Thursday, March 31, 2011

Groupon for our friends at Horrorbles! Run and gets it...

Killer deals...killer.

Decapitated Dan brings you the C2E2 Horror Comics Panel!

Wait for the awesome Wildclaw Theatre shout out...but definitely check out all of these comic creators!

Re-Animator Stage Musical on NPR-Low Tech Guts Rule

Weee for more horror theater everyone!

Suspiria remake might actually happen....happiness, sadness, or murderous rage?

I just heard about this though rumors have been around since 2008...I cannot decide how I feel.  In general I loathe remakes. So my first instinct is to hate.  However, I do like David Gordon Green though...what do you, loyal readers of the claw, think?

But will there be the amazing Goblin score?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love Letter to Vulcan Video (and the like)

(Internet Killed the Video Store)


We live in a time of immediate gratification, of possibly new adult ADHD cases brought on by over-stimulation and the internet, and the God of convenience. I certainly am not immune to any of what modern life’s technology and structure has provided for busy on-the-go people. But I must admit to a soft spot in my heart for the simple things.

Classic case: as an adult, I sometimes look around me at the maelstrom of what life has become, and I wish it all away. I wish myself back into a childhood where bills were magically paid, where someone else drove me everywhere and took the brunt of what I know now to be inevitable road rage and commute anxiety. I miss when I wrote letters to friends I met over the summer and it took weeks before I got a reply. I long for a time when I read novels (tactile objects made of paper and smudged your fingers with ink) and waited all week to see my favorite television show (probably Herman’s Head or Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), with the understanding that missing it meant I would probably never see it aired again.


Now, we live in a world with Hulu and DVRs so that we never miss our favorite show. We read books with awesome devices like Kindles (interestingly, its popularity might be behind the creation of a perfume that celebrates the nostalgic smell of those long lost places called ‘libraries’– I’ve already ordered mine online and expect it any day now).


And then there is Netflix and the internet, where movie watching is at our immediate retrieval. This thought particularly resonates with me because I haven’t forgotten my beloved video stores. Epochs ago, I remember the excitement of a Friday night when I got to go to the video store (this one was a small section in the local grocery store), and rent a horror movie. I would spend an hour picking up each VHS, looking at the outlandish or silly cover art, and reading the summary on the back. And then I would pick one, some random oddity of a movie that looked cool. That’s how I discovered many cult and classic horror movies – by accident. Not by reading online reviews or going with a Netflix suggestion generated from a creepy algorithm, but from a pure place of uninformed curiosity.


This is my open love letter to those video stores (some dying, some not) all around me. About 7 years ago, I worked part-time at a Hollywood Video. I had the perks of free rentals and thoroughly enjoyed going through every single movie in the Horror section. I loved that my co-workers would often send an unsuspecting customer my way to get horror recommendations. What ensued was something like a psychiatry session where I asked probing questions about their fears, and prescribe a film to fit their nightmares. My old Hollywood Video is now closed, as are most locations since they declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010. It is disheartening to see video stores closing. Perhaps I’m not ready to fully embrace technology and the influence it’s wrought on the things I adore. But, at the same time, I’m not dismissing the awesomeness of a Netflix account or internet access to videos. My own Netflix account has been active for as long as I can remember, and I can’t imagine not having the ability to stream Dexter or Dracula (1979). I suppose this is just a long exposition in which I simply want to convey how I miss the video store experience.



(worth the short drive)


Today, I went to an Austin, TX independent store called ‘Vulcan Video’ where there horror section is divided up into categories (Killer Animals, J-Horror, Brian Yuzna, Frank Henenlotter, Guillermo del Toro, Fulci, etc). Walking in the doors, I immediately felt the excitement of discovery, of finding that rare video or quirky 80s movie that I’ve read about but could never find online. I was happy to see several people in the store on a weekday evening (my luck, it was 2 fer 1 Wednesday!), and felt a sort of kinship with the people who still rented movies in the flesh. Obviously, these people probably all have online accounts save for a few loyalists or the technologically adverse, but the schema was all the same as I remember. You peruse the aisle, tilt your head to the side to read the titles, and spend a few awkward moments in someone else’s personal bubble as you scan the same section. You pick out your movie, feel the weight of it in your hands, and decide “this is the one.” The commitment is a little more serious here. You have approximately 4 days to watch the movie before it’s due back, before you start racking up very real charges, unlike a Netflix situation where you hold on to a movie for 3 months at a time without a thought, letting it collect dust on the coffee table. You bring the movies up to the counter, and the love affair with a potentially life-changing film begins.


(A beast I must tame!)


As a shout-out to my Hollywood Video days, I’ve decided to watch all the 80s horror movies at Vulcan Video, starting in order of the alphabet. There are a few caveats: I will skip over any movie that is available on Netflix streaming (I’ll leave those to the wonderful WildClaw contributor Dr. Morbius), or movies that I already own. My first intention was to rent every single horror film and review each, but when I saw Vulcan’s enormous collection… that’s just not a viable option. So I will start with ‘A’ and work my way through; this little project will give me a reason to keep going back to the mom-and-pop video store to show my support.



(Total = $2 and some change)

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #85



Another week, another MYSTERY PHOTO!

Jon Kitley, pillar of the Chicago Horror Community and head honcho over at KITLEY'S KRYPT, wants to challenge your horror knowledge. Week in, week out, he posts a Mystery Photo - sometimes from an obscure horror title, sometimes just an unusual shot from a well-known classic. We figured our faithful Claw readers would enjoy the challenge!

Our last photo was from INTRUDER (1989), a terrific little low-budget slasher that elevates itself above the norm by setting itself in novel surroundings (a grocery store), surprisingly oogy f/x work and plenty of inventive camera work by director Scott Spiegel. Clearly inspired by his buddy Sam Raimi (who, along with brother Ted, puts in a little screen time - as seen below), Spiegel isn’t as interested in breaking new ground as simply throwing a new layer of fertilizer over the existing crop and he succeeds mightily. There’s a head crushing effect that rivals The Fly II’s melon mayhem, and while the twist ending isn’t much of one, the twist-twist ending leaves a wicked aftertaste in the viewer’s mouth. Goofy and gory, this is one that 80s horrorhounds will definitely want to give a glance to.



Let's see how you fare with this week's selection:



Send your guesses, with the subject line "MYSTERY PHOTO", to jon@kitleyskrypt.com

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (http://www.kitleyskrypt.com), along with a new photo. Even if you don't know the answer, we welcome any sorta-kinda educated guess! So, send in your emails today and good luck!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Netflix Roulette: Dracula (1979)


Movie adaptations of Dracula almost never shed the influence of John Balderston and Hamilton Deane's stage play, almost always to their detriment. Almost alone of Dracula adaptations, the one that I wish had hewed closer to the play than to the book is John Badham's 1979 version. Frank Langella was just coming off a successful, and now legendary production of the play. You may have heard of it. It's the one with the sets and costumes designed by the late Edward Gorey in black, white, and red. The producers of the 1979 movie brought Langella to the screen, but left Gorey on the stage. I can imagine a movie version that includes both as a kind of ur-Tim Burton movie. Or maybe not. The existing photographs suggest a weird kind of silent film. Sadly, it was not to be.




Badham's Dracula takes more liberties with the material than usual. Among the pointless changes made to the story is recasting Mina as Van Helsing's daughter, recasting Lucy as Dr. Seward's daughter and as the heroine of the movie. It omits the prologue in Transylvania, too. This is the result of screenwriter W. D. Richter over-thinking the plot of the story, methinks. Richter is known for screenplays that are complex to the point of goofiness, and this movie is no different. Some of the changes are interesting, though. The decision to begin with the wreck of the Demeter is a post modern flourish that hearkens back to Nosferatu, and the movie stages the wreckage with a delightful level of menace. The scenes of Dracula crawling down walls are from the book. Still other elements are plucked from the vast filmography of Dracula movies. This isn't an adaptation of the story so much as it's a commentary on the screen image of Dracula.



From the opening frames, this is a beautiful, ornate production. No cheap Hammer knock-off, this. It has good actors, too, though I think Langella is a tad too smooth an operator as the Count and Olivier is too in love with doing an accent as Van Helsing. It's odd seeing Olivier feasting on Peter Cushing's leavings, but here it is none the less. Kate Nelligan, on the other hand, pretty much steals every scene she's in. I had a crush on her when I first saw the movie way back when.



The movie has disappointingly few horrifying set-pieces. It tries too hard for most of its running time. The wreck of the Demeter I already mentioned, and it's good. The others, involving the count, have a tendency to skirt towards ridiculousness, though without ever quite crossing the line. It's not generally a scary movie, and that may be partially the fault of an over-familiarity with the Dracula story. But I don't think so. It does manage at least one humdinger of a horror set piece, though: Mina (in the Lucy role) becomes the Bloofer lady during the early going. Our erstwhile vampire hunters break through her grave to the abandoned coal mines that riddle the landscape, where they catch up to her just after sunset. This version of Mina is an apparition that craves a kiss from her father. The scene is ghastly beyond all expectations, but even here, the movie is frustratingly inconsistent, given that the scene is predicated on Mina casting a reflection in a pool of water. In the very next scene, the movie goes out of its way to demonstrate that vampires don't cast reflections. Lazy. The rest? The movie ends with a disappointing anticlimax, I think, one in which it seems that the filmmakers aren't quite sure how to end things.



This is a film for which I have a good deal of affection--it's an interesting film even though it's a singularly frustrating one--but I can't defend its flaws. I originally saw it when I was young, and it made an impression. It was one of those movies that I waited until the wee hours of the morning to watch when it was first on cable, often just before sunrise, and that experience casts the film as a kind of dream memory for me. Watching it again now kind of punctures that memory, which is too bad, but I expect I'll get over it.

Dr. AC does HorrorHound Weekend 2011

Read the full Fool for Blood report HERE




Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bloody Regret

So just came from a Factory Theatre benefit party. Factory Theatre, you ask? Brilliant, hilarious, wonderful original work. But the point is, bumped into the boss man, Scott OKen at the bar and didn't... I said DIDN'T thank him for allowing me to embrace my love of Journey. That's right, I said Mr. Morlock DIGS JOURNEY.

How's that for horror?

Entering the world of Horror Comics - C2E2


Confession time: While I am a bona-fide horror film fan, taking in 5-10 fright flicks a week, I have not delved deeply into the many other, wide-reaching realms of the genre. I’ve dabbled in classic horror TV with Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Night Gallery, Thriller and Dark Shadows, as well as myriad 70s made-for-TV movies. But since I more or less abstain from network TV these days and don’t have cable, I have not really drank deep of the more recent pools that are Vampire Diaries, Dexter, True Blood, Harper’s Island, Supernatural or Fear Itself (although I did catch up with all the Masters of Horror episodes once they hit DVD, which is also my plan for The Walking Dead, currently sitting at a “Long Wait” status in my Netflix queue).


But that’s just television. The horror genre has such breadth to it and has delved into every facet of the creative arts, there’s no way that any one single fan could keep up with it. With horror fiction – and non-fiction – at an all-time high (yes, I’m counting those crazy vampire and zombie books that keep popping out like so many undead bunny litters), gore-soaked videogames, dark fantasy artwork, etc… It’s enough to make your head swim with blood.

So, for the most part, I have chosen to stay focused on the flickering image to get my nightmare fix, along with the manifold analysis thereof i.e. magazines, websites, reference books, etc. (Trust me, I never feel bored or that I’m caught up. Always more to learn…) However, when the Chicago Comic and Entertainment ExpoC2E2, for those in the know – returned last weekend for its sophomore go-round, I felt inspired to trek down to McCormick Place and see what there was to see. And while I must confess that the comic book world still appears to be primarily the domain of superheroes, there are some bright (dark?) spots in the whirling maelstrom for horror fans.


Over the course of the weekend, fellow WildClawian Aly Greaves Amidei, she of the soaring shears and piercing pen, proved to be an invaluable guide in this strange new world. In addition to her horror proclivities, Aly IS a comic book fan and has been for years (I know, I know, WildClaw has the coolest chicks around, it’s true), and so was able to point out numerous notable figures as we combed the aisles. It was an brain-expanding experience, and while I’m a little nervous about opening another Pandora’s Box to snarf down my already nonexistent spare time, I must confess I’m intrigued by this bizarre domain of brightly colored panels…especially when occupied by curvaceous babes fleeing the clutches of dripping zombies, hellspawn creations and implement-wielding madmen.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be profiling several of the dark artists who tell tales not with latex, karo syrup or CGI, but via keyboard, pen, brush and ink. Along the way, you’ll encounter names like Mike Wolfer, Garth Ennis, Gary Reed, Cullen Bunn, Rafael Nievez, Dirk Manning and Decapitated Dan! Some might already be familiar to you, some new, but all are thriving figures in the horror comic community. Stay tuned, and hope you enjoy the ride. Here’s a little taste of things to come:






Thursday is on hiatus...

...because of HorrorHound Weekend! Indianapolis is the place to be this weekend. I'll be there, following Tom Atkins to the bathroom and getting into fistfights with Jeffrey Combs. Who knows?

*Apologies for this rather sparse post. I am using the Blogger app on my phone.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

David Firth, You Had Me at "Oh Uh Uh Heh-Helllo"



I was turned on to David Firth flashvids of disturbed & horrifying cartoons a lifetime ago. As soon as I watched 'A Cartoon About Berries' I was seeing someone's genius. I continued to watch other creations - namely the beloved Salad Fingers - and I was absolutely drawn. Firth is able to touch on a cord that very few artists can reach (David Lynch comes to mind) where the combination of surrealism and darkness, coupled with sparse words, nightmarish images, and tense music by Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Sigur Rós and his own band Locust Toybox, makes the viewer uneasy and affected.



With the success of Salad Fingers, I am left wondering... when is David Firth going to make a movie? He is already 7 years overdue. I remember checking several years ago about any movie making progress, and news was not forthcoming. Firth now has a blog devoted to news of his upcoming feature "Meadow Man", but from his postings it seems that the process has been years in the making with several years to go.

I will continue to wait patiently for news of a release date - but you can bank on the fact that as soon as it is in theaters (I hope) or at the very least DVD, I will be right there in line.

You can watch all things Firth here: http://www.fat-pie.com/ and get the latest about the movie progress from the man himself at http://twitter.com/david_firth

Vote for the 2010 Rondo Awards!


It's that time again!

This SATURDAYis the deadline for voting for this year's best in horror!

Do your duty, fellow fiends...



Go to http://rondoaward.com/ to vote on 2010's best in horror film, TV, magazine, books, conventions, soundtracks, etc.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #84



Another week, another MYSTERY PHOTO!

Jon Kitley, pillar of the Chicago Horror Community and head honcho over at KITLEY'S KRYPT, wants to challenge your horror knowledge. Week in, week out, he posts a Mystery Photo - sometimes from an obscure horror title, sometimes just an unusual shot from a well-known classic. We figured our faithful Claw readers would enjoy the challenge!

Our last photo was from Jess Franco's erotic vampire film, FEMALE VAMPIRE, which also goes by the name of Erotikill, Les Avaleuses and The Bare Breasted Countess. It stars Franco's muse and life partner Lina Romay as a descendant of Count Dracula who - depending on which version you see - needs the blood or the semen of both male and female victims, in order to stay alive. One of the reasons for the film's many retitlings is the fact that there were numerous cuts distributed, including one version containing hardcore sex scenes. Regardless of which version you see, they all contain bizarrely meandering (and often out of focus) camerawork and Romay wandering the forests wearing little more than a cape and her full-lipped pout. Viewers will either find this little number hypnotic or utterly boring, depending on their patience level. But hang in there until you get to "the bedpost scene." Must be seen to be believed.



Let's see how you fare with this week's selection:



Send your guesses, with the subject line "MYSTERY PHOTO", to jon@kitleyskrypt.com

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (http://www.kitleyskrypt.com), along with a new photo. Even if you don't know the answer, we welcome any sorta-kinda educated guess! So, send in your emails today and good luck!

Netflix Roulette: Beast Within (2008)


The best thing about Beast Within (2008, directed by Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi, AKA ) is that it's NOT a remake of the rapey 1982 Philippe Mora movie of the same name. That doesn't mean that it's not derivative, because it is. This is what I call a "one from column A" movie. Its great flash of insight is to wonder what would happen if the birds in Hitchcock's movie were carrying the pathogen for a zombie epidemic. At least it's not so shamelessly unimaginative that it leans on the crutch of a familiar name, but you've seen this all before.

The story follows a group of college kids--German college kids, this time; the movie is German, but mysteriously shot in English--as they return to the ancestral property of their friend, Robert, a med-school student whose grandfather has passed away under mysterious circumstances. His grandfather, Professor Bergen, was conducting research into a virulent strain of the avian flu. The birds in the district are particularly aggressive, too, and soon, they're infecting humans with their disease. Our young heroes soon find themselves besieged in Professor Bergen's mansion as the locals descend on them.

So, yeah. A stock zombie movie with a different kind of disease vector. But it's not without its pleasures. It IS well-shot. That's not something to be discounted, particularly in a sector of filmmaking that is often long on enthusiasm and short on craft and talent. Unfortunately, it's not particularly well-acted. The performances are stilted, probably resulting from shooting in English with a German cast. This stilted-ness is almost a fatal flaw. One character's transformation into a mad scientist, for example, is rendered unintentionally funny given his accent. The movie dawdles a bit with character development, too. It obviously intends slow-burn menace rather than a roller coaster ride, ratcheting up the dread with a careful, deliberate pace. Unfortunately, this particular approach is dependent on its performances. The performances here aren't good enough.



That all said, it mostly provides the goods. There's satisfying zombie gore that utilizes fairly good make-up effects (though there's also some dodgy CGI). I like the way the movie gives the women in the cast the opportunity to bring the lumber. It's along way from Judith O'Dea's catatonic Barbara in Night of the Living Dead. It also finds some subtext in the notion that real horror lies in watching helplessly while friends and loved-ones succumb to a mysterious and debilitating disease, and of the necessity of putting them down. This is the heart of the zombie archetype, I think, regardless of whatever socio-political readings filmmakers graft on top of it. At a fundamental level, zombie movies are a product of life in the hot zone.

A Gathering of Horror Japan Benefit



Join us at an informal gathering of horror entrepreneurs, artists and horror fans that is set to take place on Friday, March 25th at the Lucky Number Grill. It is part of the Fourth Friday Frights events that occur at Lucky Number Grill, like Cult Fiction and Monster Draw.

The goal is for us to have fun, drink, and let the horror community meet more of their own, but in light of the earthquake in Japan we will also take the opportunity to raise some money to help those in need. Bring your friends, some spare change and let's make a gathering of horror count.

There will be raffles, original art and other ways to raise money. Brought to you by the folks from Fourth Friday Frights (Cult Fiction/Monster Draw).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Speaking of horror theater...

Re-Animator the Musical, directed by Stuart Gordon himself, is being run at the Steve Allen Theater in L.A. and all I can say is HA!  That's my way of saying DUDE, which is my way of saying this is pretty awesome.

Check the website for some pretty funny media quotes.

Making this about six levels more wtf, but also more DUDE, is the fact that they've cast George Wendt as the dean of the medical school (though have inexplicably credited him as "Harry Murphy" on their website.  Does George Wendt have a stage name I don't recognize...?)

And while he does appear in this cast photo:
...it doesn't seem that Jeffery Combs is in this production.  Maybe he's a dramaturg.  Or maybe he just felt like showing up the day this picture was taken.  Why not?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Horror in Pop Music

In the 1970s, songs that told a near-complete story were quite popular. It seems everyone did story songs; in fact, a lot of one-hit-wonders were just that. But what happens when a story song crosses over into the realm of horror?

This:



Yes, that is a pop song about three trapped miners, one of whom is eaten by the other two.

Listening to The Buoys puts me in a mind to watch this:



One of these days, I'll get enough motivation to make a music video of the former using scenes from the latter...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dylan Dog... the movie?

"Guest poster"...?  Me?  Really?  You... you want me to write... in here?

But - but people actually read this blog!  I'm not used to anyone reading my blog!  I can't handle this level of responsibility!  Now I have to be topically relevant and stuff.  Jeez.  *kicks dirt*

Alright, how's this for you.

Anyone seen this trailer?


If you know your nerdly morsels, you know that Dylan Dog is one of the most widely sold Italian horror comics, and that it first found itself in publication in the mid 80's.  It's surreal and sexy and hard to follow, and I've never quite figured out if that was because of odd translations, because I was reading them out of order, or just because Italian authors are weird.  (The classic quote about Dylan Dog, incidentally, is from Umberto Eco, who said, "I can read the Bible, Homer, or Dylan Dog for days on end without ever feeling bored.")

Then for no reason I can think of, it was suddenly reprinted in a collected edition in 2009 (wikipedia claims it was a marketing ploy for the new movie.  I have my doubts...).  I discovered this by accident just before it hit shelves, after trying to do research into figuring out if one of my favorite movies, Cemetery Man, was actually based on Dylan Dog like I heard it was rumored to be.

As far as I can tell, the answer is "no, not really."  Tiziano Sclavi wrote both Dylan Dog and Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore in Italian), and Rupert Everett looks quite a bit like the character Dylan Dog, but other than the fact that they both deal with sex and the supernatural, there doesn't seem to be much else to link the two pieces together.

I can handle that.  It doesn't bother me a bit.  YOU try watching Cemetery Man all the way through on a hot date and see if it bothers you at all...  The answer will be no because you won't make it to the end before your clothes evaporate in a cloud of steam and pheromones, accompanied by the sound "piff."  At least if you're me.

What bothers me, however, is this new movie.  It smacks of the same weak edged Hollywood zomcom mistake that ruined the Hellblazer movie for me.  Far too much hyuck-hyuck, and not enough grit and titties.  Sure, Superman looks a little like Dylan Dog, but the entire rest of the premise is off - it's almost like someone watched Cemetery Man, read an issue of Dylan Dog and decided to create this new movie out of whole cloth.

Call me a literary purist snob, but all I can say is that this new Dylan Dog movie doesn't look good.  And Dylan Dog should always be good.  I give it a solid wah wah waaaaah.  And I'm still going to see it in theaters.  Dammit.

Kitley's Krypt MYSTERY PHOTO #83



Another week, another MYSTERY PHOTO!

Jon Kitley, pillar of the Chicago Horror Community and head honcho over at KITLEY'S KRYPT, wants to challenge your horror knowledge. Week in, week out, he posts a Mystery Photo - sometimes from an obscure horror title, sometimes just an unusual shot from a well-known classic. We figured our faithful Claw readers would enjoy the challenge!

Our last photo was from the 1983 Filipino film THE KILLING OF SATAN, an outrageous, crazy, unintentionally hilarious and downright entertaining horror-fantasy movie about a man chosen by his dead uncle to battle the forces of evil. Along the way, he fights a being called "The Prince of Magic," who shoots rays from his hands, makes heads spin around and hypnotizes people, before finally facing the Dark Lord himself in a classic wizards duel. Hell yeah!



Let's see how you fare with this week's selection:



Send your guesses, with the subject line "MYSTERY PHOTO", to jon@kitleyskrypt.com

If you provide the correct answer, your name will be announced next week on the Kitley's Krypt website (http://www.kitleyskrypt.com), along with a new photo. Even if you don't know the answer, we welcome any sorta-kinda educated guess! So, send in your emails today and good luck!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Netflix Roulette: Phantasm


Phantasm (1979, directed by Don Coscarelli), is a film that I hadn't seen since it first showed up on cable in, oh, 1980 or so. I remember not really liking it way back then, but I had such dim memories of it that I was eager to revisit it when the roulette wheel spun it my way. I mean it's one of the foundational late-seventies cult movies. I fancy myself a student of the horror genre, so I should probably have an informed opinion, right?

It turns out that I still don't like it, though I'm amused at the way it assembles its story elements at random, occasionally from pop-culture allusions. Post-modernism was all the rage among the young turks of horror in the late seventies. I'm also struck by how much like a childrens' movie it plays.

Most of Phantasm was lost on the younger me: It has a Gom Jabbar and the Bene Gesserit invocation against fear! I missed that all those years ago, because at the time, I hadn't read Dune. Coscarelli makes sure that you don't miss the reference by naming the bar in the next scene "Dune's Cantina," which pulls double duty as an allusion, I guess. There's a paperback edition of Roger Zelazny's My Name is Legion on a table at one point, too, which tips the filmmakers' hands. This is a sci fi movie masquerading as a horror movie. Anyway, the Gom Jabbar made me laugh and redirected my attention to it's sheer ridiculousness. The story is a mishmash, in which our teen hero, Mike, eavesdrops on a funeral for one of his older brother's friends and notices some odd things about the proprietor of the mortuary. It seems that he's a front for a race of extra-dimensional dwarves who are plucking slaves from this world. The proprietor, The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), is a shape-shifter who occasionally assumes the form of a beautiful girl to lure her victims. One of the victims in his/her net is Mike's brother, Jody, who is all Mike has left in the world after their parent's death. Weirdness ensues...



Phantasm was a hot item among my schoolmates when it originally hit cable, mostly for the boobs, but also for that nasty little flying ball. The ball reminds me of the kind of stuff that kids imagine as the worst kinds devices dealing bodily mutilation, like imagining sliding down a railing and having it turn into a razor. The stuff of EC Comics, in other words, but not connected to anything that's actually scary. It's a gross-out effect. For myself, I remember focusing on the weird transsexual imagery, but that's just a reflection of my own personal peccadilloes, I guess. It's not a movie that stands up to close scrutiny, because it doesn't make a lick of sense. It's a shambolic enterprise full of ideas, but lacking in both the talent and resources to bring them fully to life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy 3.14

It's not even remotely horror-related (unless you count this guy's psychotic santa claus vibe), but life ain't always about horror.

Sometimes it's about pie. And math-nerd humor.

Hey, you can make the argument that Black Swan is a horror movie. And Aronofsky started his truly unsettling (ass to ass!) oeuvre with this sweet study of bat-shit paranoia:



So hey, look at me. Circled back around and made this post relevant. Boo ya.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Something Interesting...a Script 'Bible' for Hellraiser

So I adored the Epic Comics Hellraiser books back in the day (the day being the early nineties).  I came across this today while not doing work...it is the "bible" for comic writers of the series.  Read it, then hunt down the original books.  They are awesome.  My personal favs are the Nightbreed/Hellraiser cross over books. 

Scariest Film of 2011? Lord of the Dance 3D

There are no words...just looking at his belt gives me costuming nightmares.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Attack of the Mini-Views!

More tiny thoughts from a big ego.

Acting is srs bsns.

This week's mini-views are all about movies that smell suspiciously like other movies, intentionally or otherwise. Yes, the Great Horror Film Rip-Off! We love them! We hate them! We love to hate them! Today's (dis)honorees are:

Paranormal Entity: I blame myself for watching this. Anything with a title that's so very close to another existing, incredibly popular film is obviously from The Asylum, a company that thrives on thievery. Take, for example, The Day The Earth Stopped. If you don't know what film they've ripped-off there, get the heck out. Other Asylum titles include Last House on the Right, A Nightmare on Oak Street, and The Wolf Guy.* Paranormal Entity is, of course, a lift of Paranormal Activity, a moderately spooky, found-footage film about a couple haunted by a demon. A lot of the scenes in Entity are directly taken from Activity, including an unsettling trip to the attic, and the part where the door closes on its own. However, Asylum's version adds two elements that some fans want to see in every horror film: blood and boobs. Both are totally unnecessary additions to a story that should work on the bump-in-the-night scare. However, Paranormal Entity doesn't. Verdict: It stinks! Avoid!

The Spell: A 1977 made-for-TV movie starring Lee Grant (The Omen II) and lil' Helen Hunt, The Spell is about a teenage girl who is picked on for not conforming to standards (she's "fat," but that Hollywood type of fat that isn't so much fat but size 6). She eventually uses her psychic abilities to wreak revenge. Hmm. The smell of Chick tracts and burning prom decorations hang all over this one. The biggest difference between The Spell and Carrie is that the girl in The Spell is deliberately malevolent throughout, and she learns to harness her power with the help of her gym teacher (!), who wants to share the power with others. The film concludes with a mother-daughter showdown, but ends with a rather surprising revelation, not a wicked awesome death-by-kitchen-implements. Verdict: Smells like teen spirit! Check it out!

Piranha (1978): The greatest horror rip-off of all time, because it steals while it mocks while it scares. Even the poster art for Piranha takes its cues from the iconic Jaws poster:

They're both about to get it in the sweet spot.

What more can be said about Piranha that hasn't already been said, and probably a million times better? My only comment is this: Jaws 2 should have had flying sharks. Verdict: Smells fresh!

*not actual Asylum titles.