Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
The Manson Family (1988-2003)
I suppose I should explain the date(s) above.
Independent filmmaker James Van Bebber started to film his no-budget
Manson film in 1988. The guy who played Manson lived on a
ranch/farm, and his dad had some animals on that property. It was a
suitable location to recreate the storied Spahn ranch, a location
which had been used for many films and a place where Manson and
his family had lived for some time. The director had a vague inkling
that he could finish his film with his mostly volunteer cast in a
few weekends of shooting at that ranch.
was close. He finally finished the film 16 years later.
The finished movie basically consists of three
(1) The events which took place from 1967-69
(2) A framing device about a documentary film
producer who interviews the members of the Manson Family many
years after the original events, as they reflect back on what
happened through self-serving and often contradictory accounts.
The producer himself offers the "straight" perspective on the
events. (Laurence Merrick, the producer of a 1973 documentary
called Manson, was actually murdered in 1977. This event, and
speculation that Manson supporters might be involved, formed the
basis for the otherwise fictional framing device.)
(3) A sub-plot about some latter day Goths who
have taken Manson as their counter-cultural icon, and plot to
murder the producer of the documentary.
Those first few weekends at the ranch did manage
to complete a big chunk of the film, which is to say most of section
1 above - from the peaceful hippie days until the Gary Hinman
The rest of it was harder to do. A lot harder.
Money ran out, and the guy who played Manson actually left the production.
The Goth sub-plot, with four new actors, was added in 1996. The
family member interviews were shot catch-as-catch-can. In one sense,
the long delays in filming provided a benefit that no-budget
independent filmmakers rarely achieve - the actors' aging was
completely believable, because the normal process of cheap make-up
effects was replaced, or at least supplemented, by the natural aging
process. The actors had aged about as much as the characters were
Van Bebber took an unfinished version of his film
to FanTasia Montreal in 1997, at which time he made a deal to get
some completion money. That deal fell through, and he was back to
scratching and saving again. Miraculously, he did eventually manage
to complete the project, and the film swung small theatrical
distribution deals in the U.K. and the U.S.A. The British reviews
were weak, but the American reviews included a fair share of praise.
Two highly respected reviewers had some positive reactions. Roger
Ebert raised a few eyebrows by seeing the film and awarding it three
stars, although he kind of held his nose while doing that. Owen
Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly chimed in with some praise and a
To me the effusive praises and pans of
this movie boil down more to the nature of the observers than to the
quality of the film itself. The film is what it is, and it is all
out there in the open. On the debatable side, the film takes the
stance that the Tate-Lobianca murders had nothing to do with Vincent
Bugliosi's famous Helter-Skelter theory, but that they were simply
meant to exonerate a family member for an earlier murder by showing
that the killer was still at large. On the negative side, the acting
troupe consists of amateurs, some of the effects and make-up are
laughably bad, and the Goth subplot seems unnecessary, clumsy, and
tacked-on. On the positive side, the film recreates the look of old
newsreel footage, old home movies, and 1960's underground films, and
the director does a good job of making the viewer feel present with
the family at the actual events, down to all the nitty-gritty
details of the sex, drugs, and violence. Although it is a low budget
film with amateur participants, the sex and violence looks real, and
the film gives off the feel of the films of that era, as well as the
actual acid-warped experiences which inspired many of those films.
In essence, it was neither the negative elements nor
the debatable ones that inspired the most negative reviews. It was,
ironically enough, the greatest strength of the movie that caused
the harshest criticism, and that is the real point of this essay.
You see, the sex and violence and drug use looks real. There have
been many, many filmed accounts of the Manson murders, from
docudramas to fiction to documentaries, but none of the previous
efforts has ever tried to show what it was really like to be there
and see Sharon Tate stabbed all those times, or to be lying on the
grass next to the family members as they created one of their
frenzied, drug-fueled orgies. This film does all of that, and does
it convincingly and graphically. Van Bebber does not pull away his
gaze when a more traditional filmmaker would.
Is that good or bad?
want to be coldly objective, you'd have to say that it is good
filmmaking when the director makes you feel that you were a
participant in the events portrayed, or at least that you were a fly
on the wall. Critics did not all agree with my last statement,
however. Some felt that the recreation of that sex, that drug use,
and particularly that violence was simply a way to use tragic real
events to justify the creation of a cheap exploitation film, which
was akin to making a porn film about the holocaust. Those on the
opposite side felt that the film's accurate portrayal was the one
way to convey the true monstrosity of the people involved, and to
show how the gentle hippies underwent a metamorphosis into
blood-letting sadists, a transition which the sanitized film
versions could never explain convincingly.
I'll leave the spin to you. I suppose about half of you will fall
into each camp. What I will state with some certainty is that
the sex, drug use, and violence does seem real, and feels intense
because it is driven by fast edits, desperate screams, and a hard
beat on the sound track. It took Oliver Stone a massive budget with
a lot of big stars to recreate this era in The Doors, but Van Bebber
accomplished something very similar on a shoestring. That was an
achievement. Is it something I enjoyed watching and would want to
watch again? Hell, no. But that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile in
some way. That which disgusts me is not necessarily bad by
definition. In fact, it's possible to argue that, given the subject matter, it
would be bad if it did NOT disgust me.
Unknowns (probably including some more of Orr and Allisse)
Words and pictures from Hankster.
Today would have to be called a "Damsel in
Distress" day as we took the Time Machine back to 1982 for "Death Wish 2"
the second installment of that Charles Bronson series. I guess those movies,
rather graphic and exploitive in their day, would be either a love'm or hate'm for
Anyway we have a trio of "Damsels" at the hands
of some pretty nasty punks.
Words and pictures from Dann
Perhaps the best actor in Snapped, as 2005 direct-to-video horror flick,
is Gabriela Phillips, whose character slits her own throat (without saying
anything) in the first 30 seconds of the movie. The rest of the cast is straight
from Mr. Foster's 4th grade acting class. This absolutely dreadful mess of a
movie wasn't even saved by a plot that was somewhat different and interesting.
Amy is offered a job shooting death photographs for a weird gallery that
specializes in macabre offerings. She declines at first, but then accepts an
advance to avoid being kicked out of her apartment.
She pays her rent, but then her junkie boyfriend steals the remaining money,
and the landlord comes looking for the rent again, telling her "unless you have
a receipt, you gotta pay", and of course, he didn't give her a receipt the first
time around. As the day keeps getting worse and worse, Amy decides the best way
to shoot death photographs may be with real dead people.
See, the plot holds promise, but execution killed this one as dead as the
subjects in Amy's photographs
The Crimson Ghost
|The women of Demoniacs, one of Jean Rollin's
typical "supernatural twin lesbian" classics.
|Lee Ann Rimes in black, with
nothing solid beneath, caught by the flashbulbs.
|Jessica Alba caught by the
paparazzi, showing a bit of her bum.
|Fay Wray in the uncut version
of King Kong
|Carla Gugino in a
tremendous, nearly DVD-quality, clip from Sin City (Zipped
|Lynda Carter in
caps from Battle of the Network Stars. In a bathing suit, a quarter
of a century ago, but still highly recommended. Added bonus:
Adrienne Barbeau. (Zipped
|Paula Prentiss -
her famous frontal nude scene from Catch 22. (Zipped
Pat Reeder - The Comedy Wire
Pat's Comments in yellow:
POSSIBLE NEW PLANET DISCOVERED
Astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology believes he's
discovered a 10th planet in our solar system. Tentatively named
"2003-UB313," it's beyond Pluto and 1-1/2 times Pluto's size, and is the
farthest object yet discovered that orbits our sun. If
confirmed, it would be the first new planet discovered since Pluto in 1930.
Brown said, "Get out your pens. Start re-writing textbooks today."
* Can't we want until they think up a catchier name?
* As if kids today didn't have a hard enough time remembering nine planets.
* It's actually farther away than Britney Spears' next hit record.
* To see it, look beyond Pluto, and on the dark side of Uranus.
SADDAM TRIAL TO AIR ON LIVE TV
Iraq's national security advisor told CNN that Saddam Hussein's trial will air
on live television. He said it will show the Arab and Muslim world "that this
is going to be a fair, just trial with a defense counsel in there, with a proper
prosecuting counsel as well there," and that "everybody will watch."
* Unless he shows up in those baggy white briefs.
* As long as the trial wraps up before the new season of "Desperate Housewives"
* Like the O.J. trial...In fact, Saddam's lawyer is working on getting the O.J.
* A fair trial in Iraq! Who says there's nothing original on TV anymore?
YOUNG TEENS TURNING CONSERVATIVE
For all the worry over adolescents brought up on graphic song lyrics and violent
video games, a new Time magazine survey found that American 13-year-olds are
surprisingly conservative. 90 percent say their relationship with their parents
is good or excellent, while only
seven percent think their parents are too strict. 63 percent say their religion
is important to them. 60 percent are opposed to sex before
marriage; and 63 percent think that at 13, they are still too young to date.
* They just want to hook up with their friends and have oral sex.
* Most will change their minds about sex before marriage sometime around prom
* Video games turned them into conservatives: they now think car thieves should
be shot on sight.
* 10 percent say they can't get along with their parents because they're "damn
PETA DENOUNCES PERFORMING CHIMPS
The latest crusade by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is to get
people to boycott TV shows and movies that features chimps and other apes
dressed in costumes. PETA says chimps and other great apes should be left in
the wild, adding, "Most people do not
know that the chimpanzee 'grin' so often seen in movies and on TV is actually a
grimace of fear or a carefully choreographed response to a
* Most people do not know that chimps are actually smarter than PETA members.
* This sounds like Tom Cruise talking about the history of psychiatry.
* You mean they're TRAINED to smile?! I thought they were just amused by the
sight of a chimp in a tutu!
* Also, contrary to popular belief, Chihuahuas HATE wearing little pink
MEGA-BORDELLO PLANNED FOR BERLIN
Bild reports that a German company is preparing for next year's World Cup
championships in Berlin by building a 60-room mega-brothel
within walking distance of the stadium. The Artemis complex will offer a sauna,
whirlpool, movie theater, buffet restaurant and 100 prostitutes. A spokesman
for the investment company claimed it would be a classy, legitimate resort,
saying, "This is no flash rip-off joint where clients are taken for a ride."
* Well, except the ride they WANT to take...They like to
call it "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
* They're so classy, they hired a former Bowery Boy for a spokesman.
* 60 rooms and 100 prostitutes? Germans must really be into
threesomes...That's like having frankfurters in packages of 10 and buns in
packages of eight.
* They're putting together a travel package with Virgin Airlines.
* A movie theater? Everyone will be too busy watching that penguin movie to
* After a day of soccer, men can go where nobody tries to slap them away from
RELATIONSHIPS DETERMINE SPENDING
Can't Buy Me Love - A study by the British financial services company Mint found
that people's spending is more affected by personal relationships than need. In
the 1960s, people spent on necessities; and in the 1980s, people wanted the most
impressive consumer items. But now, spending habits are more influenced by the
state of people's personal relationships and emotional happiness. The study
found that at parties, people talk about vacations they've taken and what
they've seen and read rather than the expensive car they drive; and spending is
up on dating services, cell phones, the Internet and divorce lawyer fees.
* Of course, divorce lawyers all talk about the expensive cars they drive.
* They're paying for dating services and divorce lawyers at the same
time...Sounds like the divorce is a necessity.
* They can't talk about their expensive car: they had to sell it to pay
* If you think this is the first time people's spending has been
determined by their relationships, you need to spend money on a psychiatrist.
DUMB CRIMINAL ROUND-UP
Police in Stamford, Connecticut, report that Daniel Garcia, 21, had to visit the
courthouse, so to avoid being caught in the search, he stashed $1,500 worth of
marijuana under a rock, near the police station. When he returned, the pot was
gone. Instead, he found a note reading, "You're under arrest. Look up at the
police station." His father claims the cops must've planted the drugs on him.
He said, "I know my son has done some bad things, but I did not train him to be
* Must be genetic.
* If he's not that dumb naturally, I wonder what could've caused it?
* Daniel suspects that the Tooth Fairy ripped off his weed.
In Morgantown, Ohio, Terry Hunt and Justin Hawkins were charged with arson and
insurance fraud, but it got worse: they drove
to court in a stolen BMW. Police then searched their residence and found two
stolen Lexus SUVs in their garage. The jury in the first trial
convicted them and recommended 20 years, then they were immediately charged with
* Don't they get ANY points for trying so hard to get to
court on time?
* Something tells me if the cops keep searching, they'll also turn up some pot.
Brazil's O Dia newspaper reports that a toothless man was arrested in Ribeirao
Preto after supermarket security cameras caught him stealing seven
toothbrushes. He tried to get away by showing his toothless mouth to the cops,
but finally confessed, saying, "I don't
know why I did it. I know it is a stupid thing to do, I have no teeth, what was
* At least, they THINK that's what he said...
* He was thinking, "Why didn't I steal these 20 years ago?"
* He stole some condoms, too...The cops were afraid to look.
CHRISTINA AGUILERA: WEIRD BUT SEXY
The FemaleFirst website reports that Christina Aguilera has adopted a weird new
diet. She is eating meals balanced between four food groups: hot, cold, soft
and crunchy. The plate also must include foods in bold, contrasting colors.
She reportedly travels with a chef who can whip up meals to fit the formula.
* He makes them out of Play-Doh.
* It's true: her chef is good with a whip.
* When you think about it, aren't MOST foods either hot or cold, soft or
* It beats her last diet: nothing but vegetables that can double as sex toys.
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the
review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
- If there is a white asterisk, it means that
there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined
there might be something else of interest.
- A blue asterisk indicates the review is written
by Tuna (or Junior or Brainscan, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.
Very silly pages and covers from real comic books.
Check out #3, in which the Joker says "Laugh at my
boner, will they?"
The trailer for Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
- "As the film opens, a radio announcer reads a
foreboding message sent in by the deaf mute Ryu, an
intense young man who has a dead end job in a smelting
factory. Ryu idolizes his sister who is in urgent need
of a kidney transplant. When he is fired from his job
and is tricked out of his savings by organ
traffickers, his trashy loud-mouthed girlfriend Yeong-mi
suggests kidnapping his boss's daughter Yu-sun for
ransom to pay for his sister's transplant. What starts
as a desperate attempt to help his sister leads to a
high stakes game of revenge between Ryu and his former
boss Park Dong-jin (played by Song Kang-ho of Mr.
Park's JSA and The Foul King) that soon escalates into
a modern day Greek tragedy."
Here is the international trailer for Rent
- "Based on Puccini's classic opera La Boheme,
Jonathan Larson's revolutionary rock opera 'Rent'
tells the story of a group of Bohemians struggling to
live and pay their rent in the gritty background of
New York's East Village. 'Measuring their lives in
love,' these starving artists strive for success and
acceptance while enduring the obstacles of poverty,
ilness and the AIDS epidemic. One of the longest
running shows on Broadway, 'Rent' was the winner of
the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Obie Award, the
New York Drama Critics Circle Award, four Tony Awards
and three Drama Desk awards."
Four clips, the trailer, and a featurette for The Great
- "Set in the Philippines in 1945, "The Great Raid"
tells the true story of the men of the 6th Ranger
Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel
Henry Mucci (Bratt), who undertake a daring rescue
mission against all odds. Traveling thirty miles
behind enemy lines, the 6th Ranger Battalion aims to
liberate over 500 American prisoners-of-war from the
notorious Cabanatuan Japanese POW camp resulting in
the most audacious rescue ever."
USING RECESS, BUSH NAMES HIS DOG TO THE SUPREME COURT
... "Caught You Napping", President Tells Congress
Chuck Norris is donning his cowboy boots once more,
reprising his role as 'Walker, Texas Ranger' for CBS.
The Daily Show:
"Rumsfeld crafts a new, sarcastic message to the men
crafting the new Iraqi government."
Maggie Gyllenhall tells Jon Stewart all the secrets of
kissing Tom Arnold
The Daily Show unveils God Machine 2.0
The Daily Show's Rob Corddry profiles a Shinnecock claim
that could drive the proud and simple South Hamptonite
into the sea.
- The submitter wrote: I knew about Hitler's plans
to rebuild Berlin. What I didn't know was that Stallin
had plans for Moscow that dwarfed Hitler's Berlin. In
particular the Palace of the Soviets was designed to
be quite a bit larger than the Empire State Building.
Stallin did get as far as demolishing the Cathedral of
Christ the Savior to make room for it. Here I quote.
"The total height of the building was planned at 415
meters (1365 feet), taller than the Empire State
Building, the tallest building at that time. The
Palace would have housed several museums, the main and
secondary auditoriums, with lower and underground
levels given to the traffic handling, storage, and
technical equipment. The building was supposed to give
an impression of an enormous ladder to the sky. The
utilitarian purpose of the building was to house
Congresses of Soviets, likely the World Congress of
The Toilet Online - Leave It To Bush!, episode 3.
Weekly World News:
"LATEST CALIFORNIA SPORTS CRAZE: MUDSLIDE SURFING!"
Brittany and The Mickster sign up for the Sin City
A gallery of stills from Deuce Bigelow. It has been
such a weak summer at the movies that this film is
starting to look good to me.
Giant New Zealand 'Bra Fence' Sparks Controversy.
"Official Says Fence Offends Asian Cultures, South
Yet another brilliant BBC headline:
Taste test for underwater cheese
- This is really from BBC, but it is obviously
written with tongue deep in cheek.
- "Cheese-maker Luc Boivin threw cheese in the Baie
des Ha! Ha! late last year, believing it would improve
the taste. However, food hygiene inspectors say Mr
Boivin cannot sell his cheese without rigorous health
testing. And before it can be sold, it must be found,
and divers have so far failed."
- By the way, there really is a "Baie des Ha ! Ha !"
The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Badminton.
For once I believe the blurb: "The Ultimate Guide to
Weight Training for Badminton is the most comprehensive
and up-to-date badminton-specific training guide in the
world today." I had no idea that badminton players
trained so hard. I figured they just took steroids like
Another great BBC headline:
Roman ruler's head found in sewer
The most foul-mouthed movie ever
- I don't know if you noticed it on last weekend's
Box Office Mojo, but The Aristocrats placed #24
despite being on only four screens. It took in an
uncanny and astronomical $60,000 per screen.
(Perspective is provided by the fact that the box
office champ, The Wedding Crashers, was the second
best performer in this category, with $6,600 per
Bush names Wyatt Earp to UN while Congress in recess
You won't get far in the 21st Century if you don't learn
to think outside the box. Test your powers of lateral
thinking with these classic questions.
Rafael Palmeiro suspended for steroids. "Palmeiro --
the highest-profile player to fail a test -- said he
never intentionally took steroids and could not explain
how the drugs got into his body."
The trailer for Three Dancing Slaves
- "The newest film from French director-writer-actor
Gael Morel ('Full Speed,' 'Wild Reeds'), 'Three
Dancing Slaves' is an emotionally rich story about
three brothers who are each facing a crucial turning
point in their lives. As each young brother wrestles
with their transition to manhood, they must escape the
tyrannical rule of their distant father in order to
find their own path for success in their lives. A
tragic incident however, sparks a course of events
that will test each sibling's sense of self-worth and
open up questions about their blossoming desires that
could affect their already fragile identities.
Stunning cinematography, superb production values and
high caliber performances makes 'Three Dancing Slaves'
a thoughtful film about relationships, where each
character questions their commitments to family and
struggles to make their personal imprint in the world
Funny Videos - The Origin of Ctrl Alt Del
Check out the ad for the DVD of
Miss Castaway and the Island Girls. This movie has
the greatest cast ever: Michael Jackson, Bob Denver,
Anna Nicole Smith, Mr. Myagi, Jerry Lewis, and some
ex-Playmates. (Sorry, it is rated PG.) Not to mention
Doc from the Love Boat and the Incredible Hulk.
Sienna Miller has landed roles in two major Hollywood
films thanks to her profile being raised after fiance
Jude Law admitted to an affair with his children's
nanny. (Although it sounds silly, this is basically
how Elizabeth Hurley became A-list famous.)
MEL GIBSON CHASES JANE FONDA IN NUCLEAR-POWERED PRO-WAR
BUS ... Hollywood Bus Chase Tops 150 MPH
Marijuana use is cropping up on some critically
acclaimed shows, and anti-drug forces fear the
glamorization of pot could boost its use among youths.
Dave Chappelle's ad for "Samuel Jackson Beer"
50 People Who Need a Vicious Beating
Warner Brothers Fall 2005 Preview
That is one big motherfuckin' catfish . 7'7", 221
pounds. Hey, that ain't a catfish. Some guys caught Sean
Buffalo renounces Satan. Batavia will pick up all
the cancelled orgies.
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since it's sorta in real time.
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