Archive for the pop culture Category

I Read Movies’ 2020 Year End Round up

Posted in Blog Series, Book Report, books, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2021 by Paxton

For those that don’t know, I host a movie novelization podcast called I Read Movies.  Every month I read a movie novelization and then on the podcast I talk about the differences between the movie and the novelization.  Novelizations are great resources for extra information on your favorite movies.  Extra scenes, plot points, missing characters, all can be found in a good novelization.

September 2020 was I Read Movies’ third birthday.  December’s Willow episode was episode 42.  On the main podcast, I covered 11 novelizations in 2020.  You can see the covers of the 11 novelizations above.  I say, “on the main podcast”, because I did cover a few extra novelizations on other podcasts.  Back in May I covered the novelization of Highlander by Gary Killworth for Cult Film Club.  I also talked about the novelizations of Pale Rider and Tombstone on the western podcast Hellbent for Letterbox.  For the last two, I covered those more informally and didn’t go beat by beat the differences with the movie.

So that makes 14 novelizations covered by me in 2020.  I was going to include some of these in my last favorite books article but I decided to just do a quick round up here and pick my 5 favorite novelizations that I covered this year on I Read Movies.  I picked really well this year.  Out of 12 novelizations, it would have been easy to pick 10 as my favorites.   But I really dug deep and narrowed it down to my five favorite novelizations.

So let’s see which novelizations I most enjoyed in 2020!

FYI, all images and links are to my buddy Shawn’s movienovelizations.com.

The Goonies UK
The Goonies (1985) by James Kahn
– This was the first novelization I did in 2020.  Written by James Kahn who also wrote the Return of the Jedi novelization (which I covered in 2018) and the first two Poltergeist novelizations.  There is so much to love about this novel.  It’s written from Mikey’s POV, but clearly after the events have already taken place.  There are extra scenes including the squid scene at the end, as well as a long drawn out scene of the kids riding a raft through some underground caverns.  There’s even an entire chapter written from Chunk’s POV where he takes over telling you the story.  It’s a lot of fun.  And you do get a type of epilogue at the end that shows you what happened after the movie’s last scene via articles in the local newspaper.  If you are a Goonies fan, this novelization is a must.

Knight Rider 2
Knight Rider #2: Trust Doesn’t Rust (1984) by Glen A Larson
– I mostly cover movie novelizations for I Read Movies. However, starting in 2019, I decided I’d pick one TV novelization to do each year.  Last year I did a novelization of the original Knight Rider pilot episode, Knight of the Phoenix.  If I had done an I Read Movies year end round up last year, it would have been on it.  I had so much fun with that first book, that for 2020 I picked up the second book in Larson’s Knight Rider novelizations series, Trust Doesn’t Rust.  This book is based on the season 1, episode 9 debut of KARR, the evil rival to KITT.  I love this TV show, and the KARR episodes (there were two) were definitely some of my favorites.  This book, being based on only one of those episodes, certainly expands a lot on the action in the episode.  And Larson knows these characters well, so he’s the perfect person to do these novelizations.  However, there are two things about this book that surprise me.  First, these books were written a few years after the episodes.  So Larson had knowledge of later episodes in the series when he wrote them.  Despite this, he doesn’t normally incorporate this future knowledge into the story.  So some story beats of the book will contradict what comes later in the show.  Or not really even mention it at all.  The other thing I’m surprised about is that this book doesn’t also novelize the second episode featuring KARR.  They could have easily said, “1 Year Later” and continued on to tell that story.  But those are nit picks.  This book and the previous Knight Rider book is so much fun to read that I’m hoping to continue on in this series.

WarGames Hackers
WarGames (1983) and Hackers (1995) by David Bischoff – This is a two-fer because they are by the same author.  Like my buddy Retromash, WarGames is one of my favorite movies.  I had actually read the WarGames novelization back in high school when I found it in an old “garage sale store” back in Alabama.  I remember loving it.  So, I looked forward to a reread and to cover it on I Read Movies.  And it didn’t disappoint.  It fills in some pretty great story beats, has a few extra deleted scenes, some throwaway dialogue, and a completely different ending.  It’s a lot of fun, and Bischoff would also write another “techno” based movie novelization I read last year, Hackers (1995).  That movie is so much fun and the novelization preserves that fun while vastly increasing a lot of the context of the story.  There are one or two extra scenes, but what Bischoff does is add a lot of story beats to further flesh out the characters.  Plus, there’s a lot of techno jargon that is either wildly inappropriate, or wildly out of date.  I can’t recommend these two novelizations enough.

Jason Lives
Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part 6 (1986) by Simon Hawke
–  Back for my blog’s AWESOME-tober-fest 2012, I covered a bunch of horror novelizations.  Many of the 80s horror novelizations have become extremely hard to find and very collectible.  I had a friend that had almost all of them and he let me borrow them to read and review for the site.  This Friday the 13th book was one of them.  It was released in conjunction with the movie, but lead to Hawke also novelizing the first three movies in the franchise.  I wish they would have let him complete it, because I would have loved to have seen Hawke’s Part IV adaptation.  Anyway, fast forward to 2019 and I lucked into finding a copy of this book at my local used store for $3.  So I decided to cover it last November.  This is such a great adaptation of probably my favorite Jason movie.  It’s lots of fun.  It does add some context to characters and even fills in a bunch of back story for Jason.  Plus, there’s an epilogue featuring Jason’s dad, Elias.  Like I said, it’s become really hard to find and it’s super expensive on the secondary market.  But if you get a chance, I recommend you give it a read.

Halloween
Halloween (1979) by Curtis Richards
– This particular novelization has picked up a sort of legendary status for novelization collectors.  Again, it’s an early horror novelization, so it’s highly collectible and very hard to find.  Plus, it adds *so much* to the story.  I was able to acquire a copy of this in digital form and covered it for I Read Movies’ Halloween episode last year.  And it delivers.  The book starts off talking about weird celtic cults in Ireland.  Then it downshifts into a scene with Michael’s grandmother and mother discussing Michael’s “unfortunate accidents” in school.  It takes a while before you catch up to the movie.  and even then, you get a ton of extra scenes of Michael and what his life was like inside the asylum.  This novelization is an exercise in why novelizations are great.  Actually, I could probably say that about all of my favorites this year.  They all added so much to their stories it made reading them a joy.

So those were my favorite this year. Let’s take a look at a few overall stats for I Read Movies.

Over the course of the show I’ve covered just over 50 books and novelizations. That includes the 42 episodes of the main show, as well as the Apendix special episodes, and any other special episodes I did for Nerd Lunch and Cult Film Club. How about an author breakdown? Currently, the author I’ve covered the most on I Read Movies is a three way tie between James Kahn, Jeffrey Cooper and Craig Shaw Gardner with three titles each.

James Kahn – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, The Goonies
Craig Shaw Gardner – The Lost Boys, Batman, Batman Returns
Jeffrey Cooper – Nightmare on Elm Street, Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Nightmare on Elm Street 3

Then there are a bunch of authors where I’ve covered two titles; Alan Dean Foster, George Gipe, David Bischoff, Hank Searls, and Glen Larson. I have a few of these authors scheduled again in 2021 so we shall see who jumps in front next year.

Okay that’s my I Read Movies year end novelization round up.  Hope you enjoyed this past year of the podcast.  I picked a lot of really good choices last year and I think I have a lot of good novelizations coming up in 2021.  I typically take a break in January, but I might have a special episode for January and then I’ll be back in February covering The Last Starfighter by Alan Dean Foster.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2020: Animaniacs – Hot, Bothered & Bedeviled (1998)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, The Devil, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2020 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2020Here we are guys, the day before Halloween!  I can’t believe we made it.  It was dicey there for a bit, but we made it through, relatively unscathed.  This AWESOME-tober-fest has been fun.  I’m really glad I got to do it.  I’ll be honest, behind the scenes, it had it’s ups and downs.  This was the first time I did the Mon, Wed, Fri format.  I think it worked.  So maybe I’ll try it again next year.  We’ll see.  Anyway, let’s get on with today’s article!

Okay, last time I looked at a Tiny Toons cartoon that was an adaptation of The Devil and Daniel Webster and featured an appearance of the Devil voiced by Ron Perlman. Today, I’m going to look at the return of Ron Perlman’s Devil, not on Tiny Toons, but on Animaniacs!

It’s from Season 1, episode 29 – Hot Bothered & Bedeviled!  It’s a pretty great little adventure.  Unfortunately there’s no nod or wink to the previous Ron Perlman Devil episode.  That would have been awesome.  But it’s a lot of fun filled with all the pop culture references you’d expect.

So let’s take a look at the episode.

Animaniacs title cards!


We start off with a Sadam Hussein analog giving a speech to his people when the podium he’s on opens up beneath him…


…and he’s immediately sucked down into Hell. Is that how the Devil is working in this cartoon? He just takes whomever he wants regardless of if they’ve died or not? Yikes.


After falling into Hell we see these three demonesses singing a tune reminicent of the Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. With the requisite Hellish refrences. It’s actually pretty good. And if you’re going to Hell, it’s a nice way to be welcomed there.


We see some of the tortures that are going on in this Hell. One of them being marathons of The Facts of Life!


Here we are, the return of Ron Perlman’s Devil from Tiny Toons!


Then the Animaniacs show up unexpectedly a la Bugs Bunny not making that left turn at Albuquerque.


As soon as Wakko finds out they are in Hell, he runs all the way back up to the surface of the Earth and brings back a snowball to test out that age old idiom. And his conclusion, “Yep, it never stood a chance!”


Like Silly Symphony Hell’s Bells, we get an appearance of Cerebus!  The Devil’s three headed hound and guardian of the Gates of Hell.


The Devil has had enough of their antics! He’s keeping them in Hell to torture them!

Bob Dylan
First the Devil locks them in a room to listen to nothing but political folk music from the 70s. I love that Bob Dylan is in this version of Hell.

Stand up commedian
While running all over Hell trying to get away from the Devil, the Animaniacs distract him by putting up a stage so he can do a stand up routine.


I think this is the first time we see the River Styx and the boatman in Hell!  And the Animaniacs rope him into doing a musical number!


The Devil catches up to them. And he’s furious!


Trapped by the Devil, Yakko in his best Kirk impression asks Wakko if he has anything in his “gag bag” that could help.  Wakko says no.  Continuing as Kirk he asks Dot for any analysis or comments.  She says “nothing Yakko”.  So Wakko turns and asks Bones who says, “Darnit Yakko, I’m a doctor, not a magician!”  Star Trek reference!


The Devil, completely fed up with their antics literally kicks the Animaniacs out of Hell so hard that they wind up in Heaven.

And that’s Part II of the animated Ron Perlman Devil.  This one really felt like a classic Loony Tunes adventure.  I really liked it.  And the animation, as per usual on both Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, is fantastic.

So that’s it.  Tomorrow is Halloween!  I don’t have an article scheduled for tomorrow, so this is it for this year’s AWESOME-tober-fest!  I hope you enjoyed it and, whatever you do, please have a fun but safe Halloween.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2020: Tiny Toons – Daniel Webfoot and the Devil (1995)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, The Devil, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2020 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2020

Today I’m going to look at a cartoon special that has an adaptation of The Devil and Daniel Webster.  It was a Tiny Toons special called Night Ghoulery.

Night Ghoulery

It was originally supposed to air in October 1994, but it was pushed to May 1995. The overall premise of the special is a parody of the Rod Serling anthology show, Night Gallery, which ran on NBC from 1970-1973.  There are several segments each parodying a different story, like Tell-Tale Heart, Hound of the Baskervilles, Night of the Living Dead, and there’s even an adaptation of that classic Twilight Zone episode Terror at 20,000 Feet.  And they also do a version of The Devil and Daniel Webster.  But before we get to that I want to point out the awesomely spookified opening.

We see Buster and Babs as zombies.


We see them using flashlights to create spooky lighting.


Still in the intro, we get to see the gang trick or treating.  We can see Plucky in the back on the right dressed as Freddy Krueger.  In front of him is Fifi La Fume and she’s dressed as what looks like Dot from the Animaniacs.  Moving left I see Shirley the Loon and I think she’s dressed as Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie.  And finally Hampton is dressed as Barney Rubble.

Now let’s get on to the show.  The wraparound segments, like I said, are based on Rod Serling’s Night Gallery.


Babs is the host of this special and she’s standing in a spooky old art gallery which is what Rod Serling did for Night Gallery.


We actually get an appearance of an animated Siskel & Ebert about half way through and they give their review of the special so far.

But let’s take a look at the segment, Daniel Webfoot and the Devil.


Daniel Webfoot and his driver arrive at the mansion answering a distress call.  Webfoot can already see there are spooky shenanigans going on.


We see Montana Max quivering in front of a large figure.  He clearly looks in trouble.


The camera pans to see the Devil.  In a purple suit, spats and matching top hat.  This Devil is actually voiced by Ron Perlman and he’s a very likable chap.  Perlman being the Devil here feels like an homage to him being Hellboy.  I mean the Devil even looks like an interpretation of Hellboy.  But that movie wouldn’t happen for another 9 years.  So maybe Ron Perlman in Hellboy is an homage to *this* cartoon.  (I know, I just blew your f**king mind).


Webfoot arrives and immediately tries to wheel and deal with him.  And the Devil is totally open to negotiation.  Webfoot tries to claim that Montana Max was unduly forced into his contract…


…and we hear from Montana himself that, no, he entered into the contract of his own free will.  He’s sitting amongst a bunch of money to prove it.


Like the original story, the Devil pulls in a group of damned souls to mediate the negotiation.


Ultimately, Webfoot can’t get around the signed contract…


…and both he and Montana wind up in Hell by the end.

I love Tiny Toons, so of course I love this very loose adaptation of The Devil and Daniel Webster.  And I love Ron Perlman’s strong voice behind this very likeable Devil.  Apparently people liked it because Perlman would return to voice the devil in another episode.  But not Tiny Toons!

Stay tuned to see Ron Perlman’s second appearance as a cartoon Devil on Friday!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2020: I Read Movies – The Halloween (1978) movie novelization by Curtis Richards

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, The Devil, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2020 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2020

We are in the home stretch, guys.  Halloween is on Saturday!  So to begin this week long Halloween party I’m going to divest from the Devilspeak for a day and point you to the Halloween episode of my movie novelization podcast, I Read Movies.  This month is my 4th annual Halloween episode and I am covering the highly coveted and rare novelization to John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) by Curtis Richards.

Lots of amazing extra insights into the nature of Michael Myers in this book. I think you’re really going to enjoy this episode.  Download and check it out in all the typical podcast places.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Faust Movie Friday: Bedazzled (1967)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, monsters, movies, The Devil with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2020 by Paxton

Faust Movie Friday

It’s another Friday during AWESOME-tober-fest!  That means it’s time once again for a Faust Movie Friday!  Today I’m going to look at Bedazzled.  For some of you the 2000 movie starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley just popped into your head.

Bedazzled 2000 poster

While, yes, I actually like that movie and considered covering it this year, that’s not the movie I’m talking about. Did you know that 2000 movie was a remake of another movie?  From 1967 starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, it’s also called Bedazzled.

Bedazzled 67 poster

The 1967 original movie has basically the same premise. Hapless and miserable Stanley (Elliot in the 2000 version) contemplates suicide when he is visited by the Devil incarnate and offered a deal; 7 wishes to get the life he always wanted in exchange for his immortal soul.  The rest of the movie is Stanley going through his wishes and figuring out what works and what doesn’t (mostly, it doesn’t work).  In this 67 version, Peter Cook is the Devil and Stanley is played by Dudley Moore.

Peter Cook’s Devil is very charismatic.  He seems simultaneously to enjoy his job and also loathe it.  He’s funny.  He’s constantly making deals.  Stanley keeps thinking that he and the Devil are becoming friends and then the Devil proves that they are nothing of the sort.  I really enjoyed Cook’s portrayal here.  Dudley Moore, pre-Arthur, which I haven’t seen much of at all, is great as the likeable loser Stanley.  He’s pathetic but you are pulling for him the whole time.  But, I’ll be honest, throughout the movie I was constantly wondering why he was so infatuated with that waitress, Margaret.  Almost everyone throughout the movie is clearly infatuated by her.  I didn’t necessarily see the appeal.  Why would Stanley want to kill himself and change everything by selling his soul to the Devil for her?  I guess that speaks more to Stanley than the desireability of her.  Regardless, this movie is a lot of fun.  It’s super funny.  It’s 100% British.  So very British.  But I really enjoyed watching it and I’m glad I finally checked it out.

Let’s take a look at some of the scenes from Bedazzled.


The movie starts with some very trippy 60s credits.


We meet Stanley Moon. Played by Dudley Moore.  Happless short order cook at Wimpy’s Bar (right pic).  He’s pining over one of the waitresses that work with him. He’s so depressed about his job, his lack of girlfriend, and his unrequited love, that he’s ready to commit suicide by tying a rope to his plumbing and jumping off a chair. Unfortunately, the pipes break and he floods his apartment.


Enter The Devil. Played by Peter Cook.  He promises that he can help Stanley.  He offers him 7 wishes for his eternal soul.


The Devil takes Stanley to his current base of operations, The Rendevous Club.  We learn from the sign that the Devil’s current nomme de plume is George Spiggott.  While he and Stanley negotiate over the terms of the contract that the Devil is offering, we see him performing “random bits of mischief” as he calls them.


Here he’s opening a crate of records bound for a record store and putting a big scratch on them.


Here he’s tearing out the last page of an Agatha Christie novel so whomever buys it won’t find out who the killer is.  In case you were wondering what book that is, it’s The Clocks.  Stanley signs the contract and begins his wishes.


After each wish, if Stanley doesn’t like the outcome of the wish, he just blows a raspberry and is taken back to George the Devil. Whenever this happens, George is usually in the middle of more mischief. Here, George just released a bunch of wasps on a circle of hippies playing music.


George offers Stanley his own room and bed to rest in after one of his wishes goes particularly awry. After waking up, Stanley meets Lilith. George has in his employ several characters that are physical manifestations of the 7 deadly sins. We met Anger and Sloth earlier. We’ll meet Envy later. Lilith is Lust, and she’s played by the great Raquel Welch.

If you watch this movie, you’ll notice that the Elizabeth Hurley version of the Devil from the 2000 remake is based on Welch’s Lust.  They even wear a few of the same outfits.


This is after another bad wish. When Stanley appears, George was in the middle of putting a small leak in an oil tanker.


Towards the end we find out that George had a deal with God that if he got to 200 Billion souls first, he could re-enter Heaven as an angel. And George had done it. So he was throwing a goodbye party with all of his employees before going back up to Heaven to join the angels.  And because he got a few extra souls over 200 Billion, George gives Stanley back his own soul.


Of course Lust is dancing on the bar at the party.


Then we see the Devil board an elevator in his office that goes directly to Heaven, and he gets an audience with the almighty. We learn that George giving Stanley his soul back negates the deal and he has to return to Earth to stop Stanley from destroying the contract.

I really enjoyed watching this movie.  I highly recommend you check it out.  It was a lot of fun and the performances are very good.  Especially if you like that dry British wit.

Well, that finishes out this week.  Next week is the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest.  And I have a few good articles to finsh us out.  Join me next week, won’t you?



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.