<I know you all are anxiously anticipating the upcoming Video Vacuum Awards for 2010, so I figured I’d throw you guys a bone by introducing The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame. Enjoy…>
Welcome everybody to the first ever Video Vacuum Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Every year from now on, I’ll be naming six people that best exemplify the pinnacle of greatness in their respective fields and place their name in the Video Vacuum Hall of Fame. It is here that they will achieve celluloid immortality for all time. Some people have won Oscars. Others have their name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most would say that’s about the loftiest aspiration one could hope for.
I say… that’s kid’s stuff next to getting your name in the Video Vacuum Hall of Fame. Once you’ve got your name in the VVHOF, you can do no wrong in my eyes. You’re a “Made” man (or woman). If your name is in the Video Vacuum Hall of Fame, then any movie that you’ve been in or directed is automatically worth watching just for the fact that your name is listed in the credits. And that my friends is about the highest honor one could hope for. So without further ado…
ACTION ICON: CHARLES BRONSON
The first ever entrant into The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame is none other than Charles Bronson. The first time I ever saw Bronson was in The Great Escape where he played the badass tunnel digger. What was so intriguing about him was the fact that he could be a total badass but still be 100% human. The part that perfectly captures this is when he’s in the tunnel and the power goes out and he freaks out. Bronson quickly dropped these kinds of nuanced performances and turned into a more macho badass. It’s funny because as great as the man was, he was considered box office poison in the US and had to get most of his acting gigs overseas. While working in various potboilers in Italy, the press dubbed him as “The Great Stone Face” because he never moved a facial muscle. When he returned to the States to make Death Wish in ‘74, the studio was worried that it would tank. It actually became one of the biggest movies of the year and vindicated Bronson’s status as a leading man. The 80’s saw Bronson working almost exclusively with Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus’ Cannon Films. Most of these flicks were extremely farfetched and over the top. And thank God for that. In movies like Ten to Midnight, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, and Death Wish 2, 3, and 4, Bronson kicked all kinds of cinematic ass and made it look easy. I think I’ll best remember him though in his theatrical swan song; Death Wish 5: The Face of Death. How many 73 year olds do you know can kill mobsters with remote controlled soccer balls and cyanide laced canolli? I mean how can you do that and NOT get elected into The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame?
SCREAM QUEEN: LINNEA QUIGLEY
When I was ten years old, I rented Return of the Living Dead from the video store at least a dozen times. Now if you asked me why, I would tell you that it was because I really liked zombie movies and that Return of the Living Dead was the best zombie movie ever made. While that statement is 100% true, the real reason I rented that movie over and over again was to see Linnea Quigley dancing naked in a graveyard. Yep, her cemetery striptease is one of the primary reasons why I’m a red-blooded heterosexual. That right there would’ve been probably been enough reason to put her into the Hall of Fame but Linnea has given us so much more throughout the years. How about the scene where she got impaled on the deer antlers in Silent Night, Deadly Night? Or her seductive chainsaw dance in Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers? And who could forget the unforgettable lipstick-in-the-nipple scene from Night of the Demons? With an impressive resume that contains Fairy Tales, Graduation Day, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama, and the immortal Nightmare Sisters, Linnea has set herself apart from the rest of the Scream Queen pack and earned her rightful place in The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame.
HORROR LEGEND: BELA LUGOSI
Bela Lugosi is Dracula. No matter how many damn Twilight movies they make, when you think vampire; you have to think of Bela Lugosi standing on a decrepit stairway saying, “Listen to them… children of the night! What music they make!” If Bela had made no more movies after 1931’s Dracula, he still would be in The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame. Luckily for us, the man was a workhorse. After the major studios dropped him as a contract player, Bela starred in a string of cheapies that are just as memorable as some of his big budget stuff. Who could forget the part in The Devil Bat where he splashes pheromone laced aftershave on his victims so that his gigantic trained bat would rip their throats out? You don’t see George Clooney doing that sort of shit that’s for damn sure. When Bela got REALLY desperate, he starred in a little sex change movie called Glen or Glenda. He immediately went legendary with that one. How many actors do you know can just sit in a chair and go on and on about “puppy dog tails and BIG FAT snails” and still seem like a total pimp? Bela Lugosi muthafucker…. That’s who! Of course, Bela’s final role was as the “star” in Glen or Glenda’s director Ed Wood’s magnum opus Plan 9 from Outer Space. The fact that he died before filming actually began and still got top billing is a testament to the man’s star power. Still, Lugosi would forever be known as Dracula to many of us. Old Bela knew that, and even had himself buried in his Dracula cape. Rest in Peace my man and welcome to The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: JASON VORHEES
Out of all the iconic horror figures to come out of the 80’s, Jason has been the most durable. The Nightmare on Elm Street series may have better directors, heftier budgets, and overall more imagination, but you have to hand it to the Friday the 13th people because they give you the exact same thing (teens having sex and getting killed) over and over again and we still eat it up. Much of the Fridays’ success comes from it’s poster child, Jason Vorhees. Now Jason is a bit on the shy side because he almost always wears his trademark hockey mask, but I’m sure he’ll be flattered to accept this award. I mean here’s a guy that definitely DESERVES an award for killing no less than 150 people in the course of 12 movies. And here’s the kicker folks: Jason doesn’t even physically kill anybody in Parts 1, 5, and 9, so that’s some impressive shit. Through the years Jason has mainly relied on his trusty machete to do away with the teenage scum of Camp Crystal Lake, but he’s also used ice picks, knives, hammers, spears, meat cleavers, knitting needles, spear guns, hack saws, corkscrews, axes, weed whackers, and of course, the immortal sleeping bag. And that’s not even including his more “hands on” approach when he crushes people’s heads, snaps their necks, or literally knocks their block off with his bare hands. Jason’s gotten as good as he’s given though and survived drowning, a machete to the shoulder, an axe to the face, a machete to the face, an outboard motor to the face, and even toxic waste. After all that; the man still keeps coming back for more. He’s even died at the box office several times (Parts 8-10 tanked) and came back from that. It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good slasher down.
LEGENDARY FILMMAKER: ROGER CORMAN
Producer/director Roger Corman won an Honorary Oscar last year. Now that he’s got this Legendary Filmmaker Award from The Video Vacuum; he can die a happy man. Perhaps no other filmmaker (except for maybe Ed Wood) is more famous for his thriftiness than his actual artistic skill. I mean you’ve got to love Corman’s why-should-we-make-one-decently-budgeted-movie-when-we-can-make-three-low-budget-ones-for-the-same-price attitude. It’s thinking like that that gets you into The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame. Now Corman’s penny-pinching ways has resulted in some pretty horrible films (She Gods of Shark Reef, anyone?) but more often than not, the man strikes cinematic gold. Not content to stick with one particular genre, Corman has done westerns (Gunslinger), sci-fi (The Day the World Ended), period pictures (Machine-Gun Kelly), comedies (The Little Shop of Horrors), and drama (The Intruder) and put his unique stamp on all of them. As a producer he ushered in many of the drive-in crazes we take for granted like the Nurse movie, the Women in Prison picture, and the Mutant Rape flick. More than anything though, Corman should be revered for giving so many future famous people their start. Imagine what kind of a world it would be if Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, and Martin Scorsese never got into the movie business. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world without Roger Corman.
VISIONARY GURU: JOE BOB BRIGGS
I was too young to remember the late night local horror movie host fad, but I was just the right age to catch Joe Bob Briggs’ Drive-In Theater on The Movie Channel. Later, he moved over to TNT and hosted MonsterVision for several years. I watched both programs religiously and continuously kick myself for not taping all of them. If anyone made an impact on my movie-watching tastes, it was Joe Bob Briggs. Not only did he introduce me to legitimate classics like The Killer, but he also gave me a glimpse of cult classics like Frankenhooker and not-so classics like Superbeast. Of course Joe Bob got his start at The Dallas Slimes-Herald as the resident drive-in movie critic and his work there went on to be collected in Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In and Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In. These two books are a must-have for any serious horror film aficionado. I can’t stress enough that Joe Bob’s work made me want to write about cult movies for a living. (Well… if you count periodically getting free movies in the mail “a living”.) Joe Bob’s unmistakable wit, one-of-a-kind knack for satire, and freewheeling spirit is infectious. He is without a doubt the closest this century will come to Mark Twain. I can’t think of a better inductee to The Video Vacuum Hall of Fame as a Visionary Guru; someone who blazed the trail for me to do what I do.
Well, that’s it folks. I hope you all enjoyed the ceremony. For those of you who didn’t get inducted, there’s always next year. And besides, there’s a good chance you’ll be featured in The Video Vacuum’s newest upcoming feature: Legends of the Silver Screen.