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"Only the mad know, the impossible is possible!"
December 2019
This Blog is offering a colorful kaleidoscope of movie magic for cinema aficionados.
Crispy peanuts, thin-skinned baloons and thrilling sensations on celluloid.
See offbeat goodies and magic crumbs ...weekly!
The Reality behind the Fantasy! - The Story behind the Spectacle!
No inflated endlessly long stories, but short and crisp. 
'This is Helmet time!'
Photos beat content!
Welcome to the manege of madness! - Have a pleasant trip!

La Dehesa de Navalvillar - Pico de San Pedro - 1971.
'Pancho Villa' Director Eugenio Martin converse with Telly Savalas and Clint Walker about an upcoming scene they will 
shoot in the 'Dehesa de Navalvillar' near Colmenar Viejo (Madrid).
The comical 'Invasion U.S.A.' scene was shot here and some funny moments with an antique Chevrolet Car.
Eugenio Martin directed with panache, but in competition with some of the better 'Spaghetti Western' of that time, 
his 'Western' lacks style and intelligence in all possible departments.
But on the other hand 'Pancho' has a certain charme and Telly is always groovy. The chemistry is right.
All the Western flicks of the 'Daganzo em70' crew (A Town called Hell, Captain Apache, Bad Man's River, Pancho Villa) 
are solid little films, which were realized on a tiny budget but with great enthusiasm.
'Pancho' was produced by Bernard Gordon, a veteran in Spain of the old Samuel Bronston days (Fall of the Roman Empire).
He always found a way to let 'his' movies look bigger that the really were.
A Script of only a few pages, rollicking Actors, great locations, good pictures (Alejandro Ulloa) and 
well-mounted special effects (Pablo Perez).
If you do not take the adventure too seriously, you can easily enjoy 'Pancho'.
Comparison photo of the location - Pico de San Pedro - Dehesa de Navalvillar - 2009 - The Horse of Navajo Joe.
The prairie-like area was a very popular filming location for various productions.
Endless Western films were filmed here, but also Epics like 'Alexander the Great' or 'Spartacus'.
Pretty close to this spot they built a Set for the Don Medford Western 'The Hunting Party': 
Teacher Candice Bergen - School Set.
Director Eugenio Martin discusses a scene with actor Clint Walker on set in the Western Town of the Daganzo em70 Studio.
The 'Mexican' part of it (Tower, Church, a substantial Wall...) was originally built for 'A Town called Hell'. 
The Town Set was constantly expanded and redressed for 'Captain Apache', 'Bad Mans River', 'Pancho Villa' and 
'Horror Express'.
The 'Mexican Pueblo' was pretty impressive and sturdy built, while many of the 'Western Town' elements were not much more
than storefronts with the exception of one new solid building, the Hotel/Saloon Set built for 'Captain Apache'.
A pretty cool gimmick for 'Pancho' was the huge 'Train Set' the crew built on the backlot at Daganzo.
Producer Bernard Gordon ordered a superb set of miniature trains from a specialty firm in London.
To call em 'miniatures' is a bit misleading here.
Bernard Gordon: 
"The miniatures were quite large, each rail car and locomotive about six feet long, motorized, controlled by radio.
The locomotives were equipped with a device that emitted smoke from stack.
Any child's dream.
In fact, each car was big enough for a child to lie down in.
We built a railroad track at the studio that was long enough for two trains to be photographed racing toward each other 
in a single shot that, also, would not include any background of modern buildings or incompatible power lines. 
The ground was carefully leveled so that the speeding trains would not jump the track.
None of this was routine.
The Spanish Set constructors had to overcome real problems, but they worked everything out quite well in spite of 
my worried interference" (Bernard Gordon - 'Hollywood Exile').
My photos, shot in 2009, show the remains of old foundation of the railway embankment the crew built near the Western Town.
Difficult to discover at that time and maybe no longer there today.
Back in 1971 the radio remote controls were not as good as they are now.
Very close to the studio was a military airport, Torrejón Air Base, whose radio traffic repeatedly influenced 
the 'Pancho Villa' Express in Daganzo.
Remains of the well-built 'A Town called Hell' church set at the Daganzo Studio, 2009.
One of only a few buildings that was also designed for indoor shooting.
There was no real Soundstage available in Daganzo, just a warehouse which could be used for interior shots as well.
View from the church set to the ruin of the newly built Hotel/Saloon Set for 'Captain Apache'.
This new set created another possibility for interior shots.
It was part of the 'Columbus' Set of 'Pancho Villa'.
The sequence of Pancho Villa watching movies of his adventures was filmed inside of the Daganzo church set.
Most of the films that were filmed here took advantage of the interior of the church.
Gina Lollobrigida sitting in an oldtimer Chevrolet on set in Daganzo (Bad Man's River).
For 'Pancho Villa', the car was repainted and brought to Colmenar Viejo.
Now in blood-red the Chevrolet became Villas 'tank' for his invasion of the United States. 
He rides on the old Chevy into the American Town Columbus (Western Town Set of Daganzo), to plunder the city.
What happened to the car?
In the 80s, a fire destroyed the studio and many of the old props, like the excellent paddle steamer miniature of 
'Bad Man's River.
Was the car also a victim of the flames?
Another Hollywood Cowboy, with only very few hairs on his head, was in Colmenar Viejo, Spain, to play 'Pancho Villa'.
See Yul Brynner in 'Villa Rides'.

'Lifeforce' helicopter set on stage at Elstree Studios.
Looks like a real cannibalised housing of a Heli, without the power unit and other parts.
Lifted onto a platform to get an easy access for camera and lighting. 
Perfect for close-up shots of the actors from all required camera angles.
Peter Firth and Steve Railsback have to get rid of some late guests.
Two Zombies, victims of the space vampires, want a seat on the helicopter flight over London.
Caine (Peter Firth) blows one of the 'Shrivels' into the night with a signal pistol.
The raised position of the helicopter set makes it much easier to shoot this scene, which requires a deeper camera position.
This flight is overbooked!
Different spotlights illuminate the inside of the Helicopter Set.
Parts of the sequence with Mathilda May covered in blood were also filmed in this set.
Something strange, that we didn't see coming, happened inside the helicopter.
The corpses of Aubrey Morris and Patrick Stewart have some fuel left in the tank.
They spit blood from their eyes, noses and mouth.
These are two animatronic puppets (bodycasts of the actors) built by Nick Maley and his Special Make-Up effects shop.
The resemblance with the actors ... is present, the effect itself is breathtaking!
A special upside down mock-up set was built for this glorious Gag so that the blood falls with gravity.
The tilted camera films the show with a high-speed frame rate.
The blood of the two guys is forming some kind of red ball.
The big animated Blob is a spinning polystyrene form, filmed in reverse.
How crazy is that?
The spinning blob becomes Mathilda May, the Space Vampire!
What stuff did they use for her wax-like viscous blood jam Makeup (melting effect)?
Awesome scenes!
Mathilda May in the Makeup department. 
It was a painful procedure sitting on the makeup chair getting prepared for this particular scene.
She wore a very tight rubber suit, but the slow-moving liquid found a way and crawls down her beautiful body under the suit. 
The next 'Lifeforce' story will be about the huge 'London' Set on the Elstree Studios backlot.
The 'vampiric plague' spreads throughout London, most of the population becomes infected and turned into 
zombie-like creatures.
A hellish job for special makeup effects wizard Nick Maley and his crew.
They did much more than just simple pull-over masks for long shot Zombies.
But the 'London on fire' party is the show of Practical effects supervisor John Gant and 
Visual effects mastermind John Dykstra.
These guys celebrated an explosive sequence between thin 'cardboard walls'. 
We will take a closer look soon!
But first check out this: The Tower Bridge at Elstree.
"You don't want to go in there" - "I know I don't"

Your comments are always welcome!
Trust me, I know what I'm doing. Sometimes.

Ed O'Ross plays the super villain Viktor "Rosta" Rostavili in Walter Hill's buddy cop culture clash 
Action movie 'Red Heat' (1988).
He's the bad-tempered guy who keeps jumbling the buddy-cop game of Schwarzenegger and Belushi.
His rough screen presence gives the movie a lot of extra verve and power.
Ed plays the rugged dog absolutely believable and cool. All his scenes are great!
Victor Rosta is one of the top Gangsters in the Action Genre of the 80s, thanks to Ed O'Ross.
Another notable Gangster role in his vita is his greasy dope pusher Mendez in the Blockbuster Action movie 'Lethal Weapon'.
Rosta surprises his opponent with a Sleeve gun.
The BTJ Derringer DA38 was modified by gun expert and movie armorer Tim LaFrance.
The physical effects crew prepared the gun with a small explosive charge (magnesium) for the firing effect.
Tim also built the 'most powerful handgun in the world', the fictional Podbyrin 9.2mm Pistol of Ivan Danko (Schwarzenegger).
Ed O'Ross on Set at Maxwell & Halsted streets (Chicago) with 'Red Heat' Prop master Rick Young.
The two talk about the correct handling of the sleeve gun.
Ed looks a bit sceptical, but in the movie he uses the thing like an old hand.
Filming a scene with Ed O'Ross.
Close-up shots of Ed O'Ross, with Arnold Schwarzenegger (Danko) lying on the ground.
Ivan Danko was being knocked out by the henchmen of drug baron Rosta.
Rosta searches Ivan's clothes to find his missin' locker key.
Set-Up for the Close-Ups. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ed O'Ross.
In order to make the deep camera position possible, the actors were simply seated on a plywood plate lying on boxes.
A few soft mats ... and Action!
The Actor in the background in uniform is without question the most important guy on the set, 
he holds the cigar of Arnold.
Wherever Arnie was, there was his cigar.
Is this Michael Kohnhorst ("b" camera) shooting the close-ups?
The big money always in view! 
Viktor Rostavili (Ed O'Ross) in 'Red Heat' and Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in 'Die Hard'.
Two real types and not as interchangeable as today's petty bad guys of the Action cinema.
Learn more about Hans Gruber (Rickman) and his famous jump off the skyscraper here: Let's drop the Actor!

A new Russian super-sub, the 'Red October', equipped with a futuristic caterpillar drive system, 
which would allow for nuclear first strike with next to no warning, slides nearly blindly through 
a labyrinthine underwater canyon called 'Red Route One'.
See how ingenously the ILM visual effects crew staged this deep sea show all in miniature!
See flying submarines hanging in spicy smoke!
See a complex ballet of wire rigs!
See the Neptune massif, a frightening underwater rock massif that seems to get bigger and bigger with every moment!
This and so much more only here on the RED ROUTE ONE!
Merry Christmas!

'Two Evil Eyes' is a two-part story directed by George A. Romero and Dario Argento.
Romero did the first one, "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar", and Argento the second story, 
"The Black Cat".
The Special Make-Up effects off the whole show were handled by Romero crony Tom Savini and his 'Saviniland' shop,
John Vulich and Everett Burrell.
Tom Savini had the immensely talented John Vulich on his side on the 'Valdemar' episode, which he first got to 
know during the work on 'Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter'.
After that in late 1984 Savini contacted him to be part of a marvelous Crew of all-round make-up effects guys for 
'Day of the Dead'.
During the large-scale work on 'Day of the Dead' the make-up shop badly needed some extra help and John Vulich 
recommended a few guys, buddies of his exhilarating days at the John Carl Buechler shop (MMI).
One of them was Everett Burrell ('Ghoulies'). An excellent sculptor, moldmaker, painter and so much more.
Many young talents (Howard Berger, Mitch DeVane,...) started their career in the shop of Buechler, 
the crazy brain behind several of the freaked-out creatures of the good old 'Empire Pictures' world in the 80s.
But back to 'Two Evil Eyes' and a thrilling 'Zombie' make-up gag at the end of the first Story.
A doctor on the wrong track.
Possessed by evil forces, stranded between the world of the living and the dead.
After a long session in the make-up shop, Ramy Zada feels the rhythm and the groove of his 
upcoming seconds as a living dead.
His head make-up is not a simple latex pull-over mask. 
The crew made a cast of his face and did a lot of sculpting.
Ramy Zada got a series of prosthetic appliances glued to his face, to transform him into a 
rotten doctor of the living dead.
Lots of holes in the rotten meat, but where are the maggots?
Two little maggots peeping out of the cheek would have been great!
Ramy Zada - This is what happens when a harmless little actor opens the wrong door and 
stumbles into 'Saviniland'.
Ramy in action with the Pyramid-shaped metronome in his belly.
The bones a little stiff and he is beyond the expiration date.
Check out the Extras of the special bluray edition. 
Some interesting short and crisp documentaries.
Among other things, Tom Savini is talking about how they staged the metronome effect.
Excellently sculpted and painted prosthetic appliances and nice teeth.
A fresh zombie out of the terrifying Savini kitchen.
Final correction on Set - Ramy is ready to dance the 'Romero'.

In 2020 we are going into the 6th year with our slightly different movie magazine moon-city-garbage.
And there are still so many movies and their crazy stories to discover!
Well, first of all it is important to me to finally bring some long announced stories to an end 
and to publish them.
Unfortunately, one or the other report is still slumbering too comfortably in the queue.
James: Ya... ya. By the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
Miss Sophie: The same procedure as every year James!
James: Well, I'll do my very best!
In 2020 I will start a small JC Buechler series and I am particularly looking forward to this.
John Carl Buechler (1952-2019) was the uncrowned king of B-Movie rubber creatures in the golden 80s!
The Godfather of rubber toys and the mastermind behind all the stylish monsters of the great flicks that 
Charles Band released on his infamous 'Empire Pictures'. 
The story may not work, the actors fail, but the Buechler toys have always delivered.
Old school cable-operated puppets with a very special imaginative 'Pulp' vibrancy, 
dancing through horror and sci-fi flicks not always full of greatest visual splendours!
I love his straight special effect make-up world. 
You can look forward to a full range of rare pictures and photographic material from the 
Buechler shop 'MMI' (Mechanical and Makeup Imageries Inc.).
See you later!
...and a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!