And now it’s time for my yearly, “I’ve been inking comics, so I don’t have time for new material” inktober. Here’s a panel from this week’s Skeleton Crew featuring Shelly the Frankensteinian construct and Zomboy the zombie.
Today I watch a cult classic that sort of missed me in its heyday: Monster Squad
To be fair this is back when Hollywood was specifically making Rated R movies specifically designed for kids who sneak into R-rated movies or have oblivious parents rent R-rated movies for them regularly. And I think I have the same problem with this as I do with most “boys movies” of the 80’s, in that there doesn’t seem to be any real consistent tone. Kids are yelling shit and making jokes about sex and virgins and “the gays” (Boy, the 80’s was different, wasn’t it?) and yet we have a sweet little-girl Frankenstein friendship-is-magic, a sweet German refugee who makes them pie, and a little boy whose crayon letter to the army is answered.
I love this movie. I laughed so hard at the jokes (I finally get why kids in elementary school were yelling “Wolfman’s got NARDS!”
I loved the sweet “Creepy German Guy” and all the clues they gave us about him. I cried at the “Don’t Go Frankenstein!” moment and cheered for the little sister.
I’m just REALLY pissed off that I can’t show ANY of this good stuff to my kids. Maybe in a few years, yeah, but if just a few things were cut out, this would have made a GREAT family film for Halloween. For now, though, it’s going to have to sit on the shelf along with Goonies, and E.T. What the crap, 80’s?
Today I watch my first Freddie movie. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
This was on TV when I was in College. I was aware of Freddy as a kid. One could hardly avoid the Halloween costumes, parodies, pop-culture references or that popular Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince rap about him. I also recall the outrage that Freddy had been “killed off” in the last movie. So when New Nightmare started and I realized that it was the actors playing themselves against a movie-Freddy come real, I knew enough to get most of the references and I was too hooked to turn the movie off,
First of all I LOVE this concept. Love, love, love, love seeing Wes Craven, Robert Englund, and Heather Langenkamp and a score of other Hollywood actors playing themselves in a terrible shifting dreamscape of what’s real, what’s Freddy’s trap, and what’s only a movie. It was especially cool to see Robert England as more of what he’s really like, instead of a creature actor, even if it does betray his love of tinted Lennon glasses.
It’s has that self-awareness and face recognition of a Muppet Movie with a dark macabre monster twist. I now know that it’s lost the cartoon-y feel of the previous Nightmare films, and watching it a second time, it does seem to lose that “Craven” feel to the whole affair. I prefer more when he’s over the top and unabashed, than when he attempts more stark realism.
So, in my opinion as far as Nightmare movies go, watch the first one, and then watch this one. Also, apparently Depp would have done this movie but Wes was too shy to ask him (since Depp’s rise to stardom). What a missed opportunity!
Happy Future Day, Hill Vallians! We didn’t get hover-boards, but I think being able to stream movies via internet is a pretty awesome feature. So today on Netflix, I watched The Others, and now I will use future technology to tell more than my kids about it!
I had never seen this movie before, but sadly I’d had the ending spoiled for me about 10 years ago. And the scariest seen was already given away in the freaking trailer.
That being said, it was really entertaining to watch with the twist in mind. I could actually follow the second story very well and I liked the characters a lot. It made it definitely less-scary, but no less interesting. I’m not a huge Nichole Kidman fan either, and I found her captivating in this.
Nitpicking:I did flinch a few times at inaccuracies. The weird not-at-all-doctrinal views of supposedly Catholic teachings made a few scenes really groan-worthy. And memorial photos to “preserve souls?” Please. Memorial photos were mementos and nothing more, usually taken because family photos cost a tidy sum and there were very few occasions other than a birth or a wedding that people would gladly plonk down money for them. Also, I like Christopher Eccleston, but I really don’t know why his character was even in it. His brief appearance didn’t give us any new information and it was sort of pointless and confusing
But the cinematography and great story-telling made this a great movie. I’ll add it to my yearly roster from now on.
Real quick today, because I got a date with the Mythgard institute tonight. Today I watched a brilliant horror pick based on a short story by Stephen King: Children of the Corn
This was a movie I was always consciously aware of when I was a kid. I knew a few kids who had seen it, and more than a few grown-ups had used the phrase “children of the corn” to describe my generation. I only saw this film for the first time last year. Mostly I could never make it past the scene with the deli-slicer at the beginning, but thankfully, that was really the most graphic part of the film. The rest of the movie makes it’s bank on delicious world-building and story-telling of a town of Satan worshiping children led by the charismatic mystery-child Isaac.
(Fun fact: the actor playing Isaac, John Franklin, was 25 at the time. He suffers from growth hormone deficiency, which casting agents felt added to the “otherworldly” feel of Isaac’s character and helped him to sound more “grown-up.”)
The rest is your typical formula of two outsiders stumbling on this towns secrets and trying to get away, but the characterization and the awesome execution make this a goose-pimply ride. Also surprising that this guy is still considered one of the most terrifying of movie villains:
Today I watch a great remake of a classic film: The Mummy
The 90’s is when Hollywood looked at the classic monster movies and over the course of a decade, tried to revamp them all (they also liked to slap the author’s name over the title despite the fact that the 90’s versions are all the LEAST faithful adaptations of the books—excluding The Mummy and the Wolf Man which were movies first) . I think The Mummy was their most successful endeavor because, in part, it had WAY more fun and is actually more entertaining than the Karloff original which is slow-paced and very disjointed. The Mummy is more of a classic 30’s-style screwball adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones. I think Sommers looked at the old Karloff movie, said, “You know Universal was just making stuff up about Egyptian history and mythology. Let’s just make no bones about the fact that we’re making crap up and just tell a nutty story people can enjoy.”
In fact, the characters are so funny and lovable that my research nut that’s screaming, “Why would they MUMMIFY someone they wanted to be cursed? Mummification wasn’t a punishment it was a privilege to ensure immortality! They would have tossed him on the sand to “rot” and be condemned to wander the earth as a ghost!” is actually pretty happy.
So apart from the whole “white people saving the day” trope that gets a little flinchy in places, this is a pretty cool horror/fantasy flick with an awesome baddy. My only complaints are that a) Brendan Fraser is just too Canadian to be a bad-boy we’re supposed to believe he is. His face always looks like he’s about to say “sorry,” after every nasty line.
b) Rachel Weiss was not in the 3rd movie in this franchise. I still get mad about that.
Today I watch a brilliant horror movie from the 80’s, Warlock
First of all, this movie wins all the kudos for how much research went into this. Everything from the thumb pillories to the use of salt, the hex symbols of the barns, holy churchyard. All of these little touches made my nerd heart squeal with delight. I could go on, but that’d just spoil the magic. It’s freaking magic.
Oh and Julian Sands.
He pretty much steals the show from Richard E. Grant and the rest of the supporting cast. BEST horrific wizard villian ever. This guy was Luscious Malfoy before there WAS a Luscious Malfoy.
So, yeah. If you’re craving Harry Potter fantasy with more tongues being bitten out and no Harry set in 1986 USA, this is the gore-flick for you.
Okay I tried to watch this movie a few days ago and couldn’t even get through it. Today I finished it and I got to say, I don’t have a lot of love to spend on Oculus.
I mean, I think the trailer and the posters are actually 10 times scarier than the actual movie. The keyword for this movie is DISCOMFORT. The characters are uncomfortable, the pacing is uncomfortable, the soundtrack/ambient noise sounds like the score to a panic attack, and I get the feeling that even the actors are uncomfortable that they have this snoozer of a script to follow. Either they’re saying really dumb contradictory crap, or they’re Sam the Explaining the hell out of everything to the point where I stop caring. It’s almost all Karen Gillan and she’s always making THIS FACE while talking too fast.
I was hoping for over-the-top demon-fighting with a mirror that eats people and dogs. What I get is people tearing off fingernails and eating lightbulbs. That’s not scary. It’s just gross. This psychological thriller would have done better if there was actually more thriller and less psychology (which mostly sounds like it was ripped off wikipedia and shoehorned in to over-explain things). But hey, from the minds behind the “paranormal activity” franchise, I probably shouldn’t expect too much. The worse sin being, that because we keep spastically jumping from past to present and crossing our pasts and maybe-pasts and perceived present, we don’t have an anchor, it’s really confusing, and it turns real peril into just a mishmash of “stuff happening.”
Apparently I’m not alone in my hatred of this movie because this guy,cinemasins nailed down about everything I hated about this movie.
WARNING SPOILERS, FOUL LANGUAGE AND GRAPHIC IMAGES!
Today I watched the German Film, “Die Fabre” based on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Color Out of Space.
In this version, a young American man goes to Germany to find his father who’d mysteriously run away, wondering if his panic might have something to do with his dad’s experiences during World War II. He meets an old man who remembers seeing his father as an American Medic during the war. He then tells a long tale about his neighbors that lived in the blasted valley beyond his farm house, and how they dwindled and died after a mysterious meteor fell to earth.
It’s filmed in a classic stark noir, with the only color coming from the strange meteor. The acting is great as is the camera shots, but they broke a cardinal rule of movie-making which is: if you can’t nail the effects, don’t show it.
The scenery is a hodgepodge of photoplasty and special effects whose execution ranks somewhere between Xena and Birdemic (they couldn’t even put real boards up over windows?) When we finally see a genuine monster, we suddenly go from “high-suspense” to mild bemusement. They could have done far more with shadows, body contortion and creative camera angles, then to try and scare us with this.
Actually, one of the more frightening scenes was when we’re only shown a hand creeping along the floor coated in a dark jelly. That was far more visceral and interesting than the doctored photos and bad CG.
The adaptation was a little clunky as well as we’re treated to 2 separate flashback stories that really don’t seem to mesh at all. They could have set it in World War II and have Armin tell the story to the American GI’s and spared us a lot of wasted story that didn’t seem to go anywhere.
It’s a good yarn, and a must-see for Lovecraft fans. Just go get a coffee when the monsters start writhing and imagine the contorted Mrs. Gartener. It will be way more scary than what’s on screen.
Wednesdays are family movie nights, so this Wednesday, I bring you another family-friendly monster movie: “Wallace & Gromit, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”
This is a fabulous send-up of your usual monster movie. Man wants to benefit mankind through science, something goes horribly wrong, man is now cursed to transform into being that stalks and destroys the people he was trying to save. Though in this case it’s vegetables. The movie is set in a sleepy Yorkshire village where everyone is trying to win the prize vegetable competition.
The send-ups and parallels of other famous monster movies like The Wolf Man, King Kong, and Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde are brilliant and well worked in. Gripping dramatic camera shots, haunting music and brilliant animated expression add horror and gravitas to a very silly story.
My favorite is when Gromit comes across a mass of half-eaten vegetables and the camera gives you a graphic shot of pulp and seed and juices, while the orchestra goes nuts, and Gromit reels against the door, overcome by the senseless destruction. You can almost just imagine that a half-eaten squash is as horrifying to him as a bloodied broken corpse. It’s really well done and a great movie to share with the family.