleasure…
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The Film That Rocked

This piece was originally published November 16th, 2009

Radio Caroline IconRenowned Director Richard Curtis (Blackadder, Mr. Bean, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and A Funeral to name only a few) brings to life the exciting, colorful and often madcap world that was revolving around the zeitgeist of mid sixties Britain in his latest feature, Pirate Radio (U.K. title: The Boat That Rocked).

Forget the usual tepid remakes, uninspired adaptations, disappointing ideas and lousy sequels to films that were never so hot to begin with, this is easily my favorite original fun film of the year.

The story takes place during 1966.
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VIDEO WATCHDOG: 150th Issue Celebration Interview with Tim & Donna Lucas!

This piece was originally published July 27th, 2009

Fang Monster IconThis week celebrates the 150th issue of Video Watchdog!

For anyone who is yet to be a fan, the magazine is a monthly digest sized gem that is edited/published and designed by Tim and Donna Lucas, began life in 1990, and features a host of superb regular contributors for what is simply the finest in critical and extremely detailed writing, interviews and reviews of genre films.

As well as publishing the magazine, Tim and Donna also published the stunningly beautiful (and gigantic at 12 pounds!) definitive book on the great Italian director Mario Bava, entitled Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark in 2007.

As a celebration of Video Watchdog, I had the honor of interviewing Tim and Donna Lucas and my very special thanks goes out to them for this interview. Their recollections on publishing VW, thoughts about looking forward toward VW’s future, and insightful comments regarding print media, the internet and fave films, easily place this among my favorite pieces that I have done for The Mystery Box.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

Tim and Donna: From #1 to #150

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JAWS WEEK: A Tribute to the Scare of ’75

This piece was originally published June 15th, 2009

Jaws IconJAWS.

The mere mention still brings me back to the days of 1975 when it was the scariest film of the year.

The film was the first true summer blockbuster, and a cultural giant of a movie about giant of a shark that radically changed and forever crushed our innocent view of a happy day at the beach.

As a kid I grew up by a beach and spent much of my outdoor time swimming in its water and goofing around on the sand. It was the days of carefree (and legal!) bonfires, diggin’ up cool “stuff” and consistently being amazed at the hundreds of primitive monster-like horseshoe crabs that would wash ashore each year.

Little did I know that the most amazing of all monsters of the sea was soon to be unleashed upon us all.


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This piece was originally published April 27th, 2009

Half Blue Girl IconHow could 5 American GI’s, stationed on a military base in the middle of 1961’s Cold War immersed Germany, in a few years become one of the most out there, avant garde, experimental garage rock and roll art bands to ever come along in pop music’s history?

Well, it doesn’t hurt if you have an electric banjo, are called MONKS and dress like…Monks.

For over ten years, Directors Dietmar Post and Lucia Palacios have been working to bring the little known tale of one of the wildest, most strikingly different bands of the sixties to the screen. This unlikely story is a superbly engaging film called Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback.

For those uninitiated to the Monks’ story, music or visual image, this film tells a thoroughly head scratching tale: they were a group of GI’s who originally set out to primarily have some fun and meet some girls through making beat music and covering Chuck Berry tunes under the name The Torquays in 1964 while performing for their fellow servicemen also stationed in Germany. They soon hooked up with “a pair of loopy existentialist visionaries,” namely two German art student/producers who helped use their own experimental ideas about art, noise, society, politics and generally how to create an in your face image—best seen to be believed—to shape the band into an altogether different kind of pop act.


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