Another year gone by! And I haven't posted at all since last year, ahhh! This nice current photo of Robin I took off Twitter, so whoever took it, my apologies for copying it and I will credit you if you want to leave a message. (Or if you want me to remove it I'll do that.) I just thought it was a great pic of him looking still wonderful and happy and active, and of course, wearing a super cool Brian Jones shirt, who is another of my idols.
And, good news, speaking of Twitter, Robin IS now (sortof) on Twitter, so we can keep up with his latest projects and appearances. It's actually his girlfriend Tracy's account @T_JCrocker but it looks like he comes on it every now and then to answer questions. And she definitely posts a lot of old and new stuff about him! So happy she's brought him into the internet age!
I do miss the days when I was actively seeking out films to watch and review, someday I will have to get back into "search" mode and see if any of the stuff I was never able to find has surfaced.
So, anyway, Robin, if you secretly read this, have a happy day, and here's to at least 67 more!
Another one I’ve been waiting for to come on YouTube and now it finally has! Step right up and watch Robin start taking “grandpa” roles.
This is a super boring medical drama series with really bad acting. Robin was good in his role, though. He plays “Ron Kleinman”, 65 year old grandpa to a mentally disabled teenaged girl who loves going to the local carnival. Her mom (supposedly his daughter, although they could have gotten an actress that looks at least a tiny bit like him) is estranged from him due to his not being around a lot when she was younger and warns him he’s forbidden to get close to the girl. But he’s changed his hard-drinking ways and wants the chance to prove it to her and be the loving devoted grandpa he now wants to be. And the girl adores him (not that I can blame her ;) )
Anyway, the mom finds them at the carnival about to go on a ride and is furious. Robin tries to calm her down and is about to go get the girl off the moving ride but is thrown off, hurting his arm. The girl is also hurt. They all must be taken to the hospital where this show’s stories take place.
So, they get patched up but the girl is proving difficult and can only be calmed down by Grandpa Robin and his singing Elvis tunes to her.
Mom tries to put an end to all of this but the doctors wisk HER away because of a bloody coughing fit. She is found to have some kind of Pleurisy type ailment and is confined to a bed. Meanwhile, the girl makes her escape.
When Robin and the gang from the hospital realize she must be at the carnival, they race to find her. And of course, they find her at the top of the empty Ferris Wheel.
How did she get up there? Why would someone let JUST an obviously disabled girl on a Ferris Wheel all alone and start the ride without anyone else in any other seat? Usually they wait until a line has formed before starting up a ride and letting people on. And why would it conveniently stall right when she was at the very top? All is left for the viewer to ponder. Because of course it makes for very suspenseful drama for an anxiety-ridden, nerdy hospital worker to climb up to keep her company so she doesn’t fall out.
If only Robin was a little younger and didn’t have his arm in a sling perhaps he could have been the brave one!
Sappy ending of course with all turning out all right and mom forgiving Robin and everyone happy that all is well.
Way back in an episode of this series from 2009, Robin had a guest role as a conman who swindled guests at a hotel in the resort town of Benidorm. I reviewed it here. It was a good role and I was happy to hear that he was going to appear again, reprising the same character. What seemed impossible was actually seeing this episode. Still I cannot view UK shows on their websites from a computer in the US. I even tried downloading the anonymous browser Tor, and it didn’t work for them. I couldn’t find it on YouTube for months. But now, I finally have found it on YouTube and it is now watched!
I have not seen any episodes of Benidorm since I watched it last time, almost six years ago. Back then, I thought it was a very clever and funny show. Now it seems tired and not as funny. Robin didn’t seem to have the energy or enthusiasm as he did the first time. I’m not even sure what the point was in having him back, honestly. He didn’t really have much to do. He arrives under a fake name, and tries to sweet-talk the owner into giving him a job at the hotel because he “really needs one”. She has to decide between him and a girl who is really qualified, but he keeps flattering her and insinuating something romantic might be possible. Some of that banter is a little amusing, but Robin just didn’t seem that into his acting like he usually is. And then, at the end, he comes right out and tells her he doesn’t really want the job, he just wants her to put him on the payroll….right after that a couple of guests come in and recognize him from his last visit and he rushes out.
So….it was nice seeing him, but the role didn’t really make sense. Why would a conman come back to the same hotel he had scammed previously? Why? Why would he be so obvious about not being qualified for the job? I don’t get it!
Finally got to watching this interview, which comes as an "extra" on the "Der Schreckensturm Der Zombies" DVD set I reviewed a few months ago. If you're a Robin fan, it's worth getting this just to watch it! He is as engaging and interesting as ever, and it is quite long, somewhere in between 45-60 minutes, I didn't keep track.
Darrell keeps the interview flowing without the same tired old questions. There was barely any "Confessions" talk, thank goodness! Glad to not have to sit though another account of how difficult the "bubbles" scene was to do. He starts out by telling Robin he looks great and asks what he secret is, to which Robin is quick with an amusing reply. Then they briefly touch on some of the projects he had just been working on up to that point: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dead Funny, Coronation Street, and Benidorm, with stories to tell about each, including a really hilarious one about him finding out he had rehearsed the wrong part in Dead Funny!
They then visit the past, with Hans Brinker stories (most of which can be found in his book), the "Confessions" record he put out and how he came to do that, and his subsequent appearance on the Marc Bolan show to sing it.
Tower of Evil is then talked about, and how he had originally wanted the larger role of "Brom" in it, since after all, he had been the star of a few movies by this time. (I've always thought that myself!) - He didn't explain exactly why Gary Hamilton was given the role instead of him, but to make up for it, Richard Gordon went on to write the part of Jason in Horror Hospital just for him, so all turned out okay in the end. Just recently, Robin said, Richard Gordon had sent him the latest digitally remastered DVD copy of Horror Hospital. Although he said he honestly couldn't tell the difference he gained a new appreciation for how artistically the movie had been filmed. He then added a few memories he had of filming it, but nothing we hadn't heard before.
"Let's Get Laid" and "All Coppers Are" were briefly touched upon before they went on to discuss the flurry of new horror movies he was involved with that he was never able to get copies of: "Evil Calls", "El Dorado", and "Back2Hell" (the last two of which I still have to see as well) and how funny it is that their titles keep changing.
"Bottle Boys" and "Bless this House" are talked about for a bit, and then finally "Confessions" - but not the same stuff you always hear. Robin says how "Window Cleaner" was a real story and the others were pretty one-dimensional with no real story, which is true. And when he went on to film "Stand Up Virgin Soldiers" people expected it to be a continuation of the "Confessions" theme, which it definitely was not, and Darrell points out he thinks it was Robin's finest acting work. Another "Confessions" project in the plans was supposed to be one called "Confessions of a Haunted House" - something I'd never heard about before and something that sounds pretty interesting. I wonder what that would have been about! Guess I'll have to read the book. ;)
Robin so easily slips into such humorous tales, it's such a treat to watch him speak. Hope it'll be possible for me to go to one of these appearances one day.
Been waiting a bit to see if I could find the complete episode of this appearance on YouTube, but so far this is all I've found, a minute and a half clip. So...not sure if he was on again later in the episode. If anyone knows, or if anyone knows where to find the complete episode, I'd love to hear from you!
Anyway, not much to say about this. His character comes to town with what looks like a traveling carnival. He'd just been in Amsterdam and knows one of the townspeople here, much to the dismay of the other townspeople. Looks like another silly soap otherwise. Their accents are so thick I really can only decipher about 50% of what they're saying, even Robin! And I'm someone who has watched a lot of shows from the UK. YouTube's CC feature doesn't seem to understand what they're saying either! :P
Here's the clip:
and here's one more clip from the episode, where you can kind of see Robin sitting in the background, but doesn't have a speaking part:
Anolis Entertainment was kind enough to send me a copy of this recently. I must say, they put out the most beautiful and thorough boxed sets I’ve ever seen! It is absolutely packed with information and photos. First off, it contains a glossy, full color booklet with all the film details, plus background info on Richard Gordon, as well as others involved with Tower of Evil, including a short paragraph on Robin Askwith. In that it mentions he was originally supposed to be given the (bigger) part of Brom, but does not say why he was not. I had not heard that before and am curious now. Maybe you’ll remember in my original review of Tower of Evil I thought he would have been great in that part. Now, I have to point out that this booklet is all in German, so keep that in mind before purchasing it. I can read a little German, as I’ve been studying it for the past few years in hopes of someday visiting Germany, especially the cute medieval village my great-great-grandfather left back in 1855. But for what I couldn’t figure out, Google Translate helped a lot!
One amusing translation – “Der Schreckensturm Der Zombies” translated as “Terror Storm of the Zombies”. There were zombies in this? Hehe But from looking at the photos of the promo posters in the booklet, this film has had a lot of titles. Another one is
“Turm der lebenden Leichen” translating into “Tower of the Living Dead”. And how about the Turkish “Seytan öldür Dedi” which seems to translate to “He Killed the Demons”. Languages are fascinating! And then there’s also “Horror on Snape Island” which is probably the best one, in my opinion.
UPDATE: Ivo Scheloske from Anolis has just written to clarify my translation a bit:
You made a slight mistake by translating “SCHRECKENSTURM DER ZOMBIES” as the first word does not consist of “Schrecken” + “Sturm” but of “Schreckens” + “Turm”. Hence the title means TERROR TOWER OF THE ZOMBIES. This is the title that was used when the film was re-released in theaters. During that time dozens of films got “a second chance” because Zombies were the big thing in those years and by simply adding this word to the title you could get a much larger audience.
The box I received came with two discs: one blu-ray, and one regular DVD. I only have the regular DVD players. Last time I watched this film it was on my old VHS copy of it, and it was poor quality, kind of dark and with faded colors. This was a delight to see: fresh, bright colors and crisp images.
One observation about the movie which I had not thought of in my original review. Toward the beginning when the fishermen discover a naked body facedown on the beach. Robin has said before that that is him, right? Yet, when the killings are shown, he is killed by sword and hung on the door and the other guy, Gary, is the one left naked on the beach. So, is that Robin or not? And….the fisherman say he has been dead “about a week.” A body left out in the elements a week with crabs crawling all over it is not going to look so rosy and fresh now, is it? Ha ha.
You can select to watch this movie in English with no dubbing or subtitles or with German subtitles (the one I chose to help further my German learning) or you can also watch it German-dubbed.
Extras! Yes, lots of those, including Darrell Buxton’s interview with Robin at the 2011 Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester (which I have not yet watched, but stay tuned for my review of that!); English, American, French and German trailers (interesting to see the differences in those – the French one seemed to focus on the bloodiest parts and the American didn’t seem to show Robin at all); French and German title sequences; German promo ads, and then a poster gallery!
Oh, and before the film starts you can choose to watch a talk from Marcus Stiglegger about it and the genre in general. I looked him up and he is a professor of film studies at the University of Mainz. He gives quite a long talk, and it looks very interesting, but be warned, it’s in German and there doesn’t appear to be subtitles available. I was able to catch some words here and there but I will revisit that in the future if I should ever become more conversant in the language.
All in all, WELL worth the cost will be if you are a fan of this movie or this type of movie! I didn’t see it yet on Amazon or even Amazon.de but I tracked it down on the “Bluray-DVD Film Shop” so get your copy today!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ivo Scheloske explained why this cannot be found on Amazon:
The reason the film is not available through Amazon is because since 30 years now it is on an index. Sounds strange, is strange. I guess you know that movies can get banned. This is something that could and can still happen to gruesome movies in Germany. But in addition to that fate we have something that is supposedly slightly better for customers & the industry: If a movie is deemed to be unfit for minors but not gruesome enough to be banned, it can be put on the index. The consequences are that the movie can still be sold BUT
- cannot be displayed in areas were minors are permitted (like in the shelve of a normal shop)
- you are not allowed to advertise it (that includes naming the title as part of a bestseller list for example and can include a POSITIVE review in a magazine)
(thanks, that was really interesting!)
With this, Anolis also enclosed my long-desired “Frankenstein’s Horror-Klinik” so watch out for that review in a couple of weeks!
I don’t know how to link to it directly, but Robin’s episode is the one on top right now. If you’re reading this too far into the future, it might be lower on the page, or bumped off entirely if they don’t archive them someplace.
Dave Barry is also an actor who has crossed paths with Robin down through the years in shows such as “Fenn Stret Gang” and “Bottle Boys” which they briefly mention.
They start out by talking about his recent “Misty Moon” shows and how he got started doing those. They also go back and talk about his schooling and how he got started in the acting business, and then go on to mention various movies and shows he was in, everything from Alfred the Great and If to Bless this House and Please Sir to On the House and Beryl’s Lot to Horror Hospital and of course, the Confessions films.
Robin picks out some songs for Dave to play, which are interspersed throughout, and explains why he chose them: Dire Straits “Money for Nothing”, Pink Floyd’s "Arnold Layne", Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and Julia Fordham’s "Porcelain" – which he dedicates to his current girlfriend Tracey, who is actually a former love who he’s apparently re-kindled the flame with! Good for him, but there goes my backup plan of “moving to Gozo and finding Robin” if my marriage should ever go sour! ;)
He does also talk about Gozo a bit, how long he’s lived there so far and how it’s quite a long journey to get to but worth it once you’re there.
Future plans: he filmed an episode of “Benidorm” last week so that’s something for us to look forward to! He didn’t say if he’ll be playing the same character as last time. Also in the works is an episode of Emmerdale, which he’s been filming in Leeds this week. His character will be a guy who owns a Fun Fair. I never heard of that show before, so it’ll be a new one for me to hunt down. He says these soaps are a lot of fun to do and what a great time he had playing the rock star not too long ago on Coronation Street. What we won’t be seeing him in anymore are pantos, he says those are really tiring to do.
Loved listening to this, and glad he’s still being active!