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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #385  (Vol. 8, No. 32) This edition is for the week of August 6--12, 2007.

"Becoming Jane"  by Mike Smith
Operation: Woronov  by Andy Lalino
What's In A Name?  by Lisa Ciurro
Forgotten Horrors: “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”  by ED Tucker
Happy Birthday .... Passing On .... Is This Logical?... Barry Bonds .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 27: Delayed Until Next Week  by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Operation: Woronov

Disclaimer: In a hopeless ploy to diffuse a "sexist!" moniker from the ever-present gaggle of CF knee-jerks, let me say that I have the utmost admiration for particular females in the biz. The ultimate queens in my world are Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver. Both extremely talented actresses have broken new ground far beyond nearly everyone else, and established characters that were just as believable and heroic as their male counterparts. Other females I idolize are far too numerous to mention here. So there!

Two weeks ago, PCR columnist Lisa Ciurro ("Fangrrl") posed the following question: "Where are all the women and what can we do to make fans out of them?" Well, I was intrigued by the challenge, but also realized that over the decades as a Crazed Fanboy, I've oddserved a few things pertaining to the subject:

    1) There are a lot more women interested in the fantastic genres than ever before.

    2) Fanboys have asked themselves that same question probably since the 1930's when "fandom" was in its infancy.

Fandom is, quite understandably, dominated by males, and always has been. The hi-tech gear, spaceships, scantily-clad Venusian slave girls, laser gun battles, grindhouse hookers brutally slaughtered by chainsaws...as you can plainly see, fandom contains elements and imagery that favor the masculine. For whatever reason, however, femmes have made inroads into various genres and have taken an interest in what sci-fi/horror/fantasy has to offer them. Now, one could say that that's a great thing, having an all-inclusive fandom forum, then again one could argue that a feminine presence waters down the creative playing field, in which the various mediums have to recognize their patronage, sadly resulting in fewer explicit gore and nude scenes, and storylines with a sense of compassion. It's quite evident that has happened, when you consider the decline of theatrically released teenage sex comedies - once very prevalent in the early '80s, a "political correctness" evidenced in today's horror movies, and a general absence of sleazy, grindhouse entertainment, among hundreds of other examples. You see it at conventions too; you know, the be-bop girlies with the pink & blue hair trying to imitate their favorite warm, cute and fuzzy anime character. I ask: are such interests beneficial to the genres, or hurtful? I think you know my answer.

I'd submit that an influx of girls and kiddie animation-gobbling families have truly overrun the motion picture exhibition customer base, which is why we're stuck with endless princess romantic fantasies and Pixar abominations. Those people like me, who recall the days when we could go to the movies and see, what then seemed like an endless parade exploitative sex and violence features, such as "Pieces" and "Hardbodies", constantly shake our heads and wonder: "what the hell happened?". Was it the all-American suburban family eager to see tapdancing penguins who's been clogging the colon, or the gossip-gobbling gals? Both, no doubt, and they of course are supported by a male population weaned on the 'Backstreet Boys', 'Puff Daddy', 'Foo Fighters' and 'Clay Aitken'.

So, now that I've set the scene, the real question becomes: how indeed do we get more ladies on board? Now, I'm assuming the target female is the everyday chick - your co-workers, the girl next door, the students. Maybe they have a casual interest in fandom, but have never made the leap to venture out to conventions, independent movie screenings, or book signings. Is that fair to assume?

My biggest fear in this scenario is that the target female may easily stray wayward, especially in this day and age of ass-kicking princesses and anime pixies. What fandom does not need is a freshly converted Fangirl with giddy leanings toward 'Star Trek - the Next Generation', 'Buffy', Pokemon, 'Arry Pottah, or the thousands of other examples of disingenuous fandom. Were that the case, I'd prefer said convert keep their TV dial locked onto the Lifetime Movie Channel.

What we need is a new breed of Fangrrl with a voracious interest in the more hardcore tenets of the fantastic genres: cult film, John Waters, Heavy Metal magazine, slasher films, Bettie Page, Jess Franco films, and on and on. There is no choice but to ensure this conversion takes place, lest we lose the female to the likes of 'Xena - Princess Warrior' or 'Elektra'.

Which is where my brainchild revelation comes in:

Operation: Woronov.

For those unfamiliar (especially the prospective female convert), "Woronov" refers to the beloved cult movie actress Mary Woronov, who has enjoyed a stellar and well-deserved reputation as one of cult cinema's biggest celebrities. She's graced the screen for decades in countless well-loved films: "Angel of H.E.A.T.", "Cannonball", "Sugar Cookies", "Silent Night, Bloody Night", "Hellhole", "Hollywood Boulevard", and most recently, "The Halfway House" (playing a nun!). I'll always remember her collaborations with alter ego Paul Bartel: "Death Race 2000", "Rock & Roll High School", "Cannonball", and "Eating Raoul".

So what, do you ask, does Mary Woronov have to do with anything? Well, for the process of corrupti- I mean - converting the nubile fan female candidate, I suggest implementing Operation: Woronov. I would sit the female down and begin with watching a Mary Woronov feature. Nothing too strong at first; I suggest either "Eating Raoul" (chicks seem to like this pick), and/or "Rock & Roll High School".

Again you ask: Why? Please, let me explain. In many of Woronov's films, she has frequently portrayed a tough-as-nails corruptor of naive young ladies. Kind of like an omnipresent warden of a female prison, in where you should never drop the soap. There's no hope for the initiates who fall under Woronov's sultry spell - submit or be cast off into the eternal hell that is the 'Buffy, the Vampire Slayer' fangrrl.

After you've eased in to her more delicate performances, ladies, it's time for mid-tempo Woronov. At this stage, I'd recommend "Death Race 2000" and "Hellhole". In "Death Race" you'll experience Woronov in the flesh - perhaps your virgin time, and in "Hellhole" you'll see just what a commandeering bitch she really can be.

At this point, you should nearly be seduced, and firmly ensconced in the world of cult cinema. You will have forsaken 'Desperate Housewives', Entertainment Tonight, and "Mother, May I Sleep with Danger". You are now finally on the right path to all things sleazy and exploitative and have been lubed to experience hardcore Woronov:

Sugar Cookies.

With one watch of this Kaufman classic, you'll be a cult gal forever. If the scenes of Woronov seducing Lynn Lowry don't make you a true believer, then maybe the worlds of Oxygen and We are safer bets for your sugar and spice sensibilities. But if you have taken a bite of the juicy apple, you will have shed any want to see the new 'Bionic Woman', the latest Julia Roberts movie, or reruns of 'Friends'. You have become one of us. The proud. The exploited. The sleazy.

"Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.