Posted in Recommendations, The Bookish Life

Who is this gentle stranger with pecs like melons and knees of fringe?

Those of you with secret crushes on robots made from bubblegum dispensers and a masochistic love of bad movies will recognize the title of this blog. You might also remember the particular movie it came from, Cave Dwellers.  It is a movie with such a terrifyingly low budget they had to hire invisible actors to play bad guys.   I guess so they could afford all that pectoral oil for the miles and miles O’Keefe who plays the lead, Ator. And if you’ve seen Cave Dwellers, I’m guessing there is a strong probability you have seen Manos The Hands of Fate. And if you’ve seen it, you either feel a deranged privilege or set fire to your DVD player and hum Torgo’s thigh music before falling into foaming fits anytime someone mentions it.
My husband and I have become proselytes of this film, inflicting it upon unsuspecting lovers of romcoms and gentle dramas. It is a hurts-so-good-fest of deformed and lusty lackeys, doberman hellhounds and captive polygamy at its toga-wearing worst. And to think that it all started with a simple desire to vacation in the country. In case you think I am exaggerating, the man who made the movie killed himself and the rest of the cast call themselves survivors.

Some of us cherish and deliberately engage in this sort of eye-bleeding as entertainment. Take for example, the heartily live-tweeted Sharknado which has become a legitimate franchise. But books also can compel us into chortle and eye-rolling festivals of delight. I’m not talking about books you simply didn’t like but books that are legitimately executed with vigorous intent only to collapse upon themselves when a character in a Victorian vampire story says “I knew then what it was like to be on the receiving end of a monkey punch.” The monkey punch in question fell upon the hero in Each Man Kills. It is a cautionary tale to petulant bridegrooms who follow their betrothed to the continent when she leaves to do a bit of light reading. Follow and you might find yourself a cuckhold to an unsuspecting American vampire who only ever thought these sorts of things happened in stories and only to foreigners. And if you take it upon yourself to go day-tripping after her to demand she write you more letters, for god’s sake bring your own killing stakes and a willing priest.

But if science fiction is more your thing I’d suggest Hell Ship by Raymond Palmer. A story about a reticent newspaper man, O’Neil, who talks like Duke Nukem and whom I have definitely cast in my head with namesame Ed O’Neil. This O’Neil finds himself press-ganged into the piles room of the Hell Ship where beelzebub himself is said to man the helm. He and his fellow captive Ann, aka Queenie, a burlesque dancer with ‘educated feet’ conspire mutiny before the ship’s engines cause them to start growing fingernails on their chins like the rest of the crew. With the help of walking trope, The Swede and his Mongo-like diction, most of the crew and none of the passengers manage to survive the Armageddon-esque series of unfortunately avoidable malfunctions.

Both of these stories are gloriously duty free and very short. So you can indulge in these literary transfats without guilt. Of course if you are willing to pay for your poison I hear that Sharcano is a schtickily good. Or you could just listen to David Sedaris reading passages from 50 shades



I write the funnyschtuff about my pets, books, misguided art projects and adventures I don't know how I got myself into.

2 thoughts on “Who is this gentle stranger with pecs like melons and knees of fringe?

  1. Omigod, omigod, omigod! (squee!) (Well, it would be a squee if I didn’t have the voice range of Lauren Bacall.)

    All hail, MST3K!

    In the final innings of my literature and writing degree, I lived kiddie corner to a woman who’s classes were all in the anthropology department–but we bonded over Paul, Crow, Gypsy, and Tom Servo.

    She had cable, I did not. It was a match made in heaven. We stayed up most of the night laughing until our abs hurt. I binged on Skor candy bars and Bailey’s Irish Cream, her poison was Apricot Brandy and tomato paste eaten right from the can with a spoon. Hey, we were young. I still utter things I picked up on that show.

    Manos was the worst of the worst. We got so bored watching it, we had to resort to talking about sex and boyfriends in the intervals. Not a difficult parlay, really. Hey, wanna hear something super creepy? The little girl in that film–(dun, Dun, DUN!)–was the daughter of Manos!

    1. She wrote a book too! Growing Up Manos…I think. The MST3K is a sanity saver. The instant I make the mistake of taking anything seriously I correct myself with something sanitizing like Red Zone Cuba.

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