Friday, February 26, 2010

My Top 5 Favorite Non-Horror Movies

I feel like shit. So why not punish everyone? I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you guys. You're good people. You're just sitting there, lampin', and I'm being a hater. Hate the hater not the game, yo. I was just thinking about what I'd rather be doing than sitting here on an hour and a half of sleep and feeling my blueberry muffin churning around in my guts. Well, it's not boogie boarding! I would rather be watching movies. And for some reason, I want to talk about my current favorite non-horror flicks. Why? Because my wife LeEtta was talking her top 5 favorite films last night and I want to beat her to the punch. It's the blog form of spousal abuse. Actually we were watching the Rotten Tomatoes show and Alexis Bledel was talking about her favorite movies of all time and Forrest Gump was one of them. WTF?

If you had asked me 8 or 9 or 10 years ago what my favorite movies were, I would have said (without hesitation) Repo Man, Bottle Rocket, Buffalo '66, Rushmore and Last Tango in Paris. Ouch. Now Repo Man is still golden but I don't even own a copy of it right now. That tends to happen when you stop watching a movie you spent years of your life memorizing. I'll return to it someday. And I'll always have Last Tango in Paris. Pass the butter. Why I used to be so obsessed with Wes Anderson is a mystery to me. I think I mentioned my emo-ness in my last Wednesday Ramble. But yeah, I'm 33 and I'm a totally different person now. (Not really.) Most of this list is populated with things that my wife has introduced me to. Her influence is profound (as you'll soon see).

Hey, it's not Wednesday and I'm rambling anyway. Shit. I am insanely tired. So my current list of five favorite non-horror movies looks a lot like this.

5. Up in Arms (1944)

Up in Arms isn't the best Danny Kaye movie out there but it is pretty good. The biggest problem is that this one is a wartime comedy so there's a bunch of propaganda (tolerable (some actually played for laughs)) and an unfortunately racist portrayal of Japanese soldiers (not tolerable). Luckily, those things are brief and the rest of the movie is silly madness. This film is also one of Dinah Shore's few movie appearances and she is underwear-soilingly hot. Well, in a 1944 kind of a way, I guess.

Here's the dreamy musical number I want to live inside forever:

4. Bewitched (2005)

I passed on seeing Bewitched in theaters with my wife. Instead, I went and saw Land of the Dead. This was a good decision. But then we bought Bewitched and we've watched it over and over again since then. An oddly restrained Will Ferrell and a kooky Nicole Kidman in a box office flop about a TV studio that accidentally hires a real witch to play Samantha in a remake of "Bewitched". Huh? How does that work? How does that NOT work?!?!?! This movie is charming as hell. Gee, I'm as shocked as you are.

Did I say restrained? Never mind. Skip to 45 seconds...

3. The Music Man (1962)

Well, this is a surprise (maybe). Another musical? I avoided The Music Man for years because I assumed it was some shitty ass shit like South Pacific or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Wrong. This is a colorful, clever, over-the-top, wholesome (ugh) and pitch perfect (hey-o!) musical with a lotta heart. How many movies mentioned on this blog have 'a lotta heart'? The count is now up to one movie. We gave the version of The Music Man with Matthew Broderick a try but it was a sickly piglet compared to the original. Robert Preston rulez!

And THIS is one of the finest musical numbers of all time:

2. Get Over It (2001)

Searching for the perfect teen comedy? It's been found and it's called Get Over It. Yeah, I know. This list is taking you inside a part of my brain that I'd rather you didn't know existed. No turning back now, homey. LeEtta and I are crazy over Ben Foster and this film is why. He takes the lonely loser hero and propels it to a level of greatness. The film also has Martin Short as a drama teacher. Plus, Get Over It features Kirsten Dunst before she... Well... I guess Dunst is still Dunst. I'm so not complaining. Before I get too off track here, if you have a thing for silly teen flicks, Get Over It has some twisted and genuinely hilarious moments hidden in there. Watch repeatedly.

Here's the trailer (in FRENCH for some reason):

1. Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

And last but not least, Josie and the Pussycats! I hope you didn't think that Get Over It was going to be the only teen comedy on this short list. If you had told me back in 2001 that one day I would LOVE Josie and the Pussycats, I would have slapped your face off. But this film has a secret: it's funny as hell. It is much smarter than I thought it would be and it has hot chicks. I don't expect you non-believers out there to follow my lead on this one but it's true. When you run out to buy this on DVD (and I know you will), make sure you pick up the PG-13 version. There is a family friendly PG one out there that isn't that much different but come on, that's just dumb.

And the trailer (not too flattering):

The key factor in all of these (girlie) films is that they get better with repeat viewings. So if you cringe at the thought of sitting through Bewitched or Josie and the Pussycats, keep in mind that I'm watching them over and over and over again. It's a sickness but this is where I'm at. When it comes to non-horror, I go all the way. It could be worse, I could be watching The Godfather three times a day. Or Children of Men. Or Footloose. Ewwwww... I don't even want to go there. Have a super weekend, y'all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sex of the Witch

Sex of the Witch
AKA Il Sesso della Strega
Directed by Angelo Pannacciò
Released: 1973
Starring Susanna Levi, Jessica Dublin, Sergio Ferrero, Camille Keaton, Franco Garofalo
Running Time: 80 minutes

The Hilton family has just lost its patriarch and now the kids are fighting over the big inheritance. Someone has taken the initiative to kill the family off so that their chunk of the cash is bigger than everyone else’s. By using a set of Javanese fingernail covers (?), the killer has managed to harness the power to hypnotize people or something like that.

Why am I being punished? Oh yeah, I actually went looking for this junk. Just by the title alone, I knew that I was going to get screwed by Sex of the Witch but I didn’t know just how screwed. The film is a supernatural giallo with a weak inheritance scheme disguised as a plot. Daniele Patucchi’s musical score is pretty with its warbling piano pieces and the castle scenery is nice. Unfortunately, there are very few locations, mostly dull lighting and only occasionally inspired cinematography; so the film gets very dull to look at very quickly. At a hippie party/concert, some colored filters are used to liven things up but the scene is so useless, it’s a wasted effort.

The cast is populated by some lovely ladies including Camille Keaton (Tragic Ceremony) and Marzia Damon (Evil Face), but the characters are so indistinct that it’s impossible to care about them or keep track of what’s going on. It almost seems as if there is footage missing or scenes are out of order. Sex of the Witch is just incompetent filmmaking at its most irritating but some very, very desperate viewers might get a kick out of some this flick’s sleazy weirdness.

Ugh, this supernatural giallo is exactly the trashy Eurotrash softcore crapfest that I thought it was going to be but just less interesting. Sure there are hilarious internal monologues, some bouts of pseudoscience and a dog named Twinky but this is just a mess. I’d call the film mildly diverting but that might be too generous. Sex of the Witch is just a baffling murder mystery with lots of sex and a little violence that is impossible to figure out, even if one wanted to. And trust me, no one is gonna want to. For an even more confusing yet actually entertaining giallo, check out In the Folds of the Flesh.


“If you read our entire family history, you’d arrest us all!”

Here's the awesome opening music:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Ramble: 90s Horror

My horror obsession was totally dormant during most of the 1990s. That usually pisses me off but when I think back on things, it is totally understandable. I was a little busy being emo and chasing chicks to really care about horror movies. I was such a jerk! There were still moviethons (usually of the Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen variety) but my goal to rent every single horror movie in the video store became pointless once Blockbuster Video started ditching older titles so that they could have 90,000 copies of Pretty Woman and Forrest Gump in stock.

One of my fondest horror memories during this time period was when my friend Tim rented Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. As a kid, I had been too scared to rent Tobe Hooper’s sequel. I was 20 years old and I still had that anxious feeling in my gut that I was about to have the shit scared out of me. Of course, TCM2 is pretty friggin’ genius and is still one of my favorite 80s horror flicks. It’s scary and silly and awful and great. After the flick was over, I pledged my love to Stretch and was ready to go back to the video store and clean them out. I didn’t. I wasn’t ready. Not yet.

There were a lot of great flicks that came out in the 90s but you had to dig deeper to find them. Most of the really great horror films of that time period had abysmal or nonexistent marketing and I was too much of a vacuous, self-absorbed teenaged moron to go hunting for these things. And much like today, I was very obsessive (about ska music) and I could have been plumbing the depths of obscure cinema. I had did have a few very close run-ins with greatness during this time period.

The first was at my local used record store, Sound-X-Change (RIP) in Jupiter, Florida. There was this gorgeous punk rock woman there who I asked out frequently (even though she was 21 years my senior) and oh yes, she was cooler than cool. One day, she lent me her tape of Seconds starring Rock Hudson. This film was pretty obscure at the time and it is actually quite a bizarre little gem. She had taped it off of cable one night and so I made a tape of her tape and then proceeded to watch it over and over again; you know, in case she quizzed me on it later. This could have been the start of something big. I could have challenged her to a rare movie hunt and then a moviethon and then… marriage.

The next and most pathetically wasted opportunity came around 1998. My girlfriend at the time lived in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Trust me, it is a magical place as everyone who has ever lived there will tell you. As usual, we were bored out of our skulls and headed to the even more enthralling Stuart, Florida where there was a shop in the downtown area called Groovy Movies-a-Go-Go. How fucking awesome is that? It is a store, a video store called GROOVY MOVIES-A-GO-GO! And I didn’t appreciate it. I walked in, browsed, got bored and rented The City of Lost Children. That’s kind of cool, I guess, but this guy had tons of shit from Something Weird Video and rare gore movies aplenty. Fuck, I’m really ashamed of myself right now.

The third and final incident occurred when my friend Rocky (real name) and I were at a porno store. Before you get the wrong idea, this was the first porno store in North Palm Beach. It was something of an event. On Northlake Boulevard, the same street as my mom’s antique store (who am I, Lane Kim?), they opened up a freakin’ porno store! We had to check this out. So my friend and I went there to marvel at the horror that is porno shopping. While I was perusing the tapes, I found something called Shatter Dead. A switch was tripped in my brain and that deafening call of horror was momentarily awakened. There were gallons of blood on the artwork for this tape and it was such an anomaly to find in a porno store that I almost bought it right there on the spot.

Rocky talked me out of it. He said that they had that movie at Groovy Movies-a-Go-Go and that if I really wanted to see it, he’d rent it for me. The store was just a couple blocks from his house and he went there frequently. For God’s sake, what the hell was wrong with me? The keys to the castle were right there. I was in that area nearly every weekend to visit my girlfriend or hang out with Rocky and I couldn’t see how special any of this shit was. Now that nearly all of this type of awesome store is long gone, I feel really, really stupid.

Instead of talking about the really great horror movies from the 1990s, I want to ramble on about the really average or horrible stuff that came out during the era and/or the really cool stuff that I didn’t like because I didn’t think it was good (even though it was). These are just titles (mostly) off the top of my head that helped facilitate the dormancy of my love of horror. Some of these were theater experiences but most were rentals.

In the friggin’ awful category is Nadja. I rented this artsy fartsy vampire flick and was awestruck by how boring and shitty it was. I have not and will not return to the Nadja. It might be good with a little more patience but no, thank you. There’s also The Good Son and that ill-fated Psycho remake. Both were complete shit. Stephen King got raped on The Tommyknockers and The Stand but he’ll never be able to sit down again after Sleepwalkers. Sweet boxcar Jesus, that was totally terrible. Oh and Jack Nicholson in Wolf. WTF? Ugh… and Wishmaster. I can’t think of a more bland horror franchise than this. It's like they tried to take Pinhead and mix him with Freddy Krueger. It just doesn't work for me.

The Craft was one of those movies that took me a long time to appreciate. When it came out, I was dating this ultra-Christian girl (only for a few weeks) when she called in me tears one night. She had gone to see The Craft with her friends and had had the wits scared out of her. I tried to calm her down but it turned out that she was more afraid FOR ME than of the film. Now I had and still have no affiliation with any Satanic cults or covens and yet, this chick had been convinced by The Craft that my soul needed saving. Like IMMEDIATELY! Well, we got into this huge argument and broke up on the spot. Years later, when I finally watched The Craft, I found it very enjoyable. It is a pretty great 90s teen horror movie and it helped get me out of an awful relationship.

Whoa, 1998 was a big year for horror. It looks like the genre was trying to come back from the dead. Urban Legend is still a favorite of mine though not exactly inspiring. While The Faculty and Disturbing Behavior (both 1998) were okay, each of them could have been better/more memorable. Blade was definitely a movie. Blade 2 is awesome but I’m still not too hot on this series.

And finally, there’s Sleepy Hollow which is either a love it or hate it flick. I HATED the piss out of this one when it came out and couldn’t figure out what the hell Tim Burton was thinking. Now, I love it and I can’t figure out why I didn’t love this flick the first time around. It’s cheesy, it’s gory and it’s funny. What’s not to love? (A lot of people hate this one but they still might come around.)

So anyway, that’s my ramble for today. I’ll probably come back and talk about some 90s horror movies that are really good and that I wish I had known about when I was being such a dumbass.

Oh boy, this was helpful.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Goremore Girls

Well I just got back from a renaissance festival and I'm feeling a little bizarre. I smell like a hippie and I know that nothing will ever by as good as that Scottish egg I chowed down on. To get back to some kind of normalcy, I will now watch all 922 minutes of the first season of "Gilmore Girls". If you don't hear from me again, you'll know that I've either run off to join the ren fest or am stalking Paris Geller. Have a great weekend, y'all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bleeding Skull is back!

I have been waiting this day for a couple of years now... And here it has come and I am consumed with the flames of jealousy. Ladies and gents, Bleeding Skull is back! My favorite place for spoooky (notice the three o's) reviews and horrifying features has returned. The men responsible, Joseph A. Ziemba and Dan Budnik, have been gone for far too long but I forgive them. This is seriously my favorite site. The dudes are expanding their eyeless gaze to cover not just horror but cult films and other eccentricities. Check it the hell out.

"Something Passed By"

“Something Passed By”, one of my favorite short stories of all time, can be found in Robert R. McCammon’s Blue World. In the story, the world has gone through a cataclysmic change that causes water to explode like nitroglycerine, the clouds to rain blood, stones to fall from the sky, concrete to randomly change from liquid to solid, and a whole mess of other bizarre changes. The story follows Johnny and Brenda, a couple just trying to get by after their 4 year old child is killed by the ‘pharaoh effect’, a phenomenon where a room becomes a vacuum where no oxygen can exist leaving anyone trapped inside to become mummified.

I’ve always been touchy about post-apocalyptic stuff so this story creeped me the hell out when I was a teenager. Houses and people are crushed by things called ‘gravity howitzers’ and if your poker buddy suddenly bursts into flames, get the hell out of the house before it friggin' blows up. The end of the story gets even more disturbing and heart-wrenching as Johnny and Brenda find out there’s even more horrors in store for them.

My only criticism of “Something Passed By” is McCammon’s name-dropping. ‘Bradbury Park’? ‘Koontz Street’? Really? I know he was just having fun but what a dang nerd. So yeah, other than that slight misstep, this is a haunting and insanely weird short story that I would love to see made into a short animated film. McCammon is still one of my favorite horror authors.

You can read the story right here.


After I devoured (woops) Off Season by Jack Ketchum, I decided to go for its sequel, Offspring. In it, survivors of the cannibal tribe return 11 years after their slaughter at the hands of Sheriff George Peters and his men. With some new recruits (babies kidnapped and now grown), the tribe goes searching for some more babies to steal so that their family can grow. I made a conscious decision to set my expectations pretty low for this sequel. Not too surprisingly, Offspring turned out to be really good. Despite its sequel status, the book has some fascinating themes and delves into what is going on inside the minds of the (mostly) inbred cannibal killers. The action and pacing is perfect with some white knuckle moments that will make you want to read this in one sitting.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Ramble: Freddie Cougar

One magical Saturday night in 1985, my sister was given the arduous task of babysitting me. I was 9 years old and I was actually excited about it. As far as siblings go, we got along pretty well and with my parents out at a party or whatever, we could kick back and have fun. Unfortunately, my sister’s creepy boyfriend and his buddy were allowed to come over which made me a little jealous. Now that she was a cool teenager, I saw her less and less.

In a recent email to my sister, I inquired about this particular evening and this awful duder she was dating and she says she doesn’t remember either. He wasn’t the nerdy comic book geek she dated for a while (a guy I worshipped but who turned out to be a stalkerish creep) and it wasn’t the awesome king of sarcasm that she eventually married. No, this was some rebound jerk that she probably went out with for a month or something. Hopefully, it was less than that. With his perfect hair, sharp features and ridiculous ego, he just seemed like a total sleazebag to me.

Anyway, this jerky guy and his dumbass friend were there spoiling everything but they did bring along some very important entertainment. The VHS was something called A Nightmare on Elm Street. My sister immediately said I couldn’t watch it because I was too young. This blew my mind. How could a movie be that scary, offensive, etc.? This was the same girl who woke me up in the middle of the night so we could sit up and watch the thoroughly twisted and bizarre Fantastic Planet.

Her creepy boyfriend and his bud had their hearts set on watching Nightmare on Elm Street so they started arguing on my behalf saying that I was totally old enough. Then the urban legends about the film were brought up. According to my sister, a teenage friend of hers had to sleep in her mom’s bed for 3 months after watching Wes Craven’s film. Somebody chimed in that Nightmare was so scary that it driven a bunch of kids insane because they were afraid to go to sleep after seeing it.

So before they would agree to start the tape, I had to promise my sister that I wouldn’t freak out and if I did, I wasn’t allowed to tell mom and dad. She would disavow any knowledge of letting me watch such a scary film. I was also instructed to bail out if I got too scared. I agreed to everything and begrudgingly accepted the challenge to watch this film. At this point, my imagination was running wild. What the hell kind of a horror movie is so scary to force teenagers to lose their minds?

When my parents came home later that night, I spilled the beans about being allowed to watch a horror film of such an intensely graphic and scary magnitude and they couldn’t have cared less. R-rated movies were not forbidden to me and hadn’t been for a long time. My folks were selective about my viewing but some real doozies slipped through once in a while. The funniest thing was trying to communicate to the people who had brought me into this world just how brave their son was and how I was exhilarated but not traumatized by the experience.

The actual experience of watching A Nightmare on Elm Street through my nine year old eyes (especially after all the hype perpetrated by my sis and her friends) was thrilling but definitely not the sanity erasing experience I was prepared for. The profoundly terrifying concept of a man who could kill you in your dreams just kind of went over my head. When I was 12 years old, I revisited the film and it scared me silly. The image of Tina’s walking corpse in a body bag leaving a trail of blood everywhere she went really got to me the second time around. For some reason, as I got older the film got scarier to me.

A Nightmare on Elm Street did eventually give me a nightmare. When I was around 14 years old, Freddy Kreuger invaded my mind. In this nightmare, I was at a long table in a mansion having dinner with a posh family. All of a sudden the forks lifted themselves off the table and chased everyone out of the room. “It’s Freddy!” someone screamed as they disappeared out the door. I was left alone with the butter knives which came to life and started following me around the room. I woke up to the sound of my own laughter. I haven’t dreamed of Freddy Krueger since.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nero Veneziano

Nero Veneziano
AKA Damned in Venice, Blind Offer
Directed by Ugo Liberatore
Released: 1978
Starring Renato Cestiè, Rena Niehaus, Yorgo Voyagis, Fabio Gamma, José Quaglio, Olga Karlatos
Running Time: 95 minutes

When their parents died, recently blinded Mark (Renato Cestiè) and his older sister, Christine (Rena Niehaus), moved to Venice to live with their grandmother. Since coming to this haunted city, Mark has been having frightening visions of he and Christine’s less-than-respectable ancestors. After their grandmother dies in a freak fire, the two are sent to live with their estranged aunt Madeleine (Olga Karlatos) and uncle Martin who live in a rundown hotel. The accidents continue leaving Mark and Christine alone with Dan (Yorgo Voyagis), a mysterious individual who bears a striking resemblance to the man in Mark’s visions.

Dan seduces Christine and then disappears leaving her with only a vague memory of their love affair and a bun in the oven. Father Stefano (played by José Quaglio), the family priest, advises Christine to keep the baby and suggests that she marry Giorgio (Fabio Gamma), her longtime boyfriend. The two get married and it isn’t long before strange events continue to happen based on Mark’s visions. Giorgio is soon convinced that Christine’s child is the son of Satan and that he and Mark must stop the child from bringing about the end of mankind.

Much like Marcello Aliprandi's A Whisper in the Dark, Nero Veneziano is a quirky, decadent and brooding Italian horror film that is looking for love in all the wrong places. Elements of this film are an obvious cash-in on The Omen and Rosemary's Baby but when it comes from a strange director like Ugo Liberatore (May Morning), there is bound to be some wacky shit going on. The cinematography by Alfio Contini is tight and he handles the color palette: lots of grays, blues and browns, very well and he makes Venice look beautiful, forbidding and morbid.

While Pino Donaggio isn't one of my favorite composers, he does a masterful job with Nero Veneziano. The film is full of really pretty compositions despite their being a bit dated. The late 70s was a fairly bonkers time for music and the only trap Donaggio doesn't fall into here is disco. There are some really frightening experimental bits with synthesizers and reverse tape effects but there are also some eye-rolling stingers that are beyond cheesy.

Any film that has Olga Karlatos (Zombi 2) playing not one, not two but three different roles is definitely worth some attention. Renato Cestiè is (almost) all grown up from his small but pivotal role in Twitch of the Death Nerve and does a great job with Mark, a character who can be a little annoying at times. I really liked Fabio Gamma as the drunken Giorgio and it’s a shame he isn’t in more films. His decision to write his own dark gospel to document the coming of the son of Satan is totally badass. The show is stolen by the lovely German born actress Rena Niehaus (La Orca) who is awesome as Christine, a girl who just wants to be loved on her own terms, even if it means destroying those around her.

It is hard to recommend Nero Veneziano for the casual horror movie viewer. Even folks who have wallowed in the trenches of Italian horror will probably get burned by this sometimes clunky and often pretentious flick. Hell, its capsule review in Spaghetti Nightmares said that "the film went by almost unnoticed" (page 164). So I guess it is up to me to love weird little spasm of unholy delights and dark miracles. There are many cool moments hidden in this slow burning flick. In fact, it features one of the most jaw-droppingly merciless acts of violence I've ever seen (which I will spoil for you below). Nero Veneziano goes overboard on the atmosphere and foreboding but might be just a little too eccentric for its own good.

The most pleasent thing I got from Nero Veneziano, a film I had only read about before, was seeing a familiar scene. When Mark is wandering around in the cemetery near the beginning of the film and has his first vision, it hit me that I had seen this scene before. I'm thinking that Nero Veneziano must have played on cable TV back in the day under one of its alternate English titles: Damned in Venice or Blind Offer. The shot in particular is of his ancestors in a haunting white light while a greyhound starts chewing on some skeletal remains on the ground. I have a very clear memory of seeing this scene and then changing the channel. Okay, having just typed that, I'm now getting a conflicting memory. I seem to remember a VHS cover that featured the ghostly couple and the greyhound. Now I'm just confused. Hell, maybe it’s both memories bleeding together. If anyone out there remembers if this flick played on cable or actually landed on VHS here in the States, drop me a line.

Here's the scene I remember:


"Now you're seeing crimes too? I'll knock some sense into you! A good slap to convince you that you're a visionary."

"I feel like something's pushing me in the wrong direction. And it gives me a shiver of pleasure."

SPOILERS (I kind of ruin the movie and its best surprise.)

So it turns out that Christine's child is in fact the son of Satan and Mark thinks it's his job to kill the kid. In one of the most friggin' insane moments that has ever caught me completely by surprise, Mark throws his baby nephew at one of Giorgio's steel sculptures. The baby is impaled on the sculpture's many 20 inch nails. I shit you not, my friends. You could have knocked me over with a feather. This is not something the director hints at either. We see the kid's little body impaled and bleeding on the spikes. If you’re struggling to get through this movie and are ready to give up, just fast forward to the scene where Mark is carrying the kid off while Christine is passed out drunk at the party. You won’t be disappointed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Weekend Shopping Spree

It's Monday and I've got a wicked hangover. No silly, it's not from booze. I had too much German chocolate and had a gay old time shopping my brains out. First on Saturday, I went to Sound Exchange with Nafa and traded in a bunch of crappy CDs and DVDs. After an hour of rummaging through the budget bins, I found some cool shit. Whatever they didn't take went to the scary pawn shop on Fowler and Nebraska. So I got some DVDs and about $33 in cash back. Unfortunately, I did lose my dignity at the pawn shop. Meh, it was only worth about $7.50 anyway. Then on Sunday, I went to Best Buy and Borders with LeEtta and the mom-in-law. Good times.

From Sound Exchange (all obtained through trade-in credit):

Oh, how I wish that this was the cover of my DVD of the sci-fi unclassic Slipstream! The one I got is not nearly as glorious as this but almost as cheesy. It has Bill Paxton looking faux-studly on the front. Oh well, better luck next time.

I'm pretty worried about this one.

I kept passing up Wolf Creek when it was $10 and when it was $7. It was $2.99 this time.

What the hell was I waiting for? Now I can finally replace my bootleg VCD.

Woops. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I didn't already own Phantasm.

These two are from Best Buy:

See? I'm romantical. This is something for the wife and I.

I have now bought this lovely movie twice. Goodbye sweet bootleg.

From Target:

You are mine!

From Borders:

And last but not least. A little light reading to go with my cigar chomping.

Friday, February 12, 2010

MST3K: Teenage Crime Wave

I watched Teenage Crime Wave last night. It had been sitting on my DVR for a while (thank you Turner Classic Movies) so I fired it up. Well, it is a real piece of shit but watchable and fun as hell to heckle. While looking for a trailer for this little slice of melodrama, I find that Mystery Science Theatre 3000 already tackled this one back in 1994. Oh well, at least we can all watch this together. ALL OF US! Have a great weekend, y'all.

Here's Part 1 (the rest are on the Youtube):

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Doomed Discussiethon: Zombie Death House

Back in November, Nafa and I decided to watch and discuss Zombie Death House. That was an unfortunate decision. So we started discussing it and then unfortunately, we got sidetracked. Like until last week. Fortunately, we were able to salvage what we had done and finish our fascinating conversation. And fortunately or unfortunately for you, here it is.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Ramble: Horror vs. Sports

You can either be a horror fan or a sports fan. You can't be both. It is impossible. Okay, maybe you can but I can't. I blame my father. No, seriously. My dad's motto was 'put the game on'. It didn't matter what my mom and I were watching, when it came time for the game, we had to give up the TV. My dad would watch football, baseball and basketball primarily with bowling, tennis and golf as backups. His other motto was 'I gotta check the scores' which was actually 'put the game on' but under the pretense of quickly seeing how 50 other games were going. This was impossible. We would sit and wait for him to get these little tidbits of information and then the next thing you knew we were watching the fucking game.

So I have to be careful when I have kids. (God help us all.) If I dominate their entertainment, they'll turn on me and hate horror movies. Or worse, they'll just hate movies altogether. That is a frightening concept. (Me having kids!) My dad and I had a few similar interests. We both had a passion for comedy shows like "Saturday Night Live" (the Dana Carvey era), "SCTV", "The Monkees", "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and old reruns of "Laugh-In" and "The Carol Burnett Show". There were also the war movies such as The Longest Day, Midway, Tora! Tora! Tora! and our favorite: The Dirty Dozen. These flicks would usually drive my mom from the room but it was just so hard to find movies that he and I could agree on. Hope she didn't mind too much. I have no idea if my father even liked horror flicks. But yeah, it always came back to god damn sports. If he was trying to get me to get interested in them through saturation, he failed miserably. Or maybe he just didn't give a flying fuck what I wanted to watch.

The funny thing about sports (football especially) is that you can totally nerd out on them. Obsessively following what players are being traded to what team, coaches' strategies, weather conditions, injury reports, and even the personal lives of the players is just as geeky as any horror fan's useless trivia mastery. I love my friends who play fantasy football. That shit is like football fan fiction or something (but with less sex, I guess).

I see this kind of passion for detail when I go to the cigar bar. I sit there rereading Spaghetti Nightmares or checking out the new Videoscope while a bunch of dudes (some of them my age) are debating the relevance of Derek Jeter or Brett Favre or some fucking shit that makes me sleepy just trying to recall and I just get jealous. That's the one thing I long for from sports talk. That camaraderie among dudes who are total strangers. They always have something to go on about. It's an easy subject that even if you totally disagree, you can still have a blast arguing about. You can always debate who would win in a fight between Freddy and Michael Meyers. Oh wait, was I talking about sports or horror?

So yeah, my dad was a great guy but he and I were from different worlds when it came to our entertainment obsessions. The method was the same. We both put blinders on and focus on our genre. He had sports. I have horror. I wish he were alive today so that I could try and find some horror movies he liked. (Obviously, we'd do other father-son bonding stuff too if he were to return from the grave (unless he came back as a flesh-eating zombie) like Boogieboarding or building model ships together.)

I'm sure that during the holidays, I would have to suffer through some football with him but I'm pretty persistent. I can wear people down on horror movies. I can change the subject without the person even knowing it. Easiest thing to do is start extracting their favorite (or sometimes least favorite) horror movie memory. Nothing pleases me more than hearing someone's tale of how such and such movie scared them as kids (bless you Kindertrauma). Next thing you know, I'm showing them Hausu or Messiah of Evil and they just don't know what hit 'em. My mom says that I remind her of my dad so much. No argument there. So what is my motto? 'Put the gore on'.

"Put the game on."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Doomed Moviethon Vlog of Doom

I talk about something that horror movie fans are just too afraid to talk about.

(Audio is still kind of wonky. Will sort it out next time. Promise.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

The House of the Devil

Dear Netflix,

Thank you for sending me The House of the Devil. It wasn't easy for me to put it back into the envelope and return it to you after watching it. However, you will get it back shortly, I promise. As for the mysterious substance on the disc, it should rinse off with ease. Sorry about that. Also, I accept the risk of over-hyping this movie because, frankly, it rocked my dang world. The House of the Devil is intensely scary and insanely cool and I suggest that you send as many copies to as many houses that you can. Everyone needs to see this. Thanks.



Friday, February 5, 2010

Doomed Discussiethon: Legend of the Bog

Happy Friday everyone! Today, Nafa and I discuss...

Doomed Discussiethon: Legend of the Bog
by Richard of DM and Nafa

Richard: An archaeologist (played by Jason Barry), his assistant (Nora-Jane Noone of The Descent), and a group of seemingly random numbskulls get stranded in the woods outside of Dublin. They find refuge in the shack (or shanty) of a hunter (Vinnie Jones) who is after more than just you average game. He is hunting ‘bog people’, reanimated Celtic warriors of the past who are very thirsty. One of these bog duders (Adam Fogerty) is friggin’ huge and goes on a rampage destroying anyone who gets in his way. But that’s not all to this story, my friends. Dun dun dun DUHHHHHHHH!!!! Everyone stranded out by the bogs on this night shares a similar trait: they all have a secret they would much rather keep. How scary is that? Nafa, HOW SCARY IS THAT!?!?!?

Nafa: About as scary as a misguided junior high school lock-in. Oh, but with a water-drunk Celtic giant on the loose. What was pretty horrific to me was the fact that the first bog man, though covered in mud and hiding any lack of skin pigmentation, was pretty immediately recognizable as the current WWE champion Sheamus a couple years before he even entered the WWE... because, you know, besides water the first thing a resurrected boggite would want would be hair product. But do you know what was truly terrifying in this film—the Americans.

Richard: Yeah, this movie is pretty racist. According to Legend of the Bog, Americans are whiny, selfish, stupid and evil. This is unacceptable. Why would anyone ever say that about us? Great, now I’m crying! Actually, all of the characters in this movie are so fucking annoying it was driving me nuts. What is with that friggin’ archaeologist? Duder won’t shut his hole about the stupid bogs. Poor Vinnie Jones. What a waste. I mean he’s good, he’s always good but damn: “I’m a hunter not a priest.” Even Adam Fogerty, our main bad bog man, has his moments. His rampages at mostly innocent people are friggin’ spectacular.

Nafa: Worst game of ‘gotcher-nose’ ever.

Here it is:

Oh wait, I’m confusing that with another Vinnie Jones vehicle. Richard, you explain the nose thing.

Richard: I think that this is why I chose the movie. The image of Vinnie Jones destroying another man’s chances to have children. The nose thing takes place when our favorite bog monster goes out on the town. He ends up at a circus where a friendly Russian (?) clown offers him some vodka. This angers bog duder and he kills the guy off camera. He then runs into some kids who mistake him for the strongman and he gives the kid the clown’s big red nose. This is after he gingerly removes the duder’s REAL SEVERED NOSE from the big red one. Most importantly, the clown was a midget. This behemoth duder tears a little person to shreds. Best scene in the entire movie.

Nafa: The lead up to the circus was quite good, too. Our giant is walking down a lonely Irish road when suddenly a car full of Irish kids come by to criticize his circus and show him a fine Erin rose by exposing their backside to him (which, unfortunately, is the only nudity in the film). But I digress. This film is the best horror movie to come out of Ireland since Rawhead Rex — OK, it’s probably the ONLY horror movie to come out of Ireland since then (though I would accept 1997’s The Matchmaker). The most realistic and jarring scene, the one that really got to us, came quite literally from out of nowhere and involved, of all things, a South American cat—namely, a Jaguar. Rick?

Richard: Oh so it’s ‘Rick’ now? So we’re sitting there enjoying the cinematic equivalent of a cold 7-11 taquito when this silver Jaguar pulls up across the street from Nafa’s house. This guy gets out, locks his car and then disappears into the darkness of the golf course. We immediately assumed the worst that this guy was a friggin’ pedophile rapist serial killer golfer. After about 15 minutes of watching and waiting for something to happen, we paused Legend of the Bog (good instinct) and went outside into the windy night to do some snooping. After memorizing the license plate number, we stood in the shadows and continued our surveillance until we got bored (like 5 minutes later) and then headed back into the house for more of Vinnie Jones’s masterpiece. Next thing we know, the guy comes back to his car drenched in sweat (I hope) and he takes off. Nafa theorizes that he was probably just exercising on the golf course but I’m still not sure. His plate number is in my memory banks so if some shit goes down, we know who it was. Yo.

Nafa: One of the perils of living in one of the safest neighborhoods in town where people find it’s safe to exercise at night.

(I should mention two things at this point in the discussion. First, ‘bog’ is also slang for ‘toilet’. Second, the soundtrack to the film is basically, like most Irish films, a rip off of the ‘Far And Away’ CD—peppy, Gaelic, and jaunty, and does not match the tone of the film by any stretch of the imagination. Just keep those facts in mind.)



The film from here on out really doesn’t match the tension that the Jagman gave, but it has it’s moments. The offing begins. Lots of sticks. Lots of prop hands. Even a pretty gnarly decapitated head. But this is also where the flashbacks begin and the story is rolled out. Each of the players in this farce reveals their hidden shame (and we aren’t talking about Vinnie in The Condemned). The stories sort of get convoluted, irrelevant, (the kid and the fishing dad—thinking about it, did that have ANYTHING to do with anything???), irriluted, and convelovant. Even Boggie gets a flashback. At least you know that the grand finale is on its way—Rimbaud?

Richard: It’s the shifts in tone which totally ruin this flick. It’s funny, sometimes funny on purpose, ironic even, then it’s depressing, then the weak horror parts kick in and then it’s a half-hearted action flick with some piss poor stunt work. But yeah, each character gets to tell a story and then later they tell another, totally different story. Shit just fills up the running time and it feels like this was two overly short screenplays jammed together: one action-packed horror flick and one talky anthology horror flick. Neither of which really work and especially not together.

Laughing (or crying) and screaming are the only ways to survive Legend of the Blog. And don’t think I’m going to ignore the references to Deliverance and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Give it up, you lousy bastards. Mentioning a better horror movie in the dialog of your shitcan half-assed bullshit does not enhance your film. It just reminds the viewer of what they would rather be watching. Who am I talking to? The whole film can be summed up in one Gaelic phrase that our monster man utters before disappearing into the bog forever…