Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm Back But I'm Over There

I'm back from vacation, but I'm not here. I'm over at Film Experience Blog because Nathaniel has asked me to guest blog while he is away. So come and pay me a visit. I've got bagels and some really good coffee.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Double Bill Blog-a-Thon

Man, what a great idea and I have shit for time. The Broken Projector is hosting a Double Bill-a-Thon now through tomorrow. And it's too good to pass up. In lieu of any in-depth writing on these double bills, please accept these submissions.

The Color Purple Rain

Faster Pussycat Kill Bill

She Hate Me And You And Everyone We Know

2001: A Spaceballs

Malcolm X-Men 3: The Last Stand

Happy Early Halloween

I'm on vacation starting tomorrow and won't be back until after Halloween. Until then, please enjoy an old favorite of mine.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some Non-Creepy Movie Creeps

What makes a creep a creep? The guys in the scary make-up have all the luck because most of their work is done for them. Seriously, Robert Englund and Tim Currey get loads of praise for their turns as scary guys, but how could you not be creepy in that make-up? No, I want to focus on the non-horror movie creeps. The guys and gals that get under your skin and set up shop for a few weeks. What makes the creeps creepy is because they're somewhat real. You've seen them around or know someone like them. Freddy Kruger is based on no one, he has no true identity other than what Wes Craven's imagination has created. Maybe it's based on someone he knows, but it's so specific to him, no one else can share in it. You can't say he reminds you of that creepy neighbor you had when you were growing up or that uncle no one ever liked. These are the real creeps. No scary make-up. Just stares that hang to long and dialogue that goes nowhere. Creeps that aren't in horror movies, but they creep just the same.

Judy Dench as Barbara Covett in Notes From A Scandal

When I was at school, if one of us had had some bad news or was a bit down, we used to stroke each other. You know, someone would do one arm and someone else the other. It was a wonderful sensation. Did you do that at your school?

Vincent Gallo in any movie he's ever starred in.

You know why they call you Goon? Because you're retarded. And you're ugly. You're an ugly retard. And they call you Goon because you're ugly and retarded. And you'll always be Goon... Goon, Goon, Goon. And that's what I'm gonna call you for the rest of your life, is Goon. Goon, Goon, Goon, Goon, okay? So fuck you.

Christopher Walken as Duane Hall in Annie Hall

Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist,I think you'll understand. Sometimes when I'm driving... on the road at night... I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The... flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.

Peter Stormare as Gaear Grimsrud in Fargo

Where is Pancake's House. We stop at Pancake's House.

Teri Garr as Julie in After Hours

Hey Paul, do you like my hairdo? Then why don't you touch it?

Bill Paxton as Simon in True Lies

Let's face it. The 'Vette... gets 'em wet!

Philip Baker Hall as Floyd Gondolli in Boogie Nights

I like simple pleasures, like butter in my ass, lollipops in my mouth. That's just me. That's just something that I enjoy.

Will Patton as Scott Pritchard in No Way Out

I am tired of weakness! I am faced with a grave problem, and I intend to resolve it
quickly and cleanly.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finish Your Strudel: A Close Up

For my entry for the Close-Up Blog-a-Thon at The House Next Door, I wanted to zag a bit with a scene from High Anxiety.

What makes Mel Brooks so good with satire is that he attacks it from every angle. Like Abrams and Zucker, Brooks does more than just to spoof scenes and characters. It's his knowledge of the genre that allows him to create satire so good, you think it's a spoof of a scene but it's actually original material.

Here we find Nurse Diesel (Cloris Leachman) and Dr. Montague (Harvey Korman) plotting their next move. The camera attempts to capture the drama and build the suspense but is met with constant resistance from over propping. Shot from beneath a glass table, the camera attempts to do the scene justice, but finds itself constantly having to out-maneuver cream dispensers and dessert plates. It's an excellent nod to the genre without being too overt and may be the only example in movie history where the actors make it impossible for a good close-up.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kooky King

I never thought trees could scare me until I read "The Shining". And a clown as the essence of all that is evil is nothing new but Pennywise surely set new creepy clown standards. Stephen King has been called The Master Of The Macabre. I'm not sure if that's true, but the guy certainly knows what scares people. So when he says "I'm going to scare the hell out of you" people take notice, just as if a good comedian said "I'm going to make you laugh so hard you'll piss your pants." It's bold and ballsy, but the guy has the stuff to back it up. So what the hell went wrong here? Did he truly think that a killer soda machine and an ATM machine were truly terrifying? Or was he just talking about Emilio Estevez' performance?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Monty. A Blog-a-Thon

I feel a little guilty because I have come up empty for the Montgomery Clift Blog-a-Thon going on a Film Experience Blog today. And it's Monty's Birthday no less, so how disrespectful is that? It's like I got invited to Monty's party and didn't bring a gift.

SFX: Door Bell. Door opens and there stands Montgomery Clift.

PIPER: Hello Mr. Clift.

MONTY: Piper, please. Call me Montgomery.

PIPER: Can I call you Monty?


PIPER: Gotcha. Happy Birthday by the way. What are you now?


PIPER: Really? That old? I pegged you at 65.

MONTY: Well, welcome. The gift table is right there on the right where Liz is standing.

PIPER: Yeah, about that. You see, I had planned on putting together a little something for you but you know how it goes. Kids. Wife. No time.

MONTY: Actually, I don't how that goes.

PIPER: Right, right. Sorry. But hey, I showed up right? That's worth something. And I did bring a bottle of wine.

MONTY: Thank you that's very thoughtful. Why does it say Merry Christmas Pipers 2004?

PIPER: Whoops. Let's just remove that and it's good as new. So... you going to invite me in or what?

MONTY: I suppose.

PIPER: Now where are you hiding that bar? And do you have any of those shrimps on the toothpick with the bacon wrapped around them, that is if Liz hasn't eaten them all, right? Humor, that's a gift right Monty? Oh, I mean Montgomery.

Good Gawd. Sorry Monty. Sorry Nat. Please help me redeem myself and visit Film Experience Blog and show Montgomery the respect he deserves.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

When Horror Became A Joke

While it's true that we saw some of the greatest horror during the 80's with The Shinning, The Thing, Poltergeist, Hellraiser and The Fly, we also saw the genre take a left turn into funny ha-ha territory and good lord it was scary. When it comes to horror, I'm kind of a serious guy. I get horror spoofs and appreciate them, but for the most part, I like my horror on the serious side. After all, if I wanted to laugh I would have watched a comedy. Just as sarcasm can be a cop-out from making a real statement, so can humor as it relates to horror. The first time I really noticed this new trend of horror/comedy (from here on out I will call it the horromedy) was with George Romero's Creepshow in 1982. On the poster the cut-line reads "The most fun you'll ever have being scared." Creepshow is a good horror movie and I think it delivers rather well in the scare department, but I don't want to have fun being scared. I just want to be scared. It was almost like Romero was issuing an apology before I ever entered the theater. Yes it's true that Romero is no stranger to satire as we saw in Dawn Of The Dead, but I always felt he was still serious about his scares. So what's with having fun while being scared? What happened to the days of people passing out in the aisles and trailers like Suspiria that promise the only thing more terrifying than the first 13 minutes of the film are the last 97. Don't tell me I'm going to have fun. Tell me I'm going to be screaming. Tell me I'm going to have to seek therapy. That's why I go and see a horror movie. It could be argued that the reason I like horror is because I consider it fun to be scared. And I might agree with that argument, but let me decide that.

A few years later, the horromedy took a big step forward with the movie House in 1986. Steve Miner who had directed Friday The 13th Part 2 and 3 had dabbled with the horror genre but decided to turn it on its ear with House. In this movie, a severed hand no longer instilled chills. Instead we were to laugh as William Katt chased the little boy around with the demon hand on his back and then laugh harder as he attempted to flush it down the toilet. In 1987, Sam Raimi remade Evil Dead as a horromedy with Evil Dead II. It is among one of my favorite movies, but still it felt like a step backwards for the genre. Child's Play in 1988 started out creepy enough, but then quickly became absurd as Chucky became less scary and more foul-mouthed. And now the franchise has become fodder for midnight showings.

While it's true that Carpenter, Cronenberg and Barker in particular produced some of their best work during the 80's, some of the success was lost with this shift in the genre. It was as if everyone felt that horror had run its course and the only fertile soil left was with the horromedy. What's ironic is that it took Scream - a commentary on the whole horror genre - to point the genre back in the direction of scaresville. Of course the horromedy is not dead with the likes of Shaun Of The Dead, but it's just not as prominent as it once was. Some might believe that the birth of the horromedy was an interesting period. A time when we looked back on the slasher movies and laughed at the absurdity of it all. But not this guy. I prefer my horror straight up, hold the comedy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Willie Nominees Are Out. Gremlins?

Ed Hardy at Shoot The Projectionist has posted the nominees for the 31 Flicks That Give You The Willies. In looking at it, it made me think of something I recently wrote in the comments section at Culture Snob. It was in reaction to Culture Snob's commentary on what is and is not scary. He somewhat took me and Neil Sarver at The Bleeding Tree to task for our definitions of horror. He commented that I was a bit too flippant and Neil was a bit too stringent. I stated that while I agreed on both fronts, I felt both were a good example of how everyone interprets horror differently. And I think this list is proof of that because it covers everything. From House Of Dracula to Friday the 13th to Blood on Satan's Claw to Scanners to Gremlins. Gremlins? The original Dawn Of The Dead made the list and so did the remake as well as The Thing From Another World and The Thing. And Gremlins? I was pleased to see Carpenter and Cronenberg so well represented and as always now I have the opportunity to redeem myself a bit by including some movies that I missed, such as The Birds and Mulholland Dr.

I will say that I think that in the nominees there still seems to be a bit of confusion, at least for me, between a well-done movie within the horror genre and a truly scary horror movie. Shaun Of The Dead is a great movie about zombies but I would never put it in the same category as Dawn Of The Dead or 28 Days Later. And again, I would say that I love Near Dark for mixing genres but again I wouldn't call it a scary movie. And Gremlins? But like I said before, horror is a very specific thing and I applaud this list for being so diverse. And well done to Ed for heading this up.

Here are the nominees. I have marked my original picks in red. Twenty-four of my picks made it in.

28 Days Later (2002; Danny Boyle)
Alice Sweet Alice (1976; Alfred Sole)
Alien (1979; Ridley Scott)
Aliens (1986; James Cameron)
All the Colors of the Dark (1972; Sergio Martino)
American Psycho (2000; Mary Harron)
An American Werewolf in London (1981; John Landis)
Audition (1999; Takashi Miike)
The Beyond (1981; Lucio Fulci)
The Birds (1963; Alfred Hitchcock)
Black Christmas (1974: Bob Clark)
Black Sabbath (1963; Mario Bava & Salvatore Billitteri)
Black Sunday (aka Mask of Satan) (1960; Mario Bava)
The Blair Witch Project (1999; Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez)
Blood and Black Lace (1964; Mario Bava)
Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971; Piers Haggard)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935; James Whale)
The Brides of Dracula (1960; Terence Fisher)
The Brood (1979; David Cronenberg)
Burnt Offerings (1976; Dan Curtis)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920; Robert Weine)
Candyman (1992; Bernard Rose)
Carnival of Souls (1962; Herk Harvey)
Carrie (1976; Brian de Palma)
Cat People (1942; Jacques Tourneur)
The Changeling (1980; Peter Medak)
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1972; Bob Clark)
Creepshow (1982; George Romero)
Cronos (1993; Guillermo del Toro)
Cube (1997; Vincenzo Natali)
Daughters of Darkness (1971; Harry Kumel)
Dawn of the Dead (1978; George Romero)
Dawn of the Dead (2004; Zack Snyder)
Day of the Dead (1985; George Romero)
Dead Alive (1992; Peter Jackson)
Dead of Night (aka Deathdream) (1974; Bob Clark)
Dead Ringers (1988; David Cronenberg)
Deathline (aka Raw Meat) (1972; Gary Sherman)
Deep Red (1975; Dario Argento)
Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man) (1994; Michele Soavi)
Demons (Demoni) (1985; Lamberto Bava)
The Descent (2005; Neil Marshall)
The Devils (1971; Ken Russell)
The Devil’s Backbone (2001; Guillermo del Toro)
The Devil’s Bride (aka The Devil Rides Out) (1968; Terence Fisher)
The Devil’s Rejects (2005; Rob Zombie)
Les Diaboliques (1955; Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Don’t Look Now (1973; Nicolas Roeg)
Dracula (1931; Tod Browning)
Dr. Jekyll & His Women (1981; Walerian Borowczyk)
Eraserhead (1977; David Lynch)
Event Horizon (1997; Paul W.S. Anderson)
The Evil Dead (1981; Sam Raimi)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
The Exorcist (1973; William Friedkin)
The Exorcist III (1990; William Peter Blatty)
The Eye (aka Gin gwai) (2002; Pang Bros.)
Eyes Without a Face (aka Les Yuex sans visage) (1960; Georges Franju)
The Fly (1986; David Cronenberg)
The Fog (1980; John Carpenter)
Frailty (2001; Bill Paxton)
Frankenstein (1931; James Whale)
Freaks (1932; Tod Browning)
Friday the 13th (1980; Sean S. Cunningham)
Friday the 13th, part II (1981; Steve Miner)
Fright Night (1985; Tom Holland)
Full Circle (aka The Haunting of Julia) (1977; Richard Loncraine)
Funny Games (1997; Michael Haneke)
Ginger Snaps (2000; John Fawcett)
Godzilla (aka Gojira) (1954; Ishiro Honda)
Gremlins (1984; Joe Dante)
Halloween (1978; John Carpenter)
The Haunting (1963; Robert Wise)
Haute Tension (2003; Alexandre Aja)
Hellraiser (1987; Clive Barker)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986; John McNaughton)
The Hitcher (1986; Robert Harmon)
Horror Hotel (aka City of the Dead) (1960; John Llewellyn Moxey)
Horror of Dracula (1958; Terence Fisher)
Hour of the Wolf (1968; Ingmar Bergman)
House of Wax (1953; Andre de Toth)
House on Haunted Hill (1959; William Castle)
The Howling (1981; Joe Dante)
I Walked with a Zombie (1943; Jacques Tourneur)
In the Mouth of Madness (1995; John Carpenter)
Inferno (1980; Dario Argento)
The Innocents (1961; Jack Clayton)
Island of Lost Souls (1932; Erle C. Kenton)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956; Don Siegel)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978; Philip Kaufman) Jacob’s Ladder (1990; Adrian Lyne)
Jaws (1976; Steven Spielberg)
Jeepers Creepers (2001; Victore Salva)
Ju-On: The Grudge (2003; Takashi Shimizu)
Kill, Baby…Kill! (1966; Mario Bava)
King Kong (1933; Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack)
Last House on the Left (1972; Wes Craven)
The Last Man on Earth (1964; Ubaldo Ragona)
The Legend of Hell House (1973; John Hough)
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971; John D. Hancock)
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (aka Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) (74; Jorge Grau)
The Locals (2003; Greg Page)
Lost Highway (1997; David Lynch)
Magic (1978; Richard Attenborough)
Martin (1977; George Romero)
The Mothman Prophecies (2002; Mark Pellington)
Mulholland Dr. (2001; David Lynch)
My Bloody Valentine (1981; George Mihalka)
Near Dark (1987; Kathryn Bigelow)
New Nightmare (1994; Wes Craven)
A Nightmare on Elm St. (1984; Wes Craven)
Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors (1987; Chuck Russell)
Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon) (1957; Jacques Tourneur)
Night of the Hunter (1957; Charles Laughton)
Night of the Living Dead (1968; George Romero)
Night Tide (1961; Curtis Harrington)
Nosferatu (1922; F.W. Murnau)
Nosferatu (1979; Werner Herzog)
The Omen (1976; Richard Donner)
Onibaba (1964; Kaneto Shindo)
The Others (2001; Alejandro Amenebar)
Peeping Tom (1960; Michael Powell)
People Under the Stairs (1991; Wes Craven)
Pet Semetary (1989; Mary Lambert)
Phantasm (1979; Don Coscarelli)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975; Peter Weir)
Pit and the Pendulum (1961; Roger Corman)
Poltergeist (1982; Tobe Hooper)
Possession (1981; Andrzej Zulawski)
Prince of Darkness (1987; John Carpenter)
Psycho (1960; Alfred Hitchcock)
Pulse (Kairo) (2001; Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Quatermass and the Pit (aka Five Million Years to Earth) (1967; Roy Ward Baker)
Ravenous (1999; Antonia Bird)
Re-Animator (1985; Stuart Gordon)
The Reflecting Skin (1990; Philip Ridley)
Repulsion (1965; Roman Polanski)
The Return of the Living Dead (1985; Dan O’Bannon)
The Ring (2002; Gore Verbinski)
Ringu (1998; Hideo Nakata)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968; Roman Polanski)
Saw (2004; James Wan)
Scanners (1981; David Cronenberg)
Scream (1996; Wes Craven)
The Serpent and The Rainbow (1988; Wes Craven)
Session 9 (2001; Brad Anderson)
Seven (1995; David Fincher)
Shaun of the Dead (2004; Edgar Wright)
The Shining (1980; Stanley Kubrick)
Shivers: They Came From Within (1975; David Cronenberg)
Signs (2002; M. Night Shyamalan)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991; Jonathon Demme)
Sisters (1973; Brian de Palma)
Sixth Sense (1999; M. Night Shyamalan)
Sleepaway Camp (1983; Robert Hiltzik)
Slither (2006; James Gunn)
Suspiria (1977; Dario Argento)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003; Ji-woon Kim)
Targets (1968; Peter Bogdonavich)
The Tenant (1976; Roman Polanski)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974; Tobe Hooper)
Them! (1954; Gordon Douglas)
The Thing (1982; John Carpenter)
The Thing from Another World (1951; Christian Nyby)
Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971; Amanda de Ossorio)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992; David Lynch)
The Uninvited (2003; Su-yeon Lee)
Uzumaki (2000; Higuchinsky)
Vampyr, the Strange Adventure of David Gray (1932; Carl Theodor Dreyer)
The Vanishing (Spoorloos) (1988; George Sluizer)
Videodrome (1983; David Cronenberg)
The Village (2004; M. Night Shyamalan)
Village of the Damned (1960; Wolf Rilla)
Wait Until Dark (1967; Terence Young)
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962; Robert Aldrich)
When a Stranger Calls (1979; Fred Walton)
The Wicker Man (1973; Robin Hardy)
Witchfinder General (1968; Michael Reeves)
Wolf Creek (2005; Greg Mclean)
The Wolf Man (1941; George Waggner)

An Homage Of Sorts

So I work at an advertising agency and as a pet project every year, we do work for the Filmfest Kansas City. We do posters and if time and favors allow, we also do a commercial. I just completed this commercial and I'm posting it for a few reasons. One, because it's an homage to Altman's The Player, specifically the scene where Buck Henry pitches The Graduate II to Tim Robbins. Second, because the FilmFest begins this coming weekend and anyone within range of Kansas City should go because the films are always good.

So back to the spot. What I love about the pitch process, as told by The Player and most movies about Hollywood, is the lack of originality associated with it. It's a wham, bam thank-you-mam approach and it seems the best way to do that is to borrow from other movies. So really you're not pitching an original idea, you're pitching ideas associated with other movies so that the Greenlighter can get it and get it fast. It certainly doesn't lend itself to any new thought which is what Film Festivals award. So I thought I would spoof that early scene between Buck Henry and Tim Robbins to make a statement about independent thought and associate that with Filmfest Kansas City.

Anyway, here's the spot.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Fear These Movies

Horror is a lot like comedy. It can be broad enough to appeal to everyone and thus not really rattle any nerves. Or it can be very specific at the risk of losing people, but whooh boy the people you hit are going to feel it for a long time. I've got some of both on this list I am submitting to Ed Hardy at Shoot The Projectionist as nominees for the 31 Flicks That Give You The Willies List. There are expected and not so expected entries and probably too much Carpenter, but it's no secret how I feel about the guy. I doubt that anyone else will have Miracle Mile on their list, but it makes for a more interesting list. Anyways, these are the movies that make me curl under the table and whimper like a little puppy that hasn't been petted for three weeks. I have written a bit for some movies that I felt needed that extra boost or at least a little justification. Ed is to announce the list this weekend, I think so stay tuned.

31. Hell Night (1981 DeSimone)
It's easy to pass this movie off as just another stupid horror movie, especially with the inclusion of a grown up Linda Blair, but don't. Good traditional scares await those who watch Hell Night.

30. Alien (1979 Scott)

29. Malevolence (2004 Mena)
I had almost given up on the horror genre when I came upon this little ditty. Malevolence is a movie that Carpenter might have made if he hadn't given up on what made him so good.

28. Prince Of Darkness (1987 Carpenter)

27. Suspiria (1977 Argento)

26. The Exorcist (1973 Friedkin)

25. Dawn Of The Dead (1978 Romero)

24. The Brood (1979 Cronenberg)
Hate so strong that it causes the body to mutate is a pretty freaky concept and a pretty scary one too. And I haven't even mentioned the kids in the snowsuits.

23. The Shining (1980 Kubrick)

22. Evil Dead (1981 Raimi)

21. Jeepers Creepers (2001 Salva)
A good lesson in minding your own business, because if you don't you might discover something that's worse than anything you could have imagined.

20. Last House On The Left (1972 Craven)

19. Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers (1978 Kaufman)

18. Se7en (1995 Fincher)

17. Nosferatu (1922 Murnau)
This goes against what I've said in the past, but nearly 100 years later Max Schreck still scares me as Graf Orlok.

16. Assault On Precinct 13 (1976 Carpenter)
A gang descending on an abandoned precinct is one thing. Doing it in such a way that they are nearly untraceable to someone driving by is terrifying to me.

15. Westworld (1973 Crichton)
I have always been fascinated with a spectacle gone wrong. At once amazing, and then the next absolutely terrifying.

14. Poltergeist (1982 Hooper)

13. Scream (1996 Craven)

12. Silence Of The Lambs (1991 Demme)

11. An American Werewolf In London (1981 Landis)
Yes, this is me being a hypocrite because I have said that werewolves don't scare me. But this is the "thinking mans werewolf movie" because it explores the horrors of becoming a werewolf and dealing with the baggage associated with that.

10. The Miracle Mile (1988 De Jarnatt)
Thinking about the final scene of this movie with Anthony Edwards sinking in the La brea Tar Pits while he watches Los Angeles disappear in a nuclear cloud always gives me the chills.

9. Ju-On (2000 Shimizu)
I still don't completely understand this movie but I dare not watch it again to try to figure it out.

8. Jacob’s Ladder (1990 Lyne)

7. 28 Days Later (2002 Boyle)

6. It’s Alive (1974 Cohen)
This movie takes unconditional love to the next level. Watching a parent try to make it work with a devil baby is very unsettling.

5. Halloween (1978 Carpenter)

4. Don't Look Now (1973 Roeg)

3. Salem's Lot (1979 Hooper)
This movie will not make Ed Hardy's list because he's not allowing TV movies, but it would be wrong of me not to include what I think is one of the scariest movies ever made.

2. Phantasm (1979 Coscarelli)
This movie is evil in its purest form and that form goes by the name of Tall Man.

1. The Thing (Carpenter 1982)

Shocky Talky

Some good discussions about scary things and whatnot.

Jeff at Culture Snob offers up Fear Is Not Enough and Strength In Numbers.

Ed Hardy at Shoot The Projectionist serves up the daily Ghoul, Ghost, Killer or Fiend.

Stacie Ponder at Final Girl talks about Phantasm, one of my faves.

Rob at The Projection Booth continues with 31 Days Of Zombie with 28 Weeks Later.

Andrew at Cinevistaramascope gives us Halloween Trailerfest featuring Cropsy.

And Joe at This Distracted Globe continues with 31 Days Of Hitchcock.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Ten Dumbest Monsters

What's that noise? Did you hear that? What's that coming from around the corner? I don't know but the shadow looks menacing. Here it comes. It's a... it's a... it's an industrial laundry folding machine. Everybody run for your lives! Come on, if you're going to make me scared, make me scared. Here is a list (in no particular order) of some monsters that failed to haunt my dreams.

1. Hmmm, if I was an evil spirit and I could possess anything in the world, it would have to be a laundry folding machine in The Mangler.

2. Somebody reboot me, is that Kristy Swanson playing a killer robot in Deadly Friend?

3. I think that fish was bad because it just knocked loose an anal dwelling alien in Dreamcatcher.

4. Blue Diamonds, Purple Horseshoes, Green Clovers and a leprechaun in The Leprechaun.

5. Somebody hand me a blow torch because here comes a scary snowman in Jack Frost.

6. Furry little creatures out for blood called Munchies. They're not for dope-smoking hippies anymore.

7. A killer coke machine in Maximum Overdrive. Exactly how coked up was Stephen King when he made this film?

8. A brain hungry for knowledge and for other brains in Brain Damage.

9. So how'd you bite the farm? Ummmm, I was killed by a tomato in Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes.

10. Sorry kids, it's time to put down the rabid Saint Bernard in Cujo.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Okay, you scare me

You can find out a lot about a person by discovering what scares him or her. For instance, you can find out how big a pussy that person is. Turns out I'm a pretty big pussy because a lot of things scare me.

1. Amusement parks scare me. Yes it's true, the same guy that lives and dies by the Disney logo is also terrified of the place. Like Westworld and Jurassic Park, there is something truly terrifying about a park built for joy and happiness that instead brings death and dread. The irony of that situation is painfully obvious, but it still scares me.

2. Dolls scare me. Can be an African Fetish Doll or a plain old eyes open up when you pick her up and eyes close when you set her down kind of doll. It doesn't matter because they all are waiting for me to fall asleep so they can wrap their cute little plastic hands around my neck. And while we're at it, possessed babies scare me too.

3. Diseases scare me. The Thing is about the spreading of a disease and so is every zombie movie ever made and Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers, too. This guy gets a disease and then he give it to two of his friends and those two friends give it to two of their friends and those two friends give it to two of their friends and so on and so forth and I think I just shit myself a bit writing about this.

4. Long black Asian hair scares me. In Ju-On a woman wakes up to find long black hair dangling in her face. In Ringu, the woman lets her long black hair completely cover her face. What is it about this? I should be wanting to run my fingers through it, but instead I just want to run away.

5. Loud inhuman screams coming from humans scare me. Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers, Meg Tilly in Bodysnatchers, the red headed guy with the beard from The Thing (was it Fuchs?). It suggests something awful is inside and I don't want to see that something awful. Not one bit.

6. Someone wearing a white sheet over themselves and then wearing glasses over that sheet scares me. If someone came to my door trick or treating dressed like that my knees would buckle and I would curl into the fetal position and that person could have their way with the mini butterfingers and snickers candy bars.

7. Dark and murky lakes scare me. Who knows what could be floating at the bottom of those lakes or if teen Jason was floating alongside you just waiting to pull you under. Of course I don't know of any lakes that aren't dark and murky, so I guess I could say that all lakes scare me.

8. Clowns scare me. I know, I'm treading new ground here because no one else in the world is scared of clowns. No one at all. As a reader, you probably can't wrap your brain around this concept because it's so strange. I mean, how could anyone be scared of something that's supposed to bring joy to boys and girls of all ages?

9. Large crowds scare me. One zombie is kinda scary. Fifty zombies on the other hand are terrifying. Hundreds of people holiday shopping two days before Christmas makes me immobile with fear.

10. The Apocalypse scares me. If I woke up tomorrow and discovered that Little Debbie Snack Cakes had taken over and I was the only human being left, I would be scared. That's how scared of the Apocalypse I am.

11. Mutating flesh scares me. Can be a little nub on the back or a whole appendage. It's why I am fascinated and terrified of every single Cronenberg film. In The Brood, when one of Dr. Raglan's patients takes off the towel around his neck and reveals his gnarled neck, I myself have to seek therapy.

Wes Craven Remakes Himself

So I'm perusing the IMDB site, looking to see what year Last House On The Left was made when I come across this little tidbit. Seems Wes Craven is going to remake his old movie Shocker. This time with Kane Hodder in the role of Horrace Pinker. But don't start buying your "That's right, Kane Hodder is the new Horrace Pinker" shirts just yet because it says he's still in negotiations. I can't imagine that an update of a serial killer that travels through electrical wiring was needed. Even with better special effects, this movie will still be dumb. But what do I know, I thought Rocky Balboa was going to be bad.

Monday, October 8, 2007

You Don't Scare Me

While everyone is writing about things that scare them (me included) let me break form for a moment and talk about some things that don't scare me. Because you can't really begin to understand a person until you know what makes them tick. Or in this case, not tick at all.

1. Vampires don't scare me. While the look of a vampire might scare me in Murnau's Nosferatu, the idea of an immortal man or woman that feeds on blood does not scare me. I think the best treatment of a vampire is in Hooper's Salem's Lot - which of course is a tribute to Nosferatu. He is not a charmer, he is not a playboy, he is a monster that is seldom seen. I think most of the fear of vampires has been replaced with sexuality and while I may find that exciting, I don't find it scary.

2. Werewolves don't scare me. The transformation is fascinating and I like how An American Werewolf In London explored the horrors of losing complete control of yourself, but I have never found a wolf on two legs or four to be something that I loose any kind of sleep over. But don't get me wrong, The Howling and Dog Soldiers are among some of my favorite horror moves, they just don't scare me.

3. Mummies don't scare me. Being mummified does however scare the bejesus out of me.

4. Torture does not scare me. I cringe because I think torture is an awful thing, not because I am scared by it. Only Marathon Man has come close to capturing the terror associated with torture. Torture is not in the act, it is in the wondering what will happen and how it will feel. Sorry Eli, you missed the boat on that one.

5. Tentacles don't scare me. Because of this, I may have a problem with The Mist.

6. Ghosts don't scare me. Unseen spirits make for good stories around the campfire, but if you truly want to scare me, I need flesh and blood. Unless of course we are talking possession, then that's a completely different story.

7. Severed body parts acting alone don't scare me. A hand terrorizing people is stupid, but connect that hand to a big scary guy and then you've got something.

8. The Devil does not scare me. He/she might be the largest backer in this big scary corporation, but he/she personally does not scare me. The Devil is just a figure head and it's his/her minions that scare me. But I haven't met the guy/gal just yet so I could be wrong.

9. Rabid dogs don't scare me. There comes a time when you have to step back to see where humans are located on the evolutionary chain. You will find them a few clicks ahead of a dog. Rabies or not, no dog will ever take me down.

10. Giant insects don't scare me. Nor do giant frogs. But if there were such a thing as giant insects, I would want giant frogs around so they could eat them.

11. Over-sized crocodiles don't scare me. The same goes for over-sized fish. But the idea of giant fish/bear hybrid a la The Prophecy scares the living hell out of me.

12. Slugs don't scare me. They are slimy and fast and could leap into my mouth within seconds and possess me and turn me into a killing machine, but they do not scare me.

The Scary Seven

Scott at Cinematical gives us seven of the best horror movies we haven't seen yet. Some have played at festivals and haven't been released yet and some are just floundering waiting for a distributor. Haven't seen Wrong Turn 2 yet and I'm not sure I would like it, but still I'm curious. Scott promises to reveal even more movies, so stay tuned.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cinema On TV

Through the advice of Kramer I have gone and viewed all of the Halo 3 spots. I love commercials that are larger than the box they come from and these are a perfect example. In the commercials we are witnessing in documentary style a tribute to a what looks to be one hell of a war. Throughout these spots old warriors are being interviewed in what is called the Museum Of Humanity. These are fantastic spots, breaking through in a category that has set the bar pretty high, plus they elevate the game to a much higher level. And all of this from a guy who doesn't even like the game.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Can't Wait For Juno

RC at Strange Culture recently wrote about the Fall Movie Line-up and how it seems to be riddled with violence and dark themes. Agreed, although I am very excited about There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men looks be along the lines of Blood Simple, which is a good thing. The one movie RC is looking forward is Juno, directed by Jason Reitman who in my opinion has already bypassed his father's career because it is Ivan who is responsible for Junior. And that movie is so bad, it negates Ghostbusters, Stripes and Meatballs.

Anyway, my only ding on this film is that it looks to trivialize teen pregnancy. To Pretty Woman-ize it if you will. But it's just a trailer so I'm not going there right now. Instead, I'm just excited to see it. Okay, now back to death and dismemberment.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I'm sorry, I had planned on keeping all of my posts this October about fun and light-hearted fare like flesh eating zombies, rotting corpses and hatchet wounds in honor of Halloween. Unfortunately, I can't ignore the news I read this morning.

Reported in the New York Times is this story about Mac Forster's new movie The Kite Runner, based on the 2003 best-selling novel written by Khaled Hosseini. It follows three decades of Afghan strife and focuses mainly on a friendship between two Afghan boys Amir and Hassan. The article reports of the controversy surrounding the movie a month before its release. Specifically regarding a pivotal scene where Hassan is raped by a Pashtun bully. Word has already spread in Afghanistan about the rape scene and now the two Afghan boys fear for their lives. Sources are going back and forth on whether the family was truly aware of the scene before it was shot. But seriously, does it even matter? In a country where the biggest form of media is the rumor mill, you have no chance of spinning this in favor of Paramount, the studio behind this production. And why should anyone try? This idea was stupid the second it was thought up. Couple this story with Richard Gere's recent incident inolving Shilpa Shetty and suddenly Hollywood is no longer the sympathetic voice of peace, it is public enemy number one.

Forster wanted to direct the movie because he felt he was “giving a voice and a face to people who’ve been voiceless and faceless for the last 30 years.” I have an idea, let's stop trying to help people in other areas of the world. Forster is originally from Germany and Switzerland but he has been living in the United States since the 1990's and it looks like he has successfully fallen right in line with our current administration. In other words, we are the superhero and everyone needs saving.

Megan Colligan, head of marketing at Paramount Vantage said "nothing will be done if it puts any kid at risk." If anyone truly cared, they would never have attempted to bring this novel to the big screen in the first place.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Horror Movies I Would Have Liked To See

Stacie Ponder at Final Girl never ceases to amaze me with the fun she has with the horror genre. As everyone creates their own list of great horror movies this month, Stacie has made up a list of 50 horror movies that she would have liked to have seen. My favorites are EsKillator, The Eyes Have Eyes, An American Werewolf In America, Don't Look In The Bureau! and of course Jazzercide.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Is Undead

It's October and it seems for the time being I'm going all zombies all the time. But this Top 5 Tuesdays isn't just about zombie movies. When dealing with the undead, you get to open things up a bit. Death Becomes Her or how about Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King as some non-zombie fare? Okay, now give me your Top 5 Movies about or involving the undead. If you need some help, check out this list.

Here are mine.

1. Dawn Of The Dead The original of course. Still the best zombie movie out there.

2. An American Werewolf In London Griffin Dunn is a rotting corpse with a good bedside manner as it relates to future werewolves. Love it.

3. Return Of The Living Dead This was about as fun as you can have with a horror movie and not hate yourself for it. More brains anyone?

4. Salem's Lot I am having to exclude it from my 31 Greatest Horror Movies List, but it deserves a place among the best.

5. Army Of Darkness My favorite of the Evil Dead series. Shop Smart. Shop S Mart.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What Say You: The tortoise or the hare zombie?

The Projection Booth is hosting 31 Days Of Zombie and we are given free reign to explore all things zombie. And since I have been especially sensitive as it relates to remakes, I thought that there was an interesting zombie question that needed to be answered which is: fast or slow zombies?

In other words, if we were to pick sides where would you stand, with the creeping shuffling zombies of Romero, or with the 2.0 versions as seen by Zack Snyder in the Dawn Of The Dead remake or by Danny Boyle in 28 Days Later? It might be surprising to hear that I myself am divided. To me there is something terrifying about a slow moving monster that one moment seems somewhat harmless but that can tear you in half the next. But then there is the visceral excitement I get from a fast moving zombie that can chase you across a field or down a street. Some might argue that it comes down to realism (and yes I know that's a funny question as it relates to something that doesn't exist). If the person has been dead for some time, then rigor mortis would cause severe mobility problems. So in the Dawn Of The Dead remake, Snyder is putting aside any desire for authenticity in an effort to update and generate effect. And honestly, I'm a bit surprised that Romero himself has not explored this territory in one of his more recent films, but he created the zombie rules and he's going to stick to them. Of course this argument does not work with the Rage virus from 28 Days Later, but when all is said and done the basic question still remains: fast or slow zombies?


Hitchock lives! And so does the Undead.

The Projection Booth is hosting 31 Days Of Zombie where you can write about anything your undead heart desires as it relates to zombies.

Then over at This Distracted Globe, Joe will be writing about a Hitchcock movie a day for his 31 Days of Hitchcock.

Isn't October fun?