It’s been said before but I’ll say it again. If you were a child in the late eighties or early nineties, count your blessings. One prime example of how lucky we were was growing up with live-action-martial-arts-superhero gem known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie.
The comics and animated series had been around for years, but the 1990 big screen blockbuster brought things to such a REAL level. It catapulted the Turtle’s story from cartoonish to something gritty and dark. Most people I talk to are still in agreement TMNT: 1990 is not a kids movie. If you haven’t watched the film since childhood, give it a viewing and see for yourself. Sure, it’s packed with silly moments and has action sequences featuring men in rubber turtle suits doing karate, but there’s so much more to this movie. SO much more.
It’s interesting that most of the things I was into as a kid, I still love today. Especially when it comes down to the real impactful stuff, like TMNT 1990. What makes this film timeless is that it didn’t play down to kids and I assume was intended for a much wider audience. It had the visuals, dialogue, atmosphere and attitude of some crimewave action movie you’d catch on TV in the middle of the night but this particular story happened to be about superhero reptiles. There is serious depth to the story and characters, all while never straying from the course of having fun. TMNT is also packed with the most impressive amount of violence in a PG movie probably ever.
As a pint-sized, 5-year old TNUC, when I first heard about the movie I was naturally excited for the mere fact that it was the Turtles and I needed to consume anything that involved my heroes in a half-shell (especially pizza related things). However, up until that that point it had only been the cartoon series and toys.
After seeing the movie, I couldn’t get enough and eventually wore out my VHS copy. Suddenly the world of TMNT felt 10x more lifelike and relatable, as the Turtles faced realistic-looking street gangs, punkers, city life, teen angst and the annoyance of late delivery pizza.
I’ll never forget the visuals that dug deep into my brain and remained there still to this day. Specifically crime-ridden New York City, the sewers, Domino’s Pizza, Casey Jones, underground secret hang outs, Raphael in a trench coat, Raphael’s attitude, that little TV being stolen from the lady’s fire escape and teens smoking cigarettes/skateboarding/gambling and drinking ALL the Pepsi they could handle. This visual feast was something I cherished over and over again. Even small things in the movie like the Foot Clan “wallet snatching” during the opening. My friends and I used to pretend doing this all the time. My folks were probably questioning how impressionable I was.
One staple of the film which I really didn’t sit back and appreciate until years later is the music. You want to talk about depth and drama in this “kids” movie? Have a listen to the amazing score by John DuPrez and prepare for chills.
Now here comes some good news. For the first time ever, the official and complete score to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released by Waxwork Records this year. Sourced from the original masters, the complete film music by DuPrez has been re-stored and re-mastered. This special release marks the very first time the score has been released on Vinyl or CD.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Original 1990 Score Features:
- The Complete 1990 Score by John DuPrez
- Available For The First Time In Any Format
- New Art by TMNT Co-Creator Kevin Eastman
- 180 Gram 2xLP Colored Vinyl
- Poster Illustrated by Kevin Eastman
- 1990 TMNT Movie Poster Postcard
Keeping on course with the TNUC 10 Year Anniversary celebration, now seems like a good time to ease the seat back and listen to some of Uncle’s most prized choices of audio euphoria. Songs that helped build the foundation of this place back in 2009 and inspire a decade of debauchery.
In this first installment of TNUC THEMES, we’re going back to the very beginning. Some of these you might have heard 100 times, but since they’re of ultra-importance in the lineage of TNUC, I’m not leaving them behind. Sink in and listen. (Download links included!)
How could we NOT begin with the quintessential Tangerine Dream track from one of the classic scenes in Risky Business. It’s the gateway song for so many synth fiends, soundtrack lovers and Tangerine Dream freakazoids. It’s still the dreamiest track to ever exist and I put it high on the shelf above everything. You’re also a liar if you proclaim to have not fantasized about a train ride with lady of the night, Lana. The version you’re hearing now is an extended, slicker rendition the band released in 2008.
1) Tangerine Dream – Love On A Real Train (2008)
The great thing about an instrumental version of this track is that it allows YOU to be Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) running around Hong Kong from the cops just like in Bloodsport. Download the track, then drive out to your nearest “Chinatown” or “Little Tokyo” and have a friend play it on a boom box while you run around the city and cause a scene. You won’t regret it.
2) Paul Hertzog – Steal the Night (Instrumental)
Lovelock (disco side project of Steve Moore from Zombi) cooked up this scrumptious edit of Pino Donaggio’s ‘Telescope’ from the Body Double soundtrack that he ended up calling ‘Pino Grigio’. Steve took a perfect slice of suspense and erotica and turned it into something truly hypnotic. This is one of Uncle T’s most played tracks while he floats around the pool with a spicy drink and the torturous sun turning his skin the color of a perfectly cooked hot dog.
3) Lovelock – Pino Grigio
During the early days of the Valerie Collective, a phantom by the name of Stephen Falken (one half of The Outrunners) would pop up from time to time to deliver a stellar song or mixtape. To this day his whereabouts, an actual photo or any personal information about Professor Falken remains a complete mystery. This mystique has always been part of his allure, the other big part being the music. When it comes to Falken tracks, the magic is in the simplicity. Similar to the Tangerine Dream formula, ‘Shadow of the Wind’ has that dramatic build and celestial spirit (without going overboard) that keeps you coming back for repeated listens.
4) Stephen Falken – Shadow of the Wind
If readers of this site have enjoyed the more lustful, steamy side of TNUC, it’s all thanks to Uncle T hearing this track years ago. Nothing is steamier and more tender to the senses than the saxophone eruption at 0:32 seconds into this song. It’s like being whisked away to a private isle with Vanity circa 1985 and a cold box of Zima.
5) Black Box – Ghost Box
Have I beaten this one to death yet? Nope, not even close. If someone had a gun to my head and demanded I had to pick out one flaw about this song, it’s the sad fact that it wasn’t used in an action movie. This track aches and beckons for use in a car chase scene or even better, playing inside a foggy nightclub with Italian model-looking babes dancing with Dolph Lundgren-looking men in trenchcoats. Time for a new TNUC video, perhaps…
6) Pamela Stanley & Paul Parker – Stranger In A Strange Land
† † †
Thanks for listening. Plenty more TNUC THEMES on the way!
A cigarette dangled from Uncle T’s lip as he was finishing his last rep on the weight bench. Suddenly a recollection struck him that made the bar drop down to his chest, followed by a scream of agony. Seconds later his pain turned to joy as he realized that IT’S 2019 AND THIS YEAR COMMEMORATES TEN YEARS OF TNUC.
It’s hard to believe this website/blog/sacred temple has existed for an entire decade. What started out as a goddamned Myspace page eventually turned into our own desert island of music, film, culture, mixtapes, videos, obscurities, oddities, hijinks and pure adrenaline.
I’m seriously honored to have been your host (and #1 Uncle) for this long.
When I started TNUC it was nothing more than a simple visual feast. Thrown together were a few cryptic movie images, scantily clad hardbodies and what people in the 1980’s dreamed the future would look like. As the years progressed, the beast grew bigger and thus it needed more to eat. Videos. Mixtapes. Characters. Fictional Universes. It never stopped and rarely did it slow down. There was always something to chew on. I might not posses the sheer quantity of articles like other sites, but it’s honestly only because I hold out for quality paraphernalia that fits this Land of TNUC. The last thing I wanted was for this place to turn into a never-ending scroll of “news” you could find at 7,000 other places across the internet. Blah.
Breaking it way down, I hope UncleTNUC.com has been a little paradise you can escape to from some of the harsh realities of today’s culture.
OK, now it’s time to party. I’d like to spend a good amount of 2019 remembering and cherishing the highlights of this 10 year escapade. For the next couple articles, let’s begin by revisiting some of the key musical moments that inspired what became T N U C.
THE OUTRUNNERS – BLAZING SPEED AND NEON LIGHTS WITH YOU (2007)
This is the one. If there was a singular moment that I distinctly remember giving me chills and kickstarting my nostalgic psyche into overdrive, it’s hearing this song and watching this video. Those thick synths, the pulsating bass and accompanying visuals awakened something inside of me. This sent Uncle T on a Miami Vice binge, acting and talking like Sonny Crockett and hunting down all the synthesizer bliss I could get my hands on. Pretty soon I’d discover an underground movement coming out of a corner of France called Valerie (more on that later).
The Outrunners branded themselves as “the future sound of the past” and my God is that an accurate way to describe this sound. It just seemed so authentic compared to everyone else. I was already a fan of established groups like Daft Punk, Justice and Kavinsky, but while those artists dipped their toe in the water with this style, The Outrunners dove in face first.
Listen to those synths. It’s like cool little breezes coming through your window while driving to The Babylon Club with Manny Ribera.
♦ ♦ ♦
Ten years of TNUC. Ten years of passion, glory, power, seduction and pizza. Whether you’ve been following us since 2009 or you’re a brand new disciple, serious thanks for supporting and stay tuned for much, much more!
I know what some people are thinking. It’s Christmastime and why aren’t we doing something on Home Alone or Silent Night, Deadly Night? That’s because as great as those masterpieces are, it’s getting a little predicable and over-saturated on the internet these days. Let’s change gears for a minute instead.
On December 26, 1982, one of the greatest animations drifted onto our living room TV sets. I’m talking about the adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, the story about a snowman coming to life at midnight, featuring the musical spectacle of a song, “Walking In the Air”.
The half-hour special is told through pictures, music and has no dialogue, aside from an introduction by the late-great David Bowie. Check that out below.
People new to The Snowman might be thinking it’s a little light in the loafers for TNUC content. Sadly you couldn’t be more mistaken. If there was one word to describe The Snowman it would be PURE. Telling a story without words is a feat in itself and somehow they not only were successful in doing that but through music and drawings delivered a more impactful story than most big budget projects fail to do. For the past twenty something years it’s remained one of my favorite television specials to revisit. I urge every TNUC disciple to curl up with a warm winter cocktail and watch The Snowman.
“This attic’s full of memories for me. We spent all our summers by the seaside, and in the winter at home, by the fire, frost on the window, and snow. Snow. I was always making snowmen. One winter, I made a really big snowman. I got a scarf from him. You see, he was a real snowman. That winter brought the heaviest snow I’d ever seen. The snow fell steadily all through the night. Then when I woke up, the room was filled with light and silence, and I knew then it was to be a magical day.”
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
– Henry David Thoreau
The quiet solitude of nature, birds chirping and autumn’s majestic beauty weren’t the only things occupying the woods last weekend near the TNUC lair. A 30-year-old rubber latex RAMBO mask was hanging out down several paths of woodland serenity as well.
Just watch (and turn ↑ the volume):
This totally insane piece of high art hails from 1988 and was made by a company in France known for their horror masks called Cesar Masquerade. Looking over the factory’s enormous catalog of monsters, demons, ogres, werewolves and deranged freaks, I swear to you that nothing matches the sheer terror of this Rambo mask. The facial expression is pure Stallone. The hair is perfect.
This mask also strangely resembles every pizza cook I’d accidentally make eye contact with as a kid in the back of greasy pizza parlors.
Do you think Thoreau and Rambo would’ve got along? Henry could have taught John how to write poetry, while the warrior could’ve shown the philosopher how to aim explosive arrow torque tips at people’s heads.
I’m still in awe of this mask and how by a stroke of luck I found it. Now it’s time to put on the mask and shovel snow in the driveway…
Keeping up with discussions on all-things-Rocky and Stallone, now is probably a good time to shine a spotlight on the ravishing blonde powerhouse (and no, we don’t mean Ivan Drago).
Mention the name BRIGITTE NIELSEN in a typical crowd and I’m willing to bet the response will be an eye roll, smirk, sigh, the “ugh” sound or a quick chuckle. What those people fail to remember is that for all the wonky choices she’s made in her career and public life, BOY has she made some good ones and MAN do they outweigh the bad! In fact, most of her work (both creatively and publicly) fits right in the TNUC wheelhouse.
Allow Uncle T to break it down into three categories…
1) THE FILMS.
The 6’1″ Danish platinum princess made her on screen debut in 1985 with the fantasy juggernaut Red Sonja, playing the title character in this now-forgotten sword and sorcery action film. Not a very good movie by any means, but still better than 4,000 other far more terrible barbarian movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger co-stars, following the blockbuster success of Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer. To be honest. the movie has its flaws but is worthy of a revisit even just for the tantalizing visuals of busty nomads and loin cloths galore.
1985 continued to be a strong year for Brigitte as she landed the role of Drago’s wife in Rocky IV and then went on to marry Sylvester Stallone! (More on that later). ‘Gitte and Sly made Cobra the following year where she played the damsel in distress being night-stalked around the city and dimly lit parking garages. To me, it’s her strongest cinematic performance to date. In 1987 she landed her last major motion picture role in Beverly Hills Cop II, followed by a string of bombs including Bye Bye Baby, Domino, 976-Evil II and oodles of straight-to-video disasters over the next decade.
Her run may have been limited — but who cares? Examine that power pack of films…Red Sonja, Rocky IV, Cobra and Beverly Hills Cop II! Oh and you can add this to the mix: rumor has it that Brigitte was a big contributor to the casting of Stallone’s arm-wrestling/truck driving extravaganza OVER THE TOP. We owe her a debt of gratitude if that’s true.
2) THE MEN.
If there’s one thing Brigitte has done right in her life, it’s her plethora of great men! Married 5 times with 5 kids (the latest she recently gave birth to at 55 years old!), her lengthy list of male talent includes Sylvester Stallone, Mark Gastinau (NY Jets) and Flavor Flav…just to name a few. While the marriage to Stallone only lasted 19 months, one can only imagine the wild adventures a power couple of that caliber experienced. Sexual exploits, action movie role-playing, exotic encounters, the finest cuisine, nights in Milan…just the works.
In her autobiography, she revealed details about an affair with Schwarzenegger during the filming of Red Sonja, a promiscuous one night stand with Sean Penn and a bubble bath with that homely redheaded singer from Simply Red.
3) THE MUSIC?
Not many people know about Brigitte’s attempt at a music career. The model-turned-actress-turned-singer released two albums, the first effort Every Body Tells a Story in 1987. The single was a duet with pop star Falco of “rock me Amadeus” fame. It became a top 30 hit in Italy but even with the help of Giorgio Moroder, the track failed to capture the hearts of most and win the world over. Check it out:
Not the worst. Certainly not the best. Let’s cleanse our pallets by blasting the fuck out of ‘Angel of the City’ from the Cobra soundtrack featuring our blonde powerhouse and a sexy robot shoot. Stallone really had a thing for robots.
I hope you enjoyed digging into the career of Brigitte Nielsen. For the reasons explained, I’ve always found her to be a little bit fascinating. Now go watch Rocky IV and Creed II!