Thursday, October 18, 2012

Killer School Girls from Outer Space

It is pretty well known by those who know me that if a movie has the words "From Outer Space" in it's title, then I'm all over it.  Killer Klowns from Outer Space, It Came from Outer Space...and now Killer School Girls!

When I first popped KSGfOS into my DVD player, I was expecting some school girls running around, with a UFO and some cheesy deaths.   Man, I was not prepared for the ride I got!  The first scene takes place on a distant planet, where a Killer School Girl lays waste to about 25 soldiers.  Her laser gun doesn't just kill makes them EXPLODE in a shower of blood and gore, with squishy sound effects that really hit the spot.

Even better, we then find out that Ron Jeremy is their Commander (who the girls call "Father").  So for those of you keeping track, that's 25 bloody deaths and Ron Jeremy in the first five minutes.    I can't see how you could NOT love this movie!  

The human characters follow the cookie cutter molds of the B-Movies the KSG riffs off of.  Ben and Allie are high school sweethearts.  Ben is thinking of quitting the football team because he feels that he is meant for something more.  Hhhhhmmmm....forshadowing much?  Could Ben be our hero?  I think so!

KSG hits all the important notes that a drive-in classic needs.  There's a game of chicken, the token sheriff who doesn't believe the kids who are trying to warn them about the oncoming invasion.  As a matter of fact, I quite enjoyed the scenes in the police station as Ben and Allie try to convince the Sheriff of the danger.  Deputy Moore is a little more open minded and agrees to go with them and check out their story.  The whole thing is pretty much lifted from Killer Klowns....but it brought a smile to my face.  Of course The Sheriff, Deputy, Ben and Allie form a formidable foursome that stands between the Killer School Girls and the annihilation of planet Earth.  

Killer School Girls is pure B-Movie fun from start to finish.  It's got everything:  Humor, girls in short skirts, car racing, blood, spaceships, doomsday bombs, and a pervasive sense of fun.  If you are a drive-in buff, you owe it to yourself to watch Killer School Girls.

If you read MC even every now and then, you know that I love B-Movies.  If I could find a way to either snort them in powder form or inject them into my bloodstream, I would.  So when I come across a film maker who shares my passion for B-Movie goodness, I shine a spotlight on them.  Henceforth, I give you Mr. Alexander Shumake, writer and director of Killer School Girls.

I was able to catch up with Mr Shumake and chat about KSG, Angry Nun Productions and a variety of other topics:

Tell us about the genesis of Angry Nun Productions?

I’m not quite sure how we came up with the name, haha. My father and Angry Nun business partner, Bill Shumake, and I wanted to come up with a name that did two things: 1. Accurately represented the type of movies we enjoyed and planned on making, 2. Rolled off the tongue.
All I can really remember of the genesis is my father coming home one day saying, “I’ve got it, I have the name!” and when he said, “Angry Nun Productions,” Immediately we knew that was it.

How did you come up with the idea for Killer School Girls?

Killer School Girls from Outer Space evolved from a number of situations.
At the time, I was going to college and during one of my classes I sketched a fake movie poster for a film titled Attack of the Killer Bunnies from Outer Space- this was to be a movie about a group of Giant Alien Bunnies that terrorized a city (think Godzilla but with cute, fluffy rabbits that have laser eyes).
As time went on, this concept of “Killer Bunnies” eventually developed into the idea of—“What if instead of having the bunnies being rabbits, bunnies were Playboy Bunnies?” We liked the idea of this and still do to be honest, but somewhere between then and whenever we decided to write the screenplay it changed to Killer School Girls from Outer Space.
Whatever the beginning of the movie title ended up being, we knew from years of watching old school sci-fi movies that it had to end with- from Outer Space.

How did Ron Jeremy become involved?

Bill, initially meet Ron Jeremy at his 49th Birthday Party being held at, the now out of business, KATZ’S DELI during the 2001 SXSW Film Festival where “The Hedgehog” was promoting a documentary about himself, called The Legend of Ron Jeremy.
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A few years later, Ron Jeremy was back in Austin, TX promoting his new autobiography when my father approached him with the idea of playing The Sheriff in our film. Ron was instantly thrilled by the offer and passed along his agents contact information.
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Two years later, we had a finished script for Killer School Girls from Outer Space; we e-mailed Ron’s agent the script and made a deal for Ron Jeremy to play “The Father”!

How long did the film take from start to finish?

From concept to DVD in hand, the film took roughly 2 years to complete. Production lasted 15 days.

I know that Roger Corman is a huge influence on you, What is your favorite Corman flick?

Roger Corman is one of my all-time favorite filmmakersJ I can only dream of having the impressive career that he has churned out.
Picking one flick of Corman’s is too difficult of a decision, Haha. My favorite film of his wide-collection usually changes from one day to the next but some that constantly stay in my DVD player’s rotation are: The Wild Angels, Not of This Earth, Grand Theft Auto, Sharktopus, and Rock ‘N’ Roll High School

Do you prefer horror/sci-fi or would you like to branch out to other genres as well?

I will direct anything. I probably do have a preference towards making B-movies but only because they are personally more fun to make. I’ve directed a few dramatic pieces in the past where actors/actresses had to cry for the duration of a scene and while they turned out wonderfully, it’s SO draining. The whole crew drags and the environment is not as fun. 
I’m a huge fan of B-movies, especially old school sci-fi of the 1950-60’s. If I never made anything outside of the sci-fi genre, that would be fine with me.

What’s lined up next for you?

We have a number of exciting and rather diverse projects on the horizon:
We’re working on several commercials for various locally-owned companies in the Austin, TX area, a PSA campaign for NO TEXTING while driving, a documentary spotlighting the head football coach of  a top ranked university, and a slew of multi-genre screenplays with the intention to, both, produce or sell.  
In addition, we are focusing a considerable amount of attention on Angry Nun Productions’ Indie Movie Making, – an in-depth filmmaking blog that provides movie makers, and aspiring movie makers, with the necessary tools and information that they will need in order to see their movie thru to completion and getting them distribution. We typically pitch it as, learn how-to-make a movie from start to finish and avoid the mistakes we so blindly made.

If you had unlimited funds and access to absolutely any actor/writer/director/producer/etc in the world and you had the rights to use any IP, what would your dream project be?

Damn, this is a massive question. There are so many geek thoughts swimming thru my brain right now, Haha. I’m going to answer this question in bullet points, highlighting specifics that I would like to include:
*The movie would have to be one of two ways: Epic- spanning many years, like The Shawshank Redemption or Contained- taking place in one day, like Dazed and Confused.
*It would be a period piece set in the 1960’s (preferably the earlier years, 1962-65)
*Music would be a main driving force of the narrative, much like American Graffiti and would feature pop songs of the early ‘60’s.
*The Cast would include an All-Star Roster (Including the entire cast of That 70’s Show).
In addition to a star-studded cast, I would hire the Killer School Girl family, positioning them in many, if not all, of the lead roles.
I strongly believe there are just as many non-named actors/actresses that are every bit as good as any big name in Hollywood; all they need to out-shine the big stars is a chance, or opportunity.
*Other “Dream Projects” include: Re-making Teen Wolf (1985) or Beware! The Blob (1972), Adapting I Dream of Jeanie for the silver screen, and/or Re-booting Batman – making it much like the 1960’s Television Show staring Adam West, I would cast Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Batman & Robin.    

What are your interests outside of film?

Wasting Time, Reading, Watching Re-Runs of That 70s Show, Family Guy, I Dream of Jeanie, and a few Hana-Barbara Cartoons of the late 60’s-early 70’s, Writing, Going for Walks (not runs)J

What’s your favorite movie snack?

Well, I have a rule if I decide to go see a movie in the theater, and that is, I’ll only go if I can watch it at the Alamo Drafthouse- the amazing Austin, TX based movie theater that caters to film fans, and is owned/operated by film fans, and typically when I go I’ll order a Basket of French Fries.
(*If you visit Austin, TX, I highly recommend visiting the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. In addition to creating a pleasant film viewing atmosphere, they have an awesome menu)    

Do you believe in the paranormal/ufos/cryptids/etc? Have you ever had an experience in said topics?

I definitely believe in UFOs and The Extraterrestrial. I’m skeptic when it comes to the paranormal but I am still open to the notion.

Do you remember your first horror movie?

Honestly, I don’t. I grew up watching all sorts of movies when I was child, I was very fortunate to have parents who didn’t censor my viewing habits. I can remember when I was 5 years old my favorite movie in the whole world was PREDATOR, haha, it’s still pretty damn cool.
With that being said, I can recall the first, and I believe only, movie that ever gave me nightmares as a child which was the 1940 Disney Classic Pinocchio. The thought of turning into a donkey terrified me. Every 10 minutes or so I would wake-up my mother, and we would both go into the bathroom, checking the mirror to make sure my ears weren’t changing.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Good question. I don’t know. I’m actually going to the costume store next week to look. I’ve toyed with the idea of going as Teen Wolf (1985, Michael J. Fox, not the crappy MTV show)

Anything that you’d like to add that the denizens of Midnight Cinephile might like to know?

Thanks for conducting this interview; it was a lot of fun. I would like to urge filmmakers to check-out our blog,, and of course if you enjoy watching beautiful girls shoot lasers in short skirt, check-out Killer School Girls from Outer Space. You can purchase the amazing two-disc DVD at, and if you dig the movie, please share it with your friends and spread the good word. Thanks! 

A huge THANK YOU to Alexander for spending some time with us.  No matter what comes next for him, you can be sure that MC will be eagerly awaiting the next Angry Nun film!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space (A Monsters vs Aliens short)

When it comes to Halloween specials, I'm usually of the classic persuasion.  I love the ones from my childhood and though I will watch the newer ones, they usually don't do that much for me.  I still appreciate the fact that they are putting out Halloween specials, but most seem to fall a bit short in the Halloween Spirit department.  Well, Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space is hands down the BEST Halloween special to come down the pike in well over a decade.

MPfOS is a TV special that first aired on October 28th, 2009.  I loved Monsters vs Aliens, so I was quite interested to see what they'd whip up for a Halloween Special.  I was not disappointed.  The ambiance is absolutely fantastic.  The special starts with a UFO sludging out some goop over a pumpkin patch, which brings all the pumpkins to life, turning them into anthropomorphic pumpkin monsters with glowing eyes and mouths.  

Meanwhile, Susan and the rest of the monsters are gearing up for Halloween.  BOB is trying to decide what to be.  Link is excited about the chance to go out and do some scaring.  Insectasaurus wants to dress as Elvis and Dr. Cochroach tells his tale of woe and the reason he dislikes Halloween.  Basically some bullies took his candy (a really nice swirly lollipop) and toss him in a trashcan.  

General Monger then comes and tells them that they must cancel their Halloween plans because there is an alien invasion on the rise in (where else?) Susan's hometown of Modesto, California.  Susan visits her parents (without telling them the real reason that she is there) and the monsters partake in some trick or treating, while scanning the locals to see if they are alien.

There are some truly funny scenes here, such as when BOB forgets what to say when he goes to his first house for trick or treat.  Link becomes upset that no one is scared of him and Dr. Cockroach receives a swirly lollipop just like the one he lost when he was little and his love of the holiday returns. 

And of course, that's exactly when the mutant pumpkins attack!  As it turns out they grow bigger with every piece of candy they eat.  They start to grow bigger and bigger until finally combining and former a super pumpkin monster!  Just like Voltron.....or a transformers combiner!  In a word.....AWESOME!

I won't ruin the end of the special for you, but I will say that it is definitely worth a watch.  It has a fun storyline, with the characters you already love from the MvA universe.  It also brings a certain je ne sais quoi that only certain Halloween specials have.  A certain fun, spooky vibe that cannot be forced.

MPfOS is available on DVD and hopefully they will show it again on TV this month (though a quick glance showed no listings).  This is absolutely a recommended viewing for this Halloween for the whole family!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Garfield's Halloween Adventure

You know, they say never lead off with the best material, because you would have no where to go from there.  You know what though?  I don't care.  I've waited all year for this.  Garfield's Halloween Adventure is my all time favorite Halloween Special.  If I was only able to watch one special and one special only, it would be this one.  I will watch it absolutely every single day between now and Halloween night.  I love it THAT much.  This is my childhood wrapped into 24 minutes of animated bliss and I want to share it with EVERYONE.  You can keep your Great Pumpkin, because I know that the true spirit of Halloween lies with some dead pirates in a house on a lonely river island.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some Charlie Brown, but this is the penultimate in Retro Halloween Specials as far as I'm concerned.

I used to think that everyone had seen this special, but it's come to my attention in my adult (read man-child) years that not as many people remember this special as I would have thought.  This thoroughly shocks me as Holly and I are constantly quoting the special and singing it's songs all year long.  I wish I was making that up, but if I had a nickle for every time we started to sing an impromptu round of "What Should I Be?"  I probably wouldn't need a day job.  A few years ago, when I was still working in sales, I sent out an email to all my co-workers with a poll asking which they preferred -  Garfield or Charlie Brown.  We were a productive bunch, weren't we?  Any way, I found that nearly half of my co-workers had never even SEEN the Garfield special, while a good part of the rest of them preferred It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  That's pretty much when I lost my faith in humanity.

Okay, okay, so what is so great about this special, you ask?  Well, first of all, it has quite possibly one of the most endearing Halloween stories I've ever seen.  Garfield is woken up early one morning by the Binky The Clown Show.  Now first off, I'd like to point out that Binky has always creeped me out.  He's like an angry cross between Bozo and Pennywise!  Makes me shiver just thinking about it.  Anyway, he wakes up to Binky telling all the kids ("Heeeeeey Kiiiiiiiiiiids!") that it's Halloween and that night they could get lots of candy.  This of course catches Garfield's attention and brings us too one of my most quoted lines "Candy, candy, candy!"  Which brings me to another side story.  I'm not much of a candy person most of the year and I could go January to September without so much as a piece of chocolate.....and I would be fine with that.  But when Halloween rolls around, I can't help myself.  I can't go to the store without buying bags of candy.  Holly could send me to the store to buy toilet paper and swiss cheese, but you can be sure that I will come back with three bags of various Halloween candy and HOPEFULLY I remember to pick up what I was sent out to get.  Same thing happens to me with Egg Nog and Christmas Cookies and candies.  I am truly a diseased individual.

So Garfield has brilliant idea to bring Odie along with him, effectively netting himself two bags of candy.  They head up to the attic to search for costumes.  Here is where the incredibly infectious song "What Should I Be?" plays out.  I dare you to listen to it and NOT get it stuck in your head.  After searching through boxes and trunks they find the perfect costumes:  Pirates!  They are now Orangebeard and Odie the Stupid!  John laughs at their costumes and Garfield threatens him with his wooden sword but decides to let him live "being that yer the only one who be changing me kitty litter!"  Classic line.  The boys head out to Trick or Treat and as they walk down the street, Odie starts to whimper.  Garfield tells him not to be afraid, because they are all just kids, like them, in costume.  Garfield sings my second favorite song in the show, "Scaredy Cat" as he attempts to show Odie that they are all costumes, but each appears to be a real supernatural creature or ghost.

After their sacks are full, the boys are about to head home when Garfield notices all the houses across the river.  Being the greedy kitty that he is, they find a row boat and start to head to the other side to get more candy ("Candy, candy, candy!"),  Unfortunately when Garfield tells Odie to put out the oars, Odie does just that.  Literally.  As the oars float away, Garfield realizes that they might be in trouble.  However, the wash up on an island in the river.  The house appears to be inhabited, with light coming from the windows, but when they peer in, they see no one.  They decide to warm themselves by the fire.  It's then that they are surprised by an old man sitting in a chair, who tells them a tale of a pirate blood pact.  100 years ago, these pirates left their treasure here and all vowed to come back 100 years later for it, even if it meant returning from the grave!  Which, of course it would....because who the hell lives that long anyway?  But that's besides the point.  The old man steals their rowboat and leaves them to face the phantom pirates.

When I was a kid, these ghost pirates really freaked me out!  I can very distinctly remember holding my plastic pumpkin full of candy tightly as I watched Garfield and Odie hide from them.
Of course as a young child I was afraid of pretty much everything.  It's actually quite amazing that I turned into a horror hound, because I remember staying up under my covers freaked out over a Halloween episode of The Facts of Life.  So there you go.  Take of that what you will.

GHA was originally called Garfield in Disguise, which I'm guessing they changed because it wasn't Halloweeney enough.  That sounds more like some kinda espionage thing.  Halloween Adventure has a much better ring to it.  Garfield, as always, was voice by Lorenzo Music....who also performed the musical numbers.  This was unavailable for a number of years, having only been distrubted on VHS by Fox Home Entertainment in 1992.  It was then released on DVD as part of the Garfield Holiday Celebrations disc in 2004, released by 20th Century Fox.  This is how I got my hands on a wonderful gift from my loving wife, Holly.  Love that woman.  Anyway, it's still available if you look for it.  Amazon has got more than a few copies of it.....and you also get Garfield's Thanksgiving and A Garfield Christmas....also both essentials!  If you want a real treat this Halloween, do yourself a favor and watch this!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Midnight Cinephile's Halloween Extravaganza

Ah, October.  That most awesome of months.  By now, many food and drinks have a pumpkin spice flavor variant to them, the weather is cooling off, the air is becoming crisp, the leaves are starting to change and there is lots of candy, candy, candy on the store shelves!  October 1st marks the beginning for me of the glorious triplex of holidays that bring me pure unadulterated and unmitigated joy.   We'll talk more about Thanksgiving and Christmas later.  For now, it's all about Halloween.

Your friendly Midnight Cinephile!
What can be expected of Midnight Cinephile for the next 31 days?  Well I don't know for certain, there are definitely certain films and Halloween specials that I want to hit upon, but I find that sometimes it's best to let inspiration come to you.  You can absolutely expect to see reviews of all the Halloween films.  Yes, even including Rob Zombie's takes on the franchise.  I liked 'em.  Plus, I'm a completest and I wouldn't feel right if I didn't cover absolutely every single film.  You can absolutely bet that I will be doing pieces on Halloween specials old and new, as well as review Halloween episodes of sitcoms and perhaps other TV shows. This our first Halloween Extravaganza here at MC, so we'll just have to see where things take us!

So sit back and relax, grab a handful of caramel popcorn and candy corn and enjoy Midnight Cinephile's Halloween Extravaganza!  Next post is going to be a review of the 1985 TV Special - Garfield's Halloween Adventure!

Midnight Cinephile's Halloween Movie Primer - Syfy Channel's 31 Days of Halloween

If you have been following Midnight Cinephile for a while, you may know that I have a deep nostalgic love for the Sci-Fi Channel of yesteryear, especially The Super Nova Movie Explosion!  Now I've ripped on Syfy a few times for the name change and I stand by that.  I still thing Syfy is dopey looking.  However, every year they do put on their 31 Days of Halloween and it makes me forgive the goofy name change a little.

It's far from perfect.  They still waste a ton of time with all day marathons of current Syfy shows.  I would love to see them run marathons of older shows that aren't in regular rotation.  Or at least shows that aren't on pretty much every time you turn on the TV.  I love the Fourth of July Twilight Zone Marathon.....they only show TZ on off hours and it's a kind fun tradition.  I'm getting off track though.  As I was saying, I would love to see them run marathons of shows that the used to show, like V, The Prisoner, Manimal, Dark Shadows and Automan.  Hell, they could fit the entire Automan series into a one day marathon, since it only lasted 13 episodes (which is a crime unto itself).  I love Face Off and Warehouse 13, but I've already seen most episodes multiple times.  Let's bring back some good old fashioned Sci-Fi fare!

Okay, so wasted Marathon Days aside Syfy does a pretty good job of rounding up some decent Halloweentime films.  Even on the Marathon Days though, they usually manage to squeak through a movie in the wee hours of the morning.  Much like AMC, there is still a lot of missed opportunity for diversity here and there are an overabundance of repeated movies, but there is still some spooky goodness to be had.  Movies run the gamut of the usual Syfy original movies to heavily rotated flicks such as Thirteen Ghosts and 100 Feet to a few more surprising selections such as A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2:  Freddy's Revenge and the original Amityville Horror.  You can see the entire schedule HERE.

Syfy's 31 Days of Halloween kicks off with a day full of Alphas and Warehouse 13 episodes.  Thursday the 4th brings a Strek Trek movie marathon day.  Not exactly Halloween, but I do enjoy most of the Star Trek flicks so it's okay in my book.....sadly no Wrath of Kahn though.  Saturday, the 27th, we get a zombie movie marathon, which is awesome and of course on the 31st, we have the obligatory Ghost Hunters marathon, which to be honest has worn out it's novelty with me.  I assume they will have the live investigation as usual because from 7pm (EST) to 10pm (EST) the three hour block simply reads as TBD (To Be Decided).  However, at 10pm, we get the live Face Off finale, which will be open to viewer voting.  That is pretty cool and I will most likely be watching that.  You can see the entire schedule HERE.

In addition to the 31 Days programming, Syfy also has a series of live events planned for the NYC area.  They've even released a handy PDF booklet to help you sort out what events you would like to attend throughout the five Burroughs.  Everything from Haunted Houses and Haunted Walks to Pumpkin Festivals and the Pooch Parade Howl-o-ween.

So there you have it!  Between AMC, TCM and Syfy you should have your hands more than full with Halloween films and shows to keep you occupied this Samhain season!