Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On The Move

Destroyed by supernatural forces.

This Cinema Somnambulist and his Doomed Moviethon train have officially relocated. We are still in the process of moving. My mom-in-law is here and her belongings will arrive shortly. After that, this blog and the DM will resume their normal activities. With her, she brought some new pals: Pickles the bird and Shadow the dog. Now that our house is a dang zoo, I think I'll hold off on any animals-gone-mad style horror. The first horror movie we all watched together was the William Castle version of The Old Dark House. Amazing.

This is Shadow. He's ready for Giallo Meltdown 4.

The new place is pretty awesome. The patio is screened in. Oh there will be cigars smoked out there. Oh yes. There is a 7-11 in very short walking distance from the apartment complex so moviethon fuel will be easily attainable. These are the good times. Well, there's still lots to do. We have to finishing packing and cleaning up the old Doomed Moviethon Central so that we can get our dang deposit back. Plus socializing our cats, Crisco and Sparkles, with new friends is a pretty big job too. Take care, y'all.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween II Too

Yesterday I posted a long monstrosity about seeing Halloween II with Nafa. Well, Nafa is gracing Cinema Somnambulist with his own take on the film. Here's what he has to say:

To me, the teaser poster was immediately iconic—it didn’t matter that it made no sense at the time. It was almost as if they used a photo that was second or third choice, not the best or full on facing shot. The poster was little more than a washed out side view of Michael Myers with his knife raised aloft and grass or corn along the bottom of the image, and the words ‘Family Is Forever’ across the top. But from the first second Richard sent it to me I knew there was something special lurking inside.

By the time Richard and I were able to see the film it was my third trip. The first time I was transfixed by how beautiful things were, familial and soft. The second time, I saw more of the gore and sheer brutality, but also became more aware of the dream. The third time was just a complete immersion and awakening. Characters became more familiar and empathy that was absent the first two times was realized.

It was at this third viewing that I realized that every character elicits some sort of individualized emotion or state. And I mean everyone—the avuncular safety represented by Buddy, the filth of Big Lou, and the caution-to-the-wind abandon of Harley, all the way up to the down-to-earth sensibility of Annie, the everyman concern of Sheriff Brackett, and the avarice of Loomis. The list goes on. Since every supporting player in the film emotes such a unique feeling this allows the three/four main characters to work as blank slates. Mother Myers is family, a phantom of promise and intangible. Young Michael is hopefulness and innocence, the novice. Laurie is a conflicted, unsettled sea of raw emotion and a lack of identity (which is only further exacerbated by later revelations). And masked Michael is the device, the non-judgmental rage— a machine.

Michael’s vengeance has never been perpetuated by any one particular thing or another. Jason Voorhees was moved by revenge for his mother and an almost holy quest to smite the sinners in action. Leatherface was a sort of ‘live to eat, eat to live’ creature. Freddy’s vengeance was aimed at the parents who killed him. But Michael, though having an impetus for his killing, has always seemed to be sort of a wind-up robot with a knife, wound and moving forward in a swath of rage, killing anything and everything in his path. He never went out of his way to kill, he was just moving from point A to point B and clearing a path along the way.

For Laurie Strode, Halloween II is a coming of age film. It’s an awakening, a step from reality to dream to reality to dream, the lines beautifully blurred and the scarred. It’s Alice In Wonderland being chased by blades into the mouth of Hell, but Hell is where she needs to be in this film.

There is lots of debate as to how much of this film is a dream, who did the actual killing, and what exactly is real. I like not having the answer. Accepting that fact is quite nearly as disturbing as the characters in the film are. This is truly one movie that brings the thoughtful viewer a tangible taste of the madness.



Two years ago, my friends and I started FAUXRROR (pronounced like Horror but with an F), a "band" that creates music for horror films that never existed. We even went so far as to give each track its own poster and plot synopsis. For FAUXRROR 2: LASERDEAD, we have created the music for just one made up film. In an alternate reality much like our own, director Ron L. Esteban set out to make his horror masterpiece but things got out of hand. This tale is told in more detail in the brief history of Laserdead included with the download.

Here's a sample track for you and yours:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween II (2009) & More (An Epic Story)

I really wanted to see Rob Zombie's Halloween II and so I did my usual thing I do when I'm excited about a movie: I avoid as much online preview content as possible. The mostly lame trailer above is pretty much the only thing I knew about the sequel to the remake. That and Sheri Moon Zombie playing the ghost of Deborah Meyers in this one. It wasn't much to go on but something was calling to me. Something important.

I've always preferred Halloween II (the 1981 version) over John Carpenter's 1978 film. Halloween is amazing and obviously a better film but Halloween II is the one I reach for the most thanks to nostalgia. The hospital setting really got to me and after years of catching this film nearly every Halloween, it really turned into cinematic comfort food. The scene where Michael Meyers stabs that nurse and lifts her off the floor while a doped up Laurie watches in confused horror is some kind of devil-magic that still makes me smile. As to why I thought that this kind of beauty would somehow happen in the 2009 version; don't ask me. I was just hoping against hope.

My friend Nafa and I had been talking about going to see Halloween II since it came out back in August but we've both been pretty busy lately. He managed to go and see it and reported back to me that it was awesome. Nearly two months had gone by and I figured that H2 (yikes) was just going to have to be a rental. Then Nafa reminded me that it would probably still be around in theaters through Halloween to pick up some more business. Duh, I didn't think of that.

Finally, last night was our night. We got off work and headed to the University Mall. I've been going to this mall since I first set foot in Tampa 10 years ago and it has been threatening to close ever since. Yet somehow the place keeps on truckin' by managing a few mediocre renovations and adding more dang shoe stores. I would hardly call the Regal University 16 theater attached to the foodcourt my old stomping ground. I haven't been to any screenings of any film there since they opened the Muvico out in New Tampa (we have a new one!). The place was always too trashy and too noisy for me to enjoy the movies there. Of course, any theater can be great if you avoid the crowds by choosing your showtimes wisely and not going to any opening weekend regardless of how excited you are to see a flick. I'm a friggin' expert on that shit now.

With over an hour to kill before the film started, Nafa and I headed to the Halloween store that used to be a Steve & Barry's. This was a slightly half-assed affair but there were some highlights and lowlights nestled in retail hell. I keep hoping that Halloween will become the next big gift-giving holiday but that's a manifesto for a different day. Anyway, here's the goodness:

Blurry because I was trembling.

Beer: the destroyer of man.

My morale is low.

Undead princess, lead me to the truth.

I was getting hungry but nothing in foodcourt inspired me. Nafa reminded me there was a Dairy Queen/Orange Julius near the middle of the mall. It had been many, many years since I had enjoyed OJ. When I was a kid, I used to frequent the Palm Beach Mall where I would get two bacon and cheddar hotdogs and a large Orange Julius. Then after checking out the death metal tapes in Camelot Music, I would circle back for a soda from OJ. One exceptional time, I picked up Peaceful Death and Pretty Flowers by Dead Horse.

Later, in the car, my mom actually asked to read the lyrics while we were stuck in traffic. She was infuriated by the violent and dark content of the lyrics and nearly confiscated the cassette from me. Thankfully, that was the last time she did that. Had my mom read lyrics from bands like Autopsy (disgusting) or Nocturnus (satanic) or Demolition Hammer (violent) or a hundred other bands I was into at the time, my metal days would have been over.

My appetite ain't what it used to be (thank God) so I just got one bacon cheddar dog and a small Orange Julius. The cost of this meal was over $6 but no matter, it was delightful. Poor Nafa sat there watching me moan and eat like a total pig. I probably ruined his appetite. Sorry, duder. With still more time to kill, we ventured to Hot Topic, Spencer's Gifts, and a very bizarre dollar store called Kim's Dollar & More. Here's the surprise: we found cheapness everywhere!

We finally went to the Regal University 16 for showtime and it was not nostalgic at all. I doubt the place has changed much over the years but nothing looked familiar. We got our tickets and Nafa got some crazy coupons. Apparently, he's a frequet Regal customer. We walk down the hall to our theater and HEY WHAT'S THAT GUY DOING?!! There was only one other dude sitting there waiting for the film to start and I swear he had to quickly adjust his pants when he heard us walking in. This was not a good sign. While having him behind us was a risk, I made sure to have at least 4 rows between us and the probably-masturbating guy. This piece of shit would be snoring soon (hmm, why's he so sleepy all of a sudden?) but he would be easy to ignore during Rob Zombie's flick.

Okay, so now that we're reaquainted with the original Halloween II and you've made it this far in my spooOOooky journey through time and space, let's FINALLY see what Rob Zombie has done with the material. There are going to be some MAJOR SPOILERS in my little rant here so don't spill juice on your Milky Way or anything. (I just made that up.) See the movie before you read on.

H2 (I despise and love calling it that) starts us off with a great hospital sequence where Laurie (played by Scout Taylor-Compton) and Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris), who is still in a coma from the first film, are menaced by Michael Meyers (Tyler Mane). But this all turns out to be a dream (get used to it). It is a year later and Laurie is all maladjusted and shit and is now living with Annie (who is scarred up but not in a coma) and Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif). She is plagued with nightmares, takes lots of pills, and dresses in torn and grungy clothes (awesome). Michael's body was lost and there is speculation that he is still alive. Of course, he IS alive and is slowly making his way back to Haddonfield (killing anyone who gets in his way).

A cynical and comically prickish Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) is making the lecture circuit with his newly released book about Meyers. His book reveals that Laurie is actually Michael Meyers' sister. Laurie reads this, spazzes out, and heads over to her friends' place. There she gets drunk, dresses up like Magenta from Rocky Horror (genius), and heads out to a wild Halloween party where she binge drinks and spazzes out again. Meyers kills one of her friends at the party AND books it back home to attack Annie (finishing the job this time). A big showdown ensues between Michael, Dr. Loomis, Laurie, Sheriff Brackett, and the Haddonfield police department.

Thank you, Rob Zombie. Thank you for raping my eyes. Halloween II is so over the top and nuts that I can only describe it as taking a nauseous ride on a roller coaster made of circus peanuts as it zips through a universe of flickering fluorescent stars. The supernatural (I think) overtones and the gritty splendor are quite captivating. However, the film is also one of the most relentlessly violent and perturbing things I've ever seen in theaters. Every time I started to settle into a safe and comfortable place, the violence would come lunging back to plunge the knife in over and over again. And again!

I think Rob Zombie woke up last November 1st with a happy stomachache from too much Halloween candy and wrote down his nightmares. That is the real genesis of Halloween II. The director's obsession with the 70s, characters who inhabit the fringes of society, and constant strings of expletives were in full force. More importantly though is the film's oddness. There are a handful of dream sequences, hallucinations, or whatevers that broke up the would-be monotony of all the violent setpieces. Remember in Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge when the bad dude wanted to turn everyone's Halloween masks into their own real faces? No? Well, it's like that. Sort of.

As a horror fan, I have two ways of thinking. The first is this: okay, this part of the movie is awesome. The second way of thinking: okay, everyone is going to fucking hate this part of the movie and it is still awesome. There are so many of the latter that I can do nothing but mirth-sigh (whatever that means). Now I'm not being contrary to any negative reviews this film most likely has received (haven't read any reviews just yet); I honestly feel that with every wrong turn Halloween II makes, I'm along for the ride. This film tries to do wrong by me but it can't. Better luck next time, yo. Contempt for the audience? Maybe. Contempt for the material? Probably. I heard rumors that Zombie didn't want to do this film. GOOD! He should only do projects he doesn't want to do from now. The proof is in the puddin'.

Forget the modern setting, Halloween II is a journey through a 1978 that never existed or perhaps one that is yet to come. Jason Vorhees gets resurrected by a bolt of lighting and Michael Meyers gets brought back by a cow. That is impressive. I'm having a tough time communicating how important this film is. Purists concerned with deviations from the established rules of the Michael Meyers saga (yes, he takes the mask off in this one) can nitpick if they want to but I am no purist. All I care about is mood (most important), gore (quite important), and boobs (least important) but Halloween II is more than that.

Is this flick a thinker? Yeah. And why not? There is some heavy (not like literature of anything but heavy) shit happening here. Were the dream sequences there just to screw us up or is the whole thing a dream? Did Zombie go all Eyes Wide Shut on our asses? Could be. The film is very dreamlike and there are too many oddities for it to be just accidentally sloppy writing. Beauty is the key here and there are so many gorgeous shots burned into the back of my eyes. Plot and script were put in danger for aesthetics and that is all I ever ask horror movie directors to do. I don't give a double God damn about the mechanics. Just give me smoke machines and freaky lighting.

Rob Zombie's Halloween and Halloween II are just what I needed. They heal the damage done to me by House of 1,000 Corpses (1/3 awesome, 2/3 suck) and The Devil's Rejects (that heroic death scene at the ending just ruined the whole thing for me). Both films had the atmosphere but failed miserably in other ways. This is Rob Zombie really coming into his own. Malek Akkad, I implore you, keep throwing money at Rob Zombie projects. It's working and don't let anyone tell you it ain't. "Nights in White Satin" trumps "Free Bird" every time.

After this magnificent movie ended, I had to reenter society so that I could go home. This was not an easy transition. Rob Zombie had made my world a prettier place. Colors were more vibrant and I walked a little slower to catch all the details. On the way home, Nafa and I discussed the film the entire way. This was his third time seeing Halloween II at the theater but the film's frenzied energy still had him in its clutches. He dropped me off at home where I ran up the stairs to my apartment and started babbling about the film to my wife who nodded many times and thanked me for not taking her to see it.

Escaping the theater. Soooooo nice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Paranormal Halloween Activity

After watching Paranormal Activity (which was pretty great) on Sunday, Nafa and I headed over to the Halloween Store behind Mimi's Cafe on North Dale Mabry where spoOOooky fun was discovered. I actually managed to get around the place without buying anything. Not an easy task. Next we went to Sam Ash and played dueling electronic drumkits and I got into a synth war with some lesbians.

Dichotomous baby prop (oddly cute).

Jacked up Pinhead (oddly constipated).

Napoleon Dynamite (genuinely terrifying).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cross-posting Halloween Jamz

We need some spooky music up in here. Over at the music blog I contribute to, I've been posting some Halloween-themed music. You can check it out here. And in case you need some more spooky audio goodness, my giallo mixes are still available in case you missed them. Those are here.

I've always thought this was a particularly Halloweeny one.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Self Promotion/Parody

Good morning, y'all. I'm pretty sure that it is Wednesday. People kept calling it hump day and I thought they were being dirty. Speaking of dirty, I made a little Doomed Moviethon promo video. I've been doing this freakin' site for 4 and a half years, why not tell people about it, right? Anyway, here it is:

Ha ha, I poisoned Youtube!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Night of the Living Duder

There are some SPOILERS coming up. If you haven't seen Night of the Living Dead by now... well holy shit, you need to get with the program. I mean, come on. It's the 90s!

In 6th grade, my fascination with horror was still going through its growing pains. My mind had already been poisoned by a number of accidentally amazing moments. Catching Girls Nite Out in the middle of the night while I was supposed to be sleeping, seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street on video with my sister Lora, going to the drive-in with Lora and her future husband to see Creepshow 2 are just a few important things that happened to me. Another monumental event took place on Saturday, October 31st, 1987. All day, I saw commercials advertising a midnight showing of Night of the Living Dead on TV. I don't know why but something told my 11-year-old brain that this was a must-see.

We had just moved into these creepy apartments in Jupiter, Florida called Jupiter Sound Apartments. The place is one of those motel style dealies that was designed to make me uneasy for no reason whatsoever. I only had two friends which I made relatively quickly in the whole neighborhood. Oops, make that no friends. One was Timmy who had just moved to Alaska and the other was Jeff who I caught stealing $10 (my life savings) from my dresser while we were hanging out. My older sisters were now both married and out of the house. So needless to say, my Halloween night was wide open.

Staying up late was no problem. I was already wired from inhaling untold amounts of candy. Just before midnight rolled around, my parents called it a night and I was left alone to face the black and white terrors of George Romero's classic film. From start to end, I ate up Night of the Living Dead. The downer ending where Ben survives a zombie plague but falls prey to dickhead rednecks was truly shocking. But the two scenes that affected me the most were when Tom and Judy met their fiery fate at the gas pump and when Karen takes a trowel to her mother. I was totally fucked up about Tom and Judy's death scene. This cold feeling in my stomach came creeping in like when Travis shot Old Yeller. It seemed totally unfair to me that they got blown up and then consumed by the zombies.

Karen killing and then devouring her mother on the other hand, scared me in the best way. I was exhilarated and oddly happy during that moment. Don't read into that one, Mom. It was also apparent to me that the scene was kind of weird and beautiful. I don't think I had a word for it then but thanks to the freaky sound design, Helen's death is pretty friggin' surreal. Her sped up screams opened up a part of brain that I didn't know existed. Ever since then, I have appreciated directors who use horror as a place to air their freaky cinematic ideas (whether intentional or not) and push the limits of what a typically low brow genre like horror can be used to express.

So yeah, that was a magical night. It is indeed a big turning point. The next day, all of my G.I. Joes were no longer fighting Cobra and vice versa. Instead, these two warring factions had to unite in order to fend off a zombie horde. Soon I would be sneaking peaks at Fangoria magazine at the drugstore, reading Stephen King novels by the truckload, and eventually renting as many horror movies on VHS that was humanly possible.

Skip to 4:00 for Tom and Judy's demise:

Skip to 1:50 for Karen's big moment:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Giallo Meltdown 3

Just in time for my 100th post on Cinema Somnambulist, Giallo Meltdown 3 is finally up. I can't believe that I first had the dern thing back in April. Sorry it took so long. I've been pretty busy with writing articles, making music, smoking cigars and other boring stuff. I'm annoying like that. Anyway, check it out right here. As usual, feedback is strongly encouraged. Especially negative feedback. Don't hold back. I can take it. (No, I can't.)

And just in case you missed them:

Giallo Meltdown (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Giallo Meltdown 2

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Road Games

Just got done watching Road Games starring Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis. This excellent suspense film (I hesitate to call it a slasher flick) is directed by Aussie Richard Franklin (Patrick, Psycho II) and is friggin' tense as hell. Keach plays Quid, a trucker who thinks he may be on the trail of a serial killer. Curtis plays Hitch, a plucky hitchhiker that wants to help Quid catch the guy. The film has a dark sense of humor, razor-sharp cinematography and a soundtrack (by composer Brian May) so strident that its almost comical.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch gets a bum rap. If the idiots had just called it Season of the Witch and mentioned that John Carpenter and Debra Hill were producing, I think the backlash would have been nonexistent. Of course, not throwing the Halloween tag on it would have made the $14 million that it made would have been nonexistent as well. I was talking about this film with Nafa this morning and he was one of the many people duped into thinking that Michael Meyers was somehow involved. When I rented this one as a kid, I read the back of the VHS tape and thought "well, this is different."

SPOILERS in this paragraph:

I knew from the box that Meyers wasn't involved but I figured that when the killer Shamrock Halloween masks took effect that the kids wearing them would go insane and murder their parents. This didn't happen. In the film, when the Shamrock video plays, the very unfortunate kid watching it falls to the floor and his head turns into bugs. Okay, not as good as kids going on a retail-induced killing spree but it is one seriously fucked up moment and a truly effective scare. His parents do drop dead from fright. That's a bonus. As Tom Atkins is rushing to stop all the TV stations from playing the Shamrock commercial, I was totally on the edge of my seat. Good stuff. I need to watch this one again soon.

Here's a great review

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The End of the Dang World AGAIN ?!?!

Why is the world always coming to a dang end? The doomsday clock started ticking when J.Lo released her first fragrance on the world. Was that what Nostradamus was talking about when he said "I am from you! I am from the people!" Maybe that was Schopenhauer.

Anyway! Something new has been birthed onto the pages of Doomed Moviethon. It is the first Doomed Discussiethon. Nafa and I chose a movie neither of us had seen, watched it separately and then talked about it. Wow, this sounds really not exciting at all. But that's stinkin' thinkin'. Click here to see our disastrous thoughts on The Day the Sky Exploded.

Take care, kids.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No Reservations - "Romania"

I love No Reservations. It is the best travel show on TV. It's host, Anthony Bourdain, goes places I would never go and does things I would never do. I'm a shut-in so that isn't really saying much. Okay, sometimes he makes me burn with jealousy. Most of the time however, I'm pretty content to just watch his shows in the safety of my living room.

The best episode of the show is his trip to Romania. Aside from being a complete disaster, it is also one of my favorite Halloween episodes of any show ever. While in Transylvania on Halloween night, Tony and his guide Zamir, visit a Dracula-themed hotel which turns out to be the single cheesiest and most embarrassing Halloween-related crap I've ever seen. Bourdain realizes this terrible mistake and starts drinking while Zamir plays along for the sake of great television.

While I do recommend that you watch the entire episode, the Dracula stuff can be seen if you skip to 8:35 in Part 1 and watch through 4:19 in Part 2.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Halloween w/ the New Addams Family

Hey, hold the phone! What is this? Halloween with the New Addams Family? This requires further investigation.

Halloween with the Addams Family

Something amazing happened to me last summer. Target had the first two volumes of "The Addams Family" TV series in a pack for $14.99. LeEtta and I bought them up with glee. I still need to get volume 3 but for the purposes of this post, I can pick it up later. Since the show was canceled in April of '66, there are only two Addams Family Halloween episodes in the original series.

"Do not be alarmed, we are only little children."

In the first Halloween episode, "Halloween with the Addams Family" (which originally aired on October 30th, 1964), The Addams gang mistakes a couple of bank robbers (played by Skip Homeier and Don Rickles) for trick-or-treaters and invite them in to joing in their Halloween festivities. By the end of the evening, the criminals flee from the house and jump into the back of a police car to escape the Addams' Halloween hospitality. The best moments are when Wednesday and Pugsley dress up as normal people to go trick-or-treating and when the bank robbers catch Lurch hiding during a game of hide-and-seek.

The Halloween poem.

Lurch in his hiding place.

"Oh fire of Salem,
Oh flame of Satan,
Come in Aunt Singe,
We're all a-waitin'!"

The next and final Halloween episode, "Halloween - Addams Style" (which originally aired on October 29th, 1965), kicks off with footage from the previous year. Once again, Gomez is carving a pumpkin in the likeness of Uncle Fester and later, the two play bobbing for apples on a teeter totter. Thankfully, the stock footage ends there as Wednesday returns from trick-or-treating absolutely heartbroken because she's been told there's no such things as witches by a mean neighbor. Grandmama Addams and Lurch cook up a scheme to convince Wednesday that witches do exist but they screw it up.

The Addams family decide to perform a seance to contact Aunt Singe, a witch burned alive at the Salem Witch Trials. Lurch hides in the next room and pretends to be the ghostly voice on Aunt Singe. When the faux Aunt Singe agrees to make an appearance, Grandmama has to go out looking for a live witch to take her place. Luckily, a lesbian woman and her gay husband (that's my theory, anyway) are passing by on a scavenger hunt. The woman, dressed as a witch, ends up being mistaken for Aunt Singe and has the wits scared out of her by the Addams who are completely convinced she's the real thing. Wednesday is convinced that witches are real and all is well.

There are some highlights in the episode like the appearance of Cousin Cackle and Gomez's use of the phrase "vile canard". Of course, I loves me a seance sequence so bonus points on that one. Lowlights come in the form of the stock footage from the previous Halloween episode. Still worth watching.

The neighbors. Marriage of convenience?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October First

Oh man, I loves me some October. LeEtta and I will be celebrating Halloween every day this month like usual. We have Halloween specials and Halloween related horror movies by the truckload. Speaking of truckloads, we will also be moving to a new apartment very soon so this month will be crazy sporadic in terms of blog posts. We've been rooted to the spot for the last six years so from now on, moviethons will be from a new location! That may not sound very dramatic to you all but it's a dang big deal for me, okay?