The Questions Lady Terminator Raises



Question #1: Does Lady Terminator have anything in common with The Terminator? What are the similarities and differences between Lady Terminator and The Terminator?


-A destructive force from another time comes to the present to exterminate someone in both films.

-Both include the line, “Come with me if you want to live.”

-There is a moment in each film where the virtually indestructible villain is knocked to the ground with ample gunfire and the camera shows their twitching fingers.

-Both feature an eye-removal-before-a-bathroom-sink scene.



-Guns are reloaded significantly less in Lady Terminator.

-In The Terminator, a cyborg from the future travels to the past to stop the birth of an eventual wartime revolutionary. In Lady Terminator, an anthropologist is possessed by a sea witch from the past, who seeks vengeance on her husband’s great granddaughter.

-No characters in The Terminator have magic eels in their vaginas; no sex scene in The Terminator culminates with castration by a vagina-dwelling magic eel.


Question #2: What kinds of TVs explode into flames when shot?



Question #3: Ricky Brothers composed the music to Lady Terminator. Is Ricky Brothers one man, whose first name is Ricky and last name is Brothers, or is the Ricky Brothers a band name, not unlike the Doobie or Allman Brothers?


I don’t know, but Ricky Brothers—whether band or man—wrote for synthesizers, in my opinion, at least as well as Pino Donaggio did for The Barbarians.

Question #4: Exactly how many instances of violence to the male genitalia occur in Lady Terminator?


Thirteen, although I’m only counting the wise old sensei getting excessively machine gunned to the crotch as one instance.

Question #5: Was Michael Sorich, the actor who overdubbed the voice of the character Snake, aware at the time of the children’s cartoon program Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Particularly, was he aware of Townsend Coleman’s work on the voice of Michelangelo?



Question #6: “What’s the point of not having money if you can’t spend it?”



Question #7: How does a urine stream with that much propulsion form when the fly isn’t even open?



Question #8: Lady Terminator lists Dave Mallow as the film’s dialogue coach. Was Dave Mallow fired before the completion of the movie on grounds of incompetence?



Question #9: Is the glowing green thing the wise old sensei shoots into the eponymous villain’s eye what causes her to grow extra nipples?


On the same token, does the growth of extra nipples alone warrant the painful removal of one’s own eye with an X-acto knife?

Question #10: Wouldn’t it be nice if more cops, before final showdowns with devastating murderesses, could join hands and say, in unison, “Let’s kick ass?”

Lady Terminator photo 7


Question #11: Why does Tania, the lady terminator, wait till she is incinerated by the flames of a bazooka blast to shoot deadly lasers out of her eyes?


She had this ability the whole time, and, up until the last five minutes of the movie, relies on automatic weapons?!

Question #12: Isn’t it possible to be both a lady and an anthropologist?


“I’m an anthropologist, not a lady!”

You know, like, when did anthropologist become its own gender?

Click this link, to attempt to answer these perplexing questions for yourself.


Some Enchanted Evening



For some awesome fiction, art, and poetry check out the brand new online issue of Jokes Review. It includes my story “Some Enchanted Evening,” which examines why sometimes it behooves deformed ex mall cops to get way too stoned and make online dating profiles. It’s my first love story. Thanks for reading Issue #3 of Jokes Review!


The Corpse Grinders (1971)



What’s it like working for the Lotus cat food company? If your experience is anything like Caleb’s, your shift starts at midnight and you’re expected to dig up graves and retrieve dead bodies. You’re also continually stiffed on your paycheck. Lotus will stop at nothing to save a buck, so be ready for when, rather than paying you, they attack you and try to shove your body in a big hopper which grinds your flesh into ground meat.

Caleb (Warren Ball) has got it rough. His wife Cleo (Ann Noble) is stingy with the beef jerky (“a man’s gotta have meat!”), and thinks a toy doll is her daughter. Cleo, while she feeds the doll soup, nags and nags Caleb about the money. Lotus is doing just fine. Why can’t they pay him?


Lotus is doing just fine. Yeah. Its CEO, Mister Landau (Sanford Mitchell), is one shrewd guy. Who would’ve thunk human flesh made such great cat food? No one seems to read Consumer’s Digest, so the fact that their product turns cats into crazed killers isn’t slowing down sales any.  The FDA’s none the wiser: “According to FDA standards, there was nothing adulterous or hazardous about it.”


I don’t think that’s real American Sign Language, by the way, that Landau is using to communicate with his hearing-impaired secretary, Tessie.


Lotus might be getting away with grave robbing to cut down on material costs. Landau might have a giant meat grinder for people right next to his office, but Dr. Howard Glass (Sean Kenney) and his lovely assistant Angie (Monika Kelly) are suspicious. Dr. Glass is a jack of all trades. His hospital apparently specializes in humans as well as animals. He’ll examine a cat’s autopsy and remove a man’s gallbladder all in a day’s work. And Angie. She’s a regular gal. She’s just like anyone else. After a long day’s work, she likes to strip down to her bra and panties, crack a Budweiser, and watch some television. “Why would the cats suddenly turn into man eaters?” That is the question that plagues Dr. Glass and Angie. Do they actually resolve this question? That’s up to the viewer’s interpretation, I suppose.


Yes, you better believe the crew of The Corpse Grinders breaks out the red and green tints for the human flesh meat hopper scenes. Other than that, the photography is minimalistic and economical: You only really need one shot of gross, light brown man burger coming out of a meat grinder. Reduce, reuse, recycle. The Corpse Grinders only has one weakness. There aren’t enough cat attack scenes. You’re left wanting more, more, more scenes of cats launching themselves onto people’s necks and red, lipstick-like blood appearing. Other than that, it’s just as good as Ted V. Mikels’s other flicks: The Astro Zombies, The Worm Eaters, The Doll Squad. Thanks for this, Mr. Mikels. Thank you.


Watch the theatrical trailer right here! 

Wiener-Dog (2016)



When I saw Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Doll House, Palindromes) had a new movie out, I knew I had to see it. But I had to be ready—in the right state of mind—for the darkness, awkwardness, and sadness a Solondz movie entails. So, I waited till I was couch-bound, sick, and loopy from cold medicine.

Anyway, Wiener-Dog. It’s an homage of sorts to Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar: you know, that horribly depressing and stark French art film where the poor mule has all the different cruel owners. It’s the same idea with Wiener-Dog, except it’s with, yeah, a wiener dog instead of a mule.

The female wiener dog, our hero and protagonist, goes through a number of different owners. Each one gives her a new name. Her names include Cancer, Dootie, and Wiener Dog. With each different owner, we get a different vignette, and we see our hero the Dachshund go from a wealthy suburban family’s kid (Keaton Nigel Cooke) to an awkward do-gooder Veterinary Assistant (Greta Gerwig) to a developmentally disabled husband and wife (Connor Long and Bridget Brown) to a failure of a film professor (Danny DeVito) to a bitter elderly woman (Ellen Burstyn). Each owner is too dysfunctional in their own special way to care for and keep the poor wiener dog, and in every vignette, human hangups prevent our hero from ever enjoying a stable home.


Wiener-Dog has its hilarious moments as well as its heart wrenching, the world-is-a-cruel-horrid-place moments. It’s definitely a lot funnier than Au hasard Balthazar, but then again so is The Virgin Spring. It also might be even sadder, in its own weird, deadpan way. There’s something so perfect about the wiener dog. In spirit, it seems far and beyond superior to the humans that determine its life. If you have a dog, you’ll be hugging, clasping, and saying, ‘I’d never ever treat you that way’ to it after seeing Wiener- Dog. Affective, the film is, with Solondz’s signature dark humor keeping the sadness in check.

The scene where Greta Gerwig rescues the dog right before it’s about to be put to sleep at the vet’s is pure teary triumph.

The scene where the dog is fed a granola bar by a kid who doesn’t know any better is familiar, disastrous, and cringe-inducing.

Overall, the movie is loaded–it’s rich–with so many different elements. It philosophically posits the question, What are dogs in human lives even for? It lampoons, if not indicts, film school and doctrinal screenwriting approaches. Danny DeVito plays one sad sack. I loved the scene where his students tear him apart behind his back, ridiculing his tastes and achievements. There’s an awfully tender love story between Greta Gerwig, the dog’s potential best owner, and Kieran Culkin. There’s a hilarious performance by Michael Shaw as a controversial New York artist whose first name is Fantasy.

It’s a simple story, yet very complex in the emotions it plumbs the depths of.


I recommend it. It’s an experience.

Live Girls by Ray Garton


IMG_3017Back in 1987, New York City’s Times Square was still a sordid place: pre-Giuliani, a myriad of flashing neon Xs, the setting of Taxi Driver, of Basket CaseThis Times Square is where Ray Garton’s forgotten paperback vampire gem takes place. What if vampires infested the peep shows, strip clubs, and porno theaters of Times Square? That’s the premise of Garton’s first original novel (his only other book out at the time was the novelization of Tobe Hooper’s remake of Invaders From Mars).

I’d venture to declare Live Girls the greatest vampire glory hole book of 1987.

Meet Davey Owen. He’s an employee of Penn Publishing, which churns out lowbrow action fare aimed at gun maniacs. He’s always involving himself with the wrong women, as his would-be girlfriend and co-worker, Casey, often reminds him. After a bad break up, Davey finds himself at a peep show joint called Live Girls, which offers a little more than peeps, if yaknowwhatImean.

The sequence where Davey first gets vampirized, via glory hole blowjob, is a great erotic merging of fear and sex; Ray Garton demonstrates that the two go hand in hand. The deliciously sleazy passage creates a lurid, grainy, soft-lens-on cinematic effect in your mind. “Her small rib cage was lightly outlined against the skin below her firmly uplifted breasts, two scoops of vanilla flesh topped with generous dollops of rich chocolate that had hardened in the center.”

After the incident at Live Girls, Davey’s skin goes pale. He develops new, unusual sleep patterns. He loses his appetite, and he can’t stay away from Anya, the woman from Live Girls who bit him.

Meanwhile, a gritty New York Times reporter named Walter investigates the brutal murder of his sister and niece. His brother-in-law seems suspicious, and Walter follows him to Live Girls, where he uncovers a bona fide bloodsucker conspiracy.


Content-wise, Live Girls delivers everything you could want from a trashy vampire novel.  It’s loaded with action and lurid thrills. I especially love the slithering, monstrous, winged vamps that lurk in the basement of Live Girls: “Something long and covered with glistening open sores slid along the wall . . .” Its pacing and abundance of pretty decent dialogue moves you along comfortably, too; you could, in fact, as Dean Koontz did, finish it in “one bite.” The story’s climax is wonderful. It’s a great showdown with plentiful grue. But the two things most admirable about Live Girls: one is Garton’s evocation of place, as he teleports you right to the depths of a sleazy New York paranormal underbelly. The other is the POV of a vampire character. You feel what it’s like to become a vampire through Davey. You get the sensations, the sights, the smells, the dread . . . the hunger.

Talk about a gem, from a great time for horror paperbacks and vampires. Both paperbacks and vampires were still cool in 1987. It’s a good, good thing Live Girls is back in print.



Lady Frankenstein delivers everything you could possibly want from a b Frankenstein flick. Bad makeup effects, corny period costumes, gothic sets, gratuitous nudity . . . this phenomena oozes through the wonderfully grainy 35mm patina.

Directed by Mel Welles (who played Mr. Mushnick in the original Little Shop of Horrors), Lady Frankenstein is a radically different Frankenstein movie. Just when you think you’ve seen what it’s throwing at you, it veers sharply off course.

Dr. Frankenstein, played by a presumable hard-up-for-cash Joseph Cotten (The Third ManShadow of a Doubt), is, you guessed it, experimenting with the reanimation of dead tissue. With the help of Dr. Charles Marshall, played by Paul Muller (you may remember him as the doctor in Vampyros Lesbos), Frankenstein brings a dead body back to life, creating a dangerous monster.

No surprise there, but things turn to uncharted narrative territory, as the monster kills Dr. Frankenstein seconds after its reanimation. Meanwhile, Frankenstein’s daughter Tania has come to visit her father. Tania, played by beautiful b-movie babe Rosalba Neri, has a morbid fascination with death, and she is as determined as her father to make her mark on the world of dubious medical experimentation. The apple never falls far from the tree, does it?
While the monster her father created roams around wreaking havoc (most its violent outbursts are directed toward fornicating couples), she decides she’s in love with Dr. Charles Marshall. Well, not quite. She’s in love with his mind, but not his body. She’s in love with the body of a man named Thomas, but not his mind. Thomas is developmentally disabled. Tania convinces Dr. Charles to let her put his brain in Thomas’s body. She is, indeed, so seductive a seductress she can convince a man to kill for her and have his brain transplanted to the dead body he is responsible for. Now, that’s seduction.

Can Lady Frankenstein realize her strange and lustful desires, or will the angry mob of villagers, outraged by the deaths her father’s monster has caused, stop her dead in her tracks?

You can see, plot wise, Lady Frankenstein ain’t your everyday Frankenstein story. It also distinguishes itself in other ways, with other details. In this Frankenstein story, the monster gets his face singed by the lightning, leaving him to look like a deformed Dom DeLuise. In this Frankenstein story, the monster is so powerful that all he has to do is hug someone, and blood spills from their mouth and they die instantaneously. In this Frankenstein story, the monster runs around in striped, mod rocker pants.


Lady Frankenstein is recommended to everyone who likes movies with clumsy, jarring cuts—people who enjoy a little charming sloppiness (the overdubbed dialogue has its moments, like when Rosalba Neri is talking, but her mouth isn’t moving). It’s recommended to those who like their Frankenstein flicks a little erotic (eat your heart out Andy Warhol) and for them to have a trippy, would-be avant garde musical score. Do you like movies where the fake blood looks like Ketchup, sometimes cocktail sauce? You better not miss this one.

Overall, Lady Frankenstein is pure, messy b-movie accidental greatness. And the best part . . . it’s public domain. Watch it right here!