Thursday, December 4, 2014

Horror Anthologies?

Well, the Christmas season is upon us and with Scream Factory's release of Tales From The Crypt (containing one of my favorite holiday segments: All Through The House) and The Vault Of Horror on bluray got me to thinking: What are your favorite horror anthology films? While certainly not exclusively made by British horror film company Amicus, they made a lot of great films to pair up with Creepshow and the like. I'm going to say my favorite is Tales From The Crypt followed closely by From Beyond The Grave. What can I say, I'm an Anglophile. What say you?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Contest! Alarm! Win!

Hello to all my fine friends worldwide! As you may know, this year Scott MacDonald of asked me to do some reviews for him. I was flattered and excited to do it. Scott is a cool dude that is very knowledgable about genre films and I have used his site as a buying guide for a while.

Time came around to do his holiday guide and he again kindly asked me for a submittal. Richard did several as well. Scott is giving away a pack of blurays AND a region free bluray player!

Head over there and sign up! You want to win. I want you to win. We are winners. And don't you want something to play Arrow's Bava blurays on?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Carl Interviewed Me!

Hello and hello. Don't you wish that Carl would interview me? Wish granted. That was easy.


Carl's blog has received the Yellow Razor Big Blue Thumbs Up Seal Of Approval. And that is non negotiable.

Monday, November 17, 2014

EuroCultAV Review

Scott MacDonald asked me to write a review for EuroCultAV and I jumped at the chance. Because I'm not writing anything else, am I? Eh? I don't have a blog that needs updating. Oh wait, I do! Whatever. Lazy.

Here's the review:   Brad's EuroCultAV Review

Thanks Scott!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

EuroCultAV Holiday Bonanza!

Hello kids. The fine folks over at EuroCultAV are putting together a holiday gift guide and best of 2014 list. As part of the promotion they are having a contest sponsored by and are giving away a region free Sony bluray player! So keep your eye on, like them on Facebook if you haven't and watch this space! Because aren't we all tired of being shackled by the man and his 'region coding?' I say no more. The line has been drawn in the sand, the gauntlet thrown, and various other appropriate cliches. YOU COULD WIN A REGION FREE BLURAY PLAYER!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a great day and remember, everyone's entitled to one good scare!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Carl is Datacolt

My friend Carl (interviewed here: Interview With A Carl) has started a blog. It's a world beater! Expect some cross blog promotion in the future! Carl cares and he shares. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dracula Prince Of Darkness

A few quick thoughts on Dracula Prince Of Darkness:

1. The bluray is the third copy I have of it. The Anchor Bay double disc, the dvd set with Frankenstein Created Woman and The Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires, and the bluray.

2. The bluray looks fantastic.

3. Terrence Fisher doesn't get enough credit as a great horror director.

4. The bluray really reveals the amazing production design and the atmospheric lighting. 

5. If you can't have Peter Cushing, Andrew Keir is a more than acceptable substitute.

6. Male lead Francis Matthews (veteran of Hammer film appearances AND he's in a pretty dang good giallo: Five Women For The Killer) sounds exactly like Cary Grant.

7. One of my all time favorite 'hey it's that guy!' actors, Charles Tingwell is in it. He is great in the Miss Marple films of the early 60's and in one of my all time favorite films, the Australian comedy The Castle. (Everyone in my life gets a steady stream of Good on ya Dale's, Looks like everyone's kicked a goal, and This is going straight to the pool room.)

8. Barbara Shelley is very good in this. She knows they are all doomed from the jump.

9. There is a great 30 minute documentary on the disc featuring Barbara Shelley, Francis Matthews and Mark Gatiss.

10. I can't decide if I love this or Horror Of Dracula more. Two of the three copies I have were gifts from Elizabeth. That's a lot for Horror Of Dracula to overcome!

11. You should buy this bluray if you like Dracula, Hammer films, gothic horror films or fun. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween No Time Posting Blues

Hey y'all. I meant to blog more this month but there's been a rash of birthdays, weddings and family reunions. I am keeping a list of everything we have watched in October and I will definitely post about that. Also I'm going to start delving into the Halloween Box Set soon. So I have that going for me.

In the meantime head on over to Jeffrey's blog if you haven't lately. He's smack dab in the middle of Slashtober 3D. Good, good stuff!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Halloween Season

Yesterday was Elizabeth's birthday. I love how it kicks off the Halloween season. This year I'm going to try to mix up some favorites and classics with some unseen films. I sometimes get trapped into watching films over and over. Any suggestions?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Heather's Horror Blog Of Mostly Horror

My friend Heather recently moved back to Illinois. Heather, RIP. No wait, she's not dead!

She worked with Elizabeth and she lived across the street from us. Then she moved...across the street from us. It was the easiest move I ever helped with. Anyway, as you can guess, I roped her into watching horror films with us. She was terrified of horror films at first but we eased her in, starting with some more popcorn type horror films like Cabin In The Woods. From there we hit some slasher classics, haunted house films and general what have you. I knew we had her when she watched Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers on her own on Netflix. And all by her very lonesome she bought a Mill Creek horror film pack. That is a time honored, traditional horror film fan move.

Terror. Pure terror.

I sent her home with a ton of films and she said she was going to start a blog and review them. Being a procrastinator of the highest order and a man that makes wild, intricate plans and proclamations, I didn't think it would come to fruition. has!

Yes, ladies and gents, Heather has started a horror blog. And I'm very excited! Why don't you give it a look and give her your comments, tips and helpful suggestions!

Heather's Horror Blog Of Mostly Horror:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Films Richard Got Right That I Didn't

Richard and I talk a lot of movies. A lot. And from time to time he expresses fondness for something that I didn't care for. It would be foolish for me to dismiss him out of hand because Richard (as we all know) is an enthusiastic, perceptive viewer. So I often go back and rewatch these films and discover that he is indeed, correct.

One such film is He Knows You're Alone. Elizabeth and I saw it early in our combined slasher viewings and despite of (or because of) it's similarities to Halloween and it's unmasked slasher villain, I didn't think much of it.

But a rewatch proved Richard right. It has an opening aped by Scream 2 that is clever, a determined detective and plenty of early 80's slasher goodness to go around. I've often thought that the time between Halloween and 1981's slasher onslaught was a bit of a dead period, excepting Friday The 13th of course (I said relatively, Prom Night and Terror Train!). But it's not nearly as barren as I thought. This is a good one.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In The Minority

I like Rob Zombie's Halloween films, the House Of Wax remake and My Soul To Take, all commonly disliked films by the greater horror community. I know this is a broad generalization but what horror films do you like that you seem to be in the minority on? Share your shame!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Richard Of Doomed Moviethon's Favorite American Horror Films Of The 1990's

As part of our cross blog promotion (like he needs my help!) feast upon Richard's picks from that greatest of decades, the 1990's!

5. Popcorn (1991)

When I finally got around to watching Popcorn (sometime in the 2000s), I immediately ripped my leg off so that I could repeatedly kick myself for not taking a chance on this earlier. So anyway, this film is just strange; a mishmash of slasher, splatter, and classic horror conventions with an oddly heartbreaking scene thrown in for good measure. Make sure you see this one.

 4. Child's Play 2 (1990)

I never re-watch the original Child's Play but I find myself returning to the first sequel a lot ever since I first saw it when I was in my teens. This film is nightmarish, gruesome, and at times, insanely claustrophobic. The inclusion of my teenage crush, Christine Elise (Emily Valentine of "Beverly Hills 90210"), is also a huge bonus.

3. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

If nothing else, this is one of my divisive horror experiences of all time. Some people claim they were terrified and some think it is just stupid. What I love about this movie is the enveloping tone. It's not just the found footage gimmick, this movie has real atmosphere and characters, actual characters. It helps that competent actors portray those characters but yeah, I love this film. The only thing scarier than this film was the drive home from the theater on a lonely stretch of highway afterwards.

2. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Over the years, this just gets more and more amazing to my eyes. For all of Francis Ford Coppola's hubris, I think this is one of those times where it is well earned. The amount of care and detail put into the production design is staggering. People harsh on Keanu Reeves in this but for me, it's one of his most tolerable performances. I mean seriously, who the fuck likes Jonathan Harker anyway? Literally anyone can play a nothing character. At least Reeves makes him a pitiable chap. Great date movie.

1. The Exorcist III (1990)

Sometime in the mid-90s, I got this tape for a dollar when a ma and pa video store in Jupiter, Florida went out of business. I got this and Blue Velvet, neither of which I knew anything about. Boy did my brain get friggin' raped that weekend! This film attempts to make up for the misunderstood misfire of Exorcist II: The Heretic by making it bloodier but not much weirder (not sure if I like or dislike this). This is the film that endeared me to George C. Scott and Brad Dourif who both attempt to scream over all the insanity to some degree of success.

Thanks Richard!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Interview With An Aaron

Long, long ago Aaron was kind enough to interview me for his site The Death Rattle. I repaid that kindness by stealing his interview feature for my own, asking him to do an interview, and then never sending him the questions. Until now! 

Aaron has a brilliant blog, The Death Rattle and has guested on the podcast. I've already checked out a few of the movies he has recommended and folks, Aaron is on point. I am proud to present: An Interview With An Aaron.

1. Tell us something about yourself. Anything.
I'm fat.

2. What is your favorite horror film?
TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (the original, obviously)

3. Give me 5 other favorite horror films.
HELLRAISER, John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN, THE DESCENT, PHENOMENA, PHANTASM. Not necessarily my absolute favorites following TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE but they're up there.

4. What 5 horror films should I watch right now?
1. Well, I just watched OCULUS and I liked it... so, OCULUS.
3. The Canadian psychological horror movie THE DARK HOURS, which I watched a couple of months ago and have been recommending to people.
5. The Jim Jarmusch vampire movie ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE. Not a conventional horror movie, nor is it an original take on vampires, but it's so good. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are perfect.

5. You review a lot of indie horror films. What 5 should I see?

6. Favorite film monster? (vampire, zombie, werewolf, Adam Sandler, etc.)
Demons and lesbian vampires.

7. Favorite giallo?
TENEBRE (or TENEBRAE if you're anal about the spelling) or THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH. It's hard to pick a single favorite. I like many for different reasons. If I'm allowed to pick unconventional Gialli, I'd put PHENOMENA and HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS at very the top of the list.

8. Put these things in order: George Romero's Martin, pizza, boot cut jeans, Fulci's The Beyond, Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse, spray cheese, John F. Kennedy Jr.
1. Pizza
2. Fulci's THE BEYOND
3. George Romero's MARTIN
4. Spray cheese
5. John F. Kennedy Jr.
6. Boot cut jeans
7. Tobe Hooper's THE FUNHOUSE

9. 5 favorite horror film directors?
In no particular order: Lucio Fulci, John Carpenter, Don Coscarelli, Tobe Hooper (he made some stinkers but he gave me my favorite horror movie of all time), Dario Argento (up to a point). Honorable mentions: Wes Craven and Jean Rollin.

10. Where do I jump into the world of non Swarzeneggar, Stallone, Van Damme or Seagal 80's/90's action films?
To name a few....
Cannon's NINJA trilogy - REVENGE OF THE NINJA with Sho Kosugi, ENTER THE NINJA with Franco Nero, and NINJA III: THE DOMINATION with Lucinda Dickey.
STONE COLD with Brian Bosworth - one of the most amazing, over-the-top Action movies ever made in my opinion.
John Woo's HARD BOILED. He has other great films, like THE KILLER and whatnot, but HARD BOILED is far and away my favorite of his.
Ruggero Deodato's RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS.
Andy Sidaris's HARD TICKET TO HAWAII and all of his movies after that.

11. Should I buy the Andy Sedaris set? 
Does a bear shit in the woods? 5 bucks for 12 movies. It's a no brainer! It's worth it for HARD TICKET TO HAWAII alone.

12. First horror film you loved?

13. Scariest film you have seen?
As a kid, it was MAUSOLEUM and THE HOWLING, especially the former. As far as long term effectiveness, probably JAWS. As cliche as it sounds, I'm scarred to this day because of it. I live in a place surrounded by water and I'm terrified of the ocean. FML.

14. How many times have you seen Friday The 13th Part 2?
In the 5 to 10 range. It's one of those movies I've lost track of over the years as far as how many times I've seen it. Me and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 go all the way back to when I first remember watching horror movies as a kid.

15. Black gloved killer or axe wielding madman?
If that's your way of asking me "Gialli or slashers", I'll go with axe wielding madman.

16. Argento or Fulci?
Overall, definitely Fulci.

17. What horror film sub genre could you do without going forward?
Zombies. There are enough great zombie movies out there. I don't think we need any more.

18. What was the best horror film of 2013?
This will make some eyes roll, but I have to go with ABCs OF DEATH. "Best" is subjective, but it's my favorite of 2013. Some of the segments are garbage, but it covers a lot of bases in terms of sub-genres, and a lot of the segments are creative and entertaining. It also opened my eyes to some up-and-coming directors I should keep an eye on. If we're talking horror movies that follow a narrative, probably THE CONJURING. 2013 kinda sucked for horror in my opinion.

19. What's the best horror film you have seen this year (regardless of release date)?
"Best" would be a toss-up between SORUM and BEDEVILLED - both from South Korea. SORUM is a very atmospheric psychological horror movie and BEDEVILLED is essentially a revenge movie with a pretty amazing pay-off.

20. Is Halloween the best slasher film? 

21. What's the worst three horror remakes you have seen?
1. PROM NIGHT is the fucking woooooooooorst.
There are so many bad ones.

22. Is there a remake that worked for you?

23. Is there a horror film you'd like to see remade?

24. 5 guilty pleasure horror films?

25. If (God forbid) your residence was in danger of sliding into the 5th dimension, what dvd/blurays would you save?

26. You are on the record as a fan of masks, what is your favorite?
Outside of movies: There was a WWF tag team in the 80s called Demolition. They wore Hockey masks covered in black leather with spikes sticking out.
Horror: The silver mask from Lamberto Bava's DEMONS.
Non-horror movies: The Five Deadly Venoms. Chinese opera masks are so fucking cool.

27. Franco or Rollin?

28. What is the last horror film you watched at the theater?
I dread going to the movies. The last one I saw on the big screen was THE CONJURING last summer. I've only been to the movies twice this year so far and neither were horror.

29. What is in your dvd/bluray player right now?
WWF Survivor Series 1987

30. The Lords Of Salem: Rob Zombie's best film?

31. Looking over directors that are considered masters (in one way or another) such as Carpenter, Craven, Romero, Hooper, who directing today could join that group? Does James Wan belong?
My controversial pick would be Rob Zombie. Love or hate his films, he has a unique cinematic voice and an enthusiasm for the genre, which is what made guys like Carpenter and Craven special. Aside from him, I can't think of anyone. If Ti West lived up the promise he showed with HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and INNKEEPERS, I'd include him. If Eli Roth was more prolific, he'd definitely be there. James Wan is good but not "master" good.

32. If you could make me watch 5 films of any genre what would they be?

33. List a favorite film that might surprise us?

34. What film would you like to sit down and watch with the director?
WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS with Michael Levesque.

35. What do you make of The House Of The Devil?
I've seen it three times so far and I haven't gotten tired of it yet. I love the atmosphere of it - not just the horror atmosphere but the 80s feel of it (despite it being a tad forced on occasion). The slow burn is a little TOO slow at times but the pay-off makes it all worth it. I'd feel comfortable recommending it to people who aren't as nerdy about movies as I am.

36. What is the best album of the 90's?
Faith No More "Angel Dust"

37. 5 desert island albums?
Faith No More "Angel Dust"
The Smiths "Hatful of Hollow"
Finch "What it is to Burn"
Deftones "White Pony"
Ministry "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste"

38. What is your favorite film of all time? (Or top 5)
SCORPIO RISING (short) and TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (feature length)

39. Dr. Pepper, Pibb, or neither?


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fulci Masterpiece?

What is Fulci's masterpiece? City Of The Living Dead? Zombie? Don't Torture A Duckling? The House By The Cemetery? Conquest? Okay, probably not Conquest. Does he have more than one masterpiece? 

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Heard A Creaking Sound...

We're having a haunted housethon this weekend to celebrate the release of Scream Factory's The Legend Of Hell House bluray.

We're planning to write it up for the blog. In fact, I have already written the introduction so as to put the pressure on to write the thing. I figure it'll be easier to write than the Spaghetti Westernthon, although there is a chance that I'll abandon that one totally. Because, lazy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

They Want My Soul

I was a religious buyer of monthly music magazine CMJ in the late 90’s and early 00’s. It came with a free cd every month and was an easy way to keep up with new music in the pre-internet era.

“Did you check out that Spoon track?” -Carl   

“Um, no. Should I?” -Me

“Probably.” -Carl

I did. It was Lines In The Suit. Minimal, infectious rock and roll. I bought the album Girls Can Tell later at a record shop in Asheville, NC. Great stuff that stayed in the rotation for a long time.

Everyone loved, loved, loved the follow up record Kill The Moonlight. Everyone but me. I couldn’t (and still can’t) see how anyone thought it was good or even an improvement on Girls Can Tell. But it made tons of year end best of lists and is still highly regarded today. To each their own.

I felt like Get Fiction was definitely a move in the right direction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was incredible. A track from that actually made our wedding cd. Transference was another slightly off record despite having a stellar track in Out Go The Lights.

We come to this year’s They Want My Soul. Wow. Every track could be a single (somewhat like last year’s world beating Arctic Monkeys album AM.) 17 or so years after forming, Spoon has delivered their best album in my humble opinion. This one’s got piano, distorted guitar, and doo wop back up vocals. Radio friendly without sacrificing edge. My album of the year. Full disclosure: Elizabeth loves it too. I'd list a standout track but i think they all are. I'm fully aware that sounds ridiculous. 

"Educated folk singers want my soul,"

Well played Spoon. Well played.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Drop what you're doing and head over to and witness the mighty power of Richard and Sam's video misterpiece of their new song Gun Help Is Help.
Did I say misterpiece? That's because I meant misterpiece.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I'm really going to try to start posting more. I swear. 

Elizabeth and I had a Spaghetti Westernthon recently and I'm threatening for us to write it up. 

Hopefully I will. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Bloody Disgusting recently had an article series that pitted two remakes against each other. In one, they asked which was better: The Fly (1986) or The Thing (1982)? Most of you know that I come down very strongly on the side of The Thing. Nothing against The Fly, it's an amazing film and while I do find a lot of Cronenberg's work very enjoyable if slightly sterile, I LOVE The Thing.

Discussing it with Elizabeth, I realized that there are few films that I like better than The Thing. In fact while thinking about it I could only put Halloween above it. I realize this makes me a huge Carpenter homer but that's a badge I proudly wear. My question is this: Do you ever see or think about a film and realize that it occupies a different place in your estimation than you realized?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Put these three names in order of your preference- Argento, Bava and Fulci. I put them in alphabetical order, so as not to tip my hand. Because I'm clever.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Not necessarily in prep for the new film, but I'm about to go Godzilla crazy. For real this time.

Giant man? Tiny Godzilla? You tell me.

I remember bits and pieces of Godzilla films on cable from my childhood. I don't remember really watching a whole film. (Although I did have a Godzilla action figure.) As a genre junkie (read: crazy person) I'm ready to give the kaiju genre a proper look. As an adult the only Godzilla film I've seen is Invasion Of The Astro Monster which I enjoyed. I did see the 1998 film and I did hate it. Oh and Godzilla wished me a happy 35th birthday. It was a highlight. Thanks Elizabeth!

I did pick up a bluray of Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla Vs. Mothra both in one set in prep for a Godzilla Day next weekend. Or two days of Godzilla depending on how it goes. The purpose of this post is to pose a question: What Godzilla films do I need to see? Hit me up in the comments with your suggestions. If you have any!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Franco Friday

You read the headline right but you aren't on the wrong blog! Richard was kind enough to let me write another Franco Friday. Link forthcoming:

And all the Franco Fridays can be found here:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project remains the only film I have seen three times in the theater. Opening night, the next night and about a week later.

Carl was (and still is thank you very much) on top of things. You see, this was a time when we had discovered something called the internet. Carl showed me pictures of the stick people figures and told me the story of how some kids had disappeared while doing a documentary on something called The Blair Witch.

"Is it real? These kids disappearing?"- Me

"I don't know. It seems like it, yes?"- Carl

This was weeks before the film opened and likely the first instance of a film having a viral marketing campaign. What I knew of the internet at the time was basically message boards and dial up connections. My dad would let me use the computer for an hour every so often and you had to have a clearly defined plan of what you were going to look up. Otherwise your time would run out while you were waiting for three(!) pages to load in that hour. So the internet was as mysterious to me as this film that we were talking about.

Several of us (When you see Matthew, ask him about Book Of Shadows) went all the way to Nashville on opening night. The place was packed and the film was sold out. We didn't let this deter us. We just bought tickets to something else and went into The Blair Witch Project theater anyway. There was not enough seating and folks were sitting on the floor. Management came in and announced that they knew there were several people in there that weren't supposed to be. They checked a few tickets. I was sweating. But no one (at least in my group) was kicked out.

Man, this film was scary. It's quite a testament to a film's scariness when I can say that, 1.) The film was scary, and 2.) The scariest part of the film to me was a guy standing in a corner.

Often the hype around a film can obscure just how good it is in hindsight. When I first got into gialli I was blown away by Deep Red. Then I started digging into more and more obscure gialli and even though I KNOW how awesome the film is I forget until I watch it again. "Wow. Deep Red is amazing." I mean, I know that but I kind of take it for granted until I see it. (The Blue Underground bluray really helps hammer that point home by the way.)  

I bought the bluray last year. It was cheap and an impulse buy. Does it hold up? That is the question that I've been leading up to. I think it does. You never see anything. Not really. And that fact means more to me now than it did in 1999. (God, I am old.) You never see The Blair Witch herself. Just a lot of sounds, tension and atmosphere building that finally crescendos as the film...ends. It reaches it's highest point and it's over. Bam.

There. I've ruined it for you.

Sometime last year there was a big brouhaha because a bunch of teenagers watched Halloween and thought it wasn't scary or good or said it was dull or something stupid. I don't remember exactly other than it squarely thrusts me into the 'old man shakes fist at cloud' crowd. But inversely I also think, "Who gives a shit?" Because I can't help it if kids have no imagination these days.

And imagination is indeed something you need to appreciate The Blair Witch Project. And the first Paranormal Activity for that matter, but that's another blog entry/rant. I don't have to be shown everything. I don't have to be spoonfed. I don't have to see The Blair Witch. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Hundred In The Hands

This is the best dream pop song I've come across in a while.
I feel like 1993.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You're Next

If you haven't seen this, you should. The remix trailer AND the film. Do it.

And the entire awesome Dwight Twilley song:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hello! This Is The Doomed Show

So not only have I been neglecting the old Yellow Razor, I've also been absent from Hello! This Is The Doomed Show. Never fear, I shall return shortly. But honestly I almost hate to. I have enjoyed special guest star co-hosts Jeffrey and Nafa SO much. Tampa's Giallo, Murder Rock derision, Tommy Pickles, Trampa, Serbo-Croatia, Bosco the mute flautist, the Firefly family, Steven Seagal, unraveling the mystery of The House With The Laughing Windows, it goes on and on. I thank them both for joining Richard for some great shows.

The show can be found here:

And archives here:

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Fools Day

Tomorrow is April 1st and Elizabeth got me April Fools Day and Slaughter High for my birthday. (Slaughter High was originally titled April Fools Day, for that matter, so was Killer Party which she also got me but we went ahead and watched it. All three from 1986. Weird.) I've saved them for tomorrow. April Fools Day is a favorite from my childhood and I think I've only seen Slaughter High once. So how about it? Does anyone plan on watching either of these tomorrow? I'm thinking I'll turn it into a tradition like Halloween on Halloween, Black Christmas on Christmas Eve, and My Bloody Valentine on Valentine's Day.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I saw Zombie today

Oh hey there. I haven't posted in a while but it isn't because I don't love you. It's because I'm lazy.

So I watched Zombie today. The two disc deluxe Blue Underground bluray. It's been a while since I saw it. Zombie seems to be a lot of folks 'in' into Fulci. It was mine. And while it'll never be my #1 Fulci film, it does rank highly. I prefer his Gates Of Hell trilogy but without Zombie we wouldn't have likely gotten them. I used to think that long stretches of the film was boring. Everything clicked on my second or third viewing. And this bluray is outstanding. I really believe that Fulci belongs up there with the master directors of horror.

If there's anyone still reading after my long lazy absence, hit me up in the comments on your top 5 Fulci films.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Guest Post: John Hughes Minithon

And now a guest post from the most important person in the world, my wife, Elizabeth!

I am sick. I have strep throat. It is stupid. What should I do to feel better? Well aside from a round of antibiotics, I decided to have a John Hughes minithon! I call it a minithon because it is only three films, but oh what films! Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I began with Sixteen Candles (1984). Why, you ask? Because when given a sex quiz that asks if I could do it with anyone (other than my husband), the answer would be Jake Ryan. And I went in chronological order. Sixteen Candles is my favorite John Hughes film. It could almost be said that is it one of my favorite films, period. I watched this quite often on TBS as a kid. Needless to say as an adult, I was a little surprised at the amount of cursing and the brief nudity. Surprised, but not bothered. Many a times has Brad had to listen to me say “Au-to-mo-bile!” and “Oh sexy girlfriend!” in my very best Long Duk Dong voice.

The film revolves around the life of Samantha (Molly Ringwald) and the events surrounding her 16th birthday. Her older sister is getting married the next day and everyone forgets Sam's birthday altogether. Sam also has a mad crush on school hunk Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) who she believes doesn't know she exists. Sam is also plagued by the presence of everynerd, Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). School dances are attended, parties are held, and weddings commence. Things go awry but everything works out in the end with kisses and cake. 

Why do I love this film? It's such a simplistic premise and yet it fills me with that hopeful, romantic feeling that I probably should have given up ages ago. What's not to love? It's the kind of film that makes you believe in miracles. If you've ever been in high school, you will know that the hot, popular senior falling for a slightly awkward yet potentially cool sophomore is practically a miracle. It's not a particularly deep film, but I think it paved the way for the next two Hughes films I will cover. It still has a sense of the have and the have-nots, nerds and sophomores versus prom queens and seniors. It is exploring some of the same themes of the others films just not quite so head on. All in all, this film is funny, heartwarming, and fun, and to me, perfectly wonderful.

Next up in my minithon was The Breakfast Club (1985). It is angsty and awesome. The film's premise is that five very different students have to spend an entire Saturday in the school library as a form of detention for various transgressions they have committed. As the day progresses, the teenagers learn more and more about why each one is in detention and subsequently, learn more and more about the way they view each other and themselves.  Each kid has his or her own set of problems, but in the end, they realize that their problems unite them and that they are more than just the labels high school society has pinned on them (The Athlete (Emilio Estevez), The Brain (Anthony Michael Hall), The Basket Case (Ally Sheedy), The Princess (Molly Ringwald), and The Criminal (Judd Nelson)). 

I thoroughly enjoy films that are set in one location. This definitely has that going for it. They do move from the library to the halls a few times and we do see the street in front of the high school when their parents pick them up and drop them off, but I still consider this a one location film. I love seeing how a film evolves when characters are confined to one location. It leads to a more focused study of the characters and their dilemmas which is exactly why it works for a film such as this. We feel cooped up just like the teens knowing that we can't leave until the end of the film. We feel the tension build as they examine their lives at school and at home, and we feel the bonds form as they realize their similarities despite their differences.

This film goes even further into the themes that were merely touched upon in Sixteen Candles. It very clearly separates five types of high school personalities. The difference between each person is continually shown through every single action in the film. Even lunchtime becomes a character study as each teen has a lunch that speaks to exactly what kind of person they are supposed to be. I think this film speaks of friendship but not about friends. None of these kids are friends, and they admit that they may not be friends when the day is over. They don't build friendships so much as they build alliances based on mutual understanding of what makes them similar. It is a film that speaks about finding common ground among those around you, and it has the song “Don't You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds; therefore, it rocks.

Last in the minithon, Pretty In Pink (1986). This movie I have not seen nearly as many times as the other two, but that does not make it any less awesome. The plot goes something like this. Pretty but poor Andie (Molly Ringwald) and her best poor friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) are outcasts at their richie-rich person high school. Lucky for Andie, richie-rich guy Blane (Andrew McCarthy) likes her and is nice (unlike all the other richie-riches who are a bunch of nasty, horrible jerks). Andie falls for Blane who then has a crisis of identity brought on by the leader of the horrible jerks, Steff (James Spader). Despite losing her rich boyfriend and being made fun of incessantly, Andie is able to man up and go to the prom where Blane realizes he’s an idiot and that even though poor, Andie is perfect.

This film takes the idea of differences and focuses on one specific difference, economic status. It is truly about the haves and have-nots. The message in the end is that money shouldn’t matter because love is greater than material wealth.  Hopefully most people going into this film already know this lesson, but the film does a nice job of showcasing it. We feel for Blane as the only decent person in a sea of slimeballs, and we definitely root for him to overcome his fears and get back with Andie. We feel for Andie as well as she endures taunts and teases about her looks, her clothes, and her friends all of which are too poor for the rich girls to ignore.

The other theme I think this film highlights is friendship. Andie and Duckie are best friends. This film highlights close friendships in a way the other films do not. Andie is also very close with her boss, Iona (Annie Potts) and her father, Jack (Harry Dean Stanton).  Neither of the other films focus on a close support system for the main character. In Sixteen Candles, Sam is isolated from her family and only has one friend who is not really a main part of the story.  In The Breakfast Club, each main character is purposefully isolated from all the other students as well as their families. Pretty In Pink, however, shows how a tight-knit group of friends and family can help a person through the tough times and come out on top.

Now, some random thoughts.
1)      Pretty In Pink has the best kissing scenes of all the films.  Way to go Andrew McCarthy!
2)      James Spader in Pretty In Pink has the best hair of any male characters in all three films.  It is beachy blond and feathered juuuust right.  Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club comes in second.

Why yes, James, you can stare into my soul any time you like.
 3)      Molly Ringwald’s hair goes from best to worst in this order: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink. In Pretty In Pink when her hair is down she looks like old Carol Burnett. It’s unsettling.

Bad, Molly, bad!
4)      My favorite leading male character is Jake Ryan.  Did I mention that already?
5)      Anthony Michael Hall is perfect as Ted the Geek in Sixteen Candles. He has an exuberance and confidence mixed with nervousness that jumps off the screen. I think he won an Oscar for that role. (Just kidding!)
6)      Harry Dean Stanton is awesome.  He makes Pretty In Pink even better.

Well friends, in summation, I believe these films perfectly dramatize how people can feel during the high school time of life and that is why they remain popular. Though reminiscent of a different era of fashion and music (man, I miss the 80s), they still capture those feelings of teenage angst, anger, loneliness, love, pressure, politics, and friendship that are eternal. These feelings transcend decades and reside in the high school setting ad infinitum. Thank you, John Hughes.  You made having strep throat somewhat more bearable, and you made high school movies immensely more amazing.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

R. Geiger, I'm sorry

Inadvertently, over the holidays, I got a comment that I read and then did not publish. For this I am sorry. Things have obviously slowed down a bit (ok, a lot) recently but rest assured I am not dead. Nor am I a dickhead that forgets to publish comments. Usually.

R. Geiger asks what it is about Deep Red that makes it Christmasy. The flashback is at Christmas
time. I'm sorry I forgot to publish your comment and respond to it. Anyone who takes time to read my blog is awesome! And Richard never lets this sort of thing happen.