Sunday, December 29, 2013

The best thing I saw in 2013.

I never wrote a review of this.  It has been a tough year for finding time to write.  However, this particular scene made me so happy I wanted to jump with joy.  I literally jumped off the couch.  If you have seen The Conjuring you know what I am talking about.  Long live horror!!

Spoilers and Japanese subtitles below!

You're Next! Lucky You!!!!

I am going to assume that if my house is ever invaded or I find my myself in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse (please, please, please) that I am going to be a pretty bad ass bitch that takes over and starts taking care of business.  Of course, I can only assume this based on the fact that I remain pretty calm under pressure and I have seen a lot of horror films.  I am going to be a lot like Erin in the film You're Next.  Of course, Erin was raised by a survivalist nut job in Australia, thus the explanation as to why a mild mannered Lit Major turns into a killing machine during a home invasion and I was raised by a Truck Driver and a Bus Driver in the suburbs and I am afraid of spiders.   But, I am pretty sure I would be OK because at this stage in the game I am completely unafraid of strangers wearing stupid masks and trying to invade my home.  I lived through it in The Strangers and I saw the trailer for The Purge, so I am prepared. 

You're Next was filmed in 2011 but only released this year.  There is a current genre of film called "Mumblecore" which I hate only a little less than Dogme 95.  From what I understand this is the horror version of Mumblecore, but I am really to lazy to verify that.  If Mumblecore focuses on stories about rich white entitled people you can't stand then this film surely fits the definition.  The only character that you are not actively rooting for to die is the above mentioned Erin.

Erin goes to her "not hot enough for her but I think is some Mumblecore Director so he got the part" boyfriend's family home for an Anniversary party.  This upper middle class WASP family bought a mansion out in the middle of nowhere, as you do, and decided to gather there for a family reunion.  The only logical thing to happen in situation like this is for some dude in a bunny mask (?) to start shooting this annoying family with a crossbow.  Lucky for us that happens!  Yeah!

Erin, the only one without the silver spoon up her ass, takes charge and tries to save the family from the threat all around them.  Why she does this I will never know. 

You're Next has some interesting, original scenes but on the whole the film was rather boring and predictable.  I feel like it was made by filmmakers that know nothing about horror but thought it would be cool to make a horror film because, you know, they could do it so much better.  I was pretty annoyed during the whole thing.  Enough with the stupid masks!  If you are going to terrorize me and try to invade my home, just do it ala Funny Games.  That film is scarier that all the rest of this other shit combined.

I accidentally looked up Mumblecore and this horror genre is called Mumblegore.  I hate it even more.  Disclaimer: I saw Francis Ha and kind of liked it.  And I like Girls, which I am sure is as annoying as these films.  You could say my views on Mumblecore are "evolving."  No.  I still hate it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Doctor Sleep

 OH MY GOD the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead was devastating.  I need therapy.  Kudos all around: the show just gets better and better...

But I am not here to talk about The Walking Dead.  I am here to talk about Doctor Sleep, the much anticipated sequel to The Shining written by everyone's  favorite Uncle, Stephen King.  Lets start with how great the book cover is!  It took me a while to even notice the woman's face.  Now lets move on to how dumb the title is!  Doctor Sleep, really Uncle Steve?  It sounds like a Motley Crue song. 

So, I love Stephen King.  How could you not?  He is brilliant, accessible, and when he wants to be, scary as hell.  Doctor Sleep ventures into the "scary as hell" territory.  Not as much as say, It, but it is there.  I remember when I first read The Stand, (always and forever one of my favorite books)  I would actually avoid it.  I would put if off reading the next chapter.  This was for two reasons-  One: the book was so good I didn't want it to end.  Two: I couldn't handle what might be next.  It's like watching The Walking Dead: fucking incredible but painful as hell.

I had snippets of those feelings while reading Doctor Sleep.  King revisits The Shining many times in this novel.  Its like catching up with an old friend.  We join Danny as an adult: alcoholic, close to rock bottom, still tormented by the ghosts of his past.  It takes a little girl, Abra, with similar powers, to give Danny a purpose.

The big bad is named "Rose the Hat."  Yes, another stupid name, but she is one scary bitch.  Her and her tribe live off the "steam" of those who have the Shining.  How they never found Danny I will never know, but they have found Abra, and it is up to Danny to save her.

I recommend Doctor Sleep to those who have a deep affection for The Shining.  If you haven't read The Shining- don't bother with this.  It won't make much sense.  Watching the movie doesn't count.  It really won't make sense then.  Or do whatever the hell you want.  I don't give a fuck.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Carrie: The Musical

I didn't go see the remake of Carrie.  I am living part time as a hermit and don't get out much.  Paying $15 bucks to see the remake of a film which is already perfect seems like a waste of my hermit time.  Instead the hubby and I went to see Carrie: The Musical at the historic Victoria Theatre.  I don't know that the Victoria is actually historic, but it was the setting for Peaches Christ's excellent film All about Evil.  So it's historic in my book. 

My hubby surprised me with tickets as a pre-Halloween treat (yes, I am just getting around to writing it up.  I have been practicing being a hermit in both life and blog.)  Carrie: The Musical has the honor of being known as one of the biggest Broadway bombs of all time.  It closed after 5 performances.  By all accounts the performances were good, but not good enough.  They all laughed at it.  THEY LAUGHED AT IT!!!

But if found an afterlife in regional theatre and high school productions.  The original songwriters came back and re-worked a few things, and now we have the Carrie: The Musical that I saw last month.  I really should have written this last month.  It is closed now.  A memory.  But I am sure your local high school is going to put in on for their Spring Showcase so keep an eye open.

This cast was very good.  An actual teenager played Carrie.  She is like 16 and goes to high school in Lafayette.  I kept thinking how does she go to school during the day and then play Carrie at night?  Is she really bullied at school for being a theatre nerd or do people think she is cool?  How does she get all that blood out of her hair?  Does she get to go to the cast party or does she need to go home because there is a big test tomorrow?  Why do I write so much better when I am drinking? 

The songs on the whole were pretty lame.  None that I will be "humming" tomorrow (my father's litmus test of a good song.  He complains you can't hum today's music.  He also says no one good plays in Vegas anymore even though he hasn't been to Vegas in 40 years.  Love my Da!). 

Lets be honest: the only reason to see this is musical is for the final act!!  I was so excited when they got to the prom and it did not disappoint!  Bravo to the production designers or whatever they call those people in the theatre.  Well done.  Lots of blood.  Bitches got what they deserved.  All is right with the world.  Fun was had by all.

Leave her to Heaven

Leave her to Heaven is not a horror film.  The best way to describe it would be "Technicolor Film Noir".  No, that doesn't make any sense, but it works.  Leave her to Heaven stars the beautiful Gene Tierney as Ellen, a socialite with an unhealthy obsession with her dead father.  To say she has "daddy issues" is an understatement.  Bitch is crazy.

Ellen falls in love with Novelist Richard Harland at first site.  He reminds her of her recently deceased father.  It doesn't matter than she is already engaged to up and coming attorney Russell Quinton (Vincent Price-awesome as always).  Ellen decides she is going to have Richard and doesn't give him (or Russell) much of a choice in the matter.  Before you know it they are married and that's when the crazy starts.

Ellen wants Richard all to herself.  No one else can be around.  No servants, not her family (A mother and adopted sister who know she is crazy, but are so scared of Ellen they don't warn Richard), and not Richard's crippled younger brother Danny.  Richard loves Danny, much more than he loves Ellen. In the best scene in the film,  Ellen lets young Danny drown in a lake.  This sequence is chilling and very well done.  Watching it you know what is going to happen, but you keep thinking Ellen will come to her senses and save young Danny.  Not going to happen.  Ellen tells Richard it was an accident.  He is devastated and although he believes her, he begins to draw away.

In an effort to win back his love, Ellen becomes pregnant.  Richard is happy again, but once Ellen realizes the baby will take Richard's attention, she throws herself down the stairs.  She loses the baby and Richard starts to become more and more withdrawn...

He also starts to fall in love with her adopted sister, who is not cray cray.  As you can imagine Ellen is very unhappy with this turn of events as sets into motion a plot that is her most sinister yet!  And it involves Vincent Price!

Ellen is not really evil.  She is mentally unbalanced and in desperate need of medication, but she is not evil.  She does evil things which she justifies in her mind as acts of love.  Tierney is incredible in this film.  She is deceitful and clearly off her rocker, yet you feel for her.  She just wants this man all to herself.  Is that really so much to ask?  Creepy and stylish, with melodrama to spare, Leave her to Heaven is definitely a film to check out. 

Spider Baby

I finally saw Spider Baby.  I had heard about it for so long--that it was weird, gross, odd.  Three things that I really like.  It is also of the "inbred cannibal family" genre which is very near and dear to my heart AND stars Lon Chaney Jr.  Sign me up!

This 1964 oddity directed by Jack Hill languished away in Hollywood purgatory for a few years before it was eventually released (dumped) on the Drive-In circuit.  Lon Chaney and this film deserved better than that.  Spider Baby is the story of the last 5 descendants of the Merrye family- a family cursed with it's own special syndrome that has you emotionally and mentally regressing into an animal beginning in your late teens.  I think I know a few people who may suffer from this very syndrome.  Not naming names but lets just say one of these people signs my paychecks.

The three most "together" Merryes are Ralph (Sid Haig), a strange man child who doesn't speak but can kill a cat and do some raping like no ones business, and his two feral sisters, Elizabeth and Virginia.  Virginia is the most "murder-y" of the three.  She likes to play a game called "Spider", where she traps you in a web and stabs you with two knives. 

Taking care of the Merryes is my love, Lon Chaney Jr. This is him at his most bloated and alcoholic.  I always see him as Larry Talbot.  He was Talbot: an ordinary man cursed in many ways.  Chaney plays Bruno, the chauffeur who was tasked with taking care of this family.  He loves them and tries to steer them right, but the urge to rape, kill, and eat people is just too strong.

This happy family begins to fall apart when greedy distant relatives show up with their Hitler mustache loving Lawyer, intent on institutionalizing the family and sending Bruno on his merry way (hahahahahahaha).  The family is not having any of it and as you can imagine, raping and killing get underway!

This is an odd little film that is a little scary, a lot silly, and 100% bizarre.  Chaney turns in a very good performance here: you really feel for Bruno.  And he cries!  Lord help me when old Chaney cries.  I just want to give him a shot of whiskey to make it all better.  As a bonus Chaney sings the theme song, which I have included for your viewing and listening pleasure.  Now if you will excuse me I have to go wash my eyes out with soap.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween (early)

Aww... poor little ghost!  I am running away to Southern California for Halloween!  I am going to Knott's Scary Farm, Haunted Hayride, and Day of the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetery!  Yay Halloween!!

Yesterday I spent the whole day watching Friday the 13th films.  Like, all of them.  I might need therapy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Wes Anderson Horror Movie

I'm still alive!  It's been so long since I posted I forgot my password! Having a wonderful Halloween season and once I get over my writer's block (aka: being totally lazy) I will tell you all about it.  In the meantime enjoy this:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts, or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the ghost of the old woman who haunts my bedroom.

I have not written in a long time, and for once I have an excuse! (An excuse better than laziness or severe depression because I have don't have time to see The Conjuring yet I made time to see World War Z.  What the fuck is wrong with me??).  You see, I am a new mother!

Not of an actual human baby, don't worry.  Another kind of demon spawn: a puppy!! Roscoe is his name-o, and he is 4 months old.  He likes to eat cat shit and then kiss you on the face.  He is pretty awesome, if a little barky.  I mean, this son-of-a-bitch (that would be me) barks at EVERYTHING.  And he especially loves to bark at night when we put him in his puppy crate.  I would bark too if I was confined to a crate every night.  Of course, I don't eat cat shit and hump everything in sight, so it is not really my problem.  I usually don't write such personal stuff on this blog, as a good friend once pointed out (your blog is so "detached"), but I have a reason to share this stuff.  See, Roscoe, through his barking and humping, has summoned the old lady ghost that haunts my bedroom.  Little back story: we only got our kick-ass cheap Palo Alto apartment because the old lady that lived in it died, and my husband works for the owner of the apartment building.  Unfortunately, she did not die IN THE APARTMENT (that would have been killer), but I believe she haunts it.  Joanna (was her name-o) was, as far as I can tell and the mail we still get for her tells me, a very Liberal woman who donated to a bunch of charities and loved Opera.  Nothing wrong with that, except I always feel a disapproving gaze on me when I come home with 6 Target bags filled with junk and crank up Nine Inch Nails.  She is there, and she thinks I am disgusting.  It's OK, I can live with that: my cat thinks I am disgusting as well. 
So shortly after we got Roscoe, and he was particularly barky, Joanna made herself known.  We had just turned out the light, and my husband, as is his way, had fallen immediately asleep.  I laid there pondering the deep questions of the universe, such as: What is going to happen to Honey Boo Boo when she grows up? and What happened to that guy that was on Little House on the Prairie and then in that shitty Wes Craven movie with the original Buffy?.  Roscoe was barking up a shit storm.  That is when I heard it: a soft, old lady voice saying: Be Quiet.  Yappy dog shut the hell right up and I said "Thank you Joanna.  Thank you.  I promise I will donate to the Sierra Club."
Which brings me to my review of 100 Ghosts: A gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner.  That can't be a real name, can it?  This itty bitty coffee table book is an adorable collection of different kinds of ghosts that can haunt your home.   


None are like Joanna, but they are just as charming.  Doogie Horner is a stand up comedian and, I assume, amateur ghost hunter.  He is very skilled in identifying ghosts such as this one:

After reading 100 Ghosts I left it on my bed and Roscoe promptly ate it.  We both found it delicious.  If you need help identifying the ghost in your life, I recommend you pick up this tome.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Maniac 2013

Maniac, directed by Franck Khalfoun, co-written by Alexander Aja, and starring Elijah Wood as mannequin loving Frank Zito, proves many things I long suspected to be true.  Number One: a great, grimy horror movie can really improve my mood.  Two: Elijah Wood is hot in a way I sometimes think is inappropriate, AND he is creepy in a way I just can’t explain. 
Three: the worst part of a scalping is the sound.  Horrible!
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, number four: Men who wear turtlenecks are probably serial killers and are, at the very least, not to be trusted.
OK, now that I have all that off my chest, let me just say THANK YOU MANIAC!!!  I was in such a horror movie funk and you, you precocious crazy gory movie, pulled me out of it.  Where do I begin with how wonderful this film is?  Let’s start with Elijah Wood.  When I heard he was making this film I thought “Well, that’s weird casting.”  If you are familiar with the 1980 original, you will know that Wood is no Joe Spinell.  (Full Disclosure: I have never seen the original, but I am familiar with it.  Definitely going to see it now.) 


 God, another turtleneck.  Frank has some serious issues, I mean, besides his fondness for turtlenecks.  His Mother was a either a prostitute or very loose woman, and young Frank caught her in numerous compromising conditions.  This gave Frank some serious Mommy issues, which he could only resolve by killing young women and using their scalps to "bring alive" the mannequins in his shop.  Everything is going along fine and crazy until Frank meets Anna, a beautiful young photographer who is also obsessed with mannequins. 


His relationship with Anna makes Frank's already fragile world begin to fall apart.  Despite being all over the posters and the stills from the film, Elijah Wood is hardly in the movie.  It is shot POV style, with the audience seeing everything through Frank's eyes.  We only see Frank in reflections, or the one or two times that the POV is broken.  I was worried this would be a distraction but it is an interesting feature of this film.  It made me think back to my Art History training and all the talk of the "Male Gaze."  Maniac is the male gaze taken to the extreme.  This might be a turn off for those who are sensitive, but really: if you are sensitive you probably should not be watching a film called Maniac.

Back to Elijah Wood.  He is creepy as hell.  Those eyes!  Those turtlenecks!  You can see why Anna might want to associate herself with him, and you can also see why she would want to run the hell in the other direction.  The film has a great look: not New York slimy but LA slimy-- kind of like the film Drive.  The best part of the film is without a doubt the score.  "Rob" is the composer and he or she has created a great techno spooky score that is reminiscent of the work of "Goblin." It adds a lot to the film, especially in terms of suspense and overall dread.

OK, that is like the third turtleneck he wears in the film.  AND he is wearing a jacket with elbow patches.  Almost as creepy as a turtleneck.  Run Anna Run!!! 


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

RIP Richard Matheson

 "I am Legend" was the first book I read by Richard Matheson.  I have read many since then, novels and short stories, but none have had such a profound influence on me as "I am Legend."  Thank you for all of the nightmares...

“Come out, Neville.”