Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whore Fans.

College. Wearing my emotions on my chest.
The first time I ever got into trouble for anything in school was in second grade. 1982. Was I writing love letters to a boy? Playing with My Little Pony? Sneaking bits of Fruit Rollup from under my desk? No, no, and too noisy, so no.

Instead, I was caught working on what would become the first and final issue of my very own homemade horror magazine, ala Fangoria. My best friend Cara and I were the writers, illustrators and editors, putting together a pretty hefty collection of short stories, fake advertising and mini film reviews, and it was coming along swimmingly until "Mr. D." came along and put the kibosh on our budding horror journalism careers. In front of the entire class.

His brutal, public admonishment also put an end to our nearly year-long love affair. Well, the one made up in my mind. I crushed on Mr. D. big time. He looked exactly like Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet, and he had a dark side, stealing Hostess cupcakes from kids' lunches (yep, I caught him one day but never told). He left teaching in 1983 to become a chef. Presumably, to make his own fucking cupcakes.

Anyway, I've been a horror fan for my entire life. Entire. The first film I ever saw was Dawn of the Dead, at the now-defunct Stadium Drive-In in Anaheim. To this day, it is my favorite film. I can recite it in my sleep. I'm sure I've even uttered a few lines during sex: "It's not too late ... and I know how." See? I love this film!

I pretty much owe my horror-loving life to my parents. They spent a great deal of my childhood high as kites. Baked as brownies. Throw your own pot reference in there; they were lit. And they were very young. Add those things together and throw in the late 1970s-early 1980s. The result: Rated PG-R. Parental Guidance Rejected.

I saw everything. Halloween? Okay. Silent Scream? Well alright, fine. There were no hands covering my little eyes, ever. No commands to put my head down, or turn away until the scary parts were over. If there were boobs, then fine; I was going to get my own pair someday, I'd hoped. You see where this is going. Today, my folks might've been reported, and I probably would've been taken to a foster home. But in those days, all bets were off, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one who missed out on discretionary parenting.

Once I hit my teens, I was beginning to sneak into R-rated films with easy, gleeful regularity, and had already seen just about every horror film at the local mom-and-pop. I spent so much time there that the good folks who ran the store literally became like my mom and pop. "Pop" even shooed off would-be kidnappers near the store who tried to grab me from their car. For 25 cents apiece, I could have my pick of the litter, and Fridays saw the new films arriving (not Tuesdays), of which I always got first dibs. When I started to earn real money babysitting, I bought my first VHS from Mom and Pop (NOES II: Freddy's Revenge), and when franchises like Blockbuster spelled the beginning of the end for homespun video stores, it broke my heart when Mom and Pop were finally forced to close theirs.

As always, Saturday nights were devoted to my lifelong role model, Elvira. I skipped Junior Prom because I just knew it wasn't going to be as awesome as whatever she was putting on. And also, because I never had dates. A fact that stayed pretty consistent into adulthood. My hobby was my friend in childhood, and it became my boyfriend into adulthood. Yeah, I got hit by boys in school, but never hit on by them. But like some girls with shoes, and other girls with food, horror always accepted me, always loved me. And I loved it.

So here's my problem. All these girls coming out now and proclaiming themselves to be geeks; where the hell were they when I was growing up? Because I sure as hell didn't know any girl in any of the schools I attended from kindergarten through college who were into horror. I was exposed to horror at a very tender age, but I'm sure that the reason why I never strayed from it was because it was the redheaded stepchild of all genres, the one that never got any respect, and I could relate. All the people I ever saw at conventions as a child were outcast types, and I felt like I had fit in with them. There weren't any hot chicks in horror gear, or whatever the hell they parade around in now. Horror was never cool. I was never cool. So now it's cool? I can't keep up.

I'm not coming at this with any kind of bitterness; rather, I'd just like for people to cut the bullshit and be real, and just like horror because they genuinely like it, not because it gets them coverage. You can say you liked Paranormal Activity, or The Blair Witch Project (I didn't care for either one) if it'll get you points, but have a sit-down in front of the film that really pioneered the "lost footage" fanaticism: Cannibal Holocaust. And if you're going to call yourself a geek and be a hot chick about it, for fuck's sake, remember who your audience is, and don't become the bitch who doesn't have time. Because then it stops me from thinking that you're fake, and starts me knowing that you are. This goes for all those "geek" guys, too. The ones who are too cool for all kinds of shit now. Weren't you the ones who had to sit on the line with me during recess? What the hell happened?

Me? I'm just another girl in the world who grew up with a plastic spoon in her mouth, and loved horror because it fed me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Silver Shamrocked.

So, I'm on Twitter as @silvershamrockd, and just about everyone knows what the username refers to. That's right: no one can hear the words "Silver Shamrock" without thinking of that delightful early-Eighties sitcom starring Ricky Schroder and the Leprechaun. And the bitchin' train that took them around the house and through the pool to a slammin' mini-bar with all the Colt 45 they could drink. Colt 45 and Ovaltine. Wasn't that Ricky Schroder who drank Ovaltine in A Christmas Story?

Yep, I'm being silly (and btw, while every girl in my class was crushing on the Ricker, my towhead of choice was A Christmas Story's Peter Billingsley. Hello? "Real People" had it all over "Silver Spoons."), but while I'm revisiting some bad-assness from my youth, I thought I'd throw a boner to one of my favorite horror films from childhood:

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). Yes, that film. Yes. That. Film. Damn it, what did I just say? YES, I love Halloween III! And I'm not the only one. Anyway, 'tis the reason for the season, so why not sing its praises? I'll start:



How fantastic is that Carpenter/Howarth OST? I was seven years old at the time Halloween III: Season of the Witch came out, and the idea that Halloween masks could actually kill kids blew my little mind. Not that it wasn't entirely unbelievable: the Tylenol murders in Chicago were happening at around the same time, and word on the playground was that adults were actually putting razor blades into the Halloween candy. Trick or treat indeed.

But Halloween masks? The only danger my plastic Princess Leia Cinnabon-hair mask ever posed was that of going out of style with Return of the Jedi. Oh, and I lost all peripheral vision while it was on. There was that. But again, killer masks? How cruel could adults be?

The answer lay in the test labs of Silver Shamrock Novelties, the anti-Willy Wonka of factories if ever there was one. Tucked inside were the keys to kid heaven, literally and figuratively. The pliant, sophisticated latex Silver Shamrock masks were a far cry from what we were used to:



And that wasn't all. Not only were the masks awesome all by themselves, they came with a catchy song and a bitchin' prize giveaway. So naturally, the kids in the film were sold. As kids in real life would be.

Just one thing ...



So ... a production glitch. Right? Right? Add the anamorphically stretched trick-or-treating montage at the half point, and sold! One terrified kid at home swearing off masks. And trick-or-treating. And shamrocks. But not Lucky Charms. Those blue diamonds were delicious.

There are many reasons to love Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Yes, it doesn't have anything to do with the series, but "Friday the 13th: The Series" couldn't have been further from Jason, and I loved that, too. And honestly, did you really love Halloween II so damned much that you couldn't wait to see more of the bad Laurie wig and Jamie Lee "I don't need to do this shit anymore, I'm gonna be in Trading Places and marry Nigel Tufnel in a few years" Curtis going through the motions? Yeah, okay.

Tommy Lee Wallace made a great film. And if you want Jamie Lee Curtis, she's in it, albeit in a voice role. Nancy Kyes (Loomis) played a stiff in Halloween II, but I much prefer her alive, as she is in Halloween III. You've got a creepy premise. You've got Tom Atkins, fer sobbin' out loud. And again, a hell of a catchy song that we all still sing every fall as we tick off the days 'til Halloween.

And if all that fails for you, there's boobs. Nice, perky, leading-lady boobs. And she turns into an android later. See, another reason to love this film!

So anyway, I'll be watching the magic pumpkin again this year, as I do every year, grateful that I made it through childhood without imploding or being poisoned or cutting my gums on a Chunky. Now, if I can just figure out how to do the same in my thirties ...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Screaming is Free.

While John was away last week collecting topless stripper cards on the Vegas Strip, I indulged in a bit of cinematic randomness, including one of my favorite Hammer horror flicks, Countess Dracula (1971). Ingrid Pitt, in my opinion, was just as integral to the beloved British studio's storied mythos as my other Hammer heroes, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. She was Hammer's answer to Barbara Steele, her gaze just as enchanting, her eyes just as feline.


Hammer Horror Countess Dracula Masterpiece Collection Bust
Ingrid Pitt as Countess Dracula. What a bust.

And she did nudity, which was far from gratuitous; rather, her body was an extension of her craft, a messenger for her natural ability to lend gothic credibility to any film she was in. When Ms. Pitt passed away last year, I was shocked before I was sad; didn't it seem as if she were eternal? Immortal? Like Christopher Lee, who I feel, at this point, should officially be given a free pass from ever dying. The man had to wait until 2009 to be knighted, for crying out loud.

But back to Ingrid Pitt. Like Barbara Steele, Pitt belongs to that genre category of women who evoked screams rather than emitted them. These are the scream queens I love, strong, sexy, iconic women who filled their victims with intoxicating desire and then dread, bringing them to their knees, trembling. Sybil Danning also belongs in this group, as does Elvira, prototypically speaking.


I'd love to play the eternal temptress, mostly in my mind and not on celluloid. I've had my time in front of the camera; I won't even try to call it acting—more like my husband was making a short film and needed a girl to torture for a summer. Who better than his wife? For weeks last year, John held me underwater in my parents' pool, covered me in buckets of blood, ran me through take after take and made me stand naked and wet in our shower for hours on end until my skin chaffed and my feet hurt. And I loved it. The process was delightfully sadomasochistic and Argento-nian.


Hey, this wasn't in the vows.
Would I ever do another horror film for my husband? Maybe, if he were to make a Hammer-style homage in which I could play a bewitching villainess.

I don't want to be the ingenue. I want to be the engineer. Marki Bey in Sugar Hill (1974), if you will. Anyone can scream, run, trip and feign surprise at the sight of the devil, but not anyone can play the devil in a blue dress the way Ingrid Pitt did.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Intensive Scare.

Hey-la, hey-la, my hubby's back. From Vegas, that is. I know that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, or comes back as crabs, or worse—returns in the form of a teenager in search of his biological father and 18 years of back child support—but as I was unable to tag along this time, I asked The Amazing Jonathan to shoot some footage of his mini-holiday, and this is what he brought back:



LAS VEGAS BLOODBATH from joe lando on Vimeo.


Incredible, huh? I think he said he filmed it in the law offices of Jacoby & Meyers.

Anyway, while John was running all over the Strip in search of enlightenment and a good buffet, I parked it on the couch at home and did what any woman would do left alone for a week to combat the scorching summer heat by leaving the windows wide open—I watched Michael Ironside go against type and play a homicidal maniac in Visiting Hours (1982).

Oh my goth, I love that film. That's a subgenre unto itself, isn't it? Hospital slashers. First the franchises scrubbed up, with Halloween II (1981), and later, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984). The former featuring hot nurses who were literally scorching. No, really—that jacuzzi scene? Of course, my horror-loving heart is cross-sectioned for other equally enjoyable slasher subgenres, all putting the woman in indefinite, unimaginable peril from high school to college, even from her gym (Killer Workout, aka Aerobicide [1987]) to her career as a sexy real estate agent (Open House [1987]).

But hospital slashers are remarkable because we're supposed to be safe in hospitals. Especially if they hand out free samples and accept patients on a sliding scale. Schools? Forget it. I think my generation was the last to experience academic life without the fear of getting shot sometime between homeroom and the crappy cafeteria cornbread. As for work? Two words: going and postal. And scratch the gym; people kill themselves at the gym every day to look good for other people who kill themselves at the gym every day to look good for other people. They don't call it a meat market for nothing.

Hospital slashers (not to be confused with mental hospital horror films, e.g., Bad Dreams [1988]—I'm talking Hospital Massacre [1982]) are great for many reasons. Bitchy head nurses we love to hate; the beautiful, virginal nurse; the patient in danger, usually confined to her hospital bed; sexy, busty nurses who are either getting it on or discussing their failed relationships when they should be checking their patients; the security guard comic relief; his foil, Deputy Serious, who thinks it's all bullshit until he bites it in the end; and dark, empty hospital corridors—as if to suggest that every patient but the film's star has suddenly recovered and been discharged to the safety of their cozy, psychopath-free lives. I'll take it all, and more, please.

There seems to be an old Grindhouse revival of late, but I'd love to see someone bring back the good old hospital slasher. Filmed on 35mm, with unknowns, a Tangerine Dream score and an Ironside-y villain or Rollercoaster (1977)-era Timothy Bottoms-type? That would be killer.

Bad Dreams/Visiting Hours

Friday, August 12, 2011

To the Suits at AMC ...

I'm just one of millions of random "The Walking Dead" fans out there in the world, so my bark will seem but a yelp in the scope of things; particularly, in this basement-level blog. But honestly, who the hell do you think you are, getting rid of Frank Darabont? You remember him, he's the man whose name you were happy to drop way back when you were trying to sell a TV show about zombies to the Bristol Farms set:



Oh honey, it's from the director of The Shawshank Redemption. Maybe we should watch. Pass the hummus?

Alrighty. And then you moved on to the genre fans. Well, me, at least. You used Darabont, "The Walking Dead" and a marathon of F13 films through Manhattan (sorry, still can't get with Jason Goes to Hell) to sucker me into another year of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and Pet Sematary on AMC's annual Fear Fest. Darabont hosting the former Monsterfest injected new life into a tired AMC October institution. You brought in films that I thought you had never previously heard of, like the first three Halloweens. And those crazy bumpers; would you still have gotten Alexandre Aja had you not gotten Darabont? James Wan? Wes Craven? Gregory Nicotero? That great convo between Kane Hodder and Tyler Mane? I'll bet that a marquee name attached to the 2010 Fear Fest gave you great entree into meetings with genre people who had probably never even heard of your rinky-dinky channel before "Mad Men," if at all.

And if deciding to fire the man who practically gift-wrapped you a hit before it even aired wasn't bad enough, you waited until after his appearance (below, with one of my heroes, Nicotero) at the industry luvvie SD Comic-Con to do it:



Shameful.

The story follows that you gave Darabont his "Walking" papers because he didn't embrace your greed, but I'm guessing that he didn't know that he would become but a bit player in your AMC money-printing scheme:

  • Increase the number of episodes by seven
  • Cut "The Walking Dead" budget by $650,000
  • Push Darabont as the face of the second series
  • Up advertising and raise rates per spot
  • Fire Darabont, quickly and quietly

AMC. Money Matters Here.

Well, you can do what you want, but here are the facts: we the genre fans are the 5.3 million viewers who made "The Walking Dead's" Halloween 2010 debut your strongest-ever showing for an AMC original program. "The Walking Dead" is also the only show you own, outright. You fired the guy who made that show a runaway success. You think that by making us wait a year for the second series, we'll be chomping at the bit to see it, no matter what? Okay, I'll concede to that one, if only because people will be people at the end of the day, and everyone's been waiting. But what are you going to do after the first episode, AMC? According to The Hollywood Reporter, when you fired Darabont, he was working to fix unusable footage left by another director. Great, well  I made brownies one time and took them out of the oven too soon, and I still ate them because the box said they were brownies, but they were shit.

We will only tolerate so much, and so far, so bad with Darabont gone and you thinking that we're just this side of dumbass to fall in line and do our part as the viewing public. I was already pissed at you for making me miss the final minutes of many recorded episodes in the first season due to all the advertising, which was always louder than the actual show. You don't care about us, you care about the bottom line, and I can accept that but I don't have to take it. I can always re-watch the first series, or pop in "Dead Set" and watch that instead.

You aren't the first to dream up a TV series on zombies, AMC. You won't be the last. You show "The Three Stooges" every weekend. Get over yourselves.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [2 Discs] [Blu-ray]




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Station Identification.

Many studios in the past 40-some-odd years have been synonymous with horror films and/or franchises (Warner Bros. and The Exorcist come to mind), but the first that I can recall making an imprint in the soft spot of my big childhood head is Paramount Films and Friday the 13th. What an awesome pairing, huh? Even now, when I see the Paramount ident lead into an F13th film, I get incontinent:




Friday the 13th Uncut [Blu-ray]


Beauty, eh? A bit hard to see the Paramount ident as a child and not expect a Friday film, as much as I expected a 20th Century Fox ident to always lead into Star Wars. I was a strange child, what can I say?

But while the Paramount ident promised roughly 90 minutes of body count, courtesy of Jason and his dead mother, it excited me more than it scared me. That honor would go to another ident, which took hold of my short nine-year-old attention span and captivated it from the second it came on:



New Line Cinema. The House that Freddy Built. This is my all-time favorite ident, and I can't think of any other ident that could've introduced the ominous, seductively sinister Fred Kreuger better than New Line's raw, red laser-show logo against a stark black background. Pair it with a Media Home Entertainment ident, and you've got one badass VHS sitting atop your wood-paneled Panasonic:




A Nightmare on Elm Street [With Movie Money] [Blu-ray]


I go crazy when I see this stuff. I became friends with people over this stuff (looking at you, AussieRoadshow). Idents bring back all the wonderful parts of my childhood, watching scrambled Playboy and wandering the aisles of the local Mom and Pop in search of some great VHS.

I reluctantly began collecting DVDs in the mid-1990s, as VHS began to phase out into obscurity—taking Mom and Pop along with it. It wasn't until 1996 that I would get excited by another studio ident:



Scream not only revived my hopes for the state of American horror at the time (no worries, that hope would be short-lived as an assembly line of bad knockoffs quickly saturated the market), it got me excited about idents again. And then if that wasn't awesome enough, the 2000s ushered in one more dynamic duo:



and



Put them together, and I see Saw.


Saw [Blu-ray]


I wanted to work at Lionsgate because of that ident. I can rattle off five films that I love, that made me want to spend money at the cinema again, all down to Lionsgate. American Psycho. Saw. House of 1000 Corpses. High Tension. Undead. The Descent. Okay, that's six. My point is, Lionsgate brought back those feelings I had growing up, of getting psyched over films just from the studio ident. But a bigger question looms: who's next? I'm not really feeling all that great about what's out there right now. Remakes, 3D, remakes in 3D. I don't exactly get all ramped-up by the Platinum Dunes logo or its offerings, sorry.

As it goes, every decade has its crap horror moment. The Sixties was overwrought with bad teen alien flicks. The Seventies? Demonic possession and killer animals. The Eighties was about the only decade where bad was all good, e.g. slashers. And so on and so forth, all the way to now. The studios are just about all out of ideas, and even New Line has folded into Warner Bros. But we'll always have the old New Line, with its great Media lead-in. So I'm okay. Ident, therefore, Iam.

Friday, August 5, 2011

One Ring to Find Her.

For a womanchild who perpetually hesitates to categorize or assign order to anything, I find it interesting (well, amusing) that I've always divided the western world into two types: Beatles people, and Rolling Stones people.

But second things first—I actually made a video, my first in eons. I may plan to make it an annual event (a promise or a threat, depending on who's watching):



Anyway, I found that Beatles people, much like the Beatles themselves, started out neat and tidy, then ended up corrupted sometime between their twenties and thirties, only to level out somewhere around forty, when they started ordering Time-Life CDs and buying Activia. Rolling Stones fans like myself? Always a little bit off, due to a series of misadventures wrought from the cradle to depraved. Stones people could be found on the news, running from traffic copters. They brought knives to a fistfight at Altamont. They gave lotto scratchers to their kids as birthday gifts. As for myself, I wasn't yet at the Lizzie Borden onramp; even now, I'm still sort of stuck on the corner of Patty Hearst and 1974, minus the SLA, the machine gun and the beret. Exiled on Main Street, if you will.

And so it went, to know a person was to know if they were Beatles or Stones. Sure, a person could be a fan of both, but a Beatles person usually liked other Beatles-like things, voted a certain way, watched PG-13 horror films and loved them, and so on and so forth. Miike had to have been a Stones person.

Cardboard? No. Delicious? Yes.
This was my way of thinking for quite some time, until Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings rolled around in 2001. I was still a Stones person, but then I also became ... a Potter person. With reservations. The first two films reminded me of one of my favorite childhood films, The Worst Witch (1986). Too much.

Still, I enjoyed the Sorcerer's-slash-Philosopher's-slash-Pharmacist's Stone, only very mildly tolerated The Chamber of Secrets, and loved the hell out of Azkaban, and continued on to the rest of the series without ever having watched one Hobbit, one elf, one ring to rule them all.

Forget beyond the Goblin City, I want to move here.
Then, last night, it happened. My husband put on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and I actually watched it. My sweet, swaddled baby Jesus, that film is long. But damn, is it so, so good. Afterward, I wanted to renew my wedding vows in a recreated Lothlórien, with a big-ass Bilbo birthday cake. I wanted to throw my wedding ring on the stove and see if I could read a secret message on it without branding my fingers. I wanted to speak Elven, be Elven. Actually, I really just wanted to be Liv Tyler, much in the same fashion as I wanted to be Jennifer Connelly as a child—dancing with David Bowie in Labyrinth, wearing the big ballroom gown. Except without all her whining. And Jareth wanted her to stay with him up in his castle beyond the Goblin City? "It's not fair" indeed.

I digress; back to LOTR. What a great movie. I foolishly assumed, all these years, that while I was a Potter person, LOTR was strictly for The Lords of the Rings people, Beatles types who enjoyed D&D, and WoW. And B&Bs. But these people are now the ones running the world, aren't they? And so it goes.

I absolutely loved The Lord of the Rings. I'm sorry I waited 10 years to see it. I plead guilty of ignorance, as only a Stones person would.



Official Shop of Warner Bros


LOTR Extended Blu-Ray Now Availalble! Shop Now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hallowqueen.

Obviously, Elvira is the Queen of Halloween, in addition to being the Mistress of the Dark. That woman gets around (ba-dum-PAH!). So maybe I could be the 10th runner up? I love horror films, I think I know a bit about them, and being a good Southern California girl, I also know when the 2011 Knott's Halloween Haunt auditions are (woo hoo, see you there!). 

The point is (and there is one), I love Halloween. It's my favorite day of the year; I would've gotten married on Halloween had my then-fiance now-husband opted out for fear of starting off our marriage with bad jujubes. I love everything about Halloween—the candy, the film (do I even have to put the year?), the dressing up—all of it. Here's me last year, as a vampiress from 1973's Hammer classic Dracula A.D. (I know, but suspend disbelief for three minutes and four seconds):




Anyway, I have no idea what I'm going as for Halloween this year, but I do know what I'm going to do, which is everything. I'm making a Halloween bucket list, if you will, and here are two things I've put on it so far:



Visit Century House.

Most of the filming locations for John Carpenter's classic Halloween are in Pasadena, a city I love and—coincidentally—was just in with John a week ago for a film festival. I've always wanted to go to the Myers house, but haven't out of consideration for the inhabitants. However, number 34 on South Pasadena's list of local landmarks is now renovated and houses several businesses—so we're going. And afterward, we're stopping for lunch at the site of Nichol's Hardware Store, which is now Li'l Parlor Pizzeria—located just across the street from where the Myers house originally stood.




Go Haunted House Hunting. 


Afterlife Foam Filled PropOne of the many pleasures of Halloween is watching all sorts of goodies on TV. Of course, there's AMC's annual Fear Fest (last year's Fest with Frank Darabont was awesome!) —"The Walking Dead" returns October 16!!—and The Travel Channel has been showing those great haunted house specials for the past few years now. But this year, I'm going to peel my potato off the couch and actually go see some of these great houses for myself. I'm sure we'll hit the old reliables at the theme parks, but for true terror value, my money's on people like your good selves, who go all out each year to make homespun haunted houses extra special. I'm thinking Chevy Chase, if he made a Halloween Vacation. My goal is to hit at least five haunts between here and Los Angeles, and I can't wait. Open house!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bro Ham.

The Cure, baby. I raised him right.
I have a soft spot for guys who look like my 19-year-old brother, who looks like Phil Lynott—one of my guitar idols, may he rest in peace. I remember the day when PJ was born; I was 16, a junior in high school, and just about to sneak off campus to Del Taco with my stoner friends when I got a note from the office telling me that my dad was picking me up to go to the hospital for PJ's birth.When we arrived at St. Joseph's, he was all bundled up like a 79-cent burrito, and surrounded by nuns, who obviously had premonitions of my little brother's future as a wild child and were performing a ritual preemptive strike. Or they could've just been praying. Semantics.

Anyway, I bring this up because I've been seeing videos on Adult Swim of this band out of Brooklyn called Cerebral Ballzy, and the frontman totally reminds me of my little brother. A lot. I used to play all sorts of music for baby PJ as I rocked him in his detached car seat, and now, at nearly 20 (born in October, my favorite month), PJ is a talented guitarist and L.A. punk junkie in his own right.

Which makes for a nice segue into what is the coolest video I've seen in ages, Cerebral Ballzy's video for "Junky for Her," the second single off their self-titled debut album. I find that my attention span shortens with every year tacked onto my age, so a bit of horror in just a little over two minutes is perfect:





Cool, right?!! I love throwbacks, when done well. The House of the Devil. The Devil's Rejects. Deviled ham. Now, if only Adult Swim could turn those creepy clown-kid bumpers into a full-length feature (or 15-minute short?), the channel would be just about perfect.


Monday, August 1, 2011

FEARnut.

Happy Birthday to Me on FEARnet On Demand? Holy shish kebab!
Everyone has goals in life. I guess. I've had several throughout mine. As a child, I wanted to be Pam Grier, Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Elvira, Miss America, a Solid Gold dancer, Linnea Quigley and a "Star Search" spokesmodel—in that order. When I was a teen, I wanted to work for Fangoria so I could get free horror VHS and write alongside my idol, Dr. Cyclops. Having obviously met all of those goals, it's now time to focus on one truly worth accomplishing.

That's right: We plan to watch every film on our FEARnet On Demand, start to finish, rinse and repeat, so we can win a trip to London. And we're starting at the top of the alphabet, with CHUD II: Bud the Chud (1989).



Okay, so we're starting with this one because John wanted to watch it, and so far so bad. But in the Eighties, bad was the new good, right? Michael Jackson was bad, sham on it. So CHUD deuce it is. Besides, everyone's in this. Mr. Roper. Robert Vaughn. Brian Robbins from "Head of the Class." Nicole Eggert's mom from "Charles in Charge." The mom from "Lost in Space." Priscilla Pointer—Amy Irving not included. It even has Bianca Jagger, for sobbing out loud. This film is actually quite fun. Reminds me of Night of the Creeps and The Return of the Living Dead, with a hint of Fido. Plus it's got every Eighties cliche in it; I've checked. Hey, is that Robert Englund in a cameo?! All this and synchronized undead dancing? This Bud's for me.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Drag Me to Hellywood.

So, after staying up all Saturday night, eating cereal and watching this, minus the yuletide (I know I'm not the only one watching "Jennifer Day TV")—



—there's only one thing I wanted to do on Sunday morning. Take a guess.



Before John made coffee.
What? You said go to the "Magnus Rex" open casting call in L.A.? High five, psychic friend, because that's exactly what we did. John made the coffee, I packed the sammies, and we set out to join the thousands who queued up at the Sportmen’s Lodge Event Center in Studio City in the hope of securing a role for the tentatively titled Warner Bros. film shooting locally in August. And because I feign professionalism and actually care that the casting directors requested that we not refer to the film by its real name, I won't say it, but you know the one. It's got Christian Bale in it.

That's right—American Psycho 3: Megalodon.

I myself wasn't trying to snag a role; I tagged along to support my husband, who is a massive comic book geek and, as it stands, an actor and voiceover artist when he isn't busy making his own films. And it's seriously been a busy month for him, wrapping up the AOF Festival, shooting an advert, and now preparing his short The Timeslip for the Angeleno Film Festival in October.

The 101 fwy. helped John perfect his "intense" face.
But most men living in the Greater Los Angeles area would open up their schedules to appear in a comic book film. Unless it was Aquaman. And John was no exception, putting on his best suit to get his photo taken and throw his name (and headshot and resume) in the hat for a chance to be a part of a 2012 blockbuster film that, judging by the working title, I thought was the sequel to the runaway hit Jonas Hex. Which, you know, studios are fighting each other to make.

Here are some things I learned from today's casting call:

  • Not all industry people are jerkoffs. I've worked for one, so I'm a bit disillusioned, but the women who run Smith & Webster-Davis are true ladies. I arrived a skeptic and left a fan. 
  • The biggest mouths give themselves away as the posers. Actors at John's usual auditions are always quietly preparing, not name-dropping, loudly referencing SAG or obnoxiously letting the rest of us know how "inside" they are—as they're waiting with the rest of us in a thousand-strong queue.
  • Arriving at 4 a.m. as planned would've been a huge waste of time. The casting call started at 10 a.m., we arrived at 11:30, and we were back on the 101 by 2 p.m. John was number 748 in the queue, which moved quickly. When I gave my number back to the man passing them out, he looked at me as if I had farted in his face. Thanks señor, but no quiero Taco Bell. My acting would make Kim Kardashian eligible for the Irving Thalberg award.

I Love Zombies.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Criminy.

"Um, I was told there would be Zwiebacks after this."


Turns out, I can't handle the truth. I mean, I used to. Ever since I was a child, when Adam forever ended my lone, wayward strolls through Toy City, and Gary Cole (oddly enough, now a crush of mine) scared the crap out of me as Jeffrey MacDonald in Fatal Vision, I've been fascinated by TV depictions of true crime.

A year after Vision, the Night Stalker would cut a swath through both halves of California, and suddenly, true crime was not only on my television, but at my doorstep. As my dad worked nights, my mom was home with three girls and another on the way, and although it was sweltering hot, our windows—like everyone else's in the summer of 1985—stayed shut. When we were allowed outside, speculation of the Night Stalker's modus operandi reassured us kids as much as it turned us against each other:


At 36, I am still creeped out by this pic.

He only goes for yellow houses, like yours! 
I live in the apartments, butt munch! He can't kill the whole apartments. He likes houses that are on the end of the street. Like yours.
At least I live in a house, butt nugget! And anyways, my dad is a Guardian Angel. The lead one.





And so it went, until Richard Ramirez apparently (and erroneously) assumed that he could jack a woman's car in East L.A. without getting his ass beat three ways to domingo. But even that true crime close-shave didn't dissuade me from watching Helter Skelter, The Hillside Strangler or many other similar telepics repeating on any random Sunday afternoon. And I continued to bring home stacks of VHS filled with stories of crazy cannibal families and wrong turns and David Hess.

Which makes me wonder, where has this other woman suddenly come from? The one who began a weekend of watching the Investigation Discovery channel comfortably reclined on her sofa, only to end it curled up in the fetal position, quizzing her husband about previously undisclosed dead wives in England (he has none), and wondering if the already-creepy neighbor was secretly plotting her kidnapping and dismemberment (the jury's still out on that one).

Yes, folks, I completely lost the plot, all down to a binge of programming completely devoted to true crime. Maybe it's because I'm adult now (I think), and unlike the 10-year-old me, the 36-year-old me is more than aware of loss and mortality. My fascination with true crime is tempered by sadness for the victims and their families. As I watch the reenactments now, I find them more humbling and cautionary than entertaining, and I consider myself fortunate to have gone all these years without appearing on a milk carton, or an "Unsolved Mysteries" episode. I've lived long enough to see Gary Cole go from portraying a murderer to playing Mike Brady, so there's that. Did I mention I have a massive crush on him? A few months ago, my husband ran into Gary Cole on the Warner Bros. backlot, and it was crime that I wasn't there. Truly.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Comic-Conned.

The Day the Music Died? Don McLean sang about it, but he couldn't have known that he would live to see Coachella completely sell its soul and become "Nochella." He did, however, go on to write about the Day the Horror Died—when Creation Entertainment took over the Weekend of Horrors from Fangoria.

Okay, not really. But had he written the latter, McLean could've completed his trilogy with a song about the Day the Comic Died, which was just a few days ago in San Diego, at Comic-Con. Ken Foree and John Carl Buechler (hard left: at WOH in summer 2010—while my old ass was passed out on a lobby sofa clutching my autographed $25 fine-I'll-buy-this-if-you-leave-me-alone-Joe Pilato-shakedown pic—my husband John was not only engaged in lengthy conversation with Mr. Buechler, they were quickly surrounded by several Jasons and Harry Manfredini in the F13 dealers' room!!) both canceled, which ought to tell you something. Sure, they probably had other (cough, better) things to do, but maybe someone told them that A) this is supposed to be a comics convention, and B) there would be sparkly vampires and Justin Timberlake in attendance. 

There were some things worth catching at Comic-Con, such as Rick Baker's appearance on Thursday, a promotion for Men In Black III dressed up as a panel honoring Baker's career in legendary makeup FX. Apparently, I also missed the season two trailer for "The Walking Dead," which I'm completely gutted about, as I won't be able to see that anywhere else.





Sure, Comic-Con also rolled out Stan Lee in order to extend the line of cred on their nerd card, but unless he's doing cameos on "Psych" and "Burn Notice," what on earth do these shows (both featured at Comic-Con) have to do with comics? Bruce Campbell always counts, but not where the latter is concerned. And don't even get me started on Fright Night 3D, or that lousy comedy coming out with The Guy in the Facebook Film who acts like The Guy in the Facebook Film in every film he's in. 30 Minutes or Less? Why in hell does this film have a panel at Comic-Con? Is Jesse Eisenberg going to turn into Superman, then spin fast enough around the earth to condense 90 minutes of awful into less than 30? That would actually make his and the film's presence at Comic-Con relevant.

Anyway, I could go on, but you get it. Comic-Con, like everything else that used to be cool and authentic and great, has completely sold out, and I don't just mean the overpriced coveted weekend passes. Until recently, I thought that at least we still had Bonnaroo, but even Ben and Jerry have managed to put the sole surviving great American music festival's name on ice cream and call it "Bonnaroo Buzz."

Which, by the way, I bought and inhaled as if it carried the secret of NIMH. What? It had coffee in it. And last I checked, there weren't any generous pieces of buttery toffee to be found in Comic-Con.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scene is Believing.

So I'm sitting there ("there" being my living room), Saturday night, watching Tormented (1960) on "Elvira's Movie Macabre." And like the Mistress of the Dark, I'm about to write it off like a bad debt ... until I get to the wedding scene, which, truth be told, is pretty badass. Actually, from that point on, the film has the nerve to get downright suspenseful, and even a little scary. Watch it, or just stream it and jump to the end—you'll see what I mean. At the very least, you can insert your own jokes about a girl giving a guy head. Haha, I said insert.


Too easy.


Watching Tormented made me think of other films that suck, except for that one scene ...
 

Cabin Fever (2002)

Oh, you thought Cabin Fever would make you afraid of camping. No worries—there are better movies out there for that. But if you're a girl who missed out on the Lilith Fair and hairy hackey-sack barista boys in the early Nineties, then you've now got a good reason to stop shaving. Let's just say that if Eli Roth had made this film in the Seventies—which I'm sure he wished he could have done—sales of Nair would've skyrocketed.

And all she wanted was to wear cutoffs, not cutups.
Yep, I'm talking about that scene (at left), which earned about $1.25 of the $8.00 I spent on the ticket, and made me switch to waxing. Thanks, KNB EFX.

Two-thirds of KNB (NB?) also saved another bad film ...






Mirrors (2008)

Obviously, Alexandre Aja knew that he was polishing a turd dressed as a horror vehicle designed to leverage  Kiefer Sutherland's TV success and revive a dead film career (worked wonders for Courtney Cox—she went from Scream to Scream 4!). Think Michael Keaton and White Noise. But forget all that—we're watching an Aja-KNB collaboration, so the gore FX are, from the start, pretty special, and one scene in particular is jaw-dropping.






Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985)

Okay, so she's also called Stirba: Werewolf Bitch, but honestly, we don't care if Sybil Danning is "Xena: Warrior Princess," and the film is called Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. We'll watch her in anything, even if it stinks to high heaven, like Howling II. Come to think of it, Turbo might have made this film a bit better with some ceiling dancing (because Christopher Lee sure as hell couldn't save the film, and he was Lord Summerisle).





But back to Howling II—Danning is super hot, the film is super-not, and the AV members of the Clearasil set knew to skip it entirely and head straight to the end credits, where the best moment is looped within an inch of its shelf life.


Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

The Final Chapter truly lived up to its title, because where that film closed the book of awesome that was the first four F13 films, Part 5 opened up A New Beginning of suckage. This film was so bad that it took kids, Alice Cooper and Horshack from "Welcome Back, Kotter" to revive the franchise with Part 6, plus the introduction of Kane Hodder in Part 7 as added anti-suckage insurance for another four films.

If only Vic had peanut butter instead of an axe ...
It's unfortunate that one good scene in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (besides Tina's scenes, dudes) promises greatness that is ultimately unrealized in the course of 88 minutes. You don't remember the scene? You better axe somebody.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Auto Focused.

My super-talented husband, actor, director and voiceover artist Jonathan Chance, was taking pics the other night, including the new one on my blog. But then he looked like he was having too much fun, and what wife wants that? So I snatched the camera and snapped some pics of him.

Shutter to think, these actually look pretty cool:










All of this photo-opping has made me think of some films that I really love, where the true horror takes place behind the lens.




Peeping Tom (1960)

Two British directors make landmark films that come out in the same year. Both films contain such unfathomable scenes of groundbreaking terror and suspense that your 1960 self would (rightfully) assume that each would evoke critical proclamations of sheer celluloid brilliance and—subsequently—launch their respective directors' careers into the cinematic stratosphere. Right?

Unfortunately, the release of  Peeping Tom, which predated Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho by a month, did not signal the start of a long, successful career for its director, Michael Powell. In fact, to say that the opposite happened would be an understatement. Nearly 30 years after Peeping Tom was blasted by the critics, the tale of a killer photographer with an eye for the ladies finally received its long-overdue closeup (thanks to Martin Scorsese), and now sits pretty atop many movie reviewers' Best-of-All-Time lists.



Shutter (2004)

For the photographer protagonist in this Thai thriller—my favorite of all the Asian genre films to surface in the U.S. since Ringu circled our shores in the late 1990s—every picture tells a story, and his goes from bad to worse in just under 100 minutes. If we're supposed to keep our friends close, and our enemies closer, then this guy is screwed, because in his case, they all pretty much suck. Like the American remake, I presume. Say cheese!





















Blowup (1966)

My husband introduced me to this one, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and loosely based on real-life Sixties camera cassanova David Bailey. It's safe to assume that Bailey never inadvertently captured a murder on film, but it makes for a good premise in this film, which is, admittedly, a slow burner (albeit a sexy and at times, creepy one). Good thing David Hemmings is super hot in it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Trailer Parked.

Being a 14-year-old Eighties boy at heart, I have a soft spot for fringe. Like public access cable. And Garbage Pail Kids. And movies named for fast food (still waiting for that DVD release of Hamburger: The Motion Picture). The 14-year-old Eighties boy in me (metaphorically speaking) especially loves his horror a bit to the left of the dial. Like Troma. And anthologies. And midnight horror hosts (Elvira! Joe Bob Briggs! Gilbert Gottfried and later, Rhonda Shear!).





Now, while most people are okay with arriving to a film after the trailers, you and I know that the trailers are where it's at. Except not now; it's okay to miss them today, they're all shit bombs—just pick your slingshot (Jennifer Aniston or Bradley Cooper will do just fine, thank you). But if you're like me, you A) usually wait for the Blu-ray, and B) only come out of your cave for an old 35mm at the Nuart (or, if you're Canadian like one of my YouTube besties, The Bloor). And when it comes to the latter, you don't want to be late for the trailers. The Beyond, with trailers for The Evil Dead and Cannibal Ferox. The Evil Dead, with a trailer for City of the Living Dead. You feel me.

So when my 14-year-old Eighties boy stumbled upon Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell, he screamed and clapped like a 36-year-old woman imitating a 14-year-old girl at a Bieber gig.


Got 82 minutes? Fill them with awesome.


This 1987 gem (it looks like it was made years earlier, before it picked up a distributor, but that's just my opinion. My dad used to say that opinions were like assholes—everyone's got one. Anyway, I digress.) was just released on DVD last year by Virgil Films and Entertainment, and it's one of my new Favorite Things Ever (Oprah's Favorite Things be damned—she never put Pepperidge Farm's chocolate cake, the Rhythm Method or "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace" on her stupid list).







Along with his sidekick Happy, ventriloquist-presenter Nick Pawlow delivers trailer after gloriously sick trailer with enough straight-man charm and committed Ned Flanders nerdiness to make me think that I would indeed grab some Zimas, meet him in the projection room and let him hit that (or, I dunno, lightly tap it, Sandals style? I'm old) if I were single. And if you know me (and have seen my sub list on YouTube), then you know that I go weak for the trailer geek.


Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell has everything you could ever want, minus the Funyuns. This film's got enough blood, body count and boobs (tip: those old 3D glasses will come in handy around the half-point; my husband and I tested ours out, then we hit pause for a while and came back to it later) to keep you happy—until it ends. Who says boys don't cry? My 14-year-old Eighties boy did.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A New England.

Okay, so I'm a die-hard, self-proclaimed, cut-me-and-I'll-bleed-PG-Tips Anglophile. This on-and-on love affair has been going strong since childhood, when my dad used to spin Pink Floyd, the Police, Queen and Cream. When I thought that Mark Hollis, Peter Murphy and Richard Butler were all David Bowie (the realization that "It's My Life" was not, in fact, performed by the Goblin King sparking my 25-year lunacy for Talk Talk, Bauhaus and the Psych Furs). When I was certain that I would marry Craig Warnock from Time Bandits. Or Robert Smith. Or Dave Gahan. Or later, Damon Albarn.

Anyway, I love the Brits. I even went all the way to England, clubbed one over the head and dragged him home:



The chocolate here, not so good. I must break you.



My childhood dreams of running off to England, marrying my rock-and-roll fantasy and living in an old, dilapidated Hammer Horror castle are a bit more scaled down to torpedoing-toward-middle-age scale at this point. I've gnawed my way through one of the coldest winters the UK has ever experienced this side of Dickens. I've gotten my feet trampled on trains from London to Colchester. Had insults hurled at me on the N11. Stumbled out of a pub, losing a glove and nearly cracking my head open in the process. Seen rubbish strewn along the road on the way to Tesco Express. Done ritual pee-pee dances around a £1 toilet, hoping it would magically open up to me for free. At times, I've felt like the people I've come across couldn't have given less of a damn if I gave them one and asked for it back.

So, it was just like home, except toilets are free in the US, and England has bitchin' pubs, better TV and awesome public transport. And our friends are in England, and my mother-in-law can throw down a Sunday roast that would make chickens line up for a chance to be delicious.

What, then, is the takeaway? Well, although my teenage dreams were so hard to beat, in their place is a respect and genuine, authentic love for England that I didn't have before. I love England because it isn't the Grey Poupon, tea-and-scones, mind-the-gap and cockney-rebel bullshit America has been force-fed through a Tube all these years, like geese for the fattening. And knowing this, I'm free to move on to the things that are truly worth getting hot about when it comes to cool Britannia.

Like Public Information Films.

Britain has a storied cinematic horror history. Peeping Tom. The Wicker Man. The Company of Wolves. Paperhouse. Hammer. I love all of these, but I'm completely in love with Public Information Films. I want to marry them and make little PIFs to release into the wild of random, soulless, consumerist American children's television. So, what are they? Well, here in the States, two eggs in a frying pan is, apparently, our brains on drugs. Yeah, well okay. In the UK, those eggs come part of a Full English Breakfast of whoop-ass, washed down with a glass of Dark and Lonely Water:





Public Information Films are not like our Public Service Announcements, where your 1986 self can grab a Kudos bar, then plop down on the bean bag to laugh at the pothead dad chastising his pothead son during breaks in the ABC Afterschool Special—no, these are mini horror films, in which children are picked off, one by one ("Apaches," below), and if Charley Says it, you'd better do it.



Public Information Films have as much impact now as they did back in their heyday; at least, they do to this girl. They make me want to question everything, down to the most seemingly harmless of events. Take the escalator? No thanks, I'll take the stairs. But what if I slip, fall and break my ass? Are those elevators safe? Is there a Green Cross Code that will guide me safely between the Orange Julius and my car? Those Hot Dog on a Stick girls aren't really jumping to the rhythmic beat of pressed lemons—they're trampling on my self esteem with their lithe bodies and 20-year-old Neutragena smiles! $40 for razor-torn jeans? THE MALL IS TRYING TO KILL ME!!

Even the star-power behind PIFs is cooler. British PIFs had Donald Pleasance and David Prowse (Darth Vader) deliver public-service smackdowns. Our PSAs had Rachael Leigh Cook and Pee Wee Herman. Any questions?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beggars Can Be Losers.

As today is the last day to vote for trailers in the AOF Action Video Challenge, I'm throwing whatever pride I have left to the blogs in favor of getting as many votes as I can for my husband John Chance's fantastic short, The Timeslip. But first, here's a little bit about the man himself:





Cool, right? So, back to the competition: now, I don't know whose idea it was—in this day and age of instant gimme-have-it—to make it as mother-effing difficult as possible for people to 1) register,  2) search for the film and 3) vote, but I'm hoping that by walking the five people who read my blog (and I love you, five people) through the process (skipping the find-the-film part), we can secure at least five more votes. John was in the lead, and now he's not. But together, we can change that!

1. Register at the Action On Film site:



2. Click on this link to take you to The Timeslip video:




3. Click on the fifth star to the right, and you're done!


I thank you, John thanks you. I thank you ...


Anyway, the winner gets to see their film showcased on the "AOF Channel Show" on NBC, and I can't think of anyone more deserving than John. He works hard, he's passionate about filmmaking, and he's a true independent. How many filmmakers can we really say that about anymore?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BHF Blog: Assault in pub

BHF Blog: Assault in pub: "Fancy a bit of 70s Brit giallo? It's still on my 'to watch' list and now you can beat me to it, thanks to a rare screening of Carry On horro..."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Birth Controlled.

As much as I relish being able to come and go as I please, I admit that there are times in my life when I tend to get a bit broody for the pitter-patter of blah blah blah. I see little fingers and chubby faces on the profile pics of my husband's Facebook friends, and I want to nibble on them. Having just purchased a new car, I think about trading in that new-car smell for a new-baby one. And with the number of expectant and new parents in my office reaching supernatural numbers, I glance at the water cooler and wonder what my employer is putting in it. Ephemerol? Only time will tell, but that would explain the Mona Lisa smiles and Merchant-Ivory attitude (i.e., the Stepford Wives look. It sure as hell ain't the Jordache look). 


Far right: Even I looked like a murderous child.


Now that I'm 36, I find myself officially one toe over the line—entering the danger zone located on the corner of Piss and Get Off the Pot—and I wonder if I'm ahead of the game for having waited, or falling behind. But then I watch these films, thank Zuul I'm not preggers, and head off to Denny's to build my own Grand Slam.  

Five films where the kids aren't alright

(These aren't ordered, much like my life)

The Bad Seed (1956)

She could make Billy Mumy wish himself into the cornfield.


The 1985 TV remake wasn't bad, but this film is where all the crazy started. Patty McCormack trading in a "bushel of kisses" for her mother's "basket of hugs," while handing everyone else around her a can of kid-edition Kick-Ass. Too bad the Easy-Bake Oven didn't come around until the early Sixties—it could've saved a lot of lives.


Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)



This film will not only put you off of having a child—it'll put you off of everything else, too. Islands. Vacations. Using men for piñatas. The Children of the Corn (1984) are flakes compared to these kids, who really, really want to get to the Spanish mainland. If they ever remake this one, they should set it in Ibiza.

Honorable Mention: the two children at the end of A Bay of Blood / Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)



The Visitor (1978)



Now, this is one of those films that I hadn't seen for so long that I wondered if it even existed until my gorgeous horror-gamer girl friend Kiran reminded me that it did. Combine The Bad Seed with The Exorcist, and you've got this 1978 film, currently available on Code Red DVD (which is NOT out of business—thanks again Bloodtype Online).


 Damien: Omen II (1978)

He's a real lady killer.


Some parents find that they in fact cannot kill a child, and (providing they survive) quickly find themselves raising terrible teens—which means negotiating more time to kill than a ten o'clock curfew allows. Unfortunately for William Holden, his charge is hell-bent on fulfilling his demonic prophecy, and no amount of military schooling or actresses named Lee is going to change that. Is it bad that I used to have a crush on this kid?


The Children (1980)



This film is an old childhood treasure that I hadn't seen for 25 years until the lovely and legendary @lloydkaufman (one of my favorites when I was on Twitter) released it six years ago on DVD. That nagging question you have about what would happen if a bus full of Amway children drove through a radioactive cloud is finally answered here. I wish I could go back in time, snap a Polaroid of myself as a child with black olives on my fingers, come back to 2011 and post the pic on this blog. But let's be honest: if I were able to travel back to 1980, I don't think I'd return. That was a great year for horror.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night.

Last night, in the name of improving my health (something I never thought once about until I hit that age where AARP began surreptitiously and erroneously sending me mail), I forwent my regular junkie-like habit of capping the night with a blended coffee (everyone has a price, and this drink is my currency). Subsequently, I was out for the count before nine, asleep on the sofa in front of Kathy Griffin (her show, not Ms. Griffin personally), forgetting all of my cares—as well as the reminder I'd put on our TV to watch Play Misty for Me. At nine. Fortunately (or unfortunately; the jury's out), my husband picked up the slack and put it on while I slept. 

Now, I don't know if the absence of my usual caffeinated crack could be to blame, but that film lodged itself into the deepest recess of my subconscious and shot me out like a rocket into a void of incomprehensible terror. Not unlike the feeling I experienced two weeks ago when we walked up to the pearly gates of DVD Planet, only to find that it had closed. Closed! The building was gutted, and so were we. No Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge on DVD (slowly rebuilding much of the collection I lost by loaning films out). Side note: it's coming to Blu-ray with Dream Warriors on 9/27!!

So, what happened in my dream? Well, while Jessica Walter's lips were moving, the words that were coming out sounded as if they were being voiced by Mercedes McCambridge! I know! As I slept, my brain was filtering the information coming from the TV, and distilling it into some sort of terrifying mash-up—Play Merrin for Me, if you will. Truly the most terrifying dream I have ever ... uh, dreamed.

Anyway, now I'm obsessed with seeing this mash-up in real life. I have this completely ridiculous-and-especially-for-a-woman-my-age need to re-watch Clint Eastwood's directing debut (and my favorite of his films), except this time featuring Jessica Walter's crazy train colliding with demonically possessed Regan's loco motive. Now I know how the pretentious foodie who discovered chili-infused chocolate felt when he thought he was sprinkling cinnamon on his hot cocoa. How the first desperate housewife felt when she saw a taxidermist work on her cat and thought, "I gotta have something like that for my face!"

We're not that different, us genre fans. We tremble from that horrible nightmare, but we relish and retain its terror like a sweet sap, putting it away for later use. As frightened as I was coming out my dream, I couldn't wait to tell John, and then blog about it.

Another thing I can't wait for? My blended coffee—I'm getting one tonight. I don't want to dream a mash-up of The Evil Dead with a rerun of "The King of Queens."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?

In horror films, you don't ask how the sausage is made—if you've seen Motel Hell, Terror House (my personal childhood favorite) or the very helpfully-titled Blood Diner, you know that the hot links contain some killer filler. But no other film left a worse aftertaste in the hearts, minds and mouths of genre fans than the 1974 Tobe Hooper classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The main / end title music even sounds like what you might hear in a kitchen from Hell (Norms restaurants notwithstanding):




So imagine my surprise upon reading Bloody Disgusting's OMFG of the Day, which featured Junction House in Kingsland, Texas—the very house where Chain Saw's exteriors were filmed (if not the very area, as the restaurant's website confirms that the house was moved from its original location in Wilco in the 1990s).

The Junction House enjoys a rating of four out of five stars on Yelp.



The house not only thrives to this day; its owners actually embrace its legacy, mentioning the film on their website, as well as on their Facebook page. Carmie likes this!


Georgia on My Mind ...



In other unrelated-but-sort-of news, The Newnan Times-Herald has published the dates, times and locations for the July filming of season two of "The Walking Dead" in Newnan, Georgia. If you live in or around this area, I'm jealous!


See Anything You Like?

And finally, zombiesdrule on YouTube is selling some really awesome-looking shirts for nostalgia nuts with a sense of humor. Check out his store!