Armed Response (1986)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

Inspired by Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon (1985), Armed Response features Vietnam vet Jim Roth (David Carradine) and his ex-cop dad (Burt) Lee Van Cleef going up against boss Tanaka and his Yakuza gang in L.A.’s Chinatown following the murder of Jim’s brothers in a plot to retrieve a valuable statue that Tanaka needs to appease the local Chinese Tong gang. 

Out of over a dozen films made in the 1980s, this is overall the best that Fred Olen Ray made during those “up-and-coming” years. Not only is the cast good (with Carradine and Van Cleef…

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Star Slammer (1986)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

Fred Olen Ray’s women’s prison in space movie. Sandy Brooke plays Taura, a miner who gets sent to the big house…or rather big ship…after crossing paths with Bantor (Ross Hagen in his first appearance in Ray joint), on the planet Arous. Once onboard the “Vehemence”, it’s pretty standard stuff in terms of the women’s prison genre minus the obligatory shower scene. We have a sadistic warden, and her flunky lesbian head guard, played by Marya Gant and an eye-patched Dawn Wildsmith, respectively. We also have a group of tough female convicts with names like Mike and Squeaker…

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A Contract Clause to Beware: Claiming Copyright on “Publisher’s Content” – Written By Michael Capobiancho

Writer's Treasure Chest

Hi, everyone. My name isMichael Capobianco, and although I’ve been an adjunct member of Writer Beware for some time now, this is my first official blog post.

I’m also the Chair of SFWA’sContracts Committee, which means I see a lot of bad contracts, both for book-length and short fiction. I’ve gotten used to much of the unfortunate and often contradictory clauses in these contracts, but last week I ran into something that caught my attention: a virtually identical terrible clause in two separate small publishers’ book contracts, a clause that I had never seen before.

Both contracts were for original fiction, but aside from the fact that neither paid an advance, they looked fairly different from one another until they came to this clause. To save you any further suspense, here it is:

The Publisher reserves all copyright, trademark and other intellectual property rights in and…

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Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

There’s a moment in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood where Eddie, while watching the debut of Plan 9 from Outer Space thinks “This is the one I’ll be remembered for.” It’s almost certain Ed never had that thought. Similarly, Fred Olen Ray probably never thought his little horror comedy shot over 5 days on a series of weekends using equipment rented for another film would be “the one.” If you’ve never seen a Fred Olen Ray film, or you’re about to induct a new virgin into your own basement B-movie cult, this is the one to watch. Often…

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Haunting Fear (1990)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story ThePremature Burial, Haunting Fear stars Brinke Stevens as Victoria, a wealthy woman haunted by recurring dreams of being buried alive following the death of her beloved father. Her slimy husband Terry, played by Ray regular John Henry (née) Jay Richardson, pretends to be supportive while banging his hot secretary Lisa (Delia Sheppard) behind Vicki’s back. It’s not the only secret he’s keeping. Terry owes mob boss Visconti (Robert Quarry) 80 large in gambling debt. Visconti sends bent Detective James Trent (Jan-Michael Vincent) to watch the couple’s house to make…

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Bikini Drive-In (1995)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics.  For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn

When Kim Taylor (Ashlie Rhey) inherits her grandfather’s beloved drive-in theatre, she and her friends must raise the money to save the failing establishment from both the bank and the evil clutches of land developer J.B. Winston (producer David F. Friedman.) When Kim’s dick boyfriend refuses to help her, Winston’s son Brian (Richard Gabai) goes against his father, and teams up with Kim (in more ways than one) to concoct a surefire way to sell tickets. The plan? An all-night monster movie marathon using all the old films Grandad saved with a scream queen and dancing bikini…

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Sonatine (1993)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxld

In Sonatine (1993), Takeshi Kitano plays Murakawa, a tired Yakuza who is sent to Okinawa with his cohorts to calm a gang feud, which turns out to be a ruse for his boss to take over his territory in Tokyo. The movement of the group of men from the city to a rural location moves the violent gangsters into a state of regressive childhood, allowing for Kitano to explore the theme of identity via travel and humour. Their journey begins with a group shot of the men sitting on a bus waiting to leave the…

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Kikujiro (1999)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxld

Kikujiro is a heart-warming comedy with an amazing soundtrack by Miyazaki regular Joe Hisaishi about a foul-mouthed ex-Yakuza asked to accompany a quiet neighborhood boy to visit they boy’s mother who has abandoned him. On their journey, the man and boy meet up with some interesting characters, have a few adventures, and discover that they are not so different after all.  

Masao (Yusuke Sekiguchi) is a lonely little boy who lives with his grandmother and finds himself with nothing to do for summer vacation. Kikujiro (played by Kitano and whose name is only uttered…

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Onibaba (1964)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a freelance ghostwriter of personal memoirs and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxld

In Japanese, the word oni おにmeans demon andばばmeans old woman or hag. In this case, we are dealing specifically with a sexually repressed meddling mother-in-law. Onibaba is set in feudal Japan during the bloody civil war period that preceded the Tokugawa period. An unnamed old woman (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter-in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) are forced to kill wandering warriors and sell their armor for food in order to survive while they wait for the man of the house to return.One day, neighbor Hachi (Kei Sato) returns to tell the old woman that her son…

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SLASHER MONTH: Cure (1997)

B&S About Movies

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. A member of the Society of Authors, she currently works as a ghostwriter of personal memoirs for Story Terrace London and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics.

For links to her work, please visit:

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure is a magnificent film. A film so layered with meaning I wrote my MA dissertation in part on its elemental symbolism. Ordinary upstanding Tokyo citizens are committing random acts of murder. The only connection between each case is that all the victims have an “X” carved into them. Each killer admits to their crime but remembers nothing with regard to motive.

Detective Takabe (played by Koji Yakusho), who spends most of his time caring for his mentally ill wife (Anna Nakagawa)…

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