Obscuro Appreciato – Artist Armen Mirzaian RIP

RIP Armen Mirzaian, artist for Hasbro, formerly also of Cartoon Network, Walt Disney and other endeavors.

Happy National 227 Day

It’s 2-27, or National 227 Day here at VisualNoiz.

Obscuro Appreciato normally shouts out to the obscure, but since it’s been a long time since the cast has been in the limelight, we salute you, Cast of 227! Happy 227 Day!!!

We salute you:

Marla Gibbs
Hal Williams
Alaina Reed Hall
Jackée Harry
Helen Martin
Regina King
Kia Goodwin
Curtis Baldwin
Countess Vaughn
Toukie A. Smith
Stoney Jackson
Barry Sobel
Paul Winfield

and of course, the composer of the theme, Ray Colcord.

Obscuro Appreciato salutes Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity

You know…

Spirit and Opportunity are still up there working on Mars.

Years after they were supposed to have gone silent these two boys still talk to home base.. well Spirit it taking a nap to conserve power…

I appreciate you JPL and NASA! Wow. What engineering on those two droids.

Jack Hill

This month’s Obscuro Appreciato salutes overlooked master writer/director Jack Hill. He emerged from the Roger Corman stable of talent along with the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme,
and Jack Nicholson. Hill may be lesser known than these names, but his solid track record of entertaining films stands up to any of them. Hill’s movies transcend their exploitation roots and are entertaining on a level all their own.

He kickstarted the careers of Pam Grier and cult favorite Sid Haig (also enjoying a career renaissance as Rob Zombie’s Captain Spaulding.) Listen to any one of his DVD commentaries and you’ll get a master class in quality low-budget filmmaking. And he penned the line “You wanna spit on me and make me crawl? I’m gonna piss on your grave tomorrow!” Gold.

Must see Jack Hill films include Spider Baby (just rereleased on DVD, see link HERE), Coffy, and the incredible Switchblade Sisters. Hill is currently at work on new projects, check his myspace page and website.

Visualnoiz salutes you, Jack Hill!!!

Joe Pantoliano

This Obscuro Appreciato goes out to Joe Pantoliano.

Joe always fills out a cast in the perfect way. He’s the guy you love to hate, he’s the annoying creep, he’s the witty retorter.

He’s been in so many wonderful films, it’s hard to pick a favorite. As a comic book nerd I should say Daredevil, but he was so wily in The Matrix that I want to say that one. Empire of the Sun, Memento, La Bamba, The Goonies, Risky Business.. the list goes on and on. He’s also shown up as a voice in Grand Theft Auto, The Simpsons and even The Sopranos and on the old Tales From The Crypt series.

We tip our hat to you, Joe. You never cease to amaze.

Lloyd Kaufman & Troma Studios

Our November Obscuro salute goes out to Lloyd Kaufman, founder of the legendary Troma Studios. Lloyd has been keeping the spirit of independent film alive for decades. Some people think that independent film means stuff from studios like Miramax or Lion’s Gate. News Flash: THAT AIN’T INDIE!! True indies don’t a have a studio bankroll, fancy catering, or sometimes even a proper crew. They get made due to blood, sweat, tears, (and occasionally other bodily fluids best not discussed), and most of all the dedication, ingenuity, and hard work of everyone involved.

Lloyd has stayed true to his indie roots through thick and thin. With THE TOXIC AVENGER, he pretty much single-handedly created the Gore/Comedy film, paving the way for Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD sequels and the early films of Peter Jackson. Visualnoiz’s own TOO DEAD TO DIE definitely falls into this category, so we owe Lloyd as much as anyone.

The newest film from Troma is the chicken zombie/gore/comedy/musical POULTRYGEIST, just in time for Thanksgiving! Friend the myspace site, check out trailer clips on youtube, and Troma’s own website. This film needs your support. Without grassroots promotional efforts, Troma Studios will fold up shop and we’ll be stuck with nothing but bland-ass bid studio “films” to watch. And who the hell wants that???!! If you have an indie arthouse theater near you, encourage them to show POULTRYGEIST.

Lloyd Kaufman, we at Visualnoiz salute (and support) you!!!

JASON ROTH signin’ off!

James Karen & Jim Winburn

This month Obscuro salutes actor James Karen and Stuntman extrordinaire Jim Winburn.

James Karen has been involved in film & television acting since 1962. He has played in everything from light comedies to gruesome horror films. Some of his most notable films include The China Syndrome, Capricorn One, Poltergeist, Return of the Living Dead, Wall Street, Nixon, 13 Days, Mulholland Drive, and many, many more. James was a close friend of Buster Keaton and toured with him on stage in “Merton of the Movies” and the Samuel Beckett film titled “Film.” Even at age 83 his career hasn’t slowed down, he acted in Superman Returns (scenes deleted by studio, watch for em on DVD!) and in the upcoming Will Smith film The Pursuit of Happyness. (not a typo, that’s the title!) Not to mention he’s a hell of a funny guy and a real gent. See his resume here

Jim Winburn has made a living as a Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator for nearly 40 years. His credits are legion: Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, Knight Rider, Tron, Pale Rider, Sword & the Sorcerer, Magnum PI, The Fall Guy, and the list goes on. Jim has retired from heavy stunt work, but continues to be involved in low-budget films, seminars, and more. Hollywood’s full of backstabbers, but Jim is an honest, hardworking cat with track record to prove it. Check out his website at website for more info.

Both of the fellows above were kind enough to make an appearance at the recent Thriller Chiller show in Muskegon. If you missed the show you missed out! An extra shout out to Reggie Bannister and his wife Gigi for dropping by as well. Reg already has an Obscuro tribute, but he’s so cool he deserves a second salute. Gigi is an excellent special effects makeup artist in her own right. Check Reggie and Gigi’s website here

And one last plug for Thriller Chiller. This year’s is over….but next year…
Happy Halloween, Noiz-Heads!

Reggie Bannister

This month’s Obscuro goes out to Reggie Bannister. Reggie is a wonderful character actor most prominently featured in the wonderful Phantasm films (The Star Wars of horror!) as Reggie the demon-killing ice cream man. In addition to being a Grade-A dwarf-blastin’ asswhomper, Reggie is a hell of a nice guy in person. This hardworking actor (and musician!) deserves some Appreciato!! Visit his webpage at

Ernest Borgnine – The Legend Lives On

This month’s Obscuro Appreciato goes out to dependable character actor Ernest Borgnine. Borgnine has been appearing in films since the 50s, breaking into the big time with his Oscar-winning turn as the title character in Marty. He’s played roles big and small since then, standouts including The Dirty Dozen, The Vikings, The Wild Bunch, The Poseidon Adventure, The Devil’s Rain, Emperor of the North Pole, Baseketball, plus memorable guest apprearances on The Simpsons and Spongebob Squarepants (as Mermaid Man!) At age 88, Borgnine continues to act in all manner of films and tv shows and is writing an autobiography tentatively titled “I Don’t Wanna Start a Fire, I Just Wanna Keep My Nuts Warm.” (He also appears in Angry Chair in animated form, check it!) Bravo Borgnine!

The Genius of Zach Braff


This month we salute Zach Braff, upon the DVD release of his feature film directorial debut, Garden State. Zach is best known for being in the cast of the TV show Scrubs, but he’s showing the world he is much more than on-screen talent.

Garden State is the best romantic comedy I’ve seen since Annie Hall. It’s exactly the kind of movie I’ve always wanted to make myself. It’s funny, charming, romantic, insightful and fresh. The on-screen talent work amazingly well together. The small details take it a step further.

If I had read the script to this film I would have quit my job for the chance to help make it happen.

This movie said so many things I’ve been thinking in recent years but could never quite put into words or realize to the extent that they were verbalized in the movie. Zach Braff is a genius. I am seriously going to watch this movie every day for the next month.

When I first saw it, I hated the ending… but now I think it fits… If you’ve seen it i’ll tell you why but I won’t ruin it for everyone else.

If I could change anything I would add one more shot at the end… but that’s it.

The rest is a masterpiece.

Don’t rent it… just go buy it… I’ll cover your expense if you don’t like it, but you have to give the DVD to someone who’s never seen it. *


More info:


* Void where prohibited. Offer not available in all areas. Not applicable to people that didn’t like Annie Hall. Limited time offer. Not all who apply for re-imbursement will be accepted.