A fly-by-Night Trap

As a freelancer (in many fields), it's easy for me to fall into the trap of working on weekends, as I can always take a day off during the week. However, as I tend to work 10-20 hour days most weeks (because I love my work), I have recently started to dedicate the weekends to goofing around. However, my goofing around is often just as much work as it is play, frequently because I'm usually trying to do something silly...Like setup a media server on my TV or program a universal remote to execute applescripts on a Mac. What can I say? I'm a nerd.

 

Dana Plato wonders why you don't come on in for some hot Vamp-on-Co-Ed Action?

Most recently I've been tweaking that little media server to see if I can't get it to play old video games and integrate them into the browser I use to scroll through my other media. You know, to make it so I never have to get up off the couch again. Maybe I won't be satisfied until I've created a molecular bond with the thing, the two of us becoming one being of leathery comfort and perfection....

Where was I? Ah yes, setting up the machine to play Sega CD games.

After getting the damn thing working (which was no small feat, mind), I trolled around the interwebs for copies of classic games that I could use in my little arcade. It was then that I stumbled across this little forgotten "gem".

Supposedly setup to remind you of a B-grade slumber party horror movie, Night Trap wants you to think it's all about scantily clad nymphets getting themselves ganked by unknown perpetrators in an "interactive movie experience". What it really is, however, is a convoluted jumble that mixes in "Augers" (vampire-like beings dressed as Ninjas), a Spec-Ops team, vampires, and the troubled Dana Plato (Any child of the eighties will remember her from Diff'rent Strokes). Oh, and a Nightgown scene in a bathroom that got congress all up in arms.

Like many Full Motion Video (FMV) games, you spend most of your time watching pixelated cinematic sequences before entering in pre-determined key sequences to move onto the next cinematic. However, as this was was among the first of its kind in 1992, it was kinda shiny and new. Looking back at it, the fact that it had 6 different endings and over an hour of footage make it fairly impressive from a technological standpoint. Not to say the game was any fun, mind you, but still technologically impressive for its time.

However, anybody who's a fan of the truly cheesy would do well to check out the various and sundry videos available on YouTube, as they are a hoot to watch. Meanwhile, I think I'll see if I can't find myself a copy of Corpse Killer.

 

Do you remember this game? Any other B-horror/Schlock titles I should look at? Sound off below!

A Tale of Two Cavalcades

Way back in 2008, I had the idea for a little club that would meet once a month in my apartment and watch bad movies centered around a particular theme. For an added bonus, we would have food and drink that matched the particular theme of the month. It was to be full-on potluck and use movies from our respective film collections, keeping costs down; essentially, an inexpensive B-movie bookclub. Wow, did I ever not know what I was getting myself into or what?

In less than 3 months, we had name voted upon by the crowd. In 5 months, we had a website. By 12 months, we'd outgrown my apartment and had to move to a local art gallery. By the 3rd year, we were featured in multiple newspapers as a hotspot to watch for an evening's entertainment in the DC area. This skips over the 500 square-foot inflatable screen and the public events held to crowds that would have filled the entire floor of my apartment building. I couldn't believe it.

What's more, I couldn't believe we'd accidentally taken our name from somebody else's website.

When the group first brainstormed ideas for names, I wrote each and every one of them down and did domain lookups them. I also checked the copyright and trademark statuses just to make sure (something that was fairly easy for me to do, as I worked down the hall from the office that housed them all at the time). But you know the one thing I didn't do?

A simple Google search.

When we all settled on the Cavalcade of Schlock, I went off and registered the domain and started the process for trademarking the title. Then, one day, I decided to do a Google search to see how our site ranked among the other B-movie review sites. That's when I found the other Cavalcade of Schlock website, hosted on the now-defunct Geocities written by a gentlemen under the pseudonym of Tyranorabbit.  While it seemed to have had a huge following, it had been dormant for over a year.

Feeling like crap, but thinking I had lucked out in the fact that his site had apparently gone the way of the dodo when Geocities eventually shut down, I continued with the marketing of our project, enjoying it as it grew to the heights mentioned above. Eventually we were getting so much traffic that our original host couldn't handle the numbers, and all was well...until the hate mail started.

It turns out that Tyranorabbit brought his site back in late 2009, now hosted by Blogger (you can find it here), and was writing reviews again. In his comments section, there were a couple of people who decided to take pot-shots at us, though T himself never responded. However, hating the fact that there was some bad blood out there coming in our general direction-and feeling mighty protective of our group-I sent out an email to Tyranorabbit, saying how big a fan of his work I was (and I really was by that point, as he's a rock-solid writer with great thoughts about exactly the kind of movies we talk about), and how I was willing to host his work on our site to provide a safer environment than the free blog-sites that constantly get shut down. I thought it could possibly be a match made in b-movie heaven. Alas, to date, I've never heard back from him, and his site has again been dormant for 2 years.

But still there are the comparisons, and the hate mail.

So here I am, giving the official word from us on the subject. We didn't deliberately rip anybody off, it was simply an instance of the same idea for a name happening in two different places, albeit we were nearly 10 years later. We've now got everything trademarked and copyrighted (and have had them for 2 and a half years now), but I don't like the potential for ill-will. I have big plans for Cavalcade v4, and the site redesign was simply stage 1. My offer's still out there T. After all, we both did this for the same reason: The love of craptacular movies.

Cavalcade of Schlock 4.0

Ladies and Gentlesirs, it is my very great pleasure to be able to present to you the latest iteration of the Cavalcade of Schlock website!

Over the last several months, I was ever more saddened to see this place fall further and further into disuse. Eventually I decided that I needed to take a direct hand in bringing about its resurrection. With that in mind, I did an exhaustive review of the previous site, examining what worked and what didn't. What you see before you is a result of that and more than 200 hours of coding. So let's see the highlights of what's different, shall we?

Revamped Mission

When the Cavalcade first started, we lacked a certain degree of focus on what we were going to cover, and it showed. As time went on, we eventually found our footing in the arena of the lesser known B-movie. However, as we grew, we felt pressured to include A-list theatrical releases. This led us to get pretty far afield of what I'd envisioned. So while I've left those films in the archives, I've decided to get back to where I wanted this place to be in the first place. Sharing my love of those ridiculously bad movies that you find at the the video store (or Netflix). Check out our first review under the new mission for an idea of what we're going to cover. I mean, the title's Nude Nuns with Big Guns. There's no WAY that was ever heading to a theater near you.

Increased focus on you, the reader.

Star Ratings

The first thing I did was include a system for you to quickly provide your input on each of the films we review with a star rating system that required nothing more than a single mouse-click. Take a look over at Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil to see what I mean. The system takes your input, averages it out against the ratings of others, and instantly provides you with feedback. I think it's kinda cool, actually.

Revamped Comments

I've integrated our comments system with Facebook, allowing you to share your thoughts about anything on our site via your Facebook/Yahoo/Hotmail account. This means that a majority of the time you won't have to "log in" to verify you're human, and you can quickly share the thoughts that we're so eager to hear. As an added bonus, you can share these thoughts on your own wall to invite others into the conversation.

Reader Submissions

Have you heard of an upcoming, or seen a craptacular grindhouse horror, sci-fi, action movie that you think would fit our site? Have an idea for a feature we could run? Want to write the review yourself? We recognize the world of Schlock is both vast and expansive, and we want to give those of you out there in the interwebs the opportunity to share your love with the rest of the world. Check this page out and get to submitting!

Return of the Blog!

In the beginning, I had a section of the site dedicated to random musings about B-movies and related news. When I revamped for v3, I offloaded that in hopes that others would take up the slack. Unfortunately, I made it kludgy and complicated. So, this time I brought it back where it should have always been. Here. In the coming days you'll see some posts appear there, as I've already got them queued up.

Code Overhaul

The old site relied on a lot of plugged-in code to add features and functionality that, in the long run, we didn't use. This caused a huge bog-down in performance. Not so now: The entire site has been built from ground up with only our use in mind, greatly speeding up the overall site performance. The same goes for the backend systems that I use to publish articles. I've done everything I could to make sure the process of submitting a review/article/feature/blog post as simple as possible, thereby eliminating my excuses for not doing so.

Finally, Pardon Our Dust!

I've done my best to quash as many of the layout and code bugs as I could before releasing this beast into the wild, but as you can imagine, any site of this magnitude is going to still have a few issues here and there while I work out the kinks. One of them is the fact that (not surprisingly) Internet Explorer still doesn't like all the aspects of the site. I'm working diligently to crush all the IE bugs, but in the meantime I'd recommend viewing this in Chrome/Safari/Firefox. Also, an iPad version of the  website will be available in the next couple of weeks, as coding for THAT has been a bear.

As always, let me know what you think!

Either in the comments below or our new Contact Us webpage