Wednesday, November 23, 2011

He Made Me Do It:: The Howling vs. Rio Bravo

This is He Made Me Do It.

This is a movie challenge featuring Brad and Richard choosing movies for each other to watch.

This could get ugly.

Round 4

Richard: You need to see The Howling. It is imperative! There are two kinds of people in this world: 1) An American Werewolf in London people and 2) The Howling people; and there can be no in between (okay, I guess this is debatable). I am of the latter half and I want you to join our ranks. The Howling is creepy, cheesy, freaky, and is filmed much more beautifully than most people give it credit for. It also comes from 1981, that mythical, magical year when cinema was truly balls-to-the-wall awesome.

Brad: I have tried a few times over the years to see this but when I get to the scenic retreat I always lose interest. Not this time. First off let me say that I do like (not love) An American Werewolf In London. The British countryside opening and the pub scene are fantastic, Jenny Agutter is sexy, and the make up is amazing. But for some reason it doesn't grab me like it should. The opening of The Howling I like quite a bit with it's DePalmaish early 80's sex thriller feel. All bets are off once Dee enters the sex booth. Speaking of Dee and her husband Christopher Stone, they always remind me of Christopher and Susan George, another married horror couple, and that is a good thing. The secondary couple is good in this as well and you are absolutely correct in that it is a underratedly, beautifully shot film. Any scene of the fog filled forest is amazing. It has my favorite kind of werewolf makeup, the kind that is horrifying in it's Muppetness. 1981 was possibly the greatest year for North American horror (certainly werewolves) and Dante does a fantastic job, and the John Sayles script is full of nice winks at fans but not too jokey. So in the end as I weigh the two werewolf films I find that The Howling tips the scale in it's favor. Send me a The Howling Fan Club Membership Card and I'll sign it. See you at the meetings!

Brad: You should watch Rio Bravo because it plays into a lot of John Carpenter's catalog. Dean Martin was never better, Ricky Nelson is nonchalantly cool, Walter Brennan is hilarious, and Angie Dickenson is ubersexy.

Richard: This is a testament to our friendship, duder. I can't believe you of all people would give me an assignment featuring THE DUKE. For the record, I cannot fucking stand John Wayne. Of all the actors from Hollywood's golden age that just do not compute in my feeble cinematic brain, it is this joker. But, much to my surprise, I really enjoyed Rio Bravo. It is a very entertaining film and totally different than what I had imagined. Dean Martin steals the movie showing his character go through an amazingly painful transformation from a drunken lout to a hero. And Ricky Nelson is too cool for school. Holy crap. Angie Dickinson was very good but seeing her fall for Wayne's character just took me out of the movie. I really enjoyed how Rio Bravo ended on a much different note than I predicted it would and damn, it is just so frickin' well made. I definitely see how this film influenced Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

He Made Me Do It: Top Hat and Brutal Massacre: A Comedy

This is He Made Me Do It.

This is a movie challenge featuring Brad and Richard choosing movies for each other to watch.

This could get ugly.

Round 3

Richard: Like you, I was not a fan of musicals. The whole concept of song and dance numbers in movies used to piss me off. Luckily, my wife showed me that there are good musicals out there. Top Hat was the first Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film that I saw and I have yet to find one of their collaborations that I love more. (Don't listen to the fans who claim that Swing Time is the best because it's only okay AND it has a cringe inducing black-face number that ruins everything.) Just one thing I hope you'll find in the Astaire/Rogers movies is the surreality of it all: the clunky parts of the plot and the bizarre setpieces that are there literally just so there can be another excuse to dance and sing. And damn it, Top Hat just makes me happy! That's entertainment.

Brad: If you are trying to trick me into liking musicals, it is working. I love the balance between the songs and dances and the screwball comedy. Fred Astaire is a much better actor than I thought he was, very charming. Ginger is quite the looker too! The supporting players are top notch as well, the valet in particular was hilarious. Taken in as small booster shots, I can see rethinking some of the musical genre. Thanks!

Brad: You need to see Brutal Massacre: A Comedy because it is the Christopher Guest style mockumentary for horror films. It has quite a few horror film icons, Ken Foree steals the show and David Naughton proves he was no one trick werewolf. I dare you to not laugh.

Richard: Talk about an easy sell. A dark comedy about an independent horror movie production spinning out of control? Count me in. I vaguely remember hearing about this movie a few years ago and being excited about it. Of course, it slipped into my vaguest of half-remembered movie queues and I was glad you encouraged me to check it out. This movie is often very funny and I found it charming even when it wasn't. The pacing is a little off and I was ready for Brutal Massacre to be over before the running time was up. Other than that though, I really dug this movie.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

December Is Coming But What Does That Mean?

I am going to be back in a big way in December. My magical time machine is broken and it can only go back to one year. One. Magical. Motherfucka. You think you're ready? I know you are. Take off your pants and what do you find? Bell-bottom jeans! You were wearing them the whole time!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fishing For Content

I thought I would plagiarize myself for some November content. Over at Facebook, I did that 30 Day Movie Challenge dealie and here's what I came up with.

Day 1: Favorite film - House by the Cemetery
Day 2: Least favorite film - Clifford
Day 3: Favorite comedy - The God of Cookery
Day 4: Favorite drama - Rumble Fish
Day 5: Favorite action- Meals on Wheels
Day 6: Favorite horror - Evil Dead
Day 7: Favorite animated feature - Uruesai Yatsura 2
Day 8: Favorite thriller - Kiss Me Deadly
Day 9: Favorite musical - Top Hat
Day 10: Favorite foreign film - Cemetery Man AKA Dellamorte Dellamore
Day 11: Favorite kid's movie - My Neighbor Totoro
Day 12: Favorite love story - The Awful Truth
Day 13: Favorite chick flick - Sense and Sensibility
Day 14: Favorite documentary - Cocaine Cowboys
Day 15: Favorite play adaptation - Arsenic and Old Lace
Day 16: Favorite book adaptation - Steppenwolf
Day 17: Least favorite book adaptation - Tropic of Cancer
Day 18: Film that is your guilty pleasure - Freddy Got Fingered
Day 19: Film that made you cry the hardest - Breaking the Waves
Day 20: Movie with your favorite actress - Red Hot And Blue
Day 21: Movie with your favorite actor - Last Tango in Paris
Day 22: Movie you wish you could live in - Tricky Brains
Day 23: Movie that inspires you - A Thousand Clowns
Day 24: Movie with your favorite soundtrack - Profondo Rosso
Day 25: Movie with the most beautiful scenery - Dark City
Day 26: Movie you're most embarrassed to say you like - Ernest Goes to Jail
Day 27: Movie with your favorite villain - Zorro The Gay Blade
Day 28: Movie with your favorite hero - Sabata
Day 29: First movie you ever remember watching - Popeye
Day 30: Last movie you watched - More Brains! A Return To The Living Dead

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

He Made Me Do It: The Heroic Trio & Foreign Correspondent

This is He Made Me Do It.

This is a movie challenge featuring Brad and Richard choosing movies for each other to watch.

This could get ugly.

Round 2

Richard: I believe that The Heroic Trio is one of the best action sci-fi horror drama fantasy films to come out of Hong Kong. It's got the lovely ladies that make up the trio: Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, and Anita Mui, kicking some serious ass and delivering the melodrama at 1500 feet per second. The film also features the inimitable Anthony Wong as the mute killer Kau. I consider this film essential viewing for anyone interested in the wild side of Asian cinema. You need to witness this batshit insane film spectacle because I think you will friggin' love it, duder.

Brad: I was blown away by this! The ladies are lovely and the action is insane and it is adept at mixing action, horror, and fantasy. It shows that Hong Kong is still ahead of Western cinema in terms of originality. I'm glad you pressed me to watch it. How hot is Michelle Yeoh?

Richard: Michelle Yeoh is so hot that she makes volcanoes jealous!

Brad: I think you should watch Foreign Correspondent because it is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. Because everyone loves Scott Ffoliott. Because Santa Claus is an assassin. Because Herbert Marshall is suave and debonair. Because if you ever change your name, I insist it's to Huntley Haverstock.

Richard: You are too cruel. You know that I am NOT a Hitchcock fan and yet you torture me with him. And I gotta tell ya, for the first 22 minutes or so (the intentionally droll setup of the story), I thought you were just fucking with me. Then the style kicks in, someone gets shot in the face, and it's all uphill from there. I found Foreign Correspondent to be truly masterful filmmaking in both style and entertainment. Am I a Hitchcock fan now? Hell no. But I am starting to see what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Something to Hide

I am always willing to give films from 1976 (my birth year) a chance and once again, I'm glad I did.

Something to Hide
AKA Shattered
Directed by Alastair Reid
Starring Peter Finch, Shelly Winters, Colin Blakely, John Stride, Linda Hayden
92 minutes

A drunken married couple, Harry and Gabriella (Peter Finch and Shelly Winters), are truly miserable together. Harry's big dreams have fallen flat and Gabriella is still bitter about giving up her stage career for marriage 26 years ago. One Christmas Eve, she leaves him. Left alone, Harry takes to the bottle even harder and is on thin ice with his boss. He continually skips going to the office in order to pick his wife up from the airport but she never shows. One afternoon, he picks up a young and very pregnant hitchhiker named Lorelai (Linda Hayden) and brings her home. She is a manipulative little parasite who worms her way into Harry's life and things quickly spiral out of control.

Something to Hide is a very dark, off beat, and melodramatic sleeper full of tension and a sense of terrible dread. The title song "How Can We Run Away" by Buddy Greco is as cheesy as it is perfectly ominous. Shelly Winters is completely obnoxious (but her part is little more than an extended cameo) and Peter Finch is excellent. Beauty Linda Hayden (Taste the Blood of Dracula) is made up to be so awful and unappealing in this movie that she's hard to look at. This film definitely won't restore your faith in humanity or give you a spring in your step but it's definitely worth a look. I don't think the writer likes women very much and you won't believe the freakin' ending!

"Goddamn vegetarian creep!"

The trailer is full of SPOILERS, watch at your own risk:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hello! This is the Doomed Show - Episode 9: The Haunting Of Julia

I tried to have this episode out before Halloween but the universe interceded and it's just going up now. Brad and I discuss the excellent film, The Haunting of Julia, for what feels like an hour and 45 minutes. Oh wait, that's just how long we talk about it. We also give some favorite Halloween viewings we like to do every year to, you know, put us in the mood. And you'll be riveted or just plain disappointed by my tenuous connection to horror novelist Peter Straub. So... Listen or download here at Podomatic. Or download here at Mediafire.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Twisty Chris And The Puddin' Packs

(That's me on the far right as the crazy doctor failing musically.)

I've been playing in a band a long time but it took a new band, Twisty Chris And The Puddin' Packs, before I could cross two important milestones off my musical list. 1. Play a house party and 2. Play a Halloween party. On October 29th this year, I did both of those things! I also played keyboards in Twisty Chris which I've never done before. So yeah, here's a sample. At 2:18 you can see/hear/feel me hump the keyboard.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Terrible Splatter From My Youth: The Uninvited

No, it isn't that The Uninvited.

Nope, it isn't that one either.

Actually, it's this one.

For some reason, I have a vague idea that my mom rented The Uninvited for me when it was on the New Releases shelf at Blockbuster video. During those magical days, I often rummaged through the horror section on my own while my mom killed the new stuff. I could be wrong though. In fact, I can't remember exactly when I first caught this one. It could have been as late as 1990 for all I know. Anyway, this paragraph is really boring.

What I remembered about this movie:

There is some disgusting inflating and deflating bladder effects with lots of blood squirting around in The Uninvited. I also remember getting a little nauseous when the creature kept popping of the cat's mouth like a demented hairball and more than a little freaked out that a scratch from its claws would make your veins explode. I also remember George Kennedly obesely running around the boat a lot.

What I didn't remember about this movie:

Alex Cord, of The Dead Are Alive and an amazing episode of Murder She Wrote, also stars in this one. He really hones his craft in this movie. And by 'hones', I mean 'gesticulates wildly' and by 'craft' I mean 'having an aneurism'. Strangely enough, it is the cat that gives the best performance in this film.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

He Made Me Do It: Cry_Wolf & The Road Warrior

This is He Made Me Do It.

This is a movie challenge featuring Brad and Richard choosing movies for each other to watch.

This could get ugly.

Round 1

Brad: I want you to see Cry_Wolf because it is underrated. Had it been made in 1982 it would be talked about more often. It is a teen slasher and I know how much you like them like I do. It is better in my opinion than a lot of the remakes lately and the killer looks like the killer in Sergio Martino's Torso.

Richard: Getting me to watch a teen slasher film is as difficult as getting me to breathe or eat peanut butter or forget to trim my beard. When the trailers for Cry_Wolf were on TV back in '05, I almost gave myself a migraine from rolling my eyes at the trailer. The film came out, it disappeared, and that was that. I was pretty surprised to hear from you that it was actually good. I was even more surprised when I found out you were right. Thanks to its quick pacing and decent writing, Cry_Wolf easily stands up alongside films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legends, two of my favorite late 90s guilty pleasures. I agree with you that had this come out at a different time, genre fans like myself may have given it a fair chance. My favorite Jon Bon Jovi song is his performance in this movie.

Richard: You need to see The Road Warrior because it is a rite of passage for every little boy before he can become a man. It is exceptionally well made and one of the best (if not THE BEST) post-apocalyptic action movies ever made. It is also incredibly stupid. Why are people driving around and wasting gas while they are looking for gas? Oops! Try not to think about that. Just enjoy the ride.

Brad: Why had I not seen The Road Warrior before? Who knows? Not me. Especially as I love a lot of the knock offs that folks (Italians) made after it came out. I loved every second of it. Tons of style, great stunts, amazing stunt driving, and gruesome special makeup effects. I have now changed my name to Lord Humungus and I have also found a new way to dress. Mel Gibson does a great Australian accent. Who'd have thunk it? Weird.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back To The Grindstone: The Novel

Well, my good friends, it's like this: I am gonna be an absentee duder this month but I have some posts that are scheduled to keep things jumping around here. The reason is that I am once again trying to finish THE NOVEL. National Novel Writing Month may not work for everyone but it sure is a good excuse for me to get off my bum-bum and force this book out of my head. The same story has been kicking around in my head since around 2002 and scenes of it have been with me for nearly 20 years. This will be the fourth year in a row that I have been failing to finish this Nanowrimo business. I feel very fucking strongly that this is my time to shine. Or shit. Whatever. So let's do this thing NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW. Dats an echo. See you all in a month.