Queen of Schlock! Friday Night Watch Parties

At the beginning of Covid (2020), I started a Netflix watch party using a browser add-on, that allowed you to watch a program or movie with several other people. (you need a Netflix account to do this) We lasted for a few months, but eventually, our numbers dissipated due to restrictions being lifted and way too many technical glitches. After several months I got the itch again to have a viewing party night. We (my husband and I) were really missing our Killer B Cinema nights and our friends that attended. A couple of us decided it was time to have a regular mini viewing party — Killer B style.

Over the course of the next few months we watched a few doozies and some surprisingly good movies. I thought I would share a few of them here as well. We are hoping to have Killer B Cinema up and running again in a couple of months and hope these help keep you entertained until then!

The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)

Star Pilot (1966)

Robot Monster (1953)

I Was A Teenage Frankenstein (1957)

Terror In The Crypt (1964)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Mamie Van Doren

Today I discovered that the still sassy and sexy Mamie Van Doren has a Twitter account! That news isn’t the entire blog post, not to worry, though, that revelation is quite a lot! At 90 years old she is still making sure her name is out there. I absolutely love that! How did I discover this? I was googling her, to read up so I could write a blog post about her. We recently watched High School Confidential and the moment I saw she was in the movie, my love of her was sparked again.

If you haven’t seen High School Confidential, I highly… recommend it. The movies is a PSA against smoking pot and taking other drugs in that typical 1950s paranoia, however, the movie itself is really well done AND IT ALSO HAS MAMIE VAN DOREN! (I will include the movie below)

Mamie Van Doren was born February 6, 1931 (in the US) and was originally named Joan Lucille Olander. She covered the entertainment spectrum and was an actress, model, singer, show girl, theatre actress and all around sex symbol. Mamie was not only known for playing edgy women in the movies, she was even more well known for her relationships with some very well known celebrities including being engaged to heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, and dating Howard Hughes (who claimed to have discovered Mamie when she was crowned Miss Palm Springs). Hughes launched her career by placing her in several RKO films.

Name Trivia: On January 20, 1953, Van Doren signed a contract with Universal Studios. They had big plans for her, hoping she would bring the same kind of success that 20th Century Fox had with Marilyn Monroe. Van Doren, whose signing day coincided with the inauguration of President Eisenhower, was given the first name Mamie for Ike’s wife, Mamie Eisenhower. Other Van Dorens, who were unrelated to Mamie, were a prominent and noted family of American intellectuals; these Van Dorens included two Pulitzer Prize-winning brothers, Carl (biographer) and Mark (poet), and Mark’s wife Dorothy, an academic and historian. {source Wikipedia}

Of course we are here for her movies!

Untamed Youth (1957)

Gun, Girls & Gangsters (1959)

High School Confidential (1958)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Redheads Writing In Cafes – Getting Back to Normalish

(except when it’s my bedroom)(I haven’t included any photos or artwork in the post – I want the words to be seen)

Normalish… that’s a word right? Yes. Yes it is and it’s how I am feeling right now.

After what seemed like a century… things are finally easing up, restrictions are being lifted and life is slowly creeping back to a way that actually makes me feel like I’m not walking on eggshells 24/7. Even though vaccinations have helped this along and we still need to take many precautions, I feel like we are finally close to seeing the other side of this. Yes, there will be a few more waves, but hopefully, no more lockdowns here in Ontario. I’m afraid if there is another one, especially after this taste of freedom, it will completely and utterly break many people.

Recently, I have achieved some things that continually felt like they were so far off in the future, that it might not happen. I still continue with baby steps, putting safety first always.

Here are the recently achievements unlocked:

*Had dinner inside someone else’s place and I don’t mean my in-laws.
*Hugged two friends. {Please note that I am not pushing this on anyone and am feeling out when others are comfortable. If you are, please let me know and I will hug you (friends and family only – I’m not going on a hugorama!))
*We’ve started talking about Killer B Cinema and when we can book our first movie night now that things are safer.
*Eaten on restaurant patios and am considering when I will be comfortable eating inside again.
*We’ve had small gatherings in our backyard.
*Ridden on TTC, including a bus.
*Fabric shopping trip with Laurie!

What I’m ready for:

*Visiting my parents. (Waiting for everyone to be fully vaxxed (amongst family))
*Live music! I miss it so, so very much!
*Exploring the city again.
*Hanging out more with friends again.
*Travelling outside of the city. Even if it is a short excursion to Freelton or Niagara Falls.
*Not feeling anxiety every time I see someone without a mask on.
*Not having a conversation that includes talk of Covid.

I don’t expect things to go back to the way they were pre-Covid. In fact, I hope they don’t. There were many lessons learned and I hope most of them stick, especially those regarding the environment. Living in a time of Covid has also awoken the fight in people, the opportunity to speak up against what is wrong (I don’t mean you anti-vaxx, anti-mask, anti-lockdown people – you are a huge part of the reason this is taking longer than it should) in this world. We are in a time of revolution and I hope it continues until we right so many wrongs.

We are so close to being on the other side, so I beg of you, still take precautions, still wear your mask and for fuck sake, if you haven’t been vaccinated, DO IT. I still have a few friends who haven’t or won’t do it. Some of their reasons are fear or misinformation. Please don’t listen to the conspiracy theories and if you are unsure, speak to a doctor or message me and I will get you in touch with an expert. The vaccine will not hurt you. It will protect you. Unfortunately, due to my own pneumonia damaged lungs and for the safety of my elderly in-laws, if you aren’t vaccinated, I can’t hang around with you. So please, GET VACCINATED!

I’m looking forward to a new Normalish!

Queen of Schlock! Juan Piquer Simón

For me, watching b-movies means more than just 1950s scifi, it means exploring all decades and genres. The world of b-movies has gems that can be found in any given form. On Friday nights we have a watch party and in some cases we have themes (director, era, genre, actor/actress, season) and we had been watching 1950s/1960s monsters on a beach type movies (on YouTube). At the end of the movies suggestions pop up based on what you are watching (normally) and a few Juan Piquer Simón movies popped up, including Slugs and Pieces.

A little more about Juan Piquer Simón. Juan Piquer Simón was a Spanish film director best known for directing two cult classic horror exploitation films, Pieces (1982) and Slugs: The Movie (1988). Juan Piquer Simón also directed two Jules Verne-based films, Where Time Began (1976) and Mystery on Monster Island (1981), as well as The Supersonic Man in 1979, and The Pod People in 1983 (which was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000). He also directed Cthulhu Mansion and The Rift, both in 1990. {source Wikipedia)

There are quite a few trailers for Juan Piquer Simón’s movies and the only full movies I could find so far are Cthulu Mansion (1992), Pieces (1982) and Slugs (1988) I unfortunately, cannot post them here because they are age restricted for 18+ and you will need to go to YouTube directly to see them, with the exception of Cthulu Mansion (1992) (that isn’t an 18+ movie), you will find it below. I am going to post bunch of trailers as well, so you can get a taste.

I am on a search to find services that stream his movies and when I find them, I will update this blog post.

Supersonic Man (1979)

Mystery of Monster Island (1981)

Pieces (1982)

Slugs (1988)

Cthulu Mansion (1992)(full movie)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Bert I. Gordon

Who wants to go down a Bert I. Gordon rabbit hole with me! I see you out there! Raise your hands! That’s better. Here we go!

Bert Ira Gordon is an American filmmaker, producer, writer and visual effects artist. He is best known for writing and directing science fiction and horror B-movies such as King Dinosaur (1955), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Earth vs. the Spider (1958), Village of the Giants (1965), and Empire of the Ants (1977). {source Wikipedia} As of posting this, Bert is 98 years old.

Many of the movies he created, whether it be as a producer, writer or creating the special effects, can be found on many streaming services and in most cases are public domain. I’ve seen most of his movies, (and more than once) either on YouTube or from one of the many b-movie box sets I own. I find his movies to be extremely entertaining and I’m never disappointed. We’ve even shown a few at Killer B Cinema and I know we will continue to do so, once it’s safe for us to resume our monthly movie night.

Bert I. Gordon’s style of movie making has inspired many others and you will see him being thanked often in the credits. His movies are also a favourite for programs such as MST3K and Rifftracks. We also have a lot of fun with commentary when watching.

1957 and 1958 seemed to be the year that many movie makers decided to release low budget creature features. Many of these movies included giant bugs. One of my favourite Bert I. Gordon produced movies is The Beginning of the End, which is about monster size, radioactive locust attacking the United States.

I am going to post a few of his movies below, most of these were made in 1957. They are all on YouTube. There are so many more Bert I. Gordon movies out there, these are a few of my all time favourites. What is your favourite Bert I. Gordon movie?

The Beginning of the End (1957)

Cyclops (1957)(trailer)

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957) Trivia: there is a tribute to H.G. Wells. Keep an eye out for it.

War of the Colossal Beast (1958)

Earth vs the Spider (1958)

Attack of the Puppet People (1958)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Beginning of the End

Beginning of the End is a 1957  science fiction film produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon. It stars Peter GravesPeggie Castle, and Morris Ankrum. An agricultural scientist, played by Graves, successfully grows gigantic vegetables using radiation. Unfortunately, the vegetables are eaten by locusts (the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers), which quickly grow to a gigantic size and attack the nearby city of Chicago. Beginning of the End is generally known for its “atrocious” special effects, “and yet,” writes reviewer Bill Warren, “there is something almost compellingly watchable about this goofy little movie”. {source Wikipedia}

If you are into 1950s b-movies about giant bugs, this is your movie! It stars two of my favourite b-movie actors Peggy Castle and Peter Graves and has some of the best/worst special effects you could possibly hope for! Many critics suggest that Bert. I. Gordon was taking advantage of the success of Them! (my all time favourite giant bug movie), but I say Pswah to those critics. This movie is a lot of fun! I have seen this movie a few times and love introducing it to other b-movie fans. It’s also a great movie to watch if you need some light, fun entertainment.

The movie gets right into the action in the opening scene. One of my issues with many other creature features is you don’t always see actions this fast, or the creature reveal doesn’t happen until halfway through the movie. If you want to get my attention and keep me engaged, get your creature on the move right from the get go! You don’t necessarily need to show us it’s hideousness in all of its glory immediately, but at least give us a taste.

If you are a fan of really bad special effects, then you honestly need to give this movie a watch. My favourite part is when you see the bugs sliding off of the…. “building”. You will understand when you watch it. My other favourite scene is when the army arrives to fight the giant locust.

The bonus is, you can watch it for free on YouTube! Them! isn’t available there. (though I strongly suggest you seek out a copy)

If you watch and enjoy this movie, I suggest that you get to know Bert I. Gordon a bit better. Here are a few of this other movies that I highly recommend.

The Amazing Colossal Man 1957
Earth vs The Spider 1958
Attack of the Puppet People 1958
Empire of the Ants 1977

What is your favourite giant bug movie?

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The Summer of Giant Insects

Ah yes! It’s that time of year again. Summer is beginning and so is the invasion of bugs… insects… critters. I thought, what better way to prepare for the many mosquito/black fly bites and invasion of ants, wasps and hornets, is to share some of my giant insect movies with you!

I will have to say if you can only watch one of these, I strongly suggest Them! It is beyond brilliant. If you can squeeze a second one in and need your William Shatner cheese fix, also watch Kingdom of Spiders.

There are so, so many more giant insect movies out there, but these are my all time favourites.

When possible I will post links to full movies.

Them! (1954) trailer

The Beginning of the End (1957)

Monster from Green Hell (1957)

The Deadly Mantis (1957) trailer

The Black Scorpion (1957) trailer

Cosmic Monsters (1958)

Killer Bees (1974)

The Savage Bees (1976)

Empire of the Ants (1977)

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! Claudia Barrett

When I started getting interested in b-movies from the 1950s, one of the very first movies I watched was Monster Robot. That was many, many moons ago. It did two things for me, made me realize how much I loved the baddest of the bad and introduced me to Claudia Barrett.

If you are unaware of what Robot Monster is, it was made in 1953 and has one of the most iconic monster costumes in the history of monster costumes. It also stars Claudia Barrett as Alice. The Ro-man is sent to earth to destroy humanity and runs afoul when he becomes attracted to the human Alice. She is the eldest daughter of a surviving scientist, and he refuses to harm her. The movie itself if pretty dark, especially if you pay attention to the actual story. Claudia is perfection and am sure was and still is the iconic b-movie goddess.

When I heard of her death (April 30, 2021), I read many tributes to her and in the eyes of her friends, family and colleagues she was and absolutely wonderful, giving person and loved by many.

Claudia’s career was mostly in television, but for b-movie fans, she will always be remembered for Robot Monster. Claudia loved being an actress and even after her agent told her not to take the now iconic role in Robot Monster, she accepted the offer anyway. Here is a quote from her. “When you decide to make a movie, the decision is made for various reasons: money, fame, or working with a particular star or director. I just wanted to act. I was a professional actress for 14 years, and I really loved the business. And Robot Monster was a movie I enjoyed making.”

In 1964, Claudia Barrett retired from acting, but stayed in show business, working in her dream job for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She passed away from natural causes at the age of 91.

I think a fun way to toast Claudia is to give Robot Monster a watch!

(this isn’t the greatest copy, if you find a free/better copy, please let me know)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Queen of Schlock! The B Movies Queens: Peggie Castle

Once up on a time, in a place called Hollywood Land a beautiful blonde was discovered while sipping a malt in a drug store. Is this fantasy? Or. Is this reality. The story of how Lana Turner was discovered has always been a driving factor for why so many actresses migrated to Hollywood. They pinned their hopes on being discovered in an every day setting. Many said that the Lana Turner story was only made up for publicity, yet, there are many actresses who have a very similar story. One of those actresses is Peggy Castle.

Peggy was discovered by a talent scout while eating in a restaurant in Beverly Hills and soon after signed a seven year deal with Universal-International. In the 30s/50s many starlets would be signed to long contracts and only be used as bit players (if they were even that lucky). Being signed to a studio didn’t guarantee work. In Peggy’s case, she was off to the races almost immediately making her debut in a When a Girl’s Beautiful. (1947) This movie was followed up by Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949), Payment on Demand (1951), The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951) Invasion U.S.A. (1952), Wagons West (1952), 99 River Street (1953), Beginning of the End (1957) and Arrivederci Roma (1957),  and Hell’s Crossroads (1957).

Eventually, she moved onto television, starring mostly in westerns.

Sadly, Peggy died at the young age of 45 from cirrhosis due to alcoholism.

One of my favourites of all of her movies is Beginning of the End (1957). I have posted it below along with as many of her other movies that I was able to find. Enjoy!

Invasion USA (1952)

Finger Man (1955)

Hell’s Crossroads (1957)

Back From the Dead (1957)

Beginning of the End (1957)

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Bat Adventures – Research and Science!

This week in bat adventures… we didn’t actually make it out for any, well, bat adventures. However, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole on bat researchers and wanted to share what I found! I also threw in some books you might find interesting.

Famous bat researchers:

If you are anything like me and my love of bats, you will also want to know about famous bat researchers. There are many out there, all over the world, who continue until this day, to educate themselves and others about the magical flying creature.

Below is a short list of some researchers you should know about. Because of them, we know more about bats than ever before. Seriously, read up about them, you will learn many new things about bats!

Dr. Brock FentonProfessor Emeritus, Department of Biology, Western University and Dr. Bonnie Schmidt, Founder and CEO, Let’s Talk Science, will deliver our invited lectures at OBD 2019. {source Western Science} https://www.uwo.ca/biology/directory/emeritus/fenton.html

Gerrit S. Miller JR. (December 6, 1869 – February 24, 1956) was an outstanding early twentieth century bat biologist at the Smithsonian Institution. Miller’s work on the evolutionary relationships of chiropteran families and genera to one another still strongly influences taxonomic thinking about bats today. {source North American Society for Bat Research – https://www.nasbr.org/miller}

Thomas H. Kunz (June 11, 1938 – April 13, 2020) was an American biologist specializing in the study of bats. He was credited with coining the study of aeroecology; additionally, he wrote several fundamental textbooks and publications on bat ecology. {source Wikipedia} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kunz

Donald Redfield Griffin (August 3, 1915 – November 7, 2003) was an American professor of zoology at various universities who conducted seminal research in animal behavior, animal navigation, acoustic orientation and sensory biophysics. In 1938, while an undergraduate at Harvard University, he began studying the navigational method of bats, which he identified as animal echolocation in 1944. In The Question of Animal Awareness (1976), he argued that animals are conscious like humans. Griffin was the originator of the concept of mentophobia: the denial of the consciousness of other animals by scientists. {source Wikipedia} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Griffin

Books about bats:

The Families and Genera of Bats, by Gerrit S. Miller, Jr. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/16306

The Bat Scientists by Mary Kay Carson https://sciencemeetsadventure.com/the-bat-scientists/index.html

Each time I post, I am going to also suggest music that goes with bat adventures! Today I’m suggesting

Bats: A World of Science and Mystery by M. Brock Fenton, Nancy B. Simmons https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/bats-a-world-of-science/9780226065120-item.html

Type of bats: N/A
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Here is a link I’ve created to all of our bat sightings.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat