Monday, October 31, 2005

Silver Shamrock

Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha!

That's a long wait for a punch line.

Well, last night I blew off the movie on TV. Instead I watched a special on PBS about thirteen haunted sites in Western New York. Not the most impressive of sites or hauntings.

Today I'm just going to dump a bunch of great titles on you. They are...

Demon City Shinjuku - An anime.
Ringu - See the original, it's creepier.
Night/Dawn/Day of the (Living) Dead - 'Nuff said.
Exorcist 1, 2 ,and 3 - I suggest the original version of the first.
Lost Boys - Vampire fun!
Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2 - The first could be a new classic.
Phantoms - Based on the Dean Koontz book.
Wishmaster - I haven't seen the sequels yet.
Body Parts - Finally on DVD, I love Jeff Fahey's films.
The Gift - This is a Sam Raimi film, see it!
The Thing - John Carpenter's classic.
The Serpent and the Rainbow - Wes Craven's creepiest.
House on Haunted Hill - Nice eye candy remake.
Thir13en Ghosts - Nice eye candy remake.
Sleepwalkers - A Stephen King script, no book behind it.
The Fear 1 and 2: Halloween Night - I prefer the first.

Happy Halloween!

Mood: creepy
Music: Can't Sleep Clowns Will Eat Me by Alice Cooper and Meet the Creeper by Rob Zombie

Sunday, October 30, 2005

1 More Day 'Til Samhain

Last night I watched the movie “Hannibal”. While it was certainly better overall than the previous film in the series, that is not saying a lot. Yes, yes, I have the to utter gall to hate that movie which I will not name other than to say it involves quiet and sheep. Only redeeming thing in that first one is Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill. Yes, yes, I even have the gall to think Hopkins could have done better. Thankfully he was indeed better in Hannibal. I liked the rich guy better though. This is the first I've seen the movie yet there was still that great sense of deja vu as if I have seen parts of it before, though not as bad as the previous quiet one where I could predict everything half a minute in advance nearly. Tonight, unless the usual botch up of Canadian signal broadcasting bashes me, I expect to watch Red Dragon on TV. Too bad it couldn't be on the same channel as Hannibal last night.

Now it is time to slap down some great titles on the blog, maybe you can have the great luck of being able to rent them tomorrow. Carrying on from yesterday I must, Must, MUST, suggest the movie “The Howling”. This is a piece of cinema. Forget the other werewolf movie with Americans in London. I've never been a fan of it, and people who like The Howling tend to stand by it, meanwhile people who standby the Londoner generally dismiss The Howling. Pick a side! Now!

Now I have a pairing of films. One of the two is sure to satisfy. They are “Waxwork” and “Waxwork II: Lost in Time”. Both are directed by Anthony Hickox and star Zach Galligan. The first is a straight-up horror film. The second is part horror, part action-adventure, and full of horror spoofs. Some of the sequel is just downright hilarious. I especially love the spoof of The Haunting and not just because it has Bruce Campbell in it. The first has some nice moments and one of the creepiest has to be the least horror based, the one with the Marquis.

Going back to the earlier style suggestions, I have another science fiction horror I want to point out to you called “Event Horizon”. I've kind of, in the past, described it as Clive Barker does sci-fi. The first attempt to fold space leads to the ship disappearing only to mysteriously return seven years later. A salvage ship crew along with the designer of the fold drive are sent to check out the ship and try to find out what happened. This is a great horror and apparently pretty scientific film, fiction aside. You know, the physics are more realistic than most movies, they made stuff up only to fill in gaps and drive the story, rather than say when coming up with questions that have real answers going ahead and fudging it anyway.

Now for another series, but I'm going to suggest a specific one above the others. There's Freddy, there's Jason, there's Michael, there's Chucky, names that bring us, in their movies, horror. They're just common names that can now lead to chills. How about a name that's just downright silly? Can that be scary? It might if the name is Pinhead. It might if the franchise is “Hellraiser”. My suggestion may at first seem odd, but I'm suggesting that people see the fifth one, “Hellraiser: Inferno”. Not since the first one has the feel and the essential qualities of the novella been brought to life. I will warn you though this one has very little of Pinhead himself in it. What it does have are cenobites that I felt were immensely closer to as they were in The Hellbound Heart novella, even much more than the first film, which is funny since Barker directed the first and Inferno is directed by Scott Derrickson. This is a disturbing one.

Tomorrow is the big day!

Mood: expectant
Music: Americans are Behind by Bruce Dickinson and Afterglow of Your Love by Quiet Riot

Saturday, October 29, 2005

2 More Days 'Til El Dia de los Muertos

Okay, last night I took a chance and watched a comedy horror that goes by the full name of “The Fearless Vampire Killers or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck“ which the TV listings smartly called just ”The Fearless Vampire Killers“. It's a Roman Polanski film, which was what made me decide to watch it in the first place. Its full of lots of little chuckle moments and is a touch farcical, but not overly so. The most outstanding part of it is the score, it's this great creepy theme that pops up a few times as the same music and a time here and there slightly changed up. It's really a great score for a serious horror film and it's a little saddening that it wasn't used for such a film. Its use of course is to be ironic, which it does come off as being.

Time for some of my favourites now. First up, I have a film that takes an awful lot of flack, but which I stand by as a great horror flick and one of the films I waited a excruciating time to see come out on DVD. I always start off by asking, how can a movie starring, among others, Robert Englund, based on a Stephen King story, and directed by Tobe Hooper, not be an excellent movie? To me it can't, and it most definitely is excellent. The only complaint I have is the excessive screaming of a certain actress in it. I can't stand characters who put more energy into screaming than they do into running for their actual lives. Otherwise I love this movie. What is it? It is “The Mangler”!

There was another favourite movie of mine that took forever and a day to come out on DVD and it was only this past September that it did after 22 years. I like to think that just about everyone has heard of it, it seems to be pretty infamous for at least one of its scenes. I mean come on, how can people forget the spectacle of seeing a woman give birth to a full grown man in full rending, horrific, gory, err, I mean glory? It seems they can't, and then they tell all sorts of other people about it and soon everyone's at least heard the name “Xtro”. It's nasty, sometimes vicious, sometimes downright goofy, and something like a train wreck that you can't look away from and why would you?

April 2004 saw the release on DVD of a movie that waited even longer at 24 years from its theatrical release. I really wanted this one considering I couldn't even find it on VHS unlike the previous suggestion. “The Monster Club” is a definite favourite of mine even though it was literally decades between viewings. It has Vincent Price and Donald Pleasance, though sadly the two of them don't get to share a scene. Something of a throwback, the movie was an anthology of three stories tied together by a fourth. Also bucking the trend its pretty tame in its special effects with only one nasty one that I was so relieved was still awesome today.

Finally not to break any trends myself my last suggestion for today is a movie whose name just about says it all, “Killer Klowns from Outer Space“. The first movie I'd ever heard described as a cult film, or should that be Kult film (disregarding that there's a Kult RPG, sadly out of print)? Really the title says all I'm willing to say about the plot, other than this is a great spoofy-goofy movie that is in my list of top favourites. See everybody tomorrow...

Mood: festive
Music: Shell by Bana (Witch Hunter Robin opening theme) and Halloween by Aqua

Friday, October 28, 2005

3 More Days 'Til Jack-o-lanterns

I watched Friday the 13th parts three and four last night. Slashers aren't the most intelligence grabbing of material, then again I'm highly critical of people who think *everything* has to be that way. I always trot out the the “sometimes you want to just sit and watch something without having to engage your brain“. There's nothing wrong with mindless. Call it pandering to the mouth-breathing, brainless, lowest common denominator majority if you will, but don't be waving the flag in my name. There's something to be gotten or learned from everything for starters. Never mind the so called intelligent people who dismiss things without having knowledge of them, like that's ever anything a person would call smart. In fact that's right up there with thinking you're smarter than someone else because you know something they don't.

Yesterday's suggestions of course didn't get all the way to the root of the matter of the big names with the huge number of sequels. I didn't get to one of the first of them, “Halloween”. It's not the oldest franchise mind you, nor does it have the first modern horror icon. I'm still holding those and couple other oldie but goodies for later. With eight films so far this serious could certainly fill up you Halloween, and maybe when they have 24 hours worth of Halloween films they will stop making more. Halloween and Michael Meyers exemplify the Halloween season, how could they not, everything revolves around the day itself. It is Halloween, literally, even the one without Michael, maybe even especially that one, though it continuously comes under fire. I just read something today where they were complaining about the special masks in this movie. Unlike the article I won't drop the huge spoiler they did, but suffice it to say, they were in-effect annoyed that something unbelievable was indeed unbelievable. Yeesh!

I have time for one more suggestion so let me give you a doozy that a number of you probably haven't seen and maybe haven't heard of. It's an awesome anime entry for my Thirteen Days of Halloween Blogging Bonanza. It's called “Perfect Blue” and it's on DVD from Manga Entertainment. It's the story of a Japanese Pop Idol who turns to acting because its the best thing for career, but it really tears her up inside, and it has also incensed a stalker to take things to the next level. It is an awesome collision of brain bending twists and turns, psychological horror, bloody violence, gratuitous nudity, and pure insanity. It's one of those ones you just love to watch over and over because there's something more to see every time, and it just gets darker and more twisted each time. It also has a couple absolutely hair raising visuals, and one scene that pretty much deserves a pornography warning. Don't let that turn you off of it though necessarily, but don't hold it against me either.

Tomorrow, same blog, same Internet.

Mood: fatigued
Music: Engel by Rammstein and I'm Into Something Good by Herman's Hermits

Thursday, October 27, 2005

4 More Days 'Til All Hallowtide

I'm seeing a small bit of a trend lately in the TV shows I'm watching and it's kind of annoying. It has to do with what people consider 'growing up' or being 'mature' and it just isn't right. I want to preface this by saying that I'm not blaming the TV people, while they are making up the stories a lot has to stem from reality otherwise these scenes would be really fake and they wouldn't be causing me to go off on a rant about them. People try to pin everything that they don't like on the writer, but of course we don't agree with the stances of everyone we write about otherwise we'd have no villains because we don't stand behind mindless mayhem, betrayal, or murder.

Anyway, what these characters are voicing is that certain things are childish or immature. The first example is about a boy and his lizard. Somehow either having a pet is immature, or having something that isn't cute and cuddly is childish. I'm like what? What are these people smoking? Up next we have a woman who despite her age says she must be growing up or something because she no longer wants to stand by a man who is a hero and has a job that he is on call for all the time. Great, now police people, doctors, and fire fighters are childish. Then on a slightly different tack we have an actual real person talking about a real subject in an interview who has suggested that until they are like thirteen or older children shouldn't be shown that not everyone can be trusted. What? Lay down the crack pipe!

Okay, now that's out of my system... Today I'm just going to go ahead and drop the big huge bombs, get them out of the way. First suggestion is the longest running horror franchise we have in the sense of the greatest number of films. It is “Friday the 13th” with eleven movies all told, so far, counting Freddy vs Jason. Eleven movies ties it with the kiddie series The Land Before Time, and the science fiction juggernaut the Star Trek motion pictures. Friday is definitely a landmark franchise that spawned countless imitators that had mostly little success except for the occasional gem here and there. The Friday films themselves will always have an audience from me. There isn't a one in the bunch that I don't like. Thanks to the semi-recent boxset the only one I don't have yet is “Jason X” and that's because the set has only one through eight, and nine, “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday” is so utterly stupendous I had to have it. It's awesome and somehow seems to be the most violent movie I've ever seen, there's just a particular quality about it.

I don't know about anyone else but I can't mention such a monumental franchise as Friday the 13th without mentioning the other giant of horror, a decidedly bigger giant if we look around the world. You got it, can't mention Jason without mentioning Freddy. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and its sequels are just phenomenal. It's hard to find anybody who hasn't heard of Freddy Krueger. Freddy rocks, Freddy is the coolest, Freddy just won't die, and who can blame him, he has such fun, and enjoys his work so much. He's the king of chewing up the scenery and his co-stars too. Not to mention there's something magical about him, and I'm not talking about the wicked dream powers. During the filming of some of the Nightmare movies they have tried to get stand-ins for Freddy to do certain things and time and again they can never get them to look right, they always have to get Robert Englund to come over and do them. I love that. It's the best accolade an actor could ever have.

With so many films to see from these two franchises alone I think my job is done here today. More to come tomorrow.

Mood: playful
Music: This House is Haunted by Alice Cooper and Halloween by Helloween

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Grrr! Arrg!

Sometimes lots of options aren't such a good thing. I was rather conflicted about what to watch last night so I set aside all of my choices I had in my head and watched Scanners III. Yes, it's the Halloween of the Scanners. Good cheese-ridden movie. Some of it is just so bad its great. I can actually take the first two seriously but this one, no. This brought the psychic battles to new heights, err, I mean lows. This is the heavy sound effects, the weird camera angles, the grunting and groaning faces but yet not voices, full on drama-queen psychic fighting. Mind you this movies also brings us Scanner fights on rooftops, and a Scanner fight under water. Okay, enough Scanners for this year.

There exists a sort of second string of horror villains that refuse to die both in their films and in the box office. Among those there is one that stands heads and shoulders above the rest, both figuratively and literally. His name even says it all, he is The Tall Man. He's not all that an evil guy though, after all he believes in copyright and is against movie piracy. The end credits of the last three of the four installments of the franchise read something similar to this warning from the third film. “Unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition may result in civil liability, criminal prosecutions, and THE WRATH OF THE TALL MAN.“ This is of course the ”Phantasm“ series. The series is chockfull of human corpses turned in Star Wars Jawas (though accidentally through parallel creative processes, which goes to show you can't take forever to get your film in the theatres), flying killer metal spheres with varied weapons packages, and of course dimensional mayhem.

Being second string doesn't make you or your movies any less great, in fact if that were the case we might not have cult hits. Certainly if you talk about being attacked by people risen from the dead the first thing that comes to mind are Romero's most famous movies. Yet looking behind those, or maybe next to them on the shelf, we have some other great dead who just happen to be evil instead of mindless. These ones I absolutely must suggest that everyone see if by some manner they happened to have missed out on them by now. Everybody who loves horror must see the “Evil Dead“ trilogy. Sam Raimi is an awesome director, yes him, the one behind the scenes bringing Spider-Man to life. Evil Dead is an absolute classic, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror. “Evil Dead II” has an even wider fan base due to its more comedic elements. Then finally (so far) the third and last film ended up with a different name all together when suits thought it would somehow help, so we have “Army of Darkness” a.k.a. “Ash vs the Army of Darkness” a.k.a. of course “Evil Dead III” and this one kills me, a.k.a. “Captain Supermarket” in Japan. AoD is an absolute riot, there are so many great lines and gags you just have to pretty much quote nearly everything.

Lastly, for today at least, with these second stringers I have to suggest one of them who never managed to spawn any sequels, which is a shame and perhaps a blessing because sometimes once is enough simply because it makes them stand out all the more. Wes Craven was behind this one with a character who is certainly no Mr. Nice Guy. “Shocker” was to be a new you know who, supposedly, though maybe it was just fan wishing. That's okay, why mess with perfection. I have to mention that Shocker has an awesome heavy metal lyrical soundtrack with some amazing songs.

Off I go again, 'til the morrow.

Mood: rockin'!
Music: Demon Bell (the Ballad Of Horace Pinker) by Dangerous Toys and Shocker by Dudes of Wrath

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'll Put Pennies on Your Eyes

It's really disappointing when TV writers on shows that you like tend toward the lazy side. It's easy to make a 'bad guy' look really powerful when the hero suddenly pulls up stupid out of the blue. I won't name names, that only ever succeeds in clouding up any issue. Suffice it to say that when there are so many options open in a situation and they're all conveniently ignored that's when I get annoyed. It's even worse when it becomes a part of a repetition. Have none of these people heard the sayings, “Once bitten, twice shy.” or “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.“ At the least, if a hero is going to allow himself to be trod upon, he should at least give some indication of being afraid to put a stop to it, not just act as if there's no choice in the matter. It's kind of right up there with my beef of villains that aren't worth the title.

Speaking of good villains the only thing better than a good villain is two of them going head to head. First suggestion I have today is an absolute blast; thrills, chills, and a kick-butt grudge match that goes on and on in the best way possible. Of course I'm talking about “Freddy vs. Jason”. Better a pairing than even chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese's cup, FvJ is the ultimate pairing and this movie blends to the two movie world's and their stories together beautifully. This really is the 'best of both worlds' scenario. I can't help but wonder though, how it would have been had if it had been what I feel is the more traditional, not to mention menacing, Kane Hodder Jason than the more sympathetic tower of torment Ken Kirzinger Jason. Don't get me wrong I don't dislike the Kirzinger Jason and I can understand why the director thought a more dare we say softer Jason might be needed to really contrast nasty, vicious, true villain of the story, Freddy. I just would have liked to seen the other. Hodder's Jason has to be, in my opinion, the most emanating, anger expressive, figure there is. He just seethes, which is an impressive feat for a mute essentially faceless figure.

Now, I'd like to turn a slightly different direction for Halloween suggestions and talk a little bit about music. Not that I didn't mention some yesterday and even way back on the first day of this Thirteen Days of Halloween Blogging Bonanza. I've already mentioned Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe, and the soundtracks for The Nightmare Before Christmas, Demon Knight, and Bordello of Blood. I also happen to be the proud owner of the score for Poltergeist, which is nothing short of an awesome score.

Down below in my music selection for today's mention I have probably the most single most creepiest bit of sound ever put onto a recordable medium (studio tapes then eventually my CD edition). The second song of course. If you've never listened to it, go out and buy a copy, it's a great CD and that song plus the two that follow it to forming one fracturedly whole story are worth it alone, let alone the classic title track “Welcome to My Nightmare”, and the famous “Black Widow” song with its spectacular opening by Vincent Price.

Tomorrow can't come soon enough again, eh?

Mood: optimistic
Music: Breakthru by Queen and Years Ago by Alice Cooper

Monday, October 24, 2005

Seven More Days 'Til Hell Night (8 to 'Ween)

Last night I went ahead and watched Dead & Buried, which I previously mentioned. That is one serious bleeped up movie I said to my self at the end. In a good way of course. This is one of those great, great, creepy, and immensely scary, films that there just aren't enough of. The story is frightening on so many levels. I must also re-iterate that Ham-head is just freak-nasty. To waylay any fears, in no way is Ham-head any more than a minor character, and really it's just a name I applied to the special effect figure in one scene, and he is seen only a few scant seconds. So no worries about the failed slasher figure, I'm just hyping a victim, and an amazing piece of Stan Winston's work.

Speaking of great films, I have one for you now, well some of you. Every once and a while a movie comes along that is truly amazing for some reason or another and you just want to tell everybody about it and get them to see it. Out of those an even infinitesimally smaller number you want to tell everyone to see, but in all good conscience cannot because some people just shouldn't see it for the sake of their mental sanity, and for the fact that they may hate you for making them see it. I'm talking about the debut film of a very highly regarded horror director named Wes Craven. The film is of course the infamous “Last House on the Left”. Yesterday I mentioned about the trouble the Poltergeist movies supposedly caused some of the actors/actresses, well this piece of movie making actually did harm. One actress never did any films after it, another did it and only it. A couple of the actors worked only for a couple years after despite getting work before it. The lead actress fell into the same boat. This movie was just a career killer. I'm only half suggesting this film and I have no plans to watch it for Halloween myself.

Now here's one I can suggest to everyone and its so much fun that it's a scream. No. not that, not in today's list anyway. I'm talking about “Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight”. Yee-haw and all that other blanking blank! I like to see Billy Zane at work and he is an absolute riot in this movie. Come get your cheese, this is the fine stuff, made for the express purpose of being cheesy with a good dose of camp, everything you could ever hope or want from a theatrical presentation from Tales from the Crypt. Not only is this film most excellent but so is the lyrical soundtrack! *air guitars* I had the immense joy of buying the CD and getting for free a copy of the novelisation of the film. Pretty good book, I really like the couple of extra scenes it contains.

Who can mention Demon Knight, without also mentioning the next, and sadly, last Tales from the Crypt movie, “Bordello of Blood”. Certainly not I. Though not as good as the former Bordello is still pretty fun. With Dennis Miller how could it not be. Not to mention what's a campy horror movie without Corey Feldman in it? All we're missing is the other Corey. Again this movie has another excellent lyrical soundtrack and likewise it is just short of Demon Knight's soundtrack. This time I have no idea if there is a novelisation. Maybe given the poor box office results of Bordello there isn't. Bordello lacks much of a mythos, certainly not an original one any given you can't have vampires without some kind of story to their background and this one goes with Lillith.

See you tomorrow.

Mood: hungry.
Music: Hey Man Nice Shot by Filter and All Right Now by Free

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Thirteen-Thirteen Thirteenth Street Apartment Thirteen

I feel like boogying, two-minute boogie style. That's an odd spelling change, isn't it? I'm just going by the spell check. Pay no attention to the programmers behind the spell checker. :)

Sometimes you really have to wonder about some movies. Especially when they're the kind that claim to be based on a true story. I watched one yesterday and for the sake of everyone's sanity I won't name any names. This movie was petty much, let's collide the Amityville Horror with Poltergeist and make it using very little money. There are worse things except the timing of this film is just way too late. It was a 1992 movie based on a story that supposedly happened in 1990. Way too late to try to cash in on those great films, and way too small and low of a movie to gain anything with people who may find it original to their experience. Sort of lends to the credence of the claims of reality, but also begs the question why bother.

Now for something I can suggest. Why beat around the bush, I already mentioned them in the paragraph above. The Amityville Horror originally filmed in 1979 was a pretty fair adaption of the famous novel (dare I say hoax). I'm not a great champion of this movie nor am I a detractor. Now if we move on to Amityville II: The Possession here is a film that I think is a bigger winner. Mind you Amityville II has nothing to do with the second novel which carries on the Lutz's story. Nope, this film is a prequel, and for all intents and purposes it almost might as well be the story of Ronald DeFeo, though the family is named the Montelli's. There was one really nice startle scene that really left me impressed with the way that it was done. We also have one of my favourite lines for a B-movie, though I don't think of this is a B film. As to the number of other Amityville sequels and the remake, I cannot say anything having not seen some and forgotten others.

Now, if you want to talk haunted house and in general haunting movies then you absolutely cannot forget to mention the best of the best. Poltergeist. This is an awesome movie and my top pick for horror movie ever. I could go on and on about how excellent this movie is. I am disappointed in one thing, the growing insistence that Spielberg had more to do with the directing than Tobe Hooper who did the actual directing and has the credit. Spielberg is great and all that, but so is Hooper and I just can't stand behind a lot of the ideas that people are saying out of their blind Spielberg worship. Anyway, this is the King of Horror Movies if you ask me. I also immensely enjoy the two sequels and only wish that Julian Beck could have been in the third as planned to reprise the role of Reverend Kane, but alas the curse got to him, and he died before or around the start of filming.

Talk about trouble swirling around film production. Near to the night of the opening of the first film actress Dominique Dunne was murdered. After the filming of the second Julian Beck died of stomach cancer. Then most famously of all, the main star of all three films, Heather O'Rourke, died of mysterious medical complications just before the end of filming on the final film. Add in some careers that suffered afterward each film, and an exorcism on the set after of the third film after finding some of the skeletons were from real cadavers and you have a heck of theory, for those inclined that way.

That's my chilling bit for today. For more continuing Halloween countdown coverage tune in tomorrow.

Mood: tired.
Music: Making Christmas from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Put Out the Fire by Queen

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Crush your head!

Last night I did get to watch Scanners and Scanners II and I most certainly affirmed that I do indeed love the second film. It's great. I also found out that the protagonist is the guy who plays Dr. Rodney McKay in the show Stargate: Atlantis which I have just been able to watch on local US television. So that was a surprise. Now, today I got my private Halloween homepage up for my friends and fans and anyone who can divine its location. That's why I'm running so late on this blog entry. I had to do a pretty hefty search to find the stories I wanted to include for this years festivities. I knew exactly which stories but the names escaped me and so did their location in my files. I wrote these two trying to explore the usefulness of Flash Fiction. Not so useful in my opinion especially since you need to fit the idea in such a small space and describe as much as you can in a little words as possible and still paint a broad and vibrant picture.

Before I start talking about today's suggestions I'd like to point out that a number of my horror favourites aren't necessary all that straight horror alone. A number of them, especially tied to the monster type of movie, actually have a high incidence of being just as much sci-fi films. The Scanners trilogy is a good example. Another good example is my first suggestion today, which I might watch this week, Critters. Not much more sci-fi and horror than that. Carnivorous aliens land in rural Kansas (Oy! Everything happens in Kansas) and start terrorising a family. It's also another film with a bunch of sequels. I always suggest people also watch Critters II because I am very enamoured of it as well. The third I could do without, and a channel difficulty prevented me from seeing the fourth installment for nothing so I still haven't seen it.

These are all well enough known titles. Now I think its time to look toward something a little higher on the horror food chain. Hi-dee-ho ha ha ha! It's Chucky. That's right, Child's Play, an obvious classic. I was always conflicted over whether I liked the first film or the second one best. My favourite part of those two films is the sheer utter relentlessness of Chucky; not bleeding gunshot wounds, ripped off hands or--well let's not throw out any more spoilers--can keep that nasty little rubber-headed maniac down. The third installment in the franchise didn't do much for me at all. Now, Bride of Chucky, that was coolness exemplified. As always, being behind, I have yet to see Seed of Chucky.

Turning in a slightly different direction, how about something a little off the beaten path? Something not everyone will be aware of, and seen suggested by everybody and their horror movie watching hamsters. Everybody knows who Robert Englund is and has seen him countless times under layer upon layer of latex rubber sporting his red and green sweater, dirty old brown hat, and finger-knives. Not everyone knows though that Robert stepped behind the camera and directed a film. It's called “976-EVIL” and its about an evil phone service, and no I don't mean porn. Hell has a horoscope service, conveniently giving out what it calls horrorscopes. There's a fair bit of negative chatter about this film, but that is par for the course with anything that doesn't spawn sequels or gain full-blown cult status. I love it, it's a great flick. I especially love the work of the lead actor, Stephen Geoffreys as Hoax. Look for the cameo scene with Robert Picardo, whom I'll tell you about another day.

Again tomorrow, my fresh little corpses.

Mood: Fergusony
Music: Love You to Death by Type O Negative and Cold Ethyl by Alice Cooper

Friday, October 21, 2005

11 More Days 'Til All Hallows Eve

I never did get to see any Scanners last night. By time I was done with broadcast television I was ready to sit down and start banging out a new short story. I worked until I was tired then I did a little bit of web surfing for some nitty-gritty details to add to the story. I really like to have some crunch to my stories, something that grounds them firmly in reality, gives a connection to the reader, ties parts to the world and the memory of the audience. When I attach a piece of experience to a story I'm betting on twigging something in the reader's head if not actually semi-bonding a part of what I know with what they know. Its easiest to do that with very common things like figures in entertainment, entertainments themselves--books, TV shows, music, etc.--or elements common to all of us that give us a sense of the environment we are a part of each and every day.

I may try again to watch Scanners tonight, or I may not. As much as I'd like to watch thirteen movies for Halloween one a night, the truth of the matter is that I could watch one a night from Labour Day to Christmas and not repeat anything. So, that said let me suggest a few more films. I can certainly endorse another Stan Winston driven horror-fest in the form of “Wrong Turn” a wonderful little film that is many ways a much better modern-day Texas Chainsaw Massacre, minus the chainsaw and I don't think it was Texas, than the TCM remake could ever have be. Wrong Turn is like a nightmare put on a DVD and its a doozy. If you want to see TCM please see the original, you can't beat the classics.

Halloween I find is also a good holiday to cross-pollinate with another holiday, namely Christmas. On that front we have a couple dual goodies. First up is the wide-age audience range, but utterly cool, “Nightmare Before Christmas”. No need to wax poetic on and on for it, it more than sings for itself.

Then we have what I and half of people (apparently) consider a great classic, “Silent Night, Deadly Night”. Oh, I love this film to gory bits! I call it the “Carrie” of slasher films. As if it wasn't an awesome enough movie it also has this great lyrical soundtrack of Christmas songs made specifically for the film, partly because it was a good idea, and partly because no one wanted their Christmas songs in a movie about a killer in a Santa Suit. Hoo-boy did SN,DN cause a ruckus, and a huge backlash. In many ways we're lucky to have this little gem. People all over the place without seeing any of it decided that Santa himself had gone serial killer and they all but cried for the blood of the movie-makers. Oh, word of warning, there are a bunch of SN,DN sequels, the only one I've seen is the second movie and it's shall we say cut from a different cloth, don't watch it unless you like to heckle bad B-movies.

Okay kiddies, one more suggestion for today, I don't want to run out of the best of the best. This one may be a little hard to get a hold of. It's based on a Peter Straub novel, so don't shoot the messenger please, book to film conversion don't sit well with a lot of people. “Ghost Story” is the name of it, and I have the DVD which sadly is very quiet except for a few quite loud parts making it a little hard to watch. Last time I saw it I ran the close captioning to make up for it. I'm unsure who did the special effects but they range from mediocre to absolutely stunning for the final one. The final one I want to call surreal, but really it's almost too real, like being there, and that makes it a real holy **** moment. It was also the film that I'm first to pull out when people used to say things like only nobody's appear in horror films. Here we have a horror, with of all people, dance legend Fred Astaire, in it.

Back again tomorrow with some more suggestions.

Mood: skippy.
Music: Witch Hunt by Stratovarius and Sin by Nine Inch Nails

Thursday, October 20, 2005

12 More Days 'Til Halloween

I'm a day late and at least a dollar short. Yesterday was the start of the Thirteen Days of Halloween. I put up my pumpkin lights and that was as far as I got before being felled by an intense need to sleep after the late night shows ended. Thus began the thirteen days of darkness, both figuratively and somewhat literally. When the pumpkin lights are up I don't turn on the basement lights. Not unless I want to turn some of the pumpkins white on the top side from sitting inches underneath of the light. So here I sit in the lusciously lurid and warm seeming glow of twenty glowering glowing jack-o-lanterns listening to Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe for the second time in as many days.

So what am I planning for the next 13 days? Tonight I'm looking forward to making my head explode with the original “Scanners” from David Cronenberg. If I still feel awake I might try and squeeze in “Scanners II“ as well, and yes I really like that movie. I even like the third installment though that is where I draw the line having only seen a few minutes of “Scanner Cop” and being totally annoyed with the drop in story-writing--which say a lot given “Scanners III“.

October 30 is always the night I watch the original “The Crow”. Some other night I intend to watch “Dead & Buried” for the second time. D&B is definitely an interesting film, with its incredibly graphic special effects from one of the masters of such stuff, Stan Winston. In particular D&B sports a “character” I affectionately refer to as “Ham-head” who Winston was obviously enamoured with having created such a fine specimen of pure gore and horror. Certainly the makers of the DVD for this film loved ol' Ham-head because he appears in all of the featurettes.

I'm holding onto the 1989 movie version “Phantom of the Opera” starring Robert Englund for some night close to Halloween. I'll probably re-watch the movie Raw Meat starring Donald Pleasance though honestly Pleasance is the only great thing about the movie. It's not that bad and it's not that good either, but Pleasance chews up the scenery as they say. Speaking of him, I'll also be watching “The Devonsville Terror” where he has a small but enjoyable part. Devonsville is paired on the DVD I have with the 1980 film “The Boogeyman” which has nothing to do with the 2005 film, nor apparently with anything to do with the boogeyman.

That's all for now Boils and Ghouls. More tomorrow.

Mood: Cool.
Music: Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie and Haunted by Evanescence.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stage 32456Q13 Complete!

I have registered my company name, R.M.T.P. Co. ( Soon I will submit a request for a block of ISBN numbers. Then I will produce my first e-book after some final editing. I will endeavour to put up a page for it and take in any pre-orders. From the looks of it, initially the security on the book will be that I will put it in an encrypted zip file and upon receiving payment email out the password. For when, I suppose it depends on how long it takes to edit the book its final time. The page count is going to be just a little over 200 pages from the looks of it, though formatting may increase that a tad. The book itself will be in PDF format and may or may not be tagged unprintable, depends on if I can find some PDF security software.

On the websites front, I have added a custom “404 Error: This Page Cannot be Found” page, it's primarily for use with the reviews website, but generalised and hybridised for site-wide use. The next Bob's Reviews ( update will spread the pop-up sneak peek blurb reviews to the entire site. I hope shortly after that to add some more reviews. I'm working on a huge block of them, but its slow going since I'm redoing the coding. The look will be the same, but the guts of the pages, and the size of space the site takes on my server space will be smaller. The new coding works off of javascript. If javascript is accepted enough that can rely on it then so can I.

The you know what holiday is coming up fast. Which reminds me, I have to fix up the splash screen of my Sympatico website. It also explains the nasty claw marks on my shoulder. Amizu demands her tribute again. I won't make the mistake of denying her this year, though my replacement did a great job of filling in. Where does the time go? It's already been a week since Thanksgiving. Before that it seemed like it was only Labour Day. Next thing you know it'll be Christmas. People on my mailing list should look for a Halloween email soon. I think I know already what I will offer up for the occasion. Until next time...

Mood: Tired
Music: Sacred Cowboys by Bruce Dickinson and Rainbow by Aya Hisakawa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What is the World Coming To?

I am really beginning to feel at odds with some people that I considered to be pretty high in the horror stratosphere. I watched a pair of movies over the last two nights that left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, the first for the film itself, and the second for certain opinions and leanings in the extras. Let me start with the one that just wasn't that good of a horror. Starring Bill Paxton and Mathew McConaughey and directed by Paxton. The film is called “Frailty” and it comes with some pretty glowing recommendations. One of them is “...edge-of-the-seat entertainment” and comes from Stephen King. I'm not so bothered by that. Stevie is either easier to please than I am or a recommendation whore, I've never known which. It's the next one that bothers me... “The most disturbing horror picture I've seen since the The Shining.“ and it comes from Sam Raimi. I could not be more disappointed in this proclamation. If this is the most disturbing he's seen then he needs to see more movies. Certainly, the year previous to this release Raimi's own film “The Gift”, written by Billy Bob Thornton and another chap who's name escapes me, was more disturbing, so much so that Raimi said himself he almost didn't take the job. The Gift while a better horror was still pretty tame especially since we are talking about Sam “Evil Dead“ Raimi here.

That's the first (of these two recent) wide divergences. The second one, as I said was to do with the extras and not the film itself, and came from “Boogeyman” starring Barry Watson and produced by Sam Raimi's and Rob Tapert's Ghost House Pictures. The documentary included on the DVD goes on at length about the current evolution of horror movies and how this film fits in. Rob Tapert is in several bits talking about this so we can't blame Raimi directly since he is absent. The bulk of the documentary's position on this subject is that this an Asian flavoured film and that's a big and good trend in horror. There is room for debate if the Asian influx is good or not, but trying to tie it to this film is just wrong even looking at film alone never mind getting into the full multi-media horror genre. “Boogeyman” seems more a meld of “Wes Craven Presents: They“ and ”Darkness Falls“ with an Elm Street riff than it seems to have any influence of “The Ring” or “The Grudge”. The end of the film, the real end that shows after the credits have run, harkens back to author John Saul who was infamous for such evil never ends endings--being different than what Hollywood does were such things mean an intention to make a sequel. Or looked at another way it was that kind of stock sequel catch for the next film.

The first example may be simple ignorance and greed. Ignorant of what words are being ascribed to him, or taking the cash to have those words ascribed. The second, and really its only implying Raimi feels the same as Tapert, seems to me to be an example of egotism, over-sensationalism, and/or trying to ride on the coattails of a trend even if it's not following the trend its supposed to be following. In either case and any way I look at it I can't help but feel disappointed, and that there is a widening gulf between myself and people I considered to be the same wavelength. It's like the masters have deviated from their own teachings.

I suppose I should make it clear though that I am not bagging on “Boogeyman” or on Raimi and Tapert, though maybe a tad on Raimi. “Frailty” thought I will definitely bag on. I'll go do that now, write the review that is.

Mood: Exasperated
Music: The Freeway from Wes Craven's New Nightmare Soundtrack and Paschendale by Iron Maiden

Friday, October 07, 2005

Megrims and Vapours

Where does the time go. I could have swore I was right on track, but here it seems five days have passed instead of the four I intended. Yesterday was a plain old lazy day. A much needed battery recharge.

I had the front door of the house open all last night while I was in the living room watching everything I watch, taped and live, on Thursday night. I kept seeing things in my peripheral vision. You know, dark figures that disappear when you turn your eye to look at them directly. Shadows that seem to move even though there are no other ones moving. At one point I could have sworn I heard rain falling but I couldn't see it and someone went past on the other side of the road in a fashion totally wrong for rain to have been falling. One of the two streetlights that cast light in front of the house has been out for quite a few days. It makes for an odd difference to the usual view and is no doubt a huge part of the funny business.

The brain is a strange thing sometimes. It sees more than it makes useful use of. It also has a tendency to fill in the blanks. A shape half seen out of the corner of your eyes is given a useful form, one that you can relate too just as an inkblot suggests a shape and the brain fills it in. The predatory part of us makes us attentive to motion. Some more than others. I certainly twig on movement very easily and sometimes it doesn't have to be more than say shadows or shapes that are visible in my periphery that seem to change. Part of it most assuredly has to do with the years I spent in those roach infested apartment buildings. There I saw movement all of the time and it was rather distracting at times to say the least.

So, I kept seeing these shadow figures walk by, in addition to two or three trips by real actual people. It's a pretty standard thing for me if seriously weird compared to other people's lives. Some might consider that I'm becoming attuned to the spirit world and seeing lives gone past. Those some I will strongly disagree with. Nothing so earth shattering as that is going on. I know, it's passing strange that someone who writes so much about this sort of thing really doesn't buy into it. I'm not sampling my own drugs so to speak. A sound practice. Though the way this blog entry is going one (myself included) has to wonder if I'm not on something. Which makes me wonder about the can of Diet Pepsi next to me, and the water that comes out of the tap. Anyway, I'm veering horribly off topic.

There are other shapes and forms I've attributed to places. The light on the wall of the bedroom plus the book shelves with the books on top of it makes for what looks like a figure darting into the closet whenever I round the corner of the stairs and come into the hallway. When I sit in the living room late at night reading with the laundry room door open I can see the shelves and the wall corner that turns with the opening of the basement stairs. I get a strong impression of someone standing there, in a tattered white robe, who maybe has a really messed up face (as in by violence not deformity of either the person or of its imagining). Sometimes it gets traded with a decidedly familiar form aka the little girl in the original Night of the Living Dead.

Or maybe I'm just pulling everyone's legs... you decide...

Mood: Too Salty!
Music: Stay With Me Tonight by Quiet Riot and Right Now by Van Halen

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I Love the Smell of Sharpies in the Morning

Shadows in the light. Lights twinkling in the darkness. A glow around a target making it easier to snipe at. A pedestal to sit a subject on to make it easier to scrutinise. What is said defined further by what is not said. Coloured patches on an otherwise white bird. Contrast is a strengthening, highlighting, agent in the business of writing.

Last time I said how I am not such a big fan of matching the atmospherics of a scene to the intended mood of the piece. Certainly it is a method that has its place, but I don't think that it's the end all be all, nor do I think it should be presented as such. It's almost as if the people who are selling books on how to write are trying to sabotage the competition by giving them good advice, but only about a quarter to a half of the good advice that they should be giving. Then once a standard is set on what you're supposed to tell the newbies, then it gets propagated by the next person looking to sell a book on writing, and the next, and then it hits the web--the world's number one info propagation tool--and it's ad naseum time.

Woo boy an oppressed by the man rant. It can't be helped though. Every time you consider that people are too good to do the things you're worried about them doing to you is the time that they are really doing it to you and you're letting them get away with it. Or maybe that's the paranoia talking. If the paranoia talks though, maybe it should be listened to because not just anything can just up and talk. Suddenly no one is needing the contrast of what is not said because I've certainly said more than enough. That is if all of this is to be believed. Then again, what purpose is there to looking like a nutjob to promote a wacky paranoid idea that people are out to keep other people down and somehow I am some kind of crusader against it. Unless of course this is just another way to provide contrast.

About face! Forward march! Topic change. Fire one...

I've been reminded that sooner than later it will be National Game Week again. This year it is the week of November 20th through the 26th. What is National Game Week? It is a week meant to highlight, showcase, and celebrate non-electronic games, in particular RPGs, CCGs, Strategy/Miniature games, and the things that fall in between. Last year was a load of fun, e-mailing back and forth like crazy, pushing a wild and at times frenetic scenario in my Rifts play by email. That same game is now slowly coming back to life after a mind numbing hiatus over the summer. I hope to clear up the current scene by time NGW rolls around. It might even be nice to squeeze in something else too.

Speaking of role-playing games, and scenes, and scenes leading to thoughts of books... I'm once again strongly considering going very non-traditional directions with some horror works. This immediately pushes whatever the work is in a more fantasy direction, even though not fantasy in the traditional sense, as in the very tight pigeonholed sword and sorcery, which seems to be all a lot of people can think of to do. I have some wild ideas, but it's a bit early to share. I know, such a tease.

Mood: Crazy
Music: Lightning Strikes Twice by Iron Maiden, Walk Though the Fire from Buffy The Vampire Slayer “Once More, With Feeling”