Blog Archives

TO CHANGE OR NOT TO CHANGE: A POLL

Short and sweet: I’ve been thinking about changing the look of my blog. It’s been the same for about 2 years now and I’m getting itchy about changing it. That is where you come in. Should I change the theme entirely? Should I keep the same theme and make a few cosmetic changes? Should I leave it just the way it is?

I’ll run this for one week. Give me your input, please. Peace out…I mean-take care…and stay scared.

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WILLOW CREEK

WILLOW CREEK-United States-80 Mins. 2013

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Willow_Creek_Theatrical_Poster

Bryce Johnson as Jim and Alexie Gilmore as Kelly in Willow Creek

Bryce Johnson as Jim and Alexie Gilmore as Kelly in Willow Creek

Directed and Written by Bobcat Goldthwait

Bobcat Goldthwait may one day become the punchline of a Geico commercial:

Man: “Huh. 15 Minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”

Woman: “Uh-huh. Everybody knows that.”

Man: “Well, did you know that Bobcat Goldthwait wrote and directed the best’ found footage’ movie of all time?”

There’s only one problem with that: it’s not a joke. Bobcat Goldthwait has officially written and directed the best found footage film of all time, or at least I think so. Goldthwait explores Bigfoot territory in Willow Creek-a film that is as tongue-in-cheek as it is absolutely terrifying. Willow Creek takes a slow ride to scaring the shit out of us and when it finally gets us to our destination Goldthwait pulls no punches in making our hearts crawl into our throats and out of our mouths to say ‘it’s been fun but fuck you very much.’ Do you want to know how much I enjoyed Willow Creek? I just watched it ten minutes ago as of my writing this post and already I’m psyched to watch it again. The old cliché about a film being a roller coaster ride of excitement has become new again with Willow Creek; only this ride has two settings: the slow ascent and the hellish ride down.

Jim and Kelly are re-tracing the steps made by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin when they filmed their historic footage of a Bigfoot as it strolled across their view and into infamy on October 20, 1967. Willow Creek divides Jim and Kelly in half-Jim has believed since he was eight years old; Kelly, not so much. There are the usual arguments: how come no one has ever found a body? How has a creature that big managed to avoid detection for all those years? As the couple move deeper into Bigfoot territory their search for Sasquatch takes a turn as they meet the ‘Bob Dylan of Bigfoot, Tommy Yamarone, who serenades the couple with ‘Roger and Bob (Rode Out That Day); and Tommy Red and his poignant ‘952 Frames of Truth’, a reference to the amount of film shot by Patterson and Gimlin on that day in ‘67. Deeper into Bigfoot territory and Jim and Kelly encounter a man who pointedly tells them to turn their car around and go back the way they came. Undaunted, our couple presses on by taking an alternate route into the terrain and setting up their campsite only to have it torn down by an unseen individual.

Nighttime is the wrong time for Jim and Kelly. For ten minutes Goldthwait, using the grainiest film he can find, puts us through sheer terror as the couple hear the sounds of wood being knocked together, an ungodly howl, the sound of a woman crying and as the sounds grow closer a sort of threatening, menacing scratch from deep in the throat and finally the rustling of the tent as whoever-whatever-presses against it and toys with their-and our-sanity. The scene outdoes every frame of The Blair Witch Project and never looks back as it drives a spike of terror into our chests and out the other side. However, the scariest part of the scene is not the noises and commotion outside the tent but the rationalization on the inside as Jim explains each sound or movement to a frightened Kelly. Afterward, the couple makes a decision that will impact them for the rest of the film.

Bobcat Goldthwait is known as that ‘comedian with the high-pitched voice that was in those Police Academy movies.’ He is also a director known for Shakes the Clown and satirical comedies such as World’s Greatest Dad and God Bless America. Willow Creek is a departure for Goldthwait to a certain degree. You can’t help but laugh when Jim and Kelly eat a Bigfoot burger or visit the Bigfoot bookstore and bed down at the Bigfoot Motel. Goldthwait lures us in with the subtle laughs before wrenching the terror to 10 in the final act; which despite being reminiscent of the finale of literally every ‘found footage’ film ever made Goldthwait still manages to make scary as hell. The only complaint I have about the film is a minor one: Goldthwait, although smart in casting relative unknowns Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson as Jim and Kelly, casts Peter Jason as a park ranger who recounts a story to Jim about a possible encounter with Bigfoot that left his dog bifurcated. Genre fans will recognize Jason from John Carpenter’s They Live and may be taken out of the world of Willow Creek for the brief time that he’s onscreen-but then again maybe I’m making something out of nothing. I do know that I wasn’t kidding about Willow Creek being the best ‘found footage’ film ever made. I’m even thinking about making a trophy and mailing it to the Bobcat. How does a gold representation of a dilapidated shack with a stash of film canisters underneath with the words “Best ‘Found Footage’ Movie. Ever” engraved on it grab ya?

TRIVIA

The disclaimer ‘No Animals (or Bigfoot) were harmed during the production of this movie’ appears in the final credits.

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Alexie Gilmore also appears in Surfer Dude and Definitely, Maybe.

Bryce Johnson also appears in Sleeping Dogs Lie and Supernatural: Bloodlines (TV).

 

I GOT THE LIEBSTER AWARD AND I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH 11 BLOGGERS

I just received my first award, the Liebster Award, for the year 2014 from Damian Thomas Films…Etc. So now I’ll show you a picture of the award in case you are interested in things like that. Most people like to look at naked girls on the internet but hey if looking at awards is your thing here it is:

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Now, what else do I have to do to represent this prestigious award? Oh yes I have to answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated me. Here goes nothing.

1. What angers you the most when watching a movie in theaters?

The thing that angers me most is when some self-important moron decides to light up half the theater with their cell phone. Your mommy, your drug dealer or your crack whore girlfriend can wait until the movie is over. Get off the phone!

2. What do you love about watching movies in theaters?

It’s when the manager kicks out the self-important moron for using their cell phone in the theater. I’ve never been to the Alamo Drafthouse but I want to go there one day just so I can (possibly) see it happen. They have a ‘no talking, no texting’ rule, you know?

3. Name a movie you never want to watch. Ever.

That would be The Happy Hooker. My mother had a copy of the book and I read and re-read all the good parts. I don’t want to see it because I know what I see on the screen will not measure up to my imagination.

4. Name a movie you’re ashamed you haven’t seen yet.

I can’t think of one. Sorry.

5. Favorite weekend hangout?

Home and Barnes & Noble.

6. Favorite band or music artist for the past week?

Every year I listen to my collection of over 400 CD’s in Alphabetical-Chronological order. This past week has been all about Blue Öyster Cult.

7. 3D. Yay or Nay?

I could care less.

8. Name a movie you wish you could have been on the set while it was filming.

The Godfather or Goodfellas because they are arguably the two greatest mafia films ever made. As for a horror film that’s an easy one: The Howling or John Carpenter’s The Thing. I never get tired of those two films.

9. How do you stream movies (Computer, Blu-ray Player, Game Consoles like PS4 and Wii)?

Through my Playstation 3 or my Blu-ray mostly.

10. What are your top five favorite movie podcasts to listen to?

I’ve only listened to one podcast related to movies: Badasses, Boobs and Body Counts. I also occasionally post episodes from The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. I’ll be posting episode 9 this Friday.

  1.  Who is your movie celebrity crush? You have to answer for both guys and girls.

If I was going to pick a guy I would have say Michael Fassbender on the basis that he’s a fantastic actor. As for female celebrities I have so many it’s impossible to pick just one. Raquel Welch, Salma Hayek, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore come to mind.

I now have to pick 11 bloggers whom I wish to pick the Liebster Award to. They are in no particular order:

Rarasaur

Cinematic 

The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows

HitchcockMaster

Screen Muse

American Male

Movies Reviews 2014

PERMASHIFT

IAAW

Zurandrya

Raccoon Travels

I will be sending each blogger a comment to let them know they have received the Liebster.

Finally, instead of 11 questions I have only one question I wish for them to answer:

Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman-which one is sexier?

 

 

I FOUND A BUTT-LOAD OF ALTERNATIVE MOVIE POSTERS

I was having one of those moments where I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to do on the computer. It was then that I remembered reading an article in Rue Morgue magazine about alternative movie posters. So, to make a long story short I found a butt load of alternative posters and decided to share them with you. For those of you who are uninformed an alternative movie poster is a fan-made poster. That’s it, that’s all it is. One thing I have noticed is that over 90% of the alternative posters I found look better than the garbage the studios are passing off these days.

I’ve listed each poster by artist and all are from the horror genre, go figure. Some posters are of the same film but by different artists. Some artists are featured more than once. I picked what I liked. I hope you enjoy them.

MARTIN ANSIN:

wolfmanbgmartinansin

DAN MUMFORD:

wickermanbgdanmumford

TOMASZ OPASINSKI:

thingbgtomaszpasinski

JORGE COELHO:

theylivebgjorgecoelho

RANDY ORTIZ:

thethingbgrandyortiz

armyofdarknessbgrandyortiz

JOSH ECKERT:

thethingbgjosheckert

CHRIS GAROFALO:

thethingbgchrisgarafalo

FLORIAN BERTMER:

swampthingbgflorianbertmer

DAVID MOSCATI:

suspiriabgdavidmoscati

THOMAS WALKER:

shiningbgthomaswalker

FRODESIGN:

shiningbg6frodesign

ANTHONY PETRIE:

sharknadobg.jpgnthonypetrie

STEVE MARCHAL:

reanimator3bgstevemarchal

ME, MYSELF AND I:

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CRAIG DRAKE:

predatorbgcraigdrake

ASH THORP:

predatorbgashthorpe

GODMACHINE:

predatorbg1godmachine

JAY SHAW:

paranormalactivity4jayshaw

CHRIS WESTON:

nosferatubg1chrisweston

descentbgchrisweston

ALEX PARDEE:

nightmarebgalexpardee

JASON EDMISTON:

maniaccopbgjasonedmiston

ONETWENTYTHREE:

insidebgonetwentythree

FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA:

friday13bgfrancescofrancavilla

AARON HORKEY & VANI ZOURAVLOV:

draculabgaaronhorkeyvanizouravliov

DAN SHERRATT:

dawnofthedeadbgdansharratt

PETER STRAIN:

carriebgpeterstrain

auditionbgpeterstrain

KEVIN TONG:

brideoffrankensteinbgkevintong

NARCIS LUPOU:

blairwitchbgnarcislopou

JUSTIN WILL:

blackswanbgjustinwill

KEN TAYLOR:

blacklagoonbgkentaylor

aliensbgkentaylor

STEVE JENCKS:

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SIMON HEARD:

amityvillebgsimonheard

CREATIVE SPARKS:

americanwerewolfinlondonbgcreativesparks

FERNANDO REZA:

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MATT NEEDLE:

americanhorrorbgmattneedle

 

SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE

Sorority House Massacre-United States-74 Mins. 1986

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Angela O'Neill as Beth

Angela O’Neill as Beth

Wendy Martel as Linda

Wendy Martel as Linda

Pamela Ross as Sara

Pamela Ross as Sara

Nicole Rio as Tracy

Nicole Rio as Tracy

Directed and written by Carol Frank

There are over 1,000,000 levels of suck and Sorority House Massacre achieves every damn one of them. This piece of ’80’s slasher garbage is so bad that I highly recommend that every VHS, LaserDisc, Beta, DVD and Blu-ray edition be tracked down and buried in the desert alongside all those copies of E.T. the Extra-terrestrial the Video Game. It’s a stupid excuse of a slasher film that tastelessly rips off every major plot point of John Carpenter’s classic, Halloween. It also makes me ashamed as a reviewer to mention the two films in the same sentence.

The film centers on Beth (Angela O’Neill, Grandmother’s House) a young woman who has nightmares about a man stalking her with a knife. Meanwhile, Bobby (John C. Russell in his only film credit according to IMDb.com) has escaped from the mental institution (*HALLOWEEN RIP-OFF*) he has resided in after murdering his entire family except for his little sister, Laura (*ANOTHER HALLOWEEN RIP-OFF*). Bobby steals a car (*STILL ANOTHER HALLOWEEN RIP-OFF.IS THERE NO SHAME?*) and makes his way back home to finish her off. Only now home has been turned into a sorority house and he has a whole new set of victims in nubile co-eds Linda (Wendy Martel), Sara (Pamela Ross, Moonstalker) and Tracy (Nicole Rio, The Zero Boys, Gang Justice). Don’t worry; I’m not going to shout out how badly this film rips off Halloween anymore. I think I got my point across just fine. It’s no wonder the majority of the actresses in the film have little to no credits in anything else; their acting is so atrocious they couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag with both of their hands, a flashlight and a neon EXIT sign above the door. Here’s an experiment: take some shit and pile more shit on top of it. Voilà! You have just made your own copy of Sorority House Massacre. Bury it deep, please.

TRIVIA

The blonde woman in the poster artwork for this movie is actress Suzee Slater.

0 BLOOD DROPS out of 5

MASTERS OF HORROR SEASON ONE, EPISODE EIGHT: JOHN CARPENTER’S CIGARETTE BURNS

MASTERS OF HORROR SEASON ONE, EPISODE EIGHT: JOHN CARPENTER’S CIGARETTE BURNS-United States-2005

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Norman Reedus as Kirby

Norman Reedus as Kirby

Udo Kier (R) as Bellinger

Udo Kier (R) as Bellinger

Christopher Redman as Willowy Being

Christopher Redman as Willowy Being

Directed by John Carpenter

Written by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan

I assume that a lot of you read Written in Blood because, first and foremost, you love movies; especially horror movies. I will expand upon that assumption by saying that there are those of you out there who love movies so much that not only do you collect and watch movies, but that you also collect movie memorabilia of various degrees. Along with the hundreds of DVD’s and Blu-rays that I own, I also have some posters; as well as a Planet Terror Cherry Darling action figure still in the original package. My pride and joy is a beautiful ceramic Godzilla statue depicting the lizard king (sorry Jim Morrison, but the Big G will always be the original) from Godzilla vs. Biollante. But enough about all that; this is one of those times where I start with one story to tell you another story. John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns is about the high price of movie collecting and I’m not talking about paying double on eBay for an authentic Iron Man helmet.

Norman Reedus (Mimic, The Walking Dead) is Kirby, a rare films dealer hired by the wealthy Bellinger (Udo Kier, Blade, Suspiria) to find a print of an ultra-rare film called “La Fin Absolue du Monde”, or “The Absolute End of the World”. Upon its premiere, the film set off a homicidal riot and was later believed to be destroyed. Bellinger is convinced that a print of the film exists and shows Kirby proof in the form of the Willowy Being, a humanoid creature that may or may not be an angel. The Being tells Kirby that if the film were truly destroyed then he would know about it. Up to his ass in debt to his late girlfriend’s father, Kirby accepts the job. The closer he gets to the truth, the more he begins to see ‘cigarette burns’ a slang term for the mark on a film that indicates that it will soon be time to change reels. The ‘burns’ are used here to indicate when there will be a shift in the tone of the film and the results of Kirby’s search for “La Fin Absolue Du Monde”. With that, seeing as how I take pride in keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, there’s not much else I can tell you about the plot of Cigarette Burns.

This is the second time in the past three years that I’ve watched Cigarette Burns. The first time I had yet to begin writing and therefore took a casual approach to the episode. But, even after watching it with more scrutiny the second time around; I found that I had to sit for a while to be able to collect my feelings about it. It reminds me of a friend of mine who told me that when he went to see Pulp Fiction, he sat in his car in the theater parking lot for twenty minutes pondering on whether he liked the film before finally deciding that he did like it. I understand him now; it took me twenty minutes to determine that I liked Cigarette Burns. It’s the best episode (so far) of Masters of Horror. Norman Reedus carries the film with a charm that I personally don’t think a more well-known actor could have accomplished. Those of you who only know the guy as Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead I would highly recommend to see this episode. There’s a lot more to the guy than a red neck and a crossbow.

Cigarette Burns has an identical plot to Roman Polanski’s thriller The Ninth Gate. One of the main differences being that it is a film and not a book that Kirby is hired to find. The other is that at over two hours I couldn’t wait for The Ninth Gate to end. At the end of 58 minutes, Cigarette Burns left me wanting more.

TRIVIA

The newspaper columnist lives in a secluded house in Carthage, New York. John Carpenter, who directed the movie, was born in Carthage, New York.

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AFTER 10 EDITIONS OF “WHAT’S THEIR BEST FILM?”, WRITTEN IN BLOOD WEIGHS IN

Wow, I’ve done ten editions of “What’s Their Best Film?” already. In that time I have received great response from some of my regular and my non-regular commentators. I’m sure that a lot of you have voiced your opinion of not what you thought a particular filmmaker’s best movie was; but listed your favorite film from said director instead. Hey, that’s cool; because in order to accurately give an opinion of a director’s best movie you would have had to have seen every film in their catalog. I love movies, but I will not and cannot watch movies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are more important things such as work, supporting a family and figuring out ways to get Honey Boo Boo off the air. Damn what an annoying kid and her equally annoying mother!

So why am I babbling on and on? I shall tell you. In the last ten editions of “WTBF?” it has been you, dear reader, who has voiced your humble opinion. Now it’s my turn to give you my opinion. I will list each director below and I will tell what I think is their best movie or my favorite movie; whatever you want to call it.

Let’s begin:

MARTIN SCORSESE

Is it any surprise that I’m going with Goodfellas for this one? In my opinion it’s the greatest gangster flick ever made.

Runner-up: Taxi Driver

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MICHAEL BAY

Most of what Bay puts out is complete shit; but if I had to choose a movie of his to watch I’d go with Armageddon . At least it got the Criterion Collection treatment.

Runner-up: Transformers

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Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho. It’s my favorite “Hitch” film and in my humble opinion it is also his best. The shower scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Runner-up: Rear Window

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STEVEN SPIELBERG

Schlinder’s List. Spielberg may have given us the first summer blockbuster with Jaws; but with Schindler’s List he gave us his first and finest masterpiece. Ralph Fiennes is chilling as Amon Goeth.

Runner-up: Jaws

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QUENTIN TARANTINO

Two words: Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2, Okay, so that’s six words. That’s because these movies rock so hard they blow up two words and turn them into six!

Runner-up: Pulp Fiction

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PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON

I loved Magnolia and watch it at least three times every year. There are just so many great performances in this film from Julianne Moore to John C. Reilly. Tom Cruise was robbed of an Oscar for his role as informercial sex guru Frank ‘T.J.’ Mackey.

Runner-up: Boogie Nights

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JOHN CARPENTER

Do you honestly think I would choose anything other than The Thing?

Runner-up: Halloween

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DAVID CRONENBERG

Jeff Goldblum had the role of a lifetime in Cronenberg’s vision of the George Langelaan short story The Fly. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Runner-up: The Dead Zone

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BRIAN DE PALMA

Some might say Carrie, some might say Scarface; I’m going with Blow Out as De Palma’s best. Travolta’s performance is one of the key reasons Tarantino wanted him for Pulp Fiction.

Runner-up: Carrie or Scarface (tie)

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ROBERT ALTMAN

I loved Short Cuts the first time I saw it and every time after that. Fantastic ensemble acting.

Runner-up: M*A*S*H

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ROBERT RODRIGUEZ

Not only is Sin City Rodriguez’ best film; but it is also the single most faithful adaptation of a graphic novel from page to screen that I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s also the movie that once again made a contender out of Mickey Rourke.

Runner-up: From Dusk ’til Dawn

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CLINT EASTWOOD

Unforgiven is one of the greatest westerns ever made. It was directed by Clint Eastwood; who in turn learned a few tricks from one of the greatest filmmakers, Sergio Leone.

Runner-up: Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River (tie)

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SAM RAIMI

This is cheating, but I’m going with the entire Evil Dead trilogy for this one. Who needs Spider-man when you’ve got Ash? Bruce Campbell rocks!!

Runner-up: Spider-man 2

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DARIO ARGENTO

To be honest, I’ve only seen three Argento films: Suspiria, Mother of Tears and Opera. Of the three of those I suppose my choice for his best would be Suspiria. What a creepy and atmospheric film.

Runner-up: Opera

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DARREN ARONOFSKY

I have to go with The Wrestler on this one. I’ve been a fan of the squared circle for quite a long time and it’s the first film to take the subject matter seriously. Mickey Rourke was amazing as Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

Runner-up: Black Swan

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WES CRAVEN

I could be a complete asshole and go totally against the popular choice of A Nightmare on Elm Street as Craven’s best; but that would just be stupid. He gave us Freddy Fucking Krueger with this one, for crying out loud!

Runner-up: The Last House on the Left or Scream (tie)

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TOBE HOOPER

Just as Craven brought usFreddy Krueger with his greatest film A Nightmare on Elm Street; so did Tobe Hooper bring us The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Leatherface 10 years prior. Watch this movie and you’ll think twice about picking up hitchhikers and eating Texas Bar-B-Que.

Runner-up: Poltergeist

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ALEXANDRE AJA

It may seem like a strange choice, but I pick his remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes over High Tension (aka Haute Tension aka Switchblade Romance) as Aja’s best film. It’s close though; both movies are fucking brutal.

Runner-up: High Tension 

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ROB ZOMBIE

Some people seem to love Rob Zombie’s films and other people seem to hate his films and his fucking guts. There’s no middle ground. What’s his best film? That’s easy: The Devil’s Rejects.

Runner-up: Halloween

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JOE DANTE

What have I said before? The Howling is the greatest werewolf movie ever made; so the choice here is a no-brainer.

Runner-up: Gremlins

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STUART GORDON

Re-animator, of course. Those of you who disagree can get a job in a sideshow. This film brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘giving head.’

Runner-up: From Beyond

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GUILLERMO DEL TORO

I haven’t seen everything by Del Toro, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Devil’s Backbone. It was an amazing little ghost story.

Runner-up: Hellboy

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GEORGE ROMERO

There is no question that Night of the Living Dead is Romero’s greatest film; the trouble is that Dawn of the Dead is every bit as awesome. Folks, we have a tie! Zombies everywhere have Uncle George to thank for their popularity.

Runner-up: Day of the Dead

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BRAD ANDERSON

I loved Session 9 and The Machinist on equal terms; but if I had to choose I’d have to go with the latter based simply on the strength of the performance from Christian Bale. The Machinist is a brilliant film about guilt and how it can affect us so deeply.

Runner-up: Session 9

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WILLIAM FRIEDKIN

William Friedkin

The Exorcist. Nothing else need be said.

Runner-up: The French Connection

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LUCKY MCKEE

Lucky McKee

I choose May as McKee’s best for one simple reason: the deliciously disturbing performance from Angela Bettis. She deserved an Oscar for that movie.

Runner-up: The Woman

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EDUARDO SÁNCHEZ

Eduardo Sanchez

It’s going to take Sanchez a long time before he gets out from under the shadow of The Blair Witch Project. He’s been making heavy strides with films like Altered and Lovely Molly. Still, it is the witch who holds sway over all.

Runner-up: Altered

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MARIO BAVA

I’ve only seen one Bava film and that is Black Sunday. I do want to see more.

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LUCIO FULCI

The same goes for Lucio Fulci and Zombie. I know, I know I need to watch more Fulci and Bava.

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SERGIO LEONE

The man who gave us The Man with No Name. It’s hard to pick one great Leone film. A Fistful of Dollars? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Once Upon a Time in the West? Once Upon a Time in America? Nope, I just can’t do it.

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There you go; my choices. Some are your choices as well and some are not. Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one and they make the world go ’round.

SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-OCTOBER 2012-DANIELLE HARRIS

SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-OCTOBER 2012-DANIELLE HARRIS

I have to be honest with you all; I really don’t know all that much about the October Scream Queen of the Month, Danielle Harris. I know that she’s beautiful; the photo above is proof of that. I know that she made her film debut as Jamie Lloyd in 1988’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and would return to the role the following year in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. I also know that she stepped into the role of Annie Brackett for director Rob Zombie’s re-vision of Halloween and Halloween II in 2007 and 2009; a role was originally filled by Nancy Loomis in John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978 and again in Halloween II in 1981.

Hmm, so what else do I know about Danielle Harris? Well, she has earned the title of modern day Scream Queen by appearing in genre films like Urban Legend (1998), Left For Dead (2007), The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (2009), Hatchet II and Stakeland (both 2010) and Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 and The Victim (both 2011).

She has appeared in the non-genre films The Last Boy Scout (1991) with Bruce Willis as well as Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and Free Willy. She recently completed Fatal Call and is in post-production with Hatchet IIIDead.tv and The Ghost of Goodnight Lane.

Last but not least, I know that it is an honor to bestow the title of Scream Queen of the Month for Halloween Month 2012 upon the beautiful and the busy Miss Danielle Harris!

HARRIS HINTS

Born Danielle Andrea Harris on June 1, 1977

5′

She appeared both as the on-screen “Roseanne” (1988)’s neighbour, Molly in the TV show, and as Roseanne’s real life daughter, Jessica in a movie autobiography of Roseanne’s life.

In the mid-1990s, she was stalked by an obsessed fan. This person wrote letters threatening to kill her, and was eventually arrested for bringing a shotgun to her house.

Kept her clown costume from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) for years and even went trick-or-treating that year around Queens as Jamie Lloyd. Years later she sold the costume to a dedicated “Halloween” fan for his own personal collection.

THE WRITTEN IN BLOOD EDITION OF DESERT ISLAND FILMS

I was asked, by my friend Tyson at Head in a Vice, if I would submit my list of eight movies, one book and one luxury item that I would want to have with me if I were stranded on a desert island. I must say that I am glad that he finally asked as I was feeling left out and would soon resort to stalking and glaring menacingly at him while cleaning my fingernails with an ice pick. Just kidding, Tyson. Maybe.

I got to thinking about what to include on the list. I’m not a professional critic; I don’t know all about the various techniques that filmmakers and actors use to make a great film. I don’t use fancy words to describe a performance or a scene. I am just a guy from California by way of South Carolina who has watched movies since he was six and knows what he likes when he sees it.

So, here’s my list. As you can guess most are horror movies but with a few non-genre films tossed in for balance. I don’t think my choices will surprise anyone; but who knows. There is no particular order to the selections.

1. The Thing (1982)-John Carpenter

Alright, I told a little white lie. There is no way that I was not going to put this movie anywhere but Number 1. The Thing is the best film of John Carpenter’s long career and is a perfect example of how hand-made special effects are far more convincing than something a four year old could do on a fucking computer. Isolation, paranoia and a creature that can assume any form; what more could you ask for in a movie?

2. The Howling (1981)-Joe Dante

Best werewolf movie ever made! Best werewolf transformation ever! These are not your daddy’s Lon Chaney Jr. werewolves. These are werewolves whose sole purpose is to keep you, me and Little Red Riding Hood in therapy for the rest of our lives. I fell in love with Dee Wallace in this movie. There was no way I could have shot her; it would have been like shooting Ole Yeller.

3. Hostel and Hostel Part II (2005 and 2007)-Eli Roth

I’m cheating quite a bit with this selection as Hostel and Hostel Part II are two entirely different movies. But then again, how different are they? Both feature dumb Americans in foreign countries who get in way over their heads. Both feature torture and gore. Even the Bubble Gum Gang makes an appearance in both movies. Why do I love these two sicko movies so much? I have no fucking idea! Best line goes to Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova) for “I get a lot of money for you, and that makes you MY bitch.”

4. Goodfellas (1990)-Martin Scorcese

Where do I start? I take nothing away from The Godfather; but in my humble opinion Goodfellas is the definitive gangster movie. I could, and did, write an entire post on this one movie. Give me time and I could write 10 more. There are so many great scenes in this film; Henry and Karen’s first date and that masterful tracking shot, Tommy’s death and Jimmy’s heartbreaking reaction. Last but not least there’s that great scene:

Henry Hill: You’re a pistol, you’re really funny. You’re really funny.
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean I’m funny?
Henry Hill: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.
[laughs]
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Henry Hill: It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy DeVito: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What’s funny about it?
Anthony Stabile: Tommy no, You got it all wrong.
Tommy DeVito: Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry Hill: Jus…
Tommy DeVito: What?
Henry Hill: Just… ya know… you’re funny.
Tommy DeVito: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry Hill: Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy DeVito: No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
Henry Hill: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy DeVito: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

5. Taxi Driver (1976)-Martin Scorcese

Taxi Driver is one of the most perfect American movies ever made and by far the greatest performance of Robert De Niro’s career. It is a paranoid journey into the seedy heart of New York City. It is a film that the lonely can understand and that the rest of us can be awed by. The scene where Travis is pleading with Betsy over the phone is one of the most heart wrenching in movie history.

6. Role Models (2008)-David Wain

What? Did you seriously think I wouldn’t take a comedy with me? If I watched the other movies on the list without having something to laugh at I’d go insane. This goofy movie about two losers forced into community service at a Big Brother type program makes me LOL and ROFLMAO every time I see it. So take that, Reindeer Games. I know; you’re not Ben Affleck. You know something? You white, you Ben Affleck.

7. Inside aka À l’intérieur (2007)-Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury

I had heard that the French were making some brutal horror movies lately. I didn’t believe it at first; and then I saw Martyrs and this movie, Inside, and my eyes were opened. Brutal does not even begin to describe this movie. Beátrice Dalle is fucking terrifying in this film about a woman, her unborn child and the woman who will do anything to make it her own. Inside is intense!

8. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (2003 and 2004)-Quentin Tarantino

The Kill Bill films are my absolute favorite Tarantino films. QT pays homage to nearly every genre that he can cram into the narrative of his tale about a vengeful bride and Bill, the son of a bitch who shot her down. You’ve never met anyone quite like The Bride, Bill and the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

My one book would have to be Ghoul by Michael Slade. This was Slade’s second novel and the first that I read. After that I haven’t missed one since. Slade’s books are mystery, history and bloody horror all rolled into one brilliant little package. Ghoul is a masterpiece.

As for my luxury item that would be a toothbrush. If she were with me my wife would at least want me to have healthy teeth and gums.

ALIEN

ALIEN-United States/United Kingdom-1979

Tom Skerritt as Dallas

John Hurt as Kane

Ian Holm as Ash

Yaphet Kotto as Parker

Directed by Ridley Scott

Story by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett

Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon

I couldn’t believe it. I checked and double-checked and still I couldn’t believe it. I’ve reviewed everything from Halloween to The Howling to Dead Hooker in a Trunk for this blog and yet there is one glaring omission.

I’ve never reviewed Alien.

But then again maybe ‘reviewed’ is too harsh a word. To say that I have never reviewed this film would perhaps indicate that I am going to tell you not only about its strengths but also about its weaknesses. Alien has no weaknesses. It is similar to its titular creature in that it is the perfect science fiction/horror film hybrid. It is even more perfect than John Carpenter’s masterpiece of xenomorphic terror, The Thing and that is a truly bold statement as that film is my favorite of all time.

You don’t believe that Alien is the perfect sci-fi/horror film? Just ask the 17 year-old boy that sat with his fingers over his eyes in that dark movie theater in South Carolina in 1979. This young man watched in horror at the screen as this huge ship with a strange name, Nostromo, and a small crew picked up a distress signal in the far reaches of space. He watched as it began with a parasite that hugged tight the man’s face and planted its seed in his stomach. We all know what happened next; so much blood and a creature that in its infancy screamed its way across a blood-soaked table and into cinematic history. I can assure you it would not stay an infant for very long. One by one like the characters in a twisted version of an Agatha Christie novel it picks off the crew of the Nostromo until only one is left alive. Oh, and don’t think I’m telling you who. There is always that remote chance that some unlucky soul has never seen this cinematic work of art and I will not be the one to spoil it for them.

It has now been 33 years since Alien made its debut. There have been three sequels and two other films that have crossed over into the mythos of another creature, the Predator. Each film has met with varying degrees of success or notoriety. None of them, and I mean absolutely none of them will ever have the impact that this first film in the series had on me all those years ago. So, no, this is not a review as you are familiar with the word; it is merely a labor of love.

Thank you, Ridley Scott. Thank you, Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Finally, thank you Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. As much as I have always loved the movies, you made me love them even more.

TRIVIA

Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott.

The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained for them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.

H.R. Giger’s initial designs for the facehugger were held by US Customs who were alarmed at what they saw. Writer Dan O’Bannon had to go to LAX to explain to them that they were designs for a horror movie.

The screen test that bagged Sigourney Weaver the role of Ripley was her speech from her final scene.

The original title was “Star Beast”.

There is no dialog for the first 6 minutes.

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