Pool Sharks

Retroist Scoreboard: Pool Sharks and B-movie monsters!

Hello, soundtrack enthusiasts. I’ve been toiling away on a special feature that I’ll be rolling out in small chunks in future editions of this column, only to discover that it wouldn’t be needed this week by a long shot. Why? Because there is a heap of new music to talk about this week. Ears open!

Intrada has released an unexpected gem, the complete remastered Kenyon Hopkins score from 1961’s The Hustler, which starred Paul Newman and George C. Scott. An unlikely collision of mid-20th-century jazz and orchestral drama, The Hustler was released on LP at the time of the movie’s release, and while this CD duplicates the original LP track order, it also adds enough material from the restored original session recordings to double the album’s length.
Pool Sharks

Intrada promises this title will be around “while quantities and interest remain”…which is a gentle way of saying it’ll be around until the typical specialty soundtrack print run of 3,000 copies sells out. (Why 3,000? It’s a number that the American Federation of Musicians, a union representing Hollywood session players, arrived at in negotiations with the Film Score Monthly label in the 1990s, and has since become the industry standard for the soundtrack specialty labels.)

From Kritzerland Records this week comes a very limited edition – only 1,000 copies worldwide – release of the score from 1957’s Monster from Green Hell, composed by B-movie maestro extraordinaire Albert “big blasts o’ brass” Glasser (Last Of The Wild Horses, Invasion U.S.A., The Cisco Kid, The Beginning Of The End, The Amazing Colossal Man, War Of The Colossal Beast…well, basically every third movie that ever showed up on Mystery Science Theater 3000, okay?). Kritzerland brought the score up to modern digital specs from Glasser’s original session tapes, and they’re taking orders now with the CD due to ship by the end of March, if not sooner.

Varese Sarabande has dropped three very limited editions – each limited to 1,000 copies – all from current and upcoming films. The standout in this batch would seem to be Before I Wake, with a score from the Newton Brothers and Danny Elfman; also released are Laurent Eyquem‘s USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage and the soundtrack from Bitter Harvest, scored by Benjamin Wallfisch. None of these titles are, strictly speaking, “retro”, but with the low production numbers, like it or not, they’re tomorrow’s rarities. (Welcome to the soundtrack collector’s eternal game of Russian roulette: there’s no guarantee that all 1,000 copies will disappear either, though if even one of these titles sold out, I’d put my money on the one with Danny Elfman’s name on the cover.)

Going out of print at the end of this month at Intrada is Observations, a CD featuring an original composition by Arthur B. Rubenstein (Blue Thunder, WarGames), composed for a 2009 Griffith Park Observatory presentation. Rubenstein also conducts a selection of other astronomically-themed classical pieces from that show, but the highlight is “Observations”, presented both in instrumental form and, as it was heard by the planetarium audience, with narration by the late, great Leonard Nimoy. Perhaps not necessarily a film soundtrack, but somewhere at the intersection of Nimoy and Rubenstein (whose WarGames score is an all-time favorite of this writer) is one good reason, if not two of them, to pick this up before it goes out of print.

Now, that feature that somehow managed not to start this week? Here’s a little taster: a little green friend of mine once urged me to pass on what I have learned. So, beginning with March’s Retroist Scoreboard columns, I’ll start including, piece by piece, a glossary of terms that any budding soundtrack collector will need if they’re planning on staying aboard for this hobby. They’ll be terms that I’ll probably use quite a bit going forward, so there’s a good reason for such a glossary to exist, and I’ve put quite a bit of work into it. Stick around, you might learn a thing or two.

But that starts in March. Next week, we’re going to talk about why my inner Trekkie is awash in music he never thought he’d get his hands on. Beam back here this time next week.

When he’s not keeping score at the Retroist, Earl Green is the founder, head writer and podcaster-in-chief at the LogBook.com, a site devoted in roughly equal parts to classic sci-fi, classic video games, classic soundtracks, and space history. You can catch him lining up carefully curated excerpts from TV, movie and game scores most months on the Log Book’s soundtrack mixtape podcast, In The Grand Theme Of Things.

The Thing

John Carpenter’s The Thing…Is Becoming A Board Game?!

1982’s The Thing is one of John Carpenter’s greatest movies. Having said that, I want to point out that isn’t hyperbole but just a stone cold fact. Granted in 1982 most audiences weren’t ready to embrace The Thing. While the average movie goer was certainly basking in the warmth of 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and for good reason. There were indeed a few fans of horror that embraced the much darker film of alien contact.
Drew Struzan

In addition there were enough fans of John Carpenter as well as his exceptional film about isolation and paranoia. That The Thing continued to quietly capture fans by and large over the years. I can still vividly recall the sense of delicious dread and fear watching it for the first time, at a local Drive-In. Furthermore John Carpenter’s take on John W. Campbell’s novella Who Goes There? over the years has mutated from cult film to full-fledged classic.

{Via] Thriller Chiller Films

I would like to point out I place The Thing in my top ten favorite movies of all time.
The Thing

All things considered it shouldn’t have shocked me that there was an announcement today by Mondo. In partnership with Project Raygun they are producing a board game based on the 1982 movie. Entitled THE THING: INFECTION AT OUTPOST 31 it will boast artwork by Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative. Of course Outpost 31 was where the cast of characters in the 1982 movie were stationed – an Antarctic research station.
The Thing

As for the style of the game this is what the news release from Mondo stated:
“When we set out to create the first licensed Mondo board game the biggest question was; what film property would we go after? So many of the films we celebrate at Mondo would be an absolute blast in game form,” explained Jay Shaw, Mondo Brand Director. “As soon as John Carpenter’s suspense masterpiece, The Thing was mentioned it very quickly became our top choice,” Shaw noted.

“The next step was to figure out how to actually make a game. We all love playing them, but none of us had designed one before. Game mechanics are an incredibly complicated art form and we didn’t want to enter this space unless we were going to get it right. Luckily our dear friends at Project Raygun were completely up to the challenge. They’ve built an incredibly challenging fast paced game of paranoia that transports players directly into the film,” Shaw continued.”

By all means I do realize that might not be a whole lot to go on. On the positive side until we can get more facts about the game itself – it gives us ample time to start staking a claim on which characters we will want to play.

I call dibs on Fuchs!
The Thing - Fuchs

I also want to thank Earl Green for the heads up on the upcoming The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 in the first place. Talking it over with Earl, I think we might be able to arrange a night in the future where we can sit down and record the game session. I’m positive there are more than enough people at the arcade who will want to join in for the fun. I’ll also be sure to post any updates on the board game as they come in!

Toho

What If Toho Had Done The Kong: Skull Island Trailer?

Well, I guess Toho has actually done Kong: Skull Island itself when you get down to it. At least in regards to certain elements of Toho’s King Kong vs. Godzilla from 1962 getting a nod in the upcoming Kong: Skull Island film. Case in point the addition of a giant octopus in the new movie.

A kaiju eiga in fact that was seen in Toho’s own 1962 movie. However in that film it involved the use of an actual living octopus.
Toho

Which furthermore necessitated the addition of an octopus wrangler on the set.
Toho

Perhaps this is what inspired Gorizard to create this fan made trailer. A look at how Kong: Skull Island might be handled if Toho had released the movie in ’62!

I want to thank Daniel XIII for the heads up on that bit of awesomeness. I have watched it a couple of times now and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Of course with the upcoming Kong: Skull Island film by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The Kong mythos is getting a reboot – in addition to giving us a new take on the character. It has set the events of the film squarely in the 2014 Godzilla universe. Which began Legendary and Warner Bros. “MonsterVerse” in partnership with Toho of course.

The link between films so far is the Monarch organization. A scientific outfit that was responsible for the investigation of Godzilla in the 2014 film. I should point out that the 2014 comic book prequel Godzilla: Awakening reveals the secret outfit was formed in 1946 to seek out and catalog massive unidentified terrestrial organisms.

I am guessing that Monarch is behind sending in the team in Kong: Skull Island. As evidence suggests in this television spot – to say nothing of the Godzilla reference by the nuclear test footage and John Goodman’s character!

[Via] Comicbook.Com

Regardless of all that, it is important to realize the true point of the MonsterVerse. The eventual meeting of both King Kong and Godzilla. The last time these two iconic titans tussled was one of the greatest Kaiju battles in cinematic history. Imagine what will happen the next time these two meet?

Now that you have had a chance to see what might have been Toho’s version of Kong: Skull Island. Why not check out a trailer for King Kong vs. Godzilla

[Via] TJ

My Bloody Valentine - Saturday Frights

Saturday Frights Vidcast: My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Friends, with it being February the 14th, it seemed the perfect time to discuss My Bloody Valentine. Now granted the Projectionist and I haven’t resurrected the Saturday Frights Podcast. But we did in fact decided to put together a special – a vidcast of sorts. Concerning the 1981 Canadian slasher film, the classic My Bloody Valentine!

In the vidcast, which runs about fifteen minutes. I share not just some of the elements I love most about the movie. Additionally I must admit that this is in fact probably my favorite film in the slasher genre. But furthermore the Projectionist and I also give a few fun facts about the film itself. As well as the 2009 remake by Lionsgate – My Blood Valentine 3D.

With this in mind, I do feel I should admit this isn’t going to be like the podcast. At no point do I go into the synopsis of the film itself. On the other hand we do bring up the soundtrack, in particular the memorable Ballad of Harry Warden. Which if you count yourself as fan, the soundtrack is available at Waxwork Records!

Image is courtesy of Waxwork Records.

So when you get a moment of free time, check out the vidcast. Perhaps the Projectionist and I will convince you that a horror movie is the perfect thing to watch today?

From the Projectionist and myself – we wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

Battlestar Galactica

Atari Was Making A Battlestar Galactica Laserdisc Game?!

Battlestar Galactica was required viewing in my youth. Of course it didn’t hurt the television series that in 1978 everyone was in the grip of Star Wars fever. In fact I I saw the Battlestar Galactica movie, which was an abridged version of the TV pilot, at the 62 Drive-In of my youth.

ReMastered By JDG

My notebooks at school were chock full of doodles featuring Stormtroopers as well as Cylon Warriors. Although I regret to say that I wasn’t lucky enough to receive very many of the toys. However I did get my hands on Mattel’s Cylon Centurion figure. Moreover it became a rival bounty hunter for Boba Fett in my Star Wars toy universe.

So in other words, I was a pretty big fan of the short lived Battlestar Galactica series. What I was not remotely aware of until yesterday though, was that Atari had plans on a laserdisc game. I found out about it thanks to Patrick Barnes who posted on the Diary of An Arcade Employee Facebook Page. It was back in 1984 that Atari began work on a conversion kit for another of their laserdisc titles – Firefox.

Image courtesy of the Arcade Flyer Archive.

Sadly the Battlestar Galactic arcade game never saw the light of day. On the positive side at least there exists this test footage of the proposed arcade title.


Uploaded by Scottith Games to his YouTube account!

Furthermore he shares an interview with a designer of the game. Owen Rubin who worked on such classic games as Battlezone, Space Duel and Major Havoc:
“With Galactica, it was my idea originally as I was a Galactica fan obviously, (those are Cylon ships in Major Havoc, and the graphics displays in the tactical display were drawn like in Galactica as well), the guys who did Star Wars and Firefox started the project. I did a small amount of work as well. All that was really done was some footage on the laserdisc that let you land a fighter ship into one of the landing bays on either side of the large ship.

The video on the disc is recorded in such a way that playing it back would look like garbage. It is a bunch of still frames that you play out of order so that you can change what you are playing seamlessly. For example, the landing footage is one of 9 to 16 or so frames from different positions as you approach the landing bay. Imaging a 3×3 of 4×4 grid of possible positions you can approach from, with the center being straight on. If you fly straight, the program would display every 9th frame which was the video of flying straight.
Battlestar Galactica - Landing Bay
If you moved right, you would select the proper “frame view” and it would look like you moved in the video to the right, and now play every 9th “right position 1″ video frame in order. With this scheme, you could fly in 2 dimensions with the joystick while the game pushed you forward in the third as well, controlled by a throttle.”

It most certainly isn’t every single day that you learn about such a video game project. I want to thank Patrick Barnes once again as well as Scottith Games for documenting what might be lost arcade game history.

Now that you’ve learned about the Battlestar Galactica arcade game. How about you watch the 1998 trailer for the reboot of the series that the late and great Richard Hatch conceived?

[Via] Peter Noble