Friday, January 30, 2015


My writing and other things are progressing on all fronts, but I will still be mostly offline through the weekend. I may not achieve my goal of being back on schedule by the end of the month, but I won't be too terribly far off the mark.

I appreciate the patience of those waiting for something from me. You're helping more than you might realize. 

Convention promoters: Once I get back on schedule, I'll start figuring out my availability re: events you have invited me to. I'll respond as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...I write about recent issues of Roy Thomas' Alter Ego, Marvelous Mythology and Trina Robbins' Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I will be almost entirely offline this week as I finish several projects. But I want to thank my faithful anonymous (and thus cowardly) troll for reminding me of all the successes I have had in my career through his delusional and pathological hatred of me. His identity has been known to me for some time, but he simply hasn't been worth any effort on my part...until now.

I've never made a secret of my problems with depression. It's been hitting me very hard over the past twelve months and it hit even harder starting with the passing of my father in October of last year.  

I fight my depression with the love and support of my family, friends and readers. I do have readers, you see, a joy my faithful troll will never know. Indeed, judging from the stats on this bloggy thing even when I'm on break from it, I have a lot of readers.

I'm sure the troll's latest attempt to post on this blog was his hoping to hit me while I was down. That is and always has been the way of the coward. What he accomplished was to remind me of my many successes - he has none of his own - and of all the future successes ahead of me.  I am recharged and back at work.

I lost quite a bit of ground these past few months, which is why my online presence will be next to nonexistent for the next several days. I will return as soon as possible and, among other things, I''ll announce some of my 2015 convention appearances - I wonder how many conventions my faithful troll gets invited to - and bringing you more bloggy thing fun than ever before.

Once again, my thanks to my ever-so-faithful troll. I know your life is devoid of happiness and any meaning - all your own doing - but you have inspired me. Maybe some day you will find a shred of joy to warm your cold and lonely existence. 

Probably not, but I would never wish your miserable life on any creature. Not even you.


Friday, January 23, 2015


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...My reviews of Kings Watch (teaming Flash Gordon, Mandrake, and a Phantom), the new Flash Gordon series from Dynamite and the new The Phantom #1 by Peter David and Sal Velluto.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I've been going through a rough patch for a few months now. My dad's passing hit me harder than I'd expected, even though I knew it was coming. I did five conventions in six weeks. Then there were a bunch of household problems, some sort of mutant cold/flu/virus that's still working its mojo on me and a overwhelming sense of frustration.

I have never lost my passion for writing, but I couldn't connect with the passion in the way that would have allowed me to write. During the darkest of these times - and they did get pretty dark - I actually considered retiring to a life of garage and online sales. I'm 63 years old. People retire around the age or even younger. But...

There are deadlines to be met this week and they are a powerful motivating factor. I'm putting my head down in my usual bull-like fashion to charge forward and meet them. That's probably the best medicine I could have for my "condition." 

I won't be answering the phone for the next several days. I'll be slow on responding to e-mail and online messages. But I'm in this to win this.

Full-scale blogging will resume after I earn my victory lap. See you soon.


Sunday, January 18, 2015


I continue to go through a rough patch, but I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unless, of course, that's a train barreling toward me. To be continued...

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I will be offline and otherwise unavailable until I finish some pressing work. I hope to be back online by Monday. 


While there are crazy things happening all around me and, at times, I feel overwhelmed, I am still hard at work and also working on overcoming these obstacles. Full-scale blogging will return as soon as I've gained some ground on my various assignments and obligations. I post these daily notes in the hope no one will feel the need to call me to see how I'm doing. I'm doing fine, just very busy. I love you all madly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Mark Waid's Daredevil, All-New Captain America and The Worst of Eerie Publications!


The best damn football team in the land!

My son Ed, a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, was at the game. After the game, he sent us a text saying it was the best day of his life.

It was an expensive day. The cost of flying to Dallas. The cost of the ticket. But, in many ways, for the avid Buckeyes fan he is, this was my son's Comic-Con. Thankfully, his OSU education landed him a good paying job. 

I watched a lot of the game. It was amazing. I had predicted a close game with the Buckeyes winning by 10 points. Obviously, they beat my prediction. Just as they have crushed everyone's expectations all season long. Bouncing back from injuries to their first and second-string quarterbacks. Bouncing back from an awful defeat early in the season. Bouncing back from the suicide of a teammate. Bouncing back from all the so-called experts who didn't think they were what they proved to be:

The best damn football team in the land!

My congratulations to the Buckeyes and to The Ohio State University.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015


This is my daily check-in to let my beloved bloggy thing readers know that I'm still working away at all sorts of stuff and working my way back to full-size blogging.  I'll use today's snippet to remind you that comments to my posts have to be approved by me before they appear. I check the bloggy a few times a day, so just be patient. If you're not being a butthole, your comment will be approved and shared with your fellow bloggy thing readers.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


My original Twitter account has been shut down. My new Twitter account is:


Please follow me, my beloved bloggy thing readers.

In other news, after a sick day - this flu just won't leave me alone - I'm back at work today and hoping to accomplish wonderful things.

In other other news, my son Ed is flying to Texas today for the college football championship game. Go Buckeyes!

Keep watching this space for a return to full-scale blogging.

Tony Isabella

Friday, January 9, 2015


No, I don't want to build a snowman. I'm going back inside to write. Let me know when I can again leave the house without risk of my man parts freezing and breaking off.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


My return to full-scale blogging is on ice until I complete a number of pressing assignments. I hope my bloggy readers are keeping warm today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


This week in TONY'S TIPS at Tales of Wonder...Kurt Busiek's Astro City, Batman '66: The Lost Episode and Captain Marvel!


All those weeks of holiday fun, household repairs, frustrating distractions, mutant cold and zombie flu have me uncomfortably close to a whole bunch of deadlines. Full-scale blogging will resume as soon as possible with convention reports, political/social commentary, lots of comics, movies and TV reviews, and much more. 
I might even catch up on answering my e-mails. Hey, it could happen. 
Stay well, warm and safe, my friends.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


I had a bad day. There were multiple frustrations. There were multiple things that made me angry. At the end of the day, I read the bloggy thing I had written for today and decided it wasn't good enough to share with my readers. I'll try to do better for tomorrow.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Previously in Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing...

Suffering from writer’s block, reader’s block, the flu, a cold and the boogie-woogie blues, Tony Isabella watched three horror movies in a row. He has reviewed ThanksKilling (2009) and The Bees (1978}. Today he writes about Santa’s Slay (2005)...

This black comedy won me over with the opening scene as the again-evil Santa Claus - I’ll explain that in a bit - busts through the chimney/fireplace of the dysfunctional-but-well-to-do Mason family and proceeds to slaughter the entire family. What makes the opening scene so wonderful is that most of the family members are beloved and famous Jewish actors like James Caan, Fran Drescher, Rebecca Gayheart and Chris Kattan, all taking obvious delight in being part of this crazy horror movie.

Sidebar. Most of the film’s lead actors are Jewish. Without taking the viewer out of the movie, they all seem to be having a fun time with this movie. That sense of fun is infectious.

Here’s the basic plot...

Santa is the son of Satan and a mortal woman. A thousand years ago, he lost a curling wager with an angel and has been forced to be a good Santa for all those centuries. Those thousand years are over and everyone is on Santa’s naughty list, especially the angel who defeated him. If you must know the identity of that angel, scroll down to the “Spoilers Ahead” part of today’s bloggy thing.

Douglas Smith plays Nicholas Yuleson, a teen outsider who works in a butcher shop owned by Mr. Green (Saul Rubinek of Warehouse 13). Emilie de Ravin plays Mary 'Mac' Mackenzie, who also works at the butcher shop and on whom Douglas has a crush. She likes him, too. The great Robert Culp plays Douglas’ grandfather, a local eccentric who invents mostly useless devices. Dave Thomas plays the lecherous Pastor Timmons, who spends his church’s collection offerings at the town strip club.

In minor-but-vital roles, we have Jeff Hanna and Paul Punyi. Hanna is Mac’s gun-loving brother who is in the denial closet. Punyi is her gun-loving father. They’re spending Christmas with a bunch of their pals, shooting skeet and whatever else crosses their sights.

Former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg plays Santa Claus and is just over-the-top enough to be hilarious. If I were making horror or monster movies, I would find this man a role in every single one of them. He’s that much fun as he racks up a body count that would make Michael and Jason envious.

After dispatching a great many people, Santa focuses on Douglas and his granddad. If you want to know why, just scroll down past these bold-faced lines of warning.


Grandpa Yuleson is the angel who beat Santa a thousand years ago. Culp’s character had fallen in love with a human woman and given up his divinity to have a family with her. When Grandad is run over by Santa’s hell-deer, it looks like Douglas and Mac are on their own A frantic chase through the town follows with the teens ending up at their high school.

Things look bad until Grandpa shows up to challenge Santa Claus to  a curling rematch. Santa cheats and it looks like Grandpa will be spending an eternity of torment in Hell. The kids manage to rescue Gramps, but, for reasons not really explained, the born-again angel can’t leave the ice rink.

Douglas and Mac lead Santa and his flying sled back to where Mac’s dad and brother are shooting up stuff with their friends. Offered a chance to shoot down a reindeer, Mac’s dad pulls out a bazooka. In a heartbeat, it’s raining reindeer and there’s no sign of Santa. Until the final scene...

Christmas has passed. The powerless-until-next-year Santa books a flight to Winnipeg, Canada. I imagine getting a connecting flight to the North Pole will be a less-than-joyous experience.


Santa’s Slay is great fun. I could watch it again, maybe as part of a Christmas horror movie marathon. I could also envision a sequel to this movie if the producers came up with a different take on the evil Santa Claus scenario. I have my own ideas for such a sequel, so maybe their people should call my people.

Kudos to director and writer David Steiman for coming up with this entertaining movie...and for talking so many of his famous friends into appearing in it. This one is a keeper.

Thanks for spending part of your online day with me. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Previously in Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing...

Suffering from writer’s block, reader’s block, the flu, a cold and the boogie-woogie blues, Tony Isabella watched three horror movies in a row. He wrote about ThanksKilling yesterday. Today he writes about The Bees (1978}...

The Bees has the feel of a made-for-TV movie about it, but I can’t find any information that confirms my feeling. For a film about the possible end of mankind, it’s surprisingly low-key. However, it was still suspenseful enough to keep me watching.

African killer bees, though, in this movie, they are referred to as South American killer bees, were in the news in the late 1970s.  A number of bee attack movies have been made over the years with the best known being The Swarm (also 1978). Wikipedia reports the rumor that Warner Bros paid a large amount of money to New World Pictures to delay the release of The Bees until after the big-budget Swarm was released. Going from my memories of the late 1970s, the Arthur Herzog novel from which The Swarm was adapted is something like a hundred times better than the movie.

The opening scenes of The Bees take place in the research facility of Angel Tompkins (Sandra Miller) and Claudio Brook (her husband). A poor man and his son break into the facility to steal honey from the hives. They break into the shed which houses the killer bees. The bees get free. The would--be thieves are attacked. The boy is killed. It gets worse.

Sub-plot: Someone in our government has been skimming a big chunk of money from the research budget. This is why the facility lacked proper security.

The locals are up in arms. When the poor man shows up at a project with his dead son in his arms, a riot breaks out. More killer bees are released and many people die, including the unlucky Doc Miller. Because her husband locked her into a storage room to protect her, Sandra survives.

Sandra smuggles a small case of the bees to the United States and John Saxon (playing scientist John Norman). When she’s mugged in an elevator, some of the bees escape and attack the muggers.

Enough of the bees remain in the case for Norman, Sandra and John Carradine (playing Dr. Sigmund Hummel) to study. The doctor is also Sandra’s uncle and speaks with a German accent that is far from the actor’s finest moment. But, hey, it’s John Carradine and I would watch him in a used-car commercial.


Some greedy CEOs, working with the crooked Senator who’s behind the stolen research funds, start bringing the killer bees to the U.S.A. Killer bees produce more honey and more honey means more money for them. The invisible hand of the Free Market punches them in their smug faces when the killer bees become a major threat to most parts of the country.

Hummel, Norman and Miller figure out a chemical defense against the bees that makes the bees gay and incapable of producing baby killer bees. I am not making this up. Meanwhile, some killer bees exposed to radiation have been getting smarter by the scene.

Hummel gets honored by the government for his work. When he talks to the Senator about the stolen research funds - without knowing of the politician’s involvement - the scientist becomes the target of assassins. Don’t look at me that way. Corporations are people, too, my friends, though, in this case they are murderous people.  Mitt Romney 2016!

The smarter killer bees are posed to wipe out mankind and make the world their own. The heroic Scientists Three figure out how to talk to them. Hummel is killed by the corporate assassins. The bees kind of sort of save Norman and Miller.

The movie ends with Norman and Miller addressing the United Nations and telling them the bees are willing to let humanity share their world, but only if humanity disavows its polluting ways. The U.N. representatives are more inclined to drop bombs on the bees...until the bees crash their gathering.

Surrounded by killer bees who aren’t killing them, the U.N. folks seem to be moving away from the whole “bomb the bees” plan. But, at the movie’s end, we don’t know if bee-kind and mankind will learn to coexist peacefully.


As I said up top, The Bees is fairly low-key but suspenseful none the less. Saxon, Tompkins and Carradine deliver good performances. The writing by director Alfredo and Jack Hill is decent. Penny-pinching Roger Corman and his New World Pictures makes this movie look bigger than its likely budget.

The big finish: The Bees is worth watching. I don’t need to watch it a second time, but I was reasonably entertained by it the first time around. The only side effects from this viewing is that I now want to reread Arthur Herzog’s The Swarm and then watch the movie based on that novel. Godzilla help me!

Thanks for spending part of your online day with me. I’ll be back tomorrow with my review of Santa’s Slay.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

Saturday, January 3, 2015


December was not a terrific month for me, despite having some truly wonderful times with my family and friends. Since 2014 was far from a terrific year for me, my having a bad month was not a surprise.What was a surprise was how sick I was last month.

Every zombie flu bug, every monster cold germ, every mutant malady known and unknown to man hit me in December. It was an unproductive month, maybe the least productive since the first months of my life when all I did was cry, eat and poop. In defense of my infant self,I was a rock star of crying, eating and pooping.

Writer’s block was a way of life in December and I’m still working my way out of that. Reader’s block was also a problem, though not nearly as bad. When I couldn’t write or read, I watched television and cheesy horror movies.

Last Saturday, December 27, was a particular epic day of not being able to do anything but watch movies. Over an afternoon and most of an evening, I watched three movies, none of which ever won an award for anything. As if that has ever been a consideration for me in my choice of cinematic entertainment.

No, I watch these movies because I love them. It is a love dating from my boyhood in Cleveland, Ohio, when, with my family sleeping, I would sit close to the black-and-white TV set with sound turned so low only I could hear it. I would watch the horror and monster movies hosted by the great Ernie Anderson in his role of Ghoulardi.

Ghoulardi was a rebel in beatnik beard and mad scientist lab coat.He’d show movies like Caltiki the Immortal Monster and From Hell It Came. He’d sometimes insert clips of himself into the movies. He’d blow up stuff on his set. He was my counter-culture hero before I had a clue what that meant. He was the smart-ass voice that I had to try to control in my life, but to which he could he could give glorious expression.

Today, when I watch ThanksKilling or The Bees or Santa’s Slay, they take me back to the pale glow and whispered excitement of that old black-and-white TV set. I am a child again. The Asylum and the Syfy Channel and all the other purveyors of fascination and fear are my Disneyland, my Walt Disney World. My comfy couch and my big flat-screen TV become the happiest place on Earth.

ThanksKilling could never have been shown on Ghoulardi or, for that matter, most TV networks. Right at the top of the garish DVD box, viewers are warned that there be “Boobs in the first second” of the  movie. The opening scene is of a topless Pilgrim woman being chased through the forest by some fearsome creature. When the creature is revealed we see it’s an axe-wielding turkey who dispatches the poor woman even as he complements her “nice tits.”

The killer turkey was created by a Native American shaman 505 years ago to get vengeance on the pilgrim who dishonored the shaman. The turkey returns every 505 years to seek vengeance of all Caucasians he sees and, more specifically, the descendants of the pilgrim who dissed him all those centuries ago.

Later named “Turkie” - He is never called that in the movie. - the demonic fowl is portrayed on the screen by a puppet. That totally looks like a puppet. On the other hand, considering the movie cost all of $3500 to make, it’s a better puppet than we have any right to expect. We’ll get back to the budget in a bit.

The story unfolds pretty much as you would expect once you realize the main characters are horny college students going home to spend Thanksgiving with their dysfunctional families. We only see two of these families, but I’m really to take a leap and assume they are all messed up.

The movie is hilarious. The turkey hitches a ride and the friendly driver - who wants ass, cash, or grass for the ride - doesn’t seem to realize he’s talking to a turkey or even a turkey puppet. After killing the local sheriff - the father of the movie’s heroine - the turkey wears the dead man’s severed face and no one, not even the daughter, realizes he’s the turkey who tried to kill them a little while earlier. Critics have said you can’t mock this movie because it does such a great job of mocking itself. I agree.

That said...

The humor fails when the killer turkey rapes one of the characters after killing the boy with whom she has having consensual sex. That she doesn’t realize she’s being violated by a turkey doesn’t excuse the scene. Even in a silly horror film like this, rape should neverbe played for laughs.

Killing the turkey is a complicated affair involving a talisman and more. The kids think they’ve killed him, but the turkey’s body ends up in a dumpster filled with radioactive waste. The fowl becomes a blind attorney with heightened senses.

Just kidding. He comes back to life and does some more mayhem afore he is permanently dispatched. Maybe. You need to watch this movie through the end credits. Of course, “need” depends on if you’re as into cheesy horror movies as I am.

ThanksKilling was reportedly shot on a budget of $3500. If that’s accurate, it’s amazing the film is so professional. The acting is okay, the story flows decently enough and the goofs are about what you would expect from almost any low-budget movie.

How this movie was made on that budget is a mystery to me. I can’t imagine anyone got paid for their work. Could it be that the actors and crew members were all compensated (or promised compensation) in some sort of back-end deals?

ThanksKilling was shot in 11 days during the summer break between producers Kevin Stewart and Jordan Downey’s junior and senior year of college. Stewart and Downey were one of the film’s five writers.Downey was the director and also Turkie’s designer and puppeteer.Stewart is credited with the cinematography and film editing.

Stewart and Downey couldn’t get a distributor, so they sold the DVD themselves. It took them a year to sell a thousand copies, but the movie became a cult classic. A Kickstarter campaign raised $10,000 for the sequel: ThanksKilling 3.

There was no ThanksKilling 2. Apparently, ThanksKilling 3 involves Turkie trying to find the last surviving copy of ThanksKilling 2. In space. Of course, I’m on my library wait list for ThanksKilling 3. Did you even have to ask?

The big finish: I recommend ThanksKilling for anyone with a sense of humor, a love of cheesy horror movies and enough years on this planet that they can view naked boobs legally.

Thanks for spending part of your online day with me. I’ll be back tomorrow with my review of The Bees.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

Friday, January 2, 2015

GRIZZLY (1976)

I saw Jaws while I was living in New York City. I saw it with long-time friend Terry Fairbanks, who’d come to visit with his wife Nora and their niece, the future Sainted Wife Barb. While the gals were out shopping, we saw Jaws.

After the movie, I told Terry I thought the next big monster movie hit would be “Jaws on land.” I wasn’t the only one thinking about that. Grizzly hit the theaters the next year and would do extremely well here and overseas.

I went to see Grizzly solo because no one wanted to see it with me.I went because my post-Jaws comment had me curious about the movie and because the great Neal Adams drew the original poster. My New York friends didn’t miss anything by not seeing the film with me.It’s not a good movie.

Grizzly suffers from a menace that never looks menacing. The movie poster claims the title bear is 18 feet tall, the movie characters say it’s 15 feet tall and it never looks more than 11 feet tall at any point in the movie. Because the bear falls so short of scary, most of the deaths are shot darkly with a little extra gore added in accompanying shots. Such as when the first victim’s detached arm sails across the screen or when a maimed child gets dumped to the ground when the bear is distracted.

There are only two moderately effective death scenes. A Park ranger decides to take a quick shower in a waterfall without realizing the bear is behind her. The water turns red for a few brief seconds as she dies.

The other death scene is foreshadowed by two prior comments about how bears bury their food for later snacking. The movie naturalist is attacked by the bear, gets buried and comes to just when the bear returns.
The story is pretty much “Jaws on land” with the grizzly turning a park into his private hunting ground. The writing, the characters and the visuals don’t come with a thousand miles of what we saw in Jaws. The movie never knows what to do with the hero’s girlfriend, so she is dismissed with a “too dangerous for you” scene and never shows up again.

There are, as you would expect, several “similarities” to Jaws and I’ll go to Wikipedia to summarize them for you:

Released in May 1976, less than one year after Jaws, Grizzly was criticized as being a thinly veiled rip-off of the now-classic shark thriller. Like Jaws, Grizzly has an unusually large animal preying upon unsuspecting tourists.

Christopher George plays Chief Ranger Michael Kelly, skilled at his job but lacking experience when dealing with the dangers of bears, a role similar to Roy Scheider's Police Chief Martin Brody in Jaws. Kelly must rely on the expertise of naturalist Arthur Scott (Richard Jaeckel), just as Brody recruits marine scientist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss).

Kelly is thwarted by Supervisor Charley Kittridge (Joe Dorsey), who refuses to close the National Park for political reasons. In Jaws, Brody is refused permission to close the summer beaches by Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton).

A bounty is put on the grizzly bear, just as an award is offered for the shark in Jaws. The bounty leads to chaos, as hundreds of hunters fill the woods in Grizzly, while huge numbers of boats filled with hunters leave the harbor in Jaws.
During the final hunt for the grizzly bear, Kelly is led by helicopter pilot, Vietnam War veteran and forest guide Don Stober (Andrew Prine), just as Brody's shark expedition is led by boat captain, World War II veteran and sea guide Quint (Robert Shaw).

The bear in Grizzly is killed in similar fashion to the shark in Jaws in that both creatures' destruction is dramatized by a large explosion.  

Why, you ask, am I devoting so much energy to such a lousy movie? It’s because the behind-the-scenes stuff and trivia is a whole lot more fun and interesting than the movie itself.

For example: An uncredited Susan Backlinie, the actress who played the first victim of the Jaws shark, was one of this movie’s grizzly bear victims. If I had to guess - and that’s all this is - she was the camper whose arm was taken off by the killer bear very early in the movie. In the movie 1941 (1979), Backlinie would spoof her Jaws scene with a Japanese submarine in place of the shark.

IMDb offers this:

After the film had been distributed worldwide and had grossed a substantial profit of over $39 million, which made it the most successful independent motion picture of 1976, the film's distributor, Edward L. Montoro, and his Film Ventures International (FVI) decided to keep the profits without paying director William Girdler and the film's producers/writers David Sheldon and Harvey Flaxman. They sued, and Montoro was eventually ordered by the Los Angeles County Superior Court to pay the box office proceeds due to Girdler, Sheldon and Flaxman.

Consider that bit of trivia as foreshadowing for the circumstances which doomed the almost-completed Grizzly 2.

Two well-known actors declined roles in Grizzly. Western actor Ben Johnson passed on playing helicopter pilot Don Stober, a role which then went to Andrew Prine. The role of Ranger Michael Kelly went to Christopher George after Clint Walker chose to do the made-for-TV movie Snowbeast (1977) instead.

Because of the surprising success of Grizzly, a sequel was quickly planned. That sequel was not Day of the Animals (1977), even though Day has pretty much the same plot, same bear actor, same director, same production/distribution company, same producer and even stars  Grizzly actors Jaeckel and George.

The sequel was also not the independent horror movie Claws (1977). That film about a killer grizzly bear in Alaska was re-released in Canada and Mexico in 1978 under the title Grizzly 2, even though it had no connection to Grizzly or the actual never-released sequel to Grizzly. Which brings us to...

Grizzly II: The Predator.

Here’s what Wikipedia has on this movie:

The so-called sequel Grizzly II: The Predator was a nickname for an original film entitled "Predator: The Concert" filmed in 1985 in Hungary but never released. David Sheldon, the co-producer and writer of Grizzly, wrote the screenplay with his screenwriter wife Joan McCall, also reprising her role as photographer Allison Corwin from the original. The cast included Charlie Sheen, George Clooney and Laura Dern, who were discovered by them and were unknown at the time, despite all being from families of popular stars.

The main scenes for Grizzly II: The Predator were completed, but before the special effects with a huge electronic-mechanical bear could be used, executive producer Joseph Proctor disappeared with the funds. Filmed footage of the live bear, however, attacking a live rock concert was also shot. There have been attempts to re-cut the sequel and film more scenes, but, to date, the film has never been released. A bootleg version with the original workprint was released in 2007.

Here’s the synopsis of the movie...

The film centers on Park Ranger Hollister (Steve Inwood), who is at odds with Park Supervisor (Louise Fletcher) over a big rock concert that is going to be held in the area. Hollister fears that the local grizzly bear population might be a danger to the attendees. When a grizzly kills a local poacher and three teens, Hollister begins to track the bear with the help of a bear activist (Deborah Raffin) and a local bear hunter named Bouchard (John Rhys-Davies). Four poachers set out together to try to trap the bear, hoping to gain $100,000 reward money. The suggested 18 ft (5.5 m) grizzly finds its way to the rock concert, making the climatic showdown all the more personal for Hollister as his daughter (Deborah Foreman) is working there backstage.  

I found Grizzly II on YouTube. Watching that grainy workprint was  downright painful. Whenever it got to a scene with the Mecha-Bear, the screen would go blank. Some action scenes near the end of the movie seemed to have been repeated. Maybe different angles of the scenes were filmed for the special effects that never came about. Even with the special effects, I suspect the sequel would have been  even worse than the original. Still...

I’m surprised no one came up with the money to finish and release Grizzly II, even if it was for a direct-to-video. Far worse horror movies have made it to DVD and this one features Clooney, Dean and Sheen in their earliest roles.

Maybe that’s the real reason why the film has never been finished. Maybe Clooney, Dern and Sheen paid to keep it from being released.If so, it was money well spent.


As you can likely tell, I get a kick out of writing about B-movies. If you’re a producer of such cinematic fun, you are welcome to send me review copies of your films. The address is:

Tony Isabella
840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

Look for many more movie reviews in the days and weeks and months to come. I’ve got a stack of DVDs just waiting to be written about and more being watched every week.

Thanks for spending part of your online day with me. I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

Thursday, January 1, 2015


I am eternally optimistic. I get excited at the dawning of a brand new year. Of course, I also get excited at the start of a new month and the start of a new week. It’s my own personal version of OCD:  Optimism Compulsive Disorder. I always hope this is the year or month or week when I will get everything right and avoid the bad breaks that will always be part of life.

If 2014 didn’t go exactly as I might’ve hoped, it’s behind me now. Every year - every month, every week, every day - is always a new beginning. I will always welcome each new chance to get it right. Otherwise, what would be the point of life?

So here we in 2015. This year has been designated the International Year of Light *and* the International Year of Soils by the United Nations General Assembly. The aim of the first: raise awareness of the achievements of light science and its applications, and its importance to humankind. Of the second: to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and for essential ecosystem functions. Worthy goals.

According to Back to the Future Part II (1989), the world of 2015 is a world in which lawyers have been abolished, automated clothing is all the fashion and people travel around in flying cars and on hoverboards. I’ve been waiting for a flying car since I first saw one in a comic book.

Most of my New Year resolutions involve working better and smarter on literally hundreds of projects, including this nigh-daily bloggy thing of mine. Other resolutions:

Eat healthier and exercise more. I word this resolution that way to fool you into thinking I’ve been doing either.

Be less insulting towards the right wing in this country. This can be difficult for someone like me whose opinions are based in reality, but I’m going to try to educate those folks with as much kindness as I can muster. This will probably be the first resolution I break in this new year.

Retire my go-to-phrase for when I am angered. I have cut way back on telling phone solicitors, robo–callers and inanimate objects to go “pleasure” themselves, but I want to stop using this crudest of phrases completely. Besides, I have three different responses for folks who call me with polls I don’t wish to participate in or to try to sell me stuff I don’t want. Because you are my most beloved bloggy thing readers, I will share these responses with you. They are easy to use and fun to boot.

My three techniques work best with live callers, but I suppose you could get some satisfaction using them with robo-callers. Or maybe practice them on robo-callers until you get a live one.

THE “NO!” BUTTON. For around ten bucks, you can buy the bright red  “No!” button shown here. I got mine at Karen’s Hallmark in Medina. When you press it, it “says” one of ten variations on the one-word answer to most questions. My favorite variation is the female “Na-na-na-no” voice.

When I get an unwanted sales call of any kind, I start pressing the button until the caller hangs up. I’m amazed when a caller sticks with me for seven or eight “no” variations. They either have really slow reaction times or are as amused by this device as I am. But no caller has lasted the cycle.

I wouldn’t recommend using this with pollsters. They would likely write down “no” as your answer to all their questions

HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS...? I have to be in a good mood to use this one and also have a few minutes to kill. When a caller starts talking, I immediately interrupt him or her by asking them if they have heard the good news about Godzilla. Then I go into my “First Church of Godzilla” spiel:

The Great Scaly One protects us from alien invaders and ourselves with his fiery atomic love. It can be a tough love - the “folly of man” and all that - but Godzilla is a fair god.

Godzilla is totally accepting of all people and faiths. For it is written that liberal or conservative, Christian or Muslim or Jew, straight or gay, all people sound pretty much the identical as they are crushed beneath his mighty feet.

No called has lasted through both paragraphs, but I plan to write more paragraphs soon. One of these callers might be brought into the fold and I want to be ready to guide them in their future worship of Godzilla and his friends.

THE CREEPY ONE. This one is so creepy that even I get uneasy when I use it. As soon as a pollster or solicitor starts talking, I ask them a question in a breathy voice:

I have a question for you first. What are you wearing?

If they hesitate or try to press on, I ask them:

Are you wearing something sexy for me?

If they need a third strike:

Tell me how your body looks and feels in it.

I admit this is mega-creepy, but it works with men and women alike. They called me, interrupting whatever I was doing for something in which I have no interest. If I make them nervous, it’s entirely on them. I didn’t ask them to call me.

How about that? You aren’t even one full bloggy thing into 2015 and already you’re learning new things.

What can you expect from the bloggy thing in 2015, especially if I manage to maintain my preferred nigh-daily schedule? I have lots of comic books, books, magazines, movies and other things to review. That’s for starters.

There are four convention reports from October and November that I should have written and posted weeks ago. The first of these should appear early next week or sooner.

Once I complete the convention reports and make some headway on all those reviews, I’ll resume writing those “Rawhide Kid Wednesday” bloggy things you love so much and writing about comic books that were published in July of 1963. That was the month Fantastic Four Annual #1 hit the newsstands and changed the life of Tony Isabella forever. I’ll also be digging into the Vast Accumulation of Stuff for rare artifacts from my career.

Political commentary will be rare around this here bloggy thing in 2015. If you believe in facts and reason, you already agree with my positions. If you don’t, I don’t know if anything I write can bring you out of your delusional state.

On those occasions where there’s a comics industry issue of import and when it hasn’t already been beaten to death online, I may offer my two cents on said issues. It could happen.

My online Vast Accumulation of Stuff sales will resume as soon as I catch up on several writing gigs of the paying variety. I want to ship your purchases sooner rather than later.

The bloggy thing will remain free to all. However, I do appreciate PayPal donations to help support my extravagant three meals a day  life style. Eventually, when I can coerce some tech-savvy person of good character to come to my office and add a “donate” button to the blog, you’ll be able to donate that way. In the meantime, you can send me PayPal donations via my e-mail address.

Beyond the bloggy thing...

If my nigh-daily bloggy things aren’t enough Tony Isabella for you, you should also read my weekly “Tony’s Tips” column at Tales of Wonder. Every Monday, I review comic books and other comics-related items with the occasional special installment. I strive to keep the memory of Comics Buyer’s Guide alive whenever I can.

I post all manner of cool stuff on my Facebook page. I don’t have  many openings on my friends list, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to get on it. I do birthday remembrances of comics creators and other people. I post historical notes. I post links of content from other sources. I ask questions that sometimes result in long and informative threads. I have fun there.

You can also sign up for The Official Tony Isabella Message Board group on Facebook. This is a “no politics” group so, if you loathe my commie liberal socialist fascist politics, this would be a safe zone for you. We talk about comics and movies and TV shows and much more. It’s where Bob Ingersoll posts his challenging movie quizzes and links to genre-related comic strips.

In the real world...

I plan to make two convention or other public appearances a month. I’ll have information on my February events for you in a few days, as well as information on some other appearances.

The other months are likely to fill up fast. To discuss having me as a guest at your convention or other event - I’m open to library and school invitations - email me.

My Vast Accumulation of Stuff garage sales will resume sometime in May, depending on the weather. I’m shooting for two sales a month through September.

Thanks for spending part of your New Year’s Day with me. I will be back tomorrow with more stuff. 

© 2015 Tony Isabella