Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Does anyone else out there love this movie as much as me? For me, it's the best of the sequels and really captures the feeling of the season rather well too. It also features the return of Michael stalking his prey like a champ instead of just popping up and killing them like he did for most of the other sequels. In the original, one of the most chilling things is how he just waits and watches his prey and we get glimpses of him in the background before he disappears and eventually ends his victim's life. The mask looks better than it will in the later sequels and Haddonfield feels like a small, midwest town for once.

I like that even though the police are pretty proactive and believe Loomis when he tells them that Michael is back, the Shape always seems to stay a step ahead of them and is rather cunning in the way he plunges the whole town into chaos. Not bad for someone who never speaks a word.

The early showdown between Loomis and Michael in the gas station is great too. I think that's one of my favorite set pieces in the film, outside the scene later on in the film on the streets of Haddonfield where Michael is stalking Jamie and it ends in a rather surprising way.

It's playing on AMC quite a bit this week due to the impending holiday and I'm quite happy about that. If you haven't seen it before, I would recommend checking it out, as it's the perfect type of movie for your Halloween celebrations.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ed Wood

Missed my horror movie watching on Friday as I was cleaning and fun stuff like that, so I made up for it a little by watching this biopic of the creator of some of the worst movies around. I have to admit that I had never seen this movie before, despite seeing quite a few of the movies he directed. As nothing else was on and I had nothing else to do and was too lazy to look for a dvd, it seemed like a good choice.

The movie is almost a dual biopic that covers all of Ed Wood and also the waning years of Bela Lugosi, who was the biggest star in his films and one of his close friends. Both roles are well played by Johnny Depp and Martin Landau respectively, with Depp as the young, cross-dressing director and Landau as a morphine addicted Lugosi. They're supported by a varied and talented cast that includes Bill Murray and Patricia Arquette as particular standouts.

Director Tim Burton's choice to use black and white instead of color is wonderful. I think it really pays off as you almost feel like you're watching a behind the scenes on the filming of Wood's movies. I think the color choice too, along with the way some scenes are framed, makes you feel like Wood is a mad scientist from Frankenstein, laughing and mad and filled with a frenetic energy that he passes along to those around him.

I am saddened that I never saw this earlier, as it gives a fun and interesting account of Ed Wood that never sagged for me in its two hour run time. It was a fun ride, often hilarious and at times touching too. If you haven't seen it and have an interest in the films of yesteryear, particular z-level horror and sci-fi, check it out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NYCC 2011

In a fit of impulsiveness, me and a buddy cut out of work early to go to New York Comic Con last Friday. No photos as I forgot my camera but I had a good time. I can't believe how big the show has gotten since its inception just a few years ago. Back then, it was about half the size of Wizard World Philly. I think it's probably about 10x larger than that show was now and about 20x larger than when it started. It takes up just about the entire Javits Center, which is ginormous. They have a whole section dedicated to Artist Alley and the rest is dealers and exhibitors. Then there's the game room and autograph room. And the panel rooms.

We were only there for a bit but it was worth it. I picked up a sketchbook from Christina Strain and Adrian Alphona, a TARDIS lunchbox, a GL figure I had been looking for, a GL Ring for my daughter and some other odds and ends. And I saw Felicia Day. Who is gorgeous. And awesome.

I'm definitely going next year. Probably on Friday again as there are less people there than on Saturday, which is usually a madhouse but now is probably exceedingly crazy. And I'll take photos. And get more stuff signed. Or something. Maybe even dress up. Who knows?

Word Count: 10.18.11

55088 / 80000 words. 69% done!

Been awhile, so I thought I'd update this today. Added about 4k since last I posted. Been slacking. Gotta get on that.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Wildman of the Navidad

Bigfoot movies will always have a place in my heart. Ever since I was a young and impressionable lad watching movies like the Legend of Boggy Creek and Curse of Bigfoot. Not to mention reading books on the topic in the library when I should have been reading the Happy Hollisters or something similar. So when I heard about the Wild Man of the Navidad and saw it was playing on IFC last weekend, I had to tape it and check it out.

You see, the little town of Sublime, Texas, has a secret that not many people in town know about. There's a giant of a man, a wild man, if you will, living down in the river bottom area of a local rancher's property. He lives in a symbiosis of sorts with him, getting fed rabbits or something as an offering. The rancher, Dale, falls on hard times when he's laid off from his job and he has to open the ranch during hunting season to make ends meet. As you can imagine, this doesn't sit well with the creature and soon he makes that known in a bloody way.

The movie looks to capture the feel of the 70s drive-in films like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, from the retro titles to the music. Picture-wise, it's a little too clean and could use some grain but the framing is spot on. The acting is a little rough as they used a lot of locals to help keep their budget down, but it ends up being more charming than annoying. The gore is good and great and well done. The attacks leave the victims in quite a state and the director isn't afraid to show it. I think the monster design, while unique, reminds me a little too much of Sweetums from the Muppets and while it looks good in certain shots, it tends to look more goofy than imposing. I think maybe showing either less of him or making it a more traditional Bigfoot design would have worked better for me, but that might just be my personal preference.

I expected more from the film, but I was pleased with what I got. If they tightened it up a little, maybe removed a unnecessary subplot about the pervy helper, it might be a bit stronger. Some more menacing shots of the creature would be nice. Most of the gore shots are pretty static, which in some cases doesn't work out too well. Still, it was a fun ride and if you're a fan of low budget horror or Bigfoot, you could certainly do worse.

Check it out.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Of Unknown Origin

Tonight's film on Friday Night Frights answers the age old question of what you do when an intelligent and malicious rodent is menacing you and your family. If you're Peter Weller, you go fucking crazy and try to kill him using a variety of items like poison, traps and maybe a baseball bat with nails through it. Trust me, it works.

Of Unknown Origin is a fun little movie. Peter Weller plays a banker who just got a new assignment that could further his career. His hot as hell wife Shannon Tweed and his son go up to visit her father and give him a little peace and quiet so he can get the job done. Everything seems to be going fine until a rat starts making problems in his house, like chewing threw the dishwasher hose and flooding his kitchen and chewing threw things. Instead of focusing on work, Weller starts to focus on the rat, learning everything he can about them and trying every way in his power to kill it, eventually becoming obsessed by it.

I for one, can relate to his plight. As a homeowner, when you discover something amiss like pests or some other problem, it starts to consume you, and in your mania, you find yourself riding to Walmart in the dead of night to buy pesticides and the like to wage your own little war on them. Maybe that's just me. Still, it's chilling when you have a home invader in the walls, out thinking and outsmarting you at every turn.

Weller plays the part well, calmly obsessing about the rat in the walls while reading Moby Dick and watching The Old Man and the Sea. He even starts to relate what he'd learned about rats at a business dinner, disturbing the people around him, showing the first signs that he might be snapping. And honestly, I cared about his plight. I wanted to see him succeed not only with the rat, but with business as well.

And I wanted to see Shannon Tweed naked more. I'm only human.

A fun little film. A little dated but still creepy and a quick watch, clocking in around an hour and a half. Definitely worth a watch this Halloween season. Just not if you have pests.

Check it out.

Friday, October 07, 2011

A Night in the Lonesome October a day 2011

It's that time of year again, the yearly reading of Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October. Since it's 31 chapters long and each one takes up a day of the month of October, the usual way to read it for me is one chapter a day. It's a pretty fun way to pass the month and a quick read. It also really puts me in the mood for Halloween. If you haven't read it before, it's not too late to get a copy and start your own tradition with it.

If you have one already, join me in the reading and let me know how you do with it.

New Photo.

My buddy Jorge at work took my picture. How do I look?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Troll Hunter

Found footage movies can be a tricky watch for me. The shaky camera starts to get annoying and sometimes there's more filler/introductory stuff than necessary and not enough action. The Troll Hunter, fortunately, avoids that as the camera crew is following the main character before they even know he's a troll hunter, so right away we have all of our pieces on the board.

And what a board it is. Unlike, say, Cloverfield, we actually get frequent and good looks at the monsters in question. There are even several different types of them, each with a different look and characteristics. The camera crew realizes early on that the man they want for their story isn't a poacher at all, but a hunter the like they have never seen before and decide to record the fantastic monsters he fights. From there, they are thrown headfirst into a deadly world where the story of a lifetime might just get them killed.

The Troll Hunter is a fun ride from start to its albeit abrupt ending. I saw trolls. I saw them hunted. We got a great main character in the hunter, whose world weary nature starts to show through as the film progresses. We even get a reference to The Three Billy Goats Gruff. As a plus, we get some beautiful Norwegian countryside in the film as well and it is breathtaking. Also, the CGI is rather good as well.

There's some nice touches in the film that help sell the concept of fighting mythological creatures, mainly in the clean-up, where you find out just how involved fighting one of these things can be, especially when they turn to stone or explode. Most of it gets blamed on bears, and the wildlife official who helps the hunter is rather picky about the types of bears he wants for the job.

I'd rank this up there with Monsters as a fun, low-budget creature film that exceeds all expectations and makes for a pleasurable viewing experience.

Check it out.