Friday, July 30, 2010

Guest Post: Little Shop of Horrors...

It is quite a grand occasion here at ZAM: our first guest post!  Camiele White, an awesome blogger who has written for legitimate sites such as Fascination With Fear, has volunteered her services and contributed a great post about the Corman classic, Little Shop of Horrors.

This post is actually well written and contains zero swear words. I just wanted to warn my regular readers.


Tell Your Mama Something’s Come to Get Her

On the 23rd day in the month of September, in an early year of a decade not long before our own, the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence. And this terrifying enemy surfaced as such enemies often do in the seemingly most innocent and unlikely of places...

Welcome to Skid Row: where the folks are broke and your life’s a joke; where the guys are trips and they rip your slips. It’s a place of absolute destitution and a dog-eat-dog mentality that has most people droning through life as so many George A. Romero zombies. What’s most frightening is that this race of humans is packed in an institutional and economical slum that brings nothing but heartache. This is, indeed, a prime location for a plant alien invasion.

As far as musicals go, Little Shop of Horrors is one of the most incredible soundtracks to hit the modern stage and screen --although both musical and film were conceived in the early 80s. It’s also fair to say that the film opens up a new dimension that the stage, though brilliantly laid out for such a story, was limited in delivering if for nothing more than the restrictions of linear staging. What’s even more impressive than the gorgeous direction, screenplay, and music throughout the 80s film is that both stage and screen adaptations are just that --adaptations of an even earlier rendering of the alien invasion love story.


The Little Shop of Horrors was a bit of an “I dare you” experiment for director Roger Corman. Having access to left over sets, Corman decided he wanted to do the impossible --complete a movie in two days. So, with $30,000 in his pocket and a smallish cast (including the voice of Charles B. Griffith as the blood-hungry Audrey, Jr. and Jack Nicholson as the masochistic dental patient, Wilbur Force), Corman created what has become a cult classic for horror movie buffs alike. Though not necessarily a great film, it’s touted as one of the most unique of the genre considering the bizarre turn of events that play out over the 70 minutes of the film --including a repeat customer who eats the plants he buys for dinner and, of course, the now infamous carnivorous Venus Flytrap. It’s wrought with clich├ęs and overacting; however, it made way for a horror revolution 20 years later that was sure to give the genre a much needed dose of excitement.

The 1982 musical, Little Shop of Horrors, was one of the most exciting spectacles to hit Broadway in a long time --and most certainly one of the most innovative. Filled with rock and roll, doo-wop, and Motown infused musical numbers composed by Alan Menken, the stage show was nothing short of a phenomenon --not to mention the incredible puppeteer work. What perhaps made the musical so unique is that every single character that hits the stage is eventually eaten by the bloodlusting Audrey II, leaving the audience with the impression that this “mean green mother from outer space” does, in fact, fulfil its aims to take over the planet.


And then, of course, we get to the 1986 film adaptation. Every moment from the original film’s two day production to the stage play led up to this. Directed by Frank Oz (the brilliant puppet master behind the Muppets Do Manhattan and The Dark Crystal), Little Shop of Horrors took on a life of its own and gathered so much momentum that it, in my mind, is the first true remake that was light years beyond its predecessor. The music was electric and the acting was stellar (with a cast that included Rick Moranis as the lead character, Seymour Krelborn; Ellen Greene, reprising her stage role as the slightly ditzy Audrey Fulquard; Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s sadistic boyfriend; and Four Tops lead singer, Levi Stubbs, as the voice of the murderous flytrap).


What captured me most of all, however, was the fact that every single character gave the audience someone to relate to. It made the shocking and perverse murders that occurred that much more visceral.

From The Little Shop of Horrors in 1960, to the acid tripped, Motown dripped remake in 1986, Little Shop of Horrors stands the test of time as one of the most underrated horror films of all time. Not only does it deliver on the freak out aspect (let’s be real, if a 20 foot carnivorous plant decided to chomp its way to world domination, you’d be more than a bit uneasy), it’s a great deal of fun. As it is, I don’t think I’ve had more fun with a horror film in my entire life, and for that I tip my hat to Roger Corman for having the balls to create a cult phenomenon in just two days with virtually no budget. I salute you, sir!

Camiele White

Article writer by day, renegade poet by night, Camiele White loves any and everything film. She chases only the original (or incredibly funny) and has been known to talk for hours about subjects that most people just don’t care about. Right now, she gets her jabberjaw jollies writing about Halloween costumes. If you want to give her a buzz, she can be reached at cmlewhite at gmail.com.




Thank you Camiele!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Coming Soon: May


Plus, stay tuned for a special Guest Post!!

More ATMOM!













I can't pick a favorite!  They all give me the warm and fuzzies.  Kill some time over at this site: LOLTHULHU
I love Lovecraft humor.

At the Mountains of Madness a go?

Please please please let this be true.  It makes my black, black heart so happy.
http://www.deadline.com/2010/07/guillermo-del-toro-and-james-cameron-ready-to-climb-at-the-mountains-of-madness-together-at-universal/?_r=true
and
http://www.brutalashell.com/2010/07/at-last-guillermo-del-toros-at-the-mountains-of-madness/

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monster


I have not heard a thing about this--and it sort of looks like a thousand other movies, but I like the title!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Haunted Mansion

I would much rather see At the Mountains of Madness Guillermo del Toro, but this will work.  Just make something!!!!  We need you!
http://www.aintitcool.com/node/45872?_r=true&anonymousId=-3955414805602876285

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Damien?



Thanks to Peaches Christ for the heads up on this. This is actually the best sermon I have ever heard.

Awards Season!

Yeah!  I won an award--it must be Awards Season again!!  Thanks to Sarah from The Spooky Vegan for this awesome award!!  The Spooky Vegan is a kick-ass horror blog that also features yummy recipes!  Check it out!

The rules attached to this award are:


• Thank the person who gave it to you (Thank you Spooky Vegan!)
• Share 7 things about yourself
• Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reason.
• Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award.

Ok, the 7 things thing is easy:
-I have a Master's in Art History
-I do not use that Master's Degree at all in my present career
-I love Glee
-I really do frequently have nightmares about Zombies
-I bake cupcakes when I am stressed out
-I wish I lived in a haunted castle
-I have a crush on the young Christopher Lee

15 blogs I love!  (If you have already won this a apologize I am double-awarding you...you are awesome and I think everyone should know it!

-Artwork by Living Dead Girl Nicole
-Pumpkinrot
-Scare Sarah
-The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense
-Diary of a Mindless Minion 2703
-The Celluloid Highway
-Things that don't suck
-The Film Connoisseur
-Gore Gore Dancer Movie Reviews
-In it for the Kills: Horror Perspectives
-Dollar Bin Horror ( Have another one on me!)
-The Jaded Viewer
-Zombots!

Ok, I know that is only 13 (lucky number) but I have to go frost my cupcakes.  Do yourself a favor and read these amazing blogs!!

Night of the Creeps


(good cover art)

I pretty much fell in love with Night of the Creeps in the first 10 minutes.  The film starts on a spaceship, with "Troll" like creatures chasing each other (at first I was worried, having just watched Troll 2 and completely unprepared for more latex monstrosities, but to my relief, they are onscreen only briefly).  One is trying to release something out the escape hatch, something that turns out to be an experiment gone horribly wrong.  Of course this experiment lands on earth and soon begins to wreak havoc.  Before the film is through we are treated to Zombies, Serial Killers, Alien Invasions, Slugs, Gore, Head Explosions, Cat and Dog Trauma, Boobies, and Tom Atkins.  It is pretty much a perfect film.

(bad cover art)

Directed by Fred Dekker, he of The Monster Squad fame, Night of the Creeps was intended to be a "homage" to B-horror films.  Even the characters names, such as Cronenberg, Carpenter, and Romero, pay homage to the horror film.  Tom Atkins is great as the grizzled Detective mourning his high school sweetheart and holding on to a deep dark secret. 


If you rent this, be sure to watch the special features for a Tom Atkins retrospective, which is really nothing more than him telling stories of the various sets he has been on and the people he has worked with.   I could watch that all day because Atkins is super-cool. 

Night of the Creeps isn't scary (unless Slugs really bug you out--check out James Gunn's Slither, which must have been influenced by this film.)  It is funny and gory, and well worth a viewing.  Check it out!

Check out this blog: Herzog edition

As you may know I am a bit obsessed with Werner Herzog.  My obsession was with Kinski, but I quickly transferred my affection over to this mad man.  Shaun Anderson has been hosting "Werner Herzog" month on his excellent blog The Celluloid Highway.  Check it out and get the deets on the shoe eating incident: http://sonofcelluloid.blogspot.com/2010/07/werner-herzog-eats-his-shoe-1980.html .

 Now enjoy Werner Herzog reading "Where's Waldo."  Thank you YouTube genius for knowing that the world needs Herzog reading bedtime stories!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Troll 2

You have to love Troll 2, a film very rightly called "the worst movie ever made."  It is appallingly awful.  The acting is terrible, the script seems to have been written by someone who didn't have a firm grip on English (I think this is true), the "Trolls" are nothing but short people in latex masks wearing burlap sacks, and the musical score sounds like something I came up with on my Casio keyboard when I was 12.  The "Trolls" are not even Trolls, they are Goblins: Vegetarian Goblins that turn people into vegetables so that they can eat them.  If this seems awfully redundant welcome to this movie.  Unfortunately, I haven't seen a live screening of this film yet but I will.  It has turned into something of a cult phenomenon, and rightly so.  Next month I will full fill my dream of seeing Showgirls live (featuring a free Lap Dance with purchase of large popcorn) so Troll 2 can't be far behind. 

I rented this film in anticipation of seeing Best Worst Movie, a documentary made by the kid in the film, Michael Stephenson.  Review, hopefully, coming soon.  I can't bring myself to write anything more about Troll 2.  Just check out the Trailer below (then take a shower.)



Cute, isn't it? Remember, this was a serious horror film about Vegetarian Goblins!!



I am totally in love with the Dentist! In the film he kind of looks like a young Henry Rollins. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I want to live in "The House that Dripped Blood"


The House the Dripped Blood is a typical Amicus Production from 1970.  The tie that binds these 4 stories together is the wicked house that, although it drops no blood this film, has some evil mojo and makes people do wicked things. 


A cop visits a small village to investigate the disappearance of a famous horror actor (Jon Pertwee.)  Both the village cop and the leasing agent of the house warn him that bad things happen to people that reside there.  In the first story, Denholm Elliot plays a horror writer who hopes that the ambiance of the house will cure him of his writer's block.  In the second story, retired businessman Peter Cushing becomes obsessed with a wax figure in a local horror museum. 


In the third story, Chloe Franks (an amazing child actress) has a terrible secret.  Her Father (Christopher Lee) tries to hide her from the world, but that may lead to his undoing.  Finally, in the fourth story, the aforementioned actor gets a serious lesson in "keeping it real."


This was a very enjoyable anthology.  I really can't pick my favorite story.  They are all good.  I guess my favorite is the one about the writer who begins "seeing" things.  Robert Bloch (he of Psycho) wrote the screenplay and I am sure he had fun with that particular tidbit.  The house itself is beautiful and creepy, as any house that drips blood should be.  The Tagline is "Vampires,Voodoo,Vixens, Victims!" The film does not disapoint.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Top 10 Willy


I am a little late to the gravy train (as usual) but I wanted to add my two cents to the "Top Ten Willly Inducing Moments" blog-a-thon started by Andre Dumas from the excellent blog The Horror Digest.
Andre recently wrote about a film called Pulse that features a shower scene that has haunted me for years!  The only thing I remember about this film is the shower scene, now, thanks to Andre, I know this film also starred the Lawrence brothers. You really do learn something new everyday!

It was fun putting together this list.  Many of my choices overlap choices made by other bloggers (I never said I was original) but scary is scary... so here we go!

 #10: The Twins from The Shining.  Twins are just scary in general but butchered ghost twins especially make my skin crawl. 


#9: Prince Randian is coming to get you from Freaks.  This scene is so crazy is borders on ridiculous, but think about it: the rage and anger of this armless, legless man is so great that he is coming after you in the mud and rain.  Never mind that he has no way of stabbing you!  I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and see him, knife in mouth, looking up at me.  No thank you.



#8: Blood draw from The Thing.  This is a perfect scene of cringe-inducing suspense from one of my favorite horror films of all time.  At this point you don't know who is "infected" and you don't know how they are going to react.  I just know if I were in that situation I would probably be the guy tied up next to The Thing.  That would be my luck.



#7: He is watching you from The Strangers.  This is the most recent film on my list and I have to admit I didn't love it the first time I saw it.  But I watched it again the other day with a new appreciation.  Probably because I was home, alone, in the dark.  Just looking at this picture gives me the Willies.



#6: The eye through the keyhole in The Devil's Backbone.  Watch the trailer, it comes right at the end.  Such an amazing movie.



#5: The final scene in The Blair Witch Project.  I know quite a few people dislike this film, but I have always thought it was really scary and inventive.  I get goosebumps every time is see it.  Is he alive, dead, possessed?  We are not going to ever know.

#4: The Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth.  This guy eats children and had his eyeballs in his hand.  Enough said.  The scene where he chases the heroine down the hall had me curled up in the fetal position.

#3: Michael rises from Halloween.  How much can poor Laurie go through?  Quite a lot more actually because this guy won't stop.

#2: Whole movie: Night of the Living Dead.  I can't pick just one scene from this film.  The whole thing has lead to a lifetime full of zombie nightmares.  The original and still the best.

#1 Pazuzu flash in The Exorcist.  I can understand why people thought this film had some evil mojo.  I get chills just looking at Pazuzu.  You only see his face for a split second but it is so witchy and creepy that it stays with you for quite a while.  Imagine having Pazuzu, Michael Myers, and the guy from The Strangers at a dinner party.  That might pretty awesome.  I would hire them to stand in the corner staring at my guests at a Halloween party.

Honorable Mentions:

The reveal in Phantom of the Opera

Samara emerges from TV in The Ring

The reveal in The Descent

Face in the wall in The Haunting

Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Audrey has looked better...

 "Zombie at Tiffanys."  Check out the cool site: http://www.threadcakes.com/entries/view/691
Many thanks to Daddy-in-Law Pat for the heads up!!!  I must have this at my next party!

The Hound of the Baskervilles 1959


For the most part I love Hammer films, but I have to admit there have been a few I have been disappointed by.  This was not the case with The Hound of the Baskervilles from 1959.  Starring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, Andre Morell as Dr. Watson, and the young, incredibly handsome Christopher Lee as Sir. Henry Baskerville, Hound is in many ways a perfect Hammer film.  Directed by Terence Fisher, Hound features misty moors, crumbling castles, murder, intrigue, mystery, and a dangerous beauty with the requisite heaving bosom. 

The screenplay follows Doyle's story pretty closely, with a few minor changes and a greater emphasis on the "horror" of the Hound.  Cushing makes a great Holmes, but I have to admit I am not altogether familiar with Basil Rathbone's interpretation.  Cushing captures Holmes enormous ego perfectly.  He is kind of an A-hole but we still admire him. He is courageous, snobby, brilliant, and down-right rude.   


Christopher Lee hits the right notes as Sir Henry, new to the legend of the Baskervilles.  Sir Henry doesn't buy the legend, but he will soon become directly threatened by it.  Cushing and Lee have great chemistry, and if your rent or buy the DVD, be sure to watch the extras.  In Lee's "Actor's Notebook" he speaks quite fondly of Cushing and the depths of their friendship.  It is quite moving. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a great movie to watch on a dark and stormy night.  Of course, watching it in the middle of summer works as well.

Coming Soon: The Hound of the Baskervilles 1959

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nightmare Fashion Show..

Thank you, Patrick Mohr, for dressing your models like this at Berlin Fashion Week.  YOU ARE AWESOME!  Thank you DListed for the heads up. Seriously, if I woke up one night and this was staring at me I would lose my shit.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

My god, writing this post is almost as annoying as sitting through this "film."  I couldn't find any images that were not "fan-made."  Looking at a few of them was about as deep into the Twilight universe as I would like to get.  I will make this short and sweet.

I (almost) had high hopes for this chapter of the "saga" given that the Director, David Slade, actually made two good creepy, scary films: Hard Candy and the under-rated 30 Days of Night.  Yes, a hard-core Vampire film.  And I figured considering there is quite a lot of bloodshed in the book (yes, I read them, lets move on) the Producer's picked Slade to amp up the action and give us a little gore.  What Slade gave us is perhaps the funniest film so far (unintentionally.)  Seriously, the scene where Bella tries to get Edward to "sleep" with her (I feel wrong using the word "fuck" given how clean and good this film is) might be the most hysterical scene in a film this Summer.  This is one of the many non-stop "talking" scenes throughout this film.  All they do is talk.  It's like My Dinner with Andre with 100% more teen angst.

If I were a hard-core Twilight fan I would be pissed about how cheap this film looks.  I mean, the studio has made a shit-load of money off these fans and they can't afford to buy Kristen Steward a realistic wig?  The camp in the snow looks like something I could have built in my backyard (and I can't build shit) and don't get me started on the Werewolves (CGI monstrosities.)  Don't expect gore: there is a decapitation in the film but it is so pretty even my Mother was like "isn't that lovely." 

OK- lets find nice things to say: Taylor Lautner acts a little better in this film, and the song over the end credits is quite nice.  Slade may have a career ahead of him directing "Summer's Eve" commercials, and at least they included the chick Werewolf. 

The final film (which I hear they are going to split in two) will be quite the sight to behold.  I don't know how they are going film some of the more graphic scenes.  Perhaps they will just talk about them.  Talk and talk and talk.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Penny Dreadful


Penny Dreadful was part of the 2006 "8 Films to Die For" Film Fest and it is the second film I have seen from this fest, from 2006 or any year.  Not because I have anything against these collections, in fact, I think they are pretty cool.  I can just never drag my ass to the theatre and by the time they arrive on DVD I have completely forgotten about them.  So when Penny Dreadful showed up on IFC I taped it, figuring, with a name like Penny Dreadful it can't be that bad.

I was wrong.  It was bad.  It took me two days to watch it.  The concept is interesting, and an original take on the "babe lost in the woods being menaced by a creep" storyline.  Penny, played by Rachel Miner, is a young woman who has an intense phobia of cars.  As a child she lost her mother in a horrific car accident, where it seems she was the only survivor.  In an attempt to get over her phobia and live a normal life, Penny hires Mimi Rogers.  Rogers plays a Therapist who believes that the only way to overcome your fears is to face them head-on.  She is also kind of an idiot because instead of watching the road, she spends her time lecturing Penny and hits a hitchhiker. 


This hitchhiker, like most hitchhikers, is a murderous psycho.  I think the hitchhiker is supposed to be a guy, but "he" is played by a woman, Liz Davies.  Or maybe it is supposed to be a woman, I really didn't care at this point.  Penny ends up alone, literally trapped in the car, terrorized by the hitchhiker.  And this is where I checked out. I couldn't get behind Penny.  She just annoyed me.  For the most part the hitchhiker remains an unseen entity, a figure that we glimpse running past the car or hear making menacing noises in the woods.  Once we really get a good look at he/she, the illusion of a terrifying threat is gone.  The hitchhiker is just a crazy nut job, and I seriously doubt someone so loony could have orchestrated this night of terror.  The finale seems tacked on, and unfortunately sets us up for a sequel.  No thank you filmmakers.