Top Ten 70′s Horror Movie (7-6)

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7. Omen

This may be one of the reasons why it took me so long to have children myself. Child and Antichrist; synonymous don’t you think? Who would have thunk that the devil had the face of an angel? In any case, this is not quite the scare that The Exorcist had on me but there were enough scares for me to like it at a very early age. Question, what if the child was called something other than Damien like maybe Chuck or Bob? AKA read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Would he have been the same problem child?

6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Oh, Leatherface. How I love you! You are creepy on so many level from the shoes on your feet to your blood stained apron to the mask of human flesh on your face. Seriously, you are the true American Psycho. When you compare Leatherface to another famous mass killer like Jason Vorhees, Friday the 13th, there is a real grounded sense of a killer out in the woods. With Jason, you could kill or maim or just piss him off but he will just keep after you.  With Leatherface, he has the upper hand because the teens are playing on his terms and on his turf plus he has a chainsaw. That is totally cool.

Humanoids of the Deep

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Fishermen from the fishing village of Noyo catch what appears to be some kind of monster in the netting of their boat. The young son of one of the fishermen falls into the water and is dragged under the surface by something unseen. Another fisherman prepares a flare gun, but he slips and shoots it accidentally into the deck, which is soaked with gasoline dropped earlier by the boy, causing the vessel to burst into flame and then explode; everybody onboard is killed. The explosion is witnessed by Jim Hill (McClure) and his wife Carol, who begin to wonder what is going on here, especially when Carol’s dog goes missing during the following night and the two find its dismembered corpse on the nearby beach.

The following night, teenagers Jerry Potter (Meegan King) and Peggy Larson (Lynn Schiller) go for a swim at the beach. Jerry is abruptly pulled under. Peggy believes it is simply a prank until she discovers his horribly mutilated corpse. The screaming girl tries to make it to the beach but she is attacked and dragged onto the sand by a monstrous figure. The humanoid thing tears off her swimming suit and rapes her.

At night, on the same beach, two more teens are about to have sex in a small tent when another humanoid monster claws its way inside. It brutally kills the boy and chases the girl onto the beach. She manages to outrun her assailant but then runs straight into the arms of yet another humanoid. The monster throws her onto the sand and rapes her.

A company called Canco has announced plans to build a huge cannery near Noyo. It turns out that the murderous, sex-hungry mutations are apparently the result of Canco’s experimentation with a growth hormone they had earlier administered to salmon. The salmon escaped from the laboratory facilities into the ocean during a storm, and were then eaten by other, larger fish who proceeded to mutate into the brutally depraved humanoids who have begun to terrorize the village.

By the time Jim and Dr. Susan Drake (Turkel), a Canco scientist, have figured out what is going on, it is too late to stop the village’s annual carnival from starting. At the carnival, the humanoids show up in droves, relentlessly murdering the men and raping every woman they can grab. Luckily, Jim devises a plan to stop the marauding beasts. The morning after the carnival, everything seems about to return to normal. However, Peggy has survived her sexual assault and is about to give birth when her monstrous offspring suddenly bursts out of her stomach in a fountain of blood.

Wikipedia

This is one of those movies I watched early on HBO. Think of Humanoids as the Creature from the Black Lagoon but with many creatures and they are very, very horny. Considering the time, the creature effects are fairly decent and you do get a good look at them in a rare daytime attack. Never the less, there are some noteworthy mentionables starting with Doug McClure. Back in the 70’s, Doug starred in one of my favorite classics called The Land that Forgot Time. He has tons of tv work which also includes Manimal, Automan, and Airwolf.

Next, we get Vic Morrow. In Humanoids, he does the typical racists that stirs a great deal of drama throughout the film. There are shades of this character that appeared in another film.  This film was called The Twilight Zone: The Movie and the roll of Bill Connors, a real nasty bigot, in the first segment. Like Doug, Vic had also done tons of tv work but his last role ended tragically. If you don’t know the story, there was

The film’s only original segment was the first, directed by John Landis. It is loosely based on the original Twilight Zone episodes “A Quality of Mercy” and “Deaths-Head Revisited“, with the opening narration borrowing from “What You Need“. Vic Morrow plays Bill Conner, an outspoken bigot who is bitter after being passed over for a promotion. Drinking in a bar after work with his friends, Bill makes prejudiced remarks and racial slurs towards Jews, blacks and Asians, attracting the attention of a group of black men sitting near them who, of course, strongly resent his racist comments. Bill leaves the bar very angry. When he walks outside, Bill has suddenly become the selected racial ethnicities of the people against whom he was always prejudiced. First, he finds himself in Vichy France during World War II. He is spotted by a pair of SS officers patrolling the streets, who see him as a Jewish man. After a chase around the city, Bill time travel jumps to the rural South during the 1940s, where the Ku Klux Klan sees him as an African American whom they are about to whip and lynch. Bill is scared and confused and vehemently tries to tell them he’s white. While trying to escape the Ku Klux Klan members, he time travels into theVietnam War, where he is a Vietnamese man nearly blown to bits by U.S. soldiers. The grenade thrown by the soldiers blasts him back to Vichy France, where he is captured by Nazi soldiers and put into an enclosed railroad freight car, along with other Jewish Holocaustprisoners, with no possibility of redemption or rescue, futilely screaming for help to his friends from the bar that only he can see as the train pulls away to a death camp.

Wikipedia

Tragically, during one of the scenes where Vic (Bill) was in Vietnam there was a sequence with a helicopter. In the story, Bill was trying to rescue two Vietnamese children.  As he was wading through a river with them this is when the accident occurred and the helicopter fell on them. This certainly added a somber tone to this segment when I watched it in the theaters.

Lastly, aside from all the boobies, yes I said boobies, there was one sequence towards the end that impressed me. One of the girls who was raped by one of the Humanoids goes into labor. The doctor gives the order to have the girl push her stomach begins to expand. The doctor freaked and the girl lets out this horrific scream. And then we get this shot of her with blood in the mouth and her eyes were dilated which gives a very freaky effect. As for the little bugger, it bursts a la Alien Chest burster and that’s how the movie ends. Certainly there was room for a sequel but alas nothing further was developed except for the remake in 1996; which I have not seen…yet.

Top Ten 70’s Horror Movie (10-8)

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10. One of the best styled horror movie of this decade. Brian De Palma has a distinctive style in many of his films that have a dream like quality, slow motion action as well split screen camera action. Carrie will be the start of many of Stephen King’s books to be adopted for the big screen just as The Shining, Cat’s Eye, Firestarter, and The Dead Zone to name a few. Also couple of notable facts, this is John Travolta first movie role, pre The Greatest American Hero William Kat, and P.J. Soles who will be in another classic horror movie but that will be revealed at a later time.

9. Horror from the North, Canada’s very own David Cronenberg is one of those directors that many may not of heard. Trust me, he is amazing on many levels and in case you’ve missed the Cronenberg’s blog-a-thon click here to read some great entries on his career. In the 80’s, Cronenberg will direct two of my favorites horror films which I will talk about later.

With Rabid, I believe we get the first variation of the traditional zombie genre where a virus was causing the plague. From an accident, we get Rose (Marilyn Chambers) receiving a skin graft that causes her to crave blood and gets it in a very unusual way. In the process, she passes along the virus to others and so forth. To note about Marilyn, she was a porn star and Rabid was her first legitimate movie role. Prior, she was a spokeswoman for Ivory Soap.

8. There are two things that you will take away from this film are the Tall Man and the flying sphere ball. This movie would eventually spawn off 3 more sequels. Really, there is nothing else to say except for those two key points but nonetheless, it is still a notable horror film.

Night of the Living Dead

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Siblings Barbra (Judith O’Dea) and Johnny (Russell Streiner) drive to a rural Pennsylvania cemetery to visit their father’s grave. Barbra is afraid at the cemetery; Johnny frightens her repeating, “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!” A pale skinned man (Bill Hinzman) grabs Barbra. Johnny wrestles with the man but is killed when he falls and his head hits a tombstone. Barbra flees while being pursued by the man. She reaches an empty farmhouse. Ben (Duane Jones) arrives at the house and boards up the doors and windows. Barbra is catatonic, then frantically insists they must rescue Johnny, then collapses in shock.

Hiding in the cellar are Harry and Helen Cooper (Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman), their daughter Karen (Kyra Schon), and young couple Tom and Judy (Keith Wayne and Judith Ridley). Ben activates a radio while Barbra awakens. She is frightened by Tom and Harry emerging from the cellar. Harry and Ben argue. Ben thinks they should have left the cellar to help board the doors. Harry espouses hiding in the cellar but Ben deems it a “death trap” and remains upstairs. Tom agrees with Ben and asks Judy upstairs.

Harry returns to the cellar to Helen and Karen, who is ill after being bitten by a zombie. Radio reports explain that an epidemic of mass murder is sweeping across the eastern seaboard. Ben discovers a television; the emergency broadcaster reveals that the creatures are consuming the flesh of their victims and that the murders are being perpetrated by the recently deceased who have returned to life. Experts, scientists, and the military do not know the cause; one scientist believes it is caused by radioactive contamination from a space probe that exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere. A final report reveals that a gunshot or heavy blow to the head will stop the “ghouls” and that posses of armed men are patrolling the countryside to restore order.

Ben devises a plan to escape using the truck he drove to the house, but it needs fuel. Ben and Tom drive the short distance to an outside gas pump while Harry hurls Molotov cocktails from an upper window to restrain the ghouls. Judy fears for Tom’s safety and runs after him. They arrive at the pump but Tom spills fuel, setting the truck alight. Tom and Judy drive the truck from the pump to avoid further damage but it explodes, killing them. Ben returns to the house to find Harry boarding up the front door. Ben kicks the door down and furiously beats Harry. Ghouls approach the truck and feed on Tom and Judy’s flesh.

After the ghouls attempt to break into the house, Harry spots Ben’s rifle and threatens to shoot him. Ben wrestles the gun from Harry and shoots him. The ghouls begin to tug Helen and Barbra through the windows. Harry stumbles into the cellar to find Karen’s dead body, and dies. Helen frees herself of the ghouls and proceeds to the cellar to find Karen reanimated and consuming Harry’s flesh. Karen repeatedly stabs Helen with a cement trowel, killing her.

Barbra spots Johnny in the group of ghouls; distracted, she is carried away and killed. Karen tries to attack Ben. He pushes her away and seals himself in the cellar. Ben shoots the reanimated Harry and Helen. He survives the night and falls asleep. In the morning a posse arrives. Ben hears the posse and proceeds to the window. A member of the posse mistakes him for a ghoul and shoots him in the head from a distance, killing him. Ben’s body is placed onto a burning pyre.

For this classic horror film that started my love for zombies, I have never seen this on the big screen. The only big screen was on my 19″ tv and seating really close enough to ruin my eyes. First off, this movie came out in 1968 and two, my first watching of this movie to due in part because of my friend Michele. If you have read my horror from the beginning of this month will know how much of an influence she was on me. In fact, she bought my own copy of Night of the Living Dead on VHS which I still have even though I don’t have a player. Never the less, the advent of Netflix and the internet, I can watch this at my leisure. In fact, I’ve included this movie on this entry for your viewing pleasure.

Another thing that strikes me about this movie is how the zombies reacted. The first zombie that attacked Barbara in the car, he picks up a brick and tries to smash the car window and succeeds. Later, we see other zombies attack the house to clubs to break down the boarded windows. Unlike some other zombie productions we see the typical dumb zombies but the with the original Night we see zombies are problem solvers which makes them really unique.

The subtext of this movie is really interesting to watch for many reasons. Like with the Walking Dead graphic novel series, both works examines how people behavior under extraordinary situations. First, we have an African-American, Ben,  in the lead role which does not sit will with Harry. We also see how subservient the women are their male counterparts. They are either docile like Helen and Judy and neurotic like Barbara. Also, the last survivor Ben gets short by a white posse that “mistakes” him as a zombie, I disagree.

What also makes this film standout is the intended black and white footage. Yes, I agree that color make the gore look great but like the Walking Dead, there is a different feel about the gore that I can’t put my finger on it but the horror factor still comes through. However back in the day, the fade to color b&w movies all the rage including the original King Kong. While I did not include the colorized version you can check out the colorized trailer.

Now there is a new treatment called Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated. Basically, 150 artists worked on their favorite part of the movie using art to capture or reinterpret the images from the movies. Some look pure awesome while some went for quickly laughs but regardless, it is worth a look. Think of watching this movie like watching the first A-ha video Take on Me on acid. Not that I know about acid but the warped perceptions is a better description. Better yet, think of the Ani-Matrix for a horror movie. Check out the trailer plus some of my favorite scenes

Paranormal Activity vs. Paranormal Entity

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Here is my thing about going to the movies, I rarely get to go other than to family movies. Never mind that my wife and I have seen a rated R movie in over a year. Even more, I have not seen a horror movie in the theater since The Blair Witch Project; which oddly enough does ties into these two movies.

Paranormal Activity

Katie (Katie Featherston) and her boyfriend, Micah (Micah Sloat), are a young couple who recently moved into a two-story tract housein suburban San Diego, California. Katie claims that a ghostly presence has haunted her since her youth and believes that it has followed her to their new home. She hires a psychic, Dr. Fredrichs (Mark Fredrichs), who assesses that she is being haunted not by aghost, but by a demon. He says the demon feeds off negative energy, and its intent is to haunt and torment Katie no matter where she goes. Before leaving, he advises them not to taunt or communicate with the demon, and to contact demonologist Dr. Johan Averies for help. Instead, each night, Micah mounts a video camera on a tripod in their bedroom to record any paranormal activity that might occur while they sleep in the hopes of solving the problem himself.

The camera manages to capture several supernatural phenomena which remain minor at first, including the bedroom door moving by itself, and the sound of rapid footsteps downstairs. As Micah consistently taunts the demon, the phenomena gradually grow worse, including loud bangs and inhuman noises reverberating from deep within the house. One night, Katie awakens to spend several hours standing by the bed staring at Micah while he sleeps and goes outside to sit on the backyard swing, none of which she remembers the following morning. Katie, already irritated by Micah’s making light of the situation, becomes irate when Micah brings home a ouija board despite Dr. Fredrichs’ warnings. While the two are out of the house, the Ouija board‘s planchette moves on its own and a small fire erupts on the board, extinguishing itself moments later. The next night, Micah sprinkles talcum powder in the hallway and later the couple finds non-human footprints leading to the bedroom from the attic. In the attic, Micah finds a burnt photograph of a young Katie, which was previously thought to have been destroyed in a house fire.

The morning after a particularly intense haunting, a loud bang is heard and they discover the glass over a photo of them has been smashed with Micah’s image scratched underneath. Dr. Averies is abroad when Micah finally agrees to invite him, so Dr. Fredrichs comes instead. Upon his arrival, Dr. Fredrichs immediately has a sense of dread. He apologetically leaves despite their pleas for his help, stating that his presence is only making the demon angry. Two nights later, Katie is dragged out of bed and down the hallway by an invisible force. Hearing her screams, Micah gives chase and seizes her back; the next morning they discover a gruesome bite mark on her back. Stressed and exhausted, the couple decide to go to a hotel. Later, Micah finds Katie gripping a crucifix so tightly that it bloodies her palm. Micah, angry at a situation he cannot control, burns the crucifix and the picture found in the attic. Just as Micah is set to leave, a suddenly calm Katie insists they remain at the house, claiming that they’re “going to be okay now”, her voice speaking dually with the demon’s voice.

Later that night, Katie awakens to once again stand and stare at Micah while he sleeps. After standing and staring at Micah for approximately three hours, Katie goes downstairs into the darkness. After a moment of silence, Katie lets out a blood-curdling scream, waking Micah who rushes to her while the camera records what sounds like a struggle downstairs. The screams suddenly stop, and a brief silence is followed by the sound of heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. Micah’s body is violently hurled at the camera, knocking it over. Katie slowly walks into view, her clothing soaked with blood. Crouching over Micah’s body, she slowly looks at the camera with an evil smile and suddenly lunges toward it, with her face adopting a demonic appearance right before the screen fades to black.

The film ends with an ending title card stating that Micah’s body was discovered a few days later by the police, and Katie’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Wikipedia

Paranormal Enity

Samantha Finley (Erin Marie Hogan), her older brother Thomas Finley, and their mother Ellen Finley, are a family who have lost their father David. Ellen tries to contact her husband by writing to him and is overjoyed upon receiving a written response. Soon the family claims that a ghostly entity is haunting them. At first they think it is their father/husband David, but after a series of horrible attacks upon Samantha they begin to suspect otherwise.

One night the camera records Ellen sitting up in her bed and leaving her bedroom. She is then seen walking into the living room and kneeling at the coffee table where she writes something on a piece of paper. Ellen stands up, crumples the paper and walks back down the hallway. Thomas finds the paper in Samantha’s bedroom under her pillow and opens it to see that the writing spells out the word MARON. Thomas suggests that Ellen and Samantha stay at a hotel while he remains at the house to deal with the problem.

That night, Thomas rummages through a toolbox and finds three bells and some thin wire. On the archways outside his bedroom, the living room and the dining room he sets up traps. The idea is that should the entity enter a room the bell on the wire will jingle. When this does eventually occur, Thomas investigates. The wire and bell outside his door are ripped from the wall and thrown at him. Thomas then shuts himself in the bedroom, where the entity bangs on his door.

Just as the banging stops, Thomas receives a phone call from Ellen, who is in hysterics after the entity apparently followed them and again attacked Samantha. Upon arriving back at the house, Samantha is hunched over and in pain. Ellen says that it looked like something was holding Samantha’s arms before dragging her off the bed.

Thomas awakens at night, finds his sister missing and sees the front door standing open. He searches outside but cannot find her. He later finds the attic ladder hanging down and ascends it to find her silently standing there in a state of undress and in a trance. Upon awakening, Samantha is unable to recall anything from that night.

The following night, Thomas calls the previous owner of the house, asking if anyone under the name of Maron ever lived or died in their home, but the previous owner does not recognize the name. Soon afterwards, Thomas hears Samantha screaming. He rushes to the bathroom and finds her lying topless in the bathtub, wide-eyed and severely traumatized.

Ellen wakes after hearing thuds from outside. In the living room camera she is seen to stand in the archway for a few minutes before disappearing back into her bedroom. Thomas later wakes up, after hearing a door slam shut, and finds that Ellen has slit her wrists, weapon still in hand. She is then taken to the hospital.

Thomas and Sam are left at home when a self-professed paranormal expert arrives and walks through the residence. He explains that there is a powerful dark entity in the home and that Samantha is the focus of its attention. The psychic explains that the entity gained entry into the home via the supernatural gateway that was unwittingly opened up by the mother during her unsuccessful attempts to contact the spirit of her dead husband. Thomas gives the researcher the note his mother wrote in her sleep bearing the name “MARON”. It turns out that “maron” is Old Germanic for “nightmare” or, more specifically, incubus, which is the entity that has targeted Samantha.

The psychic agrees to help them evict the entity when the video fades to black.

After a pause, the camera’s POV shows the doctor’s bleeding head and vacantly-staring face resting sideways on the floor and “looking” toward the lens. Thomas is heard panicking. He grabs the camera after hearing Samantha screaming in agony and runs to her bedroom. We see that the house is in total disarray. Thomas finds his sister naked and levitating above the floor in her bedroom stark, covered in blood while being attacked by some invisible force. He drops the camera and tries to help her. A gurgling noise is heard off-screen, and an unseen figure picks up the camera and focuses it on Samantha’s lifeless face.

A notice at the beginning of the film revealed that Thomas was convicted of murdering the psychic and raping and killing Samantha. Despite his pleas, he was sent to prison, where he committed suicide sometime later.

At the end, it is revealed that upon hearing of both of her childrens’ deaths, Ellen also commits suicide.

Wikipedia

Thanks to Netflix, I mistakenly thought that Paranormal Entity (PE) was the Paranormal Activity (PA) movie that came out recently in the theaters. I discussed the events with a co-worker about Entity (thinking Activity) that apparently happened the same in Activity. Wow, that’s bad sign. Then again, the company who put out PE, The Asylum, is know who making these copies of popular movies like Transmorphers. (I wonder what this movie was originally called, hmmm?) In fairness, having seen both movies, there are some similar plot lines and some scenes that are better done but there were moments where I am taken out of the film and not staying immersed as in Blair Witch.

One of the scenes I discussed with me co-worker was about the footprints. PA’s Micah throws down talcum/baby powder on the floor to catch the pesky loud stomping demonic ghost. There is some evidence shortly afterwards. In PE’s Thomas, discovers footprints on the ceiling. The next day, he finds the footprints came from the ashes of their late father’s urn. In both cases, this is not enough evidence to simply get the $*ck out of the house. Come on, they made the argument that if they leave the “ghosts” would follow them but why for the love of god do you stay and keep recording. However, the next day, both powders are cleaned up. Come on, why are you getting rid of evidence to prove your claim?

Here’s the other thing about the recordings, PA has one camera and PE have several cameras. As these tape were uncovered after the events were recorded, there is a matter of editing. With PA, the camera at times has a visible time clock but is only seen at night. However, when Heather stands up from her sleep, the video goes into time lapse. So, who exactly did this while Micah was asleep? Are the police watching this video? In the PE situation, there are several camera recording different areas of the house and yet, the video is spliced together. Not to mention, there are title cards to indicated how many nights they are into plus the date. Who exactly is doing this?  For me, if I have to ask this question then I am not in the moment. Even Blair had this problem but I am more forgiving because of what they were attempting as they were the first to try this low tech movie making approach.

Another movie came to mind which made me think as how PA and PE could have worked better and that was Cloverfield. In this movie, we had the one camera and the single P.O.V. for most of the film. In the end, the two remaining survivors turned the camera on themselves essentially saying goodbye before their end. With PA and PE, the camera is put on the counter to record themselves or have to be put down in a certain spot and then the camera operator walks into the shot (More on this in a bit).


One of the surprises in PA, is towards the end where Heather is pulled out of the bed. First, one of legs is yanked on which moves Heather to the floor. She panics and then she is dragged down the hall with her legs firsts. She is screaming for Micah to wake and for a while he doesn’t. Great scene to watch but still don’t know how this effect was achieved.

(Here is more about the previous bit. ) Normal people in these situation, I believe, would forget to take the care with them in the case of emergencies. I know I was woken up during Hurricane Andrew and recorded the situation because the power went out but this was just short term. Had there been a situation where someone was in danger or a more serious situation, the camera would not be the first thing I would take. PA did it right at the end. Micah wakes after he hears Heather screaming bloody murder downstairs. For once, he left the camera behind. A few seconds later, the screaming stops and the Micah is thrown into the camera in the bedroom. The camera is knocked to the side and then in come Heather but not Heather. She give this weird look the to camera and closes quickly into the camera. The image goes black and we get another title card about what had just happened. Again, I am taken out of the moment.

With PE’s ending, we get a less desirable effect. With the Mom in the hospital, we get the “expert” doctor who finally comes to the house. A few minutes later, the doctor gets killed but we assume it’s the demon but the camera stops recording and then gets restarted with a closeup with of the dead doctor lying on the floor. We then get a scream from Sam and then Thomas picks up the camera and runs towards her room. We see Sam somewhat levitated, not really as I can see a black box she is lying. She is covered in blood and nude. (Way to throw in some sex in the last minute.) Finally, Thomas puts the camera down. We hear more scream but ends with this weird choking noise. The came is then picked up and pans over Sam’s dead body as seen above. This time, there is no blood except for a cut near her breasts. So, who exactly recorded this final image? It wouldn’t be Thomas, right? The screen goes black and another title card telling us that the police found Thomas holding his dead sister in his arms. Thomas gets arrested. The mom hears the news and commits suicide. Shortly thereafter, Thomas kills himself. Why did it take over a year for the “footage” to be revealed? If the cops, blamed Thomas for what he did to the family, who hid the film? Again, I am asking too many questions and I am taken out of the situation.

Overall, there are a few chills worth watching but capturing the lightning in the bottle a la Blair Witch or Cloverfield this is not.

Is Horror Dead? / Does a changing of the guard mean the end of a genre as we know it? | MovieMaker Magazine

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Found this article some time ago and now seems like the perfect to to bring up this topic. Looking over the past couple of nights, I’ve noticed that a good deal of the horror movies I’ve enjoyed have something to with some type of monster ie Humanoids of the Deep, Prophecy ( not Christopher Walken), and The Beast Within. Even zombies to a degree would be on par with this creatures but having said that most of these movies were from the 70’s and 80’s. Before the age of CGI, there was a great deal of rubber latex makeup effects and animatronics effects. From Dick Smith to Rick Baker to Rob Bottin and to the late Stan Winston, these were geniuses of creativity, true masters of horror effects that have yet to be surpassed still to this day.

I have no problems with a mutilation of someone by a beast/monster or a slasher film that finds new ways of killing people but straight on torture, just torture, just doesn’t speak to me. Compare my statement to a comedian who is funny without having to swear versus those who constantly drop the f-bomb. What I want are for films to be interesting to watch with moments of sheer terror that doesn’t have to rely on just torture for thrills. The Cell with Jennifer Lopez is an amazing film to watch because of director Tarsem’s unique visual style plus add in the performance of Vincent D’onofrio as Carl Stargher and you will have an experience that you will soon not forget.

But I digress, I’ve learned that everyone, yes everyone, has a right to like what they like. I may not agree with these newer films but if it makes you happy in the sense that you enjoy them then by all means, have at it. They are all yours for the taking. Just give me my landshark eating zombie with raping men and women on the friday the 13th on elm street and I’ll call it a day.

Is Horror Dead?

Does a changing of the guard mean the end of a genre as we know it?

by Christian Toto | Published August 1, 2008

Heather Matarazzo in Eli Roth‘s Hostel: Part II (2007).

Torture porn showcases like Turistas and Hostel: Part II didn’t cut it with critics or moviegoers; Freddy, Jason and Michael are either showing up infrequently or basking in retirement—and there hasn’t been a breakout horror hit since a puppet named Jigsaw jump-started the grotesque Saw franchise back in 2004.

Though they’re trying, a new crop of young horror directors are having a devil of a time resurrecting the genre. Rising star Eli Roth’s reputation took a hit when his highly anticipated Hostel: Part II tanked. Neil Marshall delivered one of the better frights of the decade with 2005’s The Descent, but took a creative leap backward with the recycled mess that was Doomsday. Rogue, director Greg Mclean’s follow-up to the 2005 cult hit Wolf Creek, snuck into only a few theaters earlier this year before its inevitable date with DVD. Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween remake earned a tidy profit but left fans clamoring for the low-budget original.

Combine this with the old guard’s disappearing box office clout (George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead earned less than $1 million in its theatrical release earlier this year), and audiences are left wondering: What’s next on the horror horizon? Who can scare us silly again?

Legendary special effects guru Tom Savini, who worked on many of Romero’s classic films and is an actor and director in his own right, scratches his head over the genre’s current state.

“It’s hard to tell what phase it’s in,” Savini says of the cyclical genre, which rotates from old-school creature features like Frankenstein to psychological terrors such as The Haunting. Today, what amounts to an original idea is having a cell phone that can kill you, he laments. Horror fans are noticing the dearth of quality scares.

“When I go to [horror] conventions and do Q&As, you can tell they’re starving for something,” he says. If the last year has laid the groundwork for any trend it’s toward films evoking the video game experience, says Savini. Both Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead used a video camera as the audience’s main viewpoint, and scenes from each could easily be translated to a shoot-’em-up style video game. “That mindset—that point of view—is what’s important to the young audience,” he notes.

via Is Horror Dead? / Does a changing of the guard mean the end of a genre as we know it? | MovieMaker Magazine.

Creepshow

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This is one of the most classic horror movies that treats this film like a living comic book. thanks to Romero’s directing talents. There are interesting shots  framed for moments of pending doom and lavish lighting schemes that enhance the fun of watching this movie. On the flipside, during a recent watching of The Warriors director’s cut, Walter Hill claimed his film was always as a comic book. Sadly, his updated treatment failed to convey a tenth of Creepshow does so well and almost ruined his own film. (More on this next month blog.)

Like with most Horror movies, there is one or two elements which the premise of the story works off from. With this anthology, we get three different elements: fear, disgust, and horror itself.

Prologue

A young boy named Billy (Joe King) gets yelled at and slapped by his father, Stan (Tom Atkins), for reading a horror comic titled Creepshow. His father tosses the comic in the garbage to teach Billy a lesson, but not before threatening to spank him should Billy ever get caught reading Creepshow comic books again. Later after he tosses the comic book away, Stan reminds his wife (Iva Jean Saraceni) that he had to be hard on Billy because he cannot believe all the “crap” that’s in the book. He closes out the discussion with the reason why God made fathers: to protect their ways of life and their children. As Billy sits upstairs hating his father, he hears a sound at the window, which turns out to be a ghostly apparition, beckoning him to come closer.

The element here would be fear. Billy does have an abuse father figure in his life. For me, the scene reminded me of my own uneasy relationship with my biological father. While he never hit me, I was in fear of him and seeing this scene just serve to remind me. And no, I did not see any apparitions outside my window.

“Father’s Day”

(First story, written by King specifically for the film)

Seven years ago, an elderly patriarch named Nathan Grantham (Jon Lormer) was killed on Father’s Day by his daughter Bedelia (Viveca Lindfors), gone mad from the murder of her husband which Nathan orchestrated. Bedelia bashed her father in the head with a marble ashtray as he screamed for his cake. Third Sunday of June, seven years later, his ungrateful, money-grubbing relatives, including Aunt Bedelia (now taken to drinking), get together for their annual dinner on Father’s Day. Nathan Grantham comes back as a revenant to get the cake he never got, and kills off his relatives one by one. The end scene shows an undead Nathan (John Amplas) carrying Aunt Sylvia’s frosting-covered head on a platter, rattling “It is Father’s Day, and I got my cake.”

The element here would be horror and fear. Having your own father come back to life from out of the grave is enough but killing your relatives because you want to have your cake is just too creepy. Little cameo of Ed Harris was cool to see again but I forgot how much white people can’t dance – Ooh the horror.

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill

(Second story, originally titled “Weeds”, adapted from a previously published short story written by King)

A dimwitted backwoods hick (Stephen King) thinks a newly discovered meteorite will provide enough money from the local college to pay off his $200 bank loan. Instead, he finds himself being overcome by a rapidly spreading plant-like organism that comes off the meteorite and begins growing on him after he touches a glowing green substance within (resulting in the sketch’s famous quote: “Meteor shit!”).

Unfortunately, while the story was too schlocky with King’s own performance, there wasn’t much of any horror aspect. Still, there was a bright spot which is due to an uncredited cameo by John Colicos. Those who know there scifi history will remember this name as original Baltar in Battlestar Galactica. And to boot, he was Kor, the Klingon that appeared in the Original Star Trek series and later replayed the same character in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

“Something to Tide You Over”

(Third story, written by King expressly for the film)

Richard Vickers (Leslie Nielsen), a coldblooded, wealthy husband, stages a terrible fate for his unfaithful wife, Becky (Gaylen Ross) and her lover, Harry Wentworth (Ted Danson) by burying them up to their necks on the beach, below the high tide line. He sets up closed-circut TV cameras so the lovers can watch each other die. Richard is in for a surprise of his own when the people he murdered return as waterlogged, seaweed-covered zombies intent on getting revenge of their own.

This story has the most fear out of all the stories. My fear is being so deep underwater, then looking up and the seeing a massive creature looming above me. Hell, I couldn’t go on the Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas ride without a panic attack. Granted this story had nothing to do with my fear except of being trapped underwater. Having re-watched this, I felt the anxiety of Harry (Ted) trying to conserve his air intake. The fear worked for me on this level.

The Crate

(Fourth story, adapted from a previously published short story)

A mysterious, extremely lethal creature is unwittingly released from its crate in this suspenseful and gory monster story. Hal Holbrook stars as mild-mannered college professor Henry Northrup, who sees the creature as a way to rid himself of his drunk, uncouth, and emotionally abusive wife, Wilma (Adrienne Barbeau). (The monster in the crate was nicknamed “Fluffy” by the film’s director, George A. Romero)

The obvious element is horror. This is one of the best stories from this movie and a wonderful performance by Adrienne Barbeau-bot as “Just call me, Billy”. While the beast looks a bit hokey towards the end, the little bits we see throughout this piece plays into the horror of what is in the crate.

“They’re Creeping Up On You!”

(Fifth and final story, written by King expressly for the film)

Upson Pratt (E.G. Marshall) is a cruel, ruthless businessman whose mysophobia has him living in a hermetically sealed apartment, but finds himself helpless when his apartment becomes overrun by endless hordes of cockroaches.

The final element is pure disgust. Having lived in NY for ½ my life, I detest those cockroach bastard as much as Prat but  thank god, I did not end up like him. What is more scary is how much these insects outnumbers us will how much longer they will last long after we’re all gone. You can’t fight nature because it will always find a way to win.

Epilogue

The following morning, two garbage collectors (Tom Savini and Marty Schiff) find the Creepshow comic in the trash. They look at the ads in the book for X-ray specs, a Charles Atlasbodybuilding course. They also see an advertisement for a voodoo doll, but lament that the order form has already been redeemed. Inside the house, Stan complains of neck pain, which escalates as Billy repeatedly jabs the voodoo doll while Stan screams in agony.

As for the theater, Loews American which is now known as The American, was my favorite places to go throughout my childhood in Parkchester. During the summers, they would run Disney movie marathon which was way before the advent of videotapes. What also made this theater special was size of it all. Back in my day, there was only one theater and one theater screen with a balcony to boot. So as time went on, I had watch the remake of King Kong in the 70’s, Popeye, The Howling, and sadly, Superman III.

There was this one time, not in band camp, but rather I received a call from a girl. Apparently, she knew who I was but I could not recognize the girl over the phone. She never gave me her name but was interested in seeing me. So, I picked this theater to meet and I remembered standing there under the marquee with freezing cold rain. She never showed up and she never called again. Ah, junior high memories.

So me being a dork, it was a friday night where I was on my way out to see Creepshow with my friends including Michelle. Just as I was turning off my tv, the trailer for Creepshow appeared. I was so excited that I called up Michelle what I just saw because she of all people would get me. To boot, on the other side of this shot, she lived very close to this theater.

George A. Romero Speaks / Horror legend shares the 10 lessons he’s learned over 40 years behind the camera | MovieMaker Magazine

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George A. Romero Speaks

Horror legend shares the 10 lessons he’s learned over 40 years behind the camera

by George A. Romero | Published May 26, 2010

A legend of the horror genre, George A. Romero has been scaring audiences for more than 40 years with his unique brand of socially-conscious fright films. His latest, the zombie epic Survival of the Dead (the sixth feature in Romero’s “Dead” series), was released by Magnolia Pictures via video on demand on April 30th, before hitting theaters on May 28th. Here, Romero shares 10 lessons he’s learned during his career.

1. Show, don’t tell. First drafts of my earliest screenplays always came in at 300-plus pages. I used to think that a thought unwritten was a thought lost. I learned that new and better thoughts come once you’ve had a chance to think about what you’ve written and then—rewrite. My producing partner, a wonderful editor, taught me that thoughts on the page should be precise and well-contemplated, or they wind up wasting time and money.

2. Time is money. So be prepared when you walk on to the set.

3. Know as much as you can about every crew member’s specialty. You will better appreciate a good job, and you won’t be ripped off by a DP who requisitions an outrageously expensive equipment package.

4. Computer graphics should be thought of as tools. Use them to save time and money, rather than just because you can.

via George A. Romero Speaks / Horror legend shares the 10 lessons he’s learned over 40 years behind the camera | MovieMaker Magazine.

Amityville Horror Review from BHM: Great ghost story true or not.

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The Amityville Horror is a Great 70s Horror Movie with Evil Spirits and Freaky Insanity.

The Amityville Horror is supposed to be based on a true story. We question whether this is indeed the case, but that doesn’t detract from the value of this 70s horror movie classic.

Review written by The Zombie Master, Lee Roberts

September 16, 2006

Release: 1979

Written by: Jay Anson (Book), Sandor Stern (Screenplay)

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

Starring:

James Brolin as George Lutz

Margot Kidder as Kathy Lutz

Rod Steiger as Father Delaney

From my youth I have always loved a good ghost story. It is the eerie feeling you get when hearing about a threat that is intangible. Add the possibility that the story is true and you have a real nail biter on your hands.

The Amityville Horror starts with George (James Brolin) and Kathy (Margot Kidder) Lutz, newlyweds in search of a house where they can raise there family. Lucky for them, there is a large, beautiful house that sets right on the shore in Amityville, New York. Even better, this house is available at an impossibly cheap price. Of course they purchase the house and move in.

Why is the house so cheap? It seems that a year earlier a young man named Ronald DeFeo brutally murders his entire family while they slept for a reason that detectives cannot discover.

via Amityville Horror Review from BHM: Great ghost story true or not..

Cinema Viewfinder: Blu-ray Review: Wolf (1994)

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Blu-ray Review: Wolf (1994)

by Tony Dayoub

I’ve got to confess something. I’ve always been partial to the werewolf. There must be something about the wild animal that struggles to break through the exterior of contemporary, mild-mannered man which speaks directly to me. I’m afraid my close friends can confirm it probably speaks to the nebbishy fellow that they all know so well. Which means when it comes to the werewolf movie, I’m, unfortunately, not able to be objective.

It’s not that I’ve seen very many. The werewolf movie has long been underserved in horror cinema. And many of them smell like stinkers from a mile away, like the Underworld flicks, the Twilight flicks, Cursed (2005), Teen Wolf (1985), etc. I even tried to sit through Silver Bullet (1985) the other night, out of my respect for Stephen King (he did write the screenplay, based on his own novella), but not only did I fall asleep a half-hour into the film; my wife confirmed that I guessed the identity of the mysterious wolf in question before I started to snooze.

via Cinema Viewfinder: Blu-ray Review: Wolf (1994).

The Evil Dead

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Five Michigan State students venture into the hills and mountains of Tennessee to spend a weekend in an isolated cabin. There they findThe Book of the Dead (a fictional Aztec/Canaanite text, unrelated to the Egyptian Book of the Dead), otherwise known as the Nyturan Demonta. While searching the basement of the cabin, the students find and play a tape recording of demonic incantations from the book, unwittingly resurrecting “Kandarian” Demons. The characters are then possessed one by one, beginning with Cheryl Williams (Ellen Sandweiss), after she is hypnotized by the song of a Demon and lured into the forest at night. Alone and far from the safety of the cabin, theDemon proceeds to possess the trees of the forest, which come to life in a snake-like fashion and brutally rape her. Cheryl escapes the trees and is chased by the Demon all the way back to the cabin, where no one believes her story and assumes that she was attacked by a wild animal. Her brother, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), decides to drive her into town where she can stay the night. They discover that the only bridge is completely destroyed and the supports are bent into the shape of a claw-like hand.

Soon thereafter, Cheryl, having been infested by a Demon during the rape, dies and becomes a deadite (a corpse that is used as a vessel for the Demon that has possessed it) and stabs Linda (Betsy Baker) in the ankle with a pencil. Scotty beats her with the blunt end of his axe and kicks her in the cellar; he then locks her in the fruit cellar, but afterward Shelly (Theresa Tilly) enters her room and is killed and possessed by a Demon that crashes through the window; now a deadite, she becomes psychotically vicious and attacks Scotty (Hal Delrich), who dismembers her with an axe. Scotty then leaves to find a trail out of the woods.

Ash goes to check on Linda, but finds that she too has become possessed by a Spirit. Scotty returns, but has suffered massive injuries inflicted upon him by the possessed trees. Before losing consciousness he tells Ash there is a trail in the woods. Linda revives momentarily from the possession & Ash drags her outside and locks her out of the cabin. He goes back to check on Scotty, but finds that he died from his injuries. Linda later returns as a deadite and tries to stab Ash, but Ash stabs her through the chest with a dagger. Ash drags her outside to dismember her with a chainsaw, but finds that he cannot bring himself to do it, and simply buries her instead. She rises from the grave and, after a violent struggle, Ash beheads her with a shovel. He returns to find the cellar door open. He enters the cellar, to find shotgunammunition and returns to the upstairs. He hears a noise from Shelly and Scott’s bedroom. With the shotgun, he goes in to investigate and suspects Cheryl may be in the closet. Cheryl jumps at the window a demon had earlier broken through and tries to take the shotgun from Ash, grabbing at it wildly. Ash shoots her in the chest, but it does not seem to have any effect. Ash then proceeds to barricade both the front and back doors. He runs back into the cellar to find a box of shotgun shells and experiences a strange series of events including the cellar filling with blood and hearing voices. Cheryl tries to attack Ash through the door, but he shoots her and then barricades the door.

Meanwhile, Scotty’s dead body suddenly revives to reveal that he has been possessed by a Spirit, only to have his eyes gouged out by Ash after a brief struggle. Ash notices thatNyturan Demonta has fallen near the fireplace and is starting to burn. Ash sees that Scotty’s body is starting to burn as well, giving an allusion that disposal of the book into the fire will also destroy the Demons. Before he can reach it, however, Cheryl successfully breaks in through the front door and easily knocks him down. Scotty then pins Ash to the floor while Cheryl grabs a fireplace poker and repeatedly hits Ash in the back with it. Ash manages to grab the book after several attempts, using the necklace he had given to Linda earlier in the film, and throws it directly into the blazing flames just as Cheryl raises the fireplace poker to impale him. The Demons leave the bodies of Cheryl and Scotty, and their corpses become inanimate and fall apart over the course of several minutes just as dawn breaks, leaving Ash as the only survivor. He heads outside and stands in front of the cabin for a moment, thinking he has survived the ordeal. An Unseen Evil speeds through the forest, breaks its way through the cabin doors, and descends upon Ash, who screams in terror as the film ends.

Wikipedia

This is truly a classic low-budget film that relied on performances from the actors in makeup and creative camera work. Sam Raimi, who we love his directorship for the first two Spiderman movies, (there is no third Spiderman movie, right?) shows how masterful he truly is in creating a unique story with wonderful gore and blood feast for the eyes. This is not one of those typical teens stuck in the cabins out in the woods that most horror movies rely on. The Evil Dead takes it one step further to create scenes like the demon rape in the woods and one of the best dismemberment with an axe and with a shovel and hell, there is even decent claymation where the demons were being destroyed.

Other horror movies are rarely as creative and innovative as The Evil Dead. However, many years later in 1992, there is Dead Alive (a.k.a. Brain Dead) by pre-Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson. Talk about have some great fun watching gore on the screen. Both films showcase each director’s talents with over the top action. Going back to The Evil Dead, we get two more sequels which were played more for laughs, which is still great, but this movie was able to spawn off a musical treatment. Take a look at the video below.

Next, the great thing about The Evil Dead is that we get Ash, played by Bruce Campbell, who is not the strong male lead we have come to love in the next two sequels. Normally, the horror genre rarely has a male protagonist which is interesting to note. We have seen countless times where the antagonist would be male like Michael Meyers (Tony Moran) in Halloween going after Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) the protagonist or Freddie Krueger (Robert Englund) going after Nancy Thompson (Heather Lagenkamp) in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Having Bruce in the reverse position really breaks from the stereotypical female role which stands this film apart from all other horror movies. ( I can’t think of another movie with a male protagonist, can you?)

And to put this all in context, here is another theater that I would visit in the Bronx was called The Palace. Talk about a rundown theater in the Bronx – sounds like a double negative but actually, I had some great times there. Never mind that the movie was rated R and I was underage. Just as long as I had money and didn’t cause much of a ruckus there was never any problems. At this theater, I watched the original Halloween in 1978 (more on this later), Cat People (more on this as well) and Caligula in 1982. Yes, I saw the unrated version of Caligula on a date with a girl (Josephine B.) who transferred with me from the same junior high school to the same high school. What sucked was that she had to take her younger brother with us. This was so wrong on many levels but hey, we got to kiss once but after the movie was over.

The Beast Within

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The year was 1982. I just started high school as a sophomore but most of my friends from junior high 127x were off in different high schools. Luckily, we still remained great friends and hung out quite often in my old apartment where I used to live in Parkchester. As teens, horror movies were the best things to happen to us guys who were trying to date girls. There is no need to go into details but you know why. Well, one of the theaters in Parkchester was called The Circle. On one such occasions, we all went to see The Beast Within.

You can read below the premise:

While driving through Mississippi on their honeymoon, Caroline and Eli MacCleary (Bibi Besch and Ronny Cox) are stranded on a deserted road when their car is stuck in the mud. Eli is forced to walk several miles down the road to a service station they stopped at earlier to get a tow. While he is gone, Caroline is attacked and raped by a mysterious creature.

Seventeen years later, their son Michael (who was conceived as a result of Caroline’s rape) has become gravely ill, and the doctors have no idea what is causing the sickness, only that a pituitary gland has gone out of control. Theorizing that the sickness might be genetic, Eli and Caroline finally confront the past and return to the small town where she was attacked to hopefully discover some information about the man who assaulted her. The local townspeople are reluctant to help, with both the newspaper editor and the town judge brushing aside their questions. But then Eli and Caroline hear a story about a local man who was murdered 17 years earlier, his body partially eaten and his house almost burned down.

Meanwhile Michael has escaped from the hospital and returned to the same town, unbeknownst to his parents. His personality undergoes a frightening transformation, and he quickly begins to attack and kill specific people in the community, including the paper editor and the local mortician, both of whom were related to each other.

After several more revelations, including the discovery of a swamp filled with bodies whose bones show signs of having been gnawed on, Caroline and Eli finally discover the terrible truth about the creature that attacked her those many years ago. And what’s worse, it appears that the creature is about to be reborn through Michael, and its murderous actions are the direct consequence of a carefully concealed secret.

Wikipedia

One of the things that the trailers and newspaper ads promised was this incredible transformation sequence in the last 30 minutes of the film. (In actuality, it is last 20 minutes before the good stuff really happens.) That alone was reason to see something I had never seen before. Check out the trailer to see the hype. Looks very Grindhouse material indeed.

So, what I take from these great memories is one major thing that happened before the movie even began. One of my friends, Michelle, who I had known since grade school and junior high, was singing to the music playing over head.

When you love someone it’s natural, not demanding
And that’s one thing I’m proud to say I found in you
I’m so glad we reached an understanding
Now I know my heart is safe with you, hoo…
So now my love to you, baby, I surrender

Get ready tonight
Gonna make this a night to remember
Get ready (Oh, baby) tonight
Gonna make this a night to remember

While all my other friends were goofing around, I sat watching her sing this Shalamar song. I couldn’t hear anything else but her. Yes, I had a crush on her but now, at that moment, I was in love with her. And it is because of her, my love of horror movies manifested just like my love of scifi movies. However, without going into too much details, we stopped being friends. I moved to Miami to get away from NY and my old life. However, I never forgot her. I did find her again back in 2008 and saw her again in NY at the NYCC. She is a talented illustrator today and wish that I could relive those special times again with her. But as a man in my place, I can not. With my fears of death and middle age-dom in full effect, I needed to something to help with this anxiety. All I can do is pay homage to her via this special Halloween/Horror themed month for The Monster Horror Show.

Below is a pic, I took over her at the Trump Towers in Manhattan. I was a photography major and she was my model for many of my projects for school.

Thank you Mimi for being a part of my life. You mean the world to me… still.

The Walking Dead Volume 1 Graphic Novel Review

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The Walking Dead Vol.1 Days Gone By

By Robert Kirkman; Illustrations by Tony Moore

In this black and white graphic novel, Rick Grimes is a small town police officer from Kentucky who wakes up from a coma from a gun fire fight. The hospital is eerily quiet with no one around except for zombies. Escaping this living horror in the hospital and with the help of a couple of survivors, Rick heads to Atlanta to find his wife and child. For those who love zombies this is an excellent series to pick up. There is enough action and gore to satisfy the even more hardcore zombie fans. However, you will be more intrigued and terrified more by survivors and not in just this book but the entire series.

As a heads up, this series will be coming to cable this fall on AMC. The pic below is Andrew Lincoln as Officer Rick Grimes.

If you have not read the first book, now is the chance to see AMC’s motion comic of The Walking Dead.

What Is Your Favorite Halloween Horror Movie?

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It’s that time once more to celebrate all things scary from the big screen to the small screen. I’m talking about horror movies. Just like with Star Wars launching me into scifi-geekdom there was one movie in the horror genre that had the same impact – HALLOWEEN. I’m not talking about the remake by Rob Zombie but the true original one by director John Carpenter.

I was 11 when I saw Halloween in theater. Mind you, this was a rated R movie my father took me, which now that I am a father, I would not do this to my own children until they are late into their teens. (What was the old man thinking?) However, from that moment one, I was turned onto reading Fangoria and Famous Monsters mags along with my Starlog. The 80’s had some terrific movies that I will revisit on my upcoming podcast for Halloween.

This leads me to ask for your help, sort of. Leave me a comment or two about your favorite horror movies and why. I’ll promise to read on my podcast. So, share your thoughts and let the scary fun…BEGIN.

Cloverfield Movie Review

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Okay, I know I am not timely on this review but Thursday was only day off where I did not have to take care of my kids and/or had money. I purposely did not read any blog reviews of the movie although, listening to the Slice of Scifi podcast briefly mentioned how much this movie did not meet expectations. That’s the first point of a red flag warning. As I am rushing myself to the theatre, I get out my credit card to buy my ticket. There was one person ahead of me but thankfully, he was done before I got to the window. As I said, “1 please for Cloverfield,” the cashier responded back to me, “You haven’t seen it yet?” While I briefly explained that I want to see this movie but didn’t have the time until now; looking back on her statement the second red flag waving but smacking the back of my head, “Uh, McFly!!!”. I was really dense on this matter as I wanted to see the movie and had to escape from my off day blahs. 

Read the rest of this entry »

30 Days of Night Graphic Novel Review

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1757481591_6590cc2c8a_o.jpg

I finally picked up this graphic novel because of my interest to read this first before the dvd comes out. Plus, in the back of the novel, there was a partial comic book manuscript which I love to read and compare it to the actual material. For me, I am not a fast reader but once I get hooked on to something, rarely do I put it down. In this case, 30 Days really captured my attention and interests immediately. One of the plus side to this novel is how it doesn’t bog down the reader in setting up characters and settings. Within the first 5 pages, you know where you are, who are the leads, and what’s the story going to be about. Read the rest of this entry »

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

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Sorry for the older entry. Still there is some good stuff to watch…

Kind of soggy and miserable day due in part of T.S. Noel here in Miami. I truly missed the times that I went out trick-a-treating back in New York. I used to live in an apartment complex where no matter what the weather was outside I was protected from the elements by staying inside the complex. Best of all, was the ability to attack all of the other apartments without having to wear a jacket or sweater over my costume. The complex I lived in had 6 apartments and 7 floors. I could hit 42 home in a space of 30 minutes. Whereas now, walking my kids door to door in Miami, I’m lucky if can get 10 houses in the same time frame.

 

I found this article about a bigfoot sighting on the local NBC website. Go to this link to read more and watch the video. Below are some videos from You Tube your viewing pleasure and of course, another slide show with a Halloween theme. Stay safe and have fun tonight.

Hilarious 1970s Horror Movie Trailers

The Shining Recut

THE ORIGINAL Scary ‘Mary Poppins’ Recut Trailer

Halloween Slide Show

Planet Terror DVD Review

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planet-terror.jpg

This is one of my favorite movies that I actually saw in the theaters and bought the DVD on the first day of its release. This is the type of movie where the more over the top violence and gore I saw the more I laughed my head off. Having said this, don’t mistake this movie for not being an perfect horror movie. This film has it shares of utter grossness, blood splattering, and uber creepiness. I loved watching horror movies in my teens and reading Fangoria magazine. Movies like the original Halloween, Evil Dead, Dawn of the Dead, The Brood, C.H.U.D., People Under The Stairs, Hellraiser, Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th are true classics in the horror genre. The new crop of I Know What You Saw in the Hostel Last Year have no weight to them as the shock value is the only thing they have to offer and nothing more. Planet Terror has renewed my in love of horror movies and will serve as a benchmark to compare all others in the 21st century.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gotham Pilot Review

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gotham

Can a tv series about Batman’s famous home city make it without a Batman? Before I can answer this question, Gotham City has been portrayed as dark and seedy place where even the more wretched hive of scum and villainy of Mos Eisley dare not tread. Yet, the city is the backdrop and rarely do we see it as a city on its own. Burton’s gothic take and Schumacher’s living comic book colors of Gotham were passable but I for one never felt it as a real city.  Nolan’s Batman gave us a better glimpse as we could see the city in night and day but Gotham gives us an even better perspective on a city street level. You could feel the corruption of this city oozing through the screen watching the pilot. Gotham has surprised this die-hard Batman fan to say, yes, this series can survive without a Batman. The same can not be said of Superman’s Metropolis and not Fritz Lang’s Metropolis; just to be clear.

As for the details about this episode, I will have to wait before I chime in and maybe be able to do a podcast on this show. So far, I loved what I saw.

‘Supergirl’ Series Ordered by CBS from Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler | Variety

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I’ve been keeping tabs on this for the past couple of weeks and this news could a new age for heroines (on the small screen at least) to become a major force – a silver age maybe upon us. For me, the 70’s had some great characters like Wonder Woman (Carter), The Bionic Woman (Wagner), The Mighty Isis (Cameron), Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (Hall and Strangis, respectively) and Charlie’s Angels could be include though not powered beings. Each of these series had a strong female lead that could hold their own.

As the years rolled on, there were other strong female characters like Colonel Derring (Gray) from Buck Rogers, Pam Davison (Selleca) from The Greatest American Hero, and lastly, the Visitor Diane and Dr. Parrish (Balder, Grant) from the mini series and later a regular series V but they were in a supportive roles. Sure, there was Xena (Lawless) and Buffy (Gellar) and Dark Angel (Alba) would rebound in the 90’s and 2000 but that’s it. The Wonder Woman pilot by David Kelly was interesting but failed to make the cut as well as the CW rumored Amazon series is nowhere in sight.  However, in this decade, we have Agent Carter (Atwell) and Jessica Jones (???) coming to Netflix and now Supergirl (???), more could be coming to the small screen if these shows take off. What will it take?

Aside from the actual physical attributes, we have to care about these new characters. Agent Carter may show her with a tough exterior but mourns the loss of Steve Rogers. Can she command the same respect from the Howling Commandos when Captain America was in charge? From the picture last week, it seems that issue was put to rest. So we can have a women lead the pack or take charge of a situation that is equal to any man in a similar position. With Supergirl, all I can say is let us not see Smallville 2.0. If she is a super, then show her as a super but make her interesting and someone we can identify regardless of the sex.

CBS has donned its cape and is ready to conquer the superhero market, giving a series commitment to scribes Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler’s “Supergirl.”

“Supergirl,” which is based on characters from DC Comics, comes from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and is exec produced by Berlanti, Adler and Sarah Schechter. It’s based on the story of Kara Zor-El, who, like her famous cousin, escaped Krypton amid its destruction. She’s been keeping her powers a secret since arriving on Earth, but now — at age 24 — she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.

via ‘Supergirl’ Series Ordered by CBS from Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler | Variety.

Who Cares If PS4 And Xbox One Are Out Of Date?

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I’m late to the game for the new Xbox One system. One of my best presents for my birthday was getting this new system even though, I have the Xbox 360. I may bring this up on a future podcast about my experience with this new system but I wanted to bring up a pet peeve that is very much like the issue I have with dvds and blu-rays. I get what the article is saying how both the PS4 are not utilizing its full potential especially with 4k (Ultra High Definition TV) is the next big thing. Honestly, some games work extra well in HD and there are others that are simply not worth the money and the space for the new system.

Over the weekend, I was playing Forza 5 with my cousin online. This game was included with my system and I was a completely surprised by how photo-realistic the cars were, how smooth the gameplay was but there were these little touches like windshield glares from the sun really sold this game. Yes, having an HD tv and the HDMI cable makes all the difference with the One but then you have other games which are fun to play like Powerstar Golf does not need to be on 1080p. Yet, the cartoonish graphics are about the same quality you could see for the XBox 360. Am I missing something? What the edges of the characters sharper or more brilliant in color? Meh!

I don’t want to take or be forced to take the next leap in technology when there is still room to grow with 1080p. For example, before there were dvds, there were “Laserdiscs”. Back in the day, I would plunk down $60 – $100 per movies because it was far superior to VHS. The downside was of course, cost and the fact the movies would not all fit on one side or on one disc. Still, dvds were not around and blu-ray was not even a gleam in someone’s eye but I bought into the laserdiscs tech. As I’ve said before, I have many copies of the same movie in different formats that after blu-ray, I said no mas (no more). I want to keep buying the same shit over and over again just because the format is different. The same can be said with HD tvs. How much more can we go until the next thing comes out and then the next thing after that and so on?

I’m not anti-tech but when you force people to adopt something that is still relatively, where is the buy-in? Now, did I need to get a new gaming system? No. I was still happy with my 360 despite the fact I have to slap top of the machine or use a knife to open the disc drive. The One resolved that disc player problem but not having an ejectable tray plus the added 500GB hard drive is a huge win; it’s a more evolved experience from the 360. Having said all this, there needs to be a huge leap forward to make the consumer want the new tech. Think how much better blu-ray discs are compared to the laserdiscs: they are cheaper, smaller, sharper images and holds more information overall – that’s how you do it. What I’m saying, don’t give us tech that just gives little tweaks gives the wow factor. In the meantime, my HD tv is fine and I already have the wow factor from my gaming system. Anything more in the future is just gravy provide my current setup stays the same.

Remember, video games are more about entertainment than tech.Recently, Forbes contributor John Archer raised something of an Internet firestorm by pointing out something that’s been common knowledge for a little while now: neither Sony’s PS4 nor Microsoft’s Xbox One are even close to the most powerful gaming machines on the market. Despite all the hoopla surrounding the term “next-gen,” both machines will struggle to keep pace with modern display technology.

via Who Cares If PS4 And Xbox One Are Out Of Date?.

‘Agents of SHIELD’ Photo: Agent Carter and the Howling Commandos!

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THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN FUCKIN’ WANTED TO SEE!!!! Pardon, my English as I don’t speak French but this picture is exactly what I predicted for me to get back on board with Agents of SHIELD. Well, almost. Having the Agent Carter series will not only help to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) but also prove a strong female lead who is also a non powered hero can make a lasting impact. Seeing her in action, in the early formation of SHIELD, fighting along side the Howling Commandos makes up for the disappointment in Agents of SHIELD. I am giving SHIELD another chance but now, I am only up to episode 8 and I’m sure it will pick up and end better than it started. (So, I’ve been told.)

To make this series even better, we need to have a couple of support characters already seen Captain America 1 and 2. First off, Howard Stark, (Iron Man’s daddy) does make an appearance though I can’t see or verify how many episodes. I went to IMDB and was able to see the character and actor (Dominic Cooper) but because this was a premium service I did not pay for that’s all that I can see. Still, if Howard is part of the ongoing storyline, we could see many ideas like the hover vehicle technology being tinkered or have him come up with new tech ala Q for James Bond for those at SHIELD.

Now, if you had watched Captain America 2 The Winter Soldier there was a major bombshell with Armin Zola (corn goodness. sorry the old Mazola commercial is running in my head every time I say Armin Zola) revealing how HYDRA was already embedded with SHIELD since the beginning. Let’s bring in Toby Jones to play Armin once more or for the duration of the series as he was instrumental to SHIELD all the while being a HYDRA agent. This would flesh out the series with a baddie that will only help the good guys provided it helps the HYDRA cause. That would be great as a running story line for the series. Having said this about Zola, when he was talking to Captain America as a computer, he showed a picture of a dead Howard Stark. How can this be?

At first I was thinking, someone fucked up on the timeline of Iron Man’s dad. From Iron Man 2, Tony is watch his old man doing a presentation for the Stark Expo. He is a much older man than the picture that Zola showed on the computer screen. Here’s the possible connection: the real Howard Stark was killed much earlier but was replaced with a HYDRA agent who under went a cosmetic procedure to not only look like him but to sound and act like Howard Stark. How this plays out, I don’t know but it would be an interesting thing to play around with and have fun with this possible storyline. There you have my take on Agent Carter.

Let’s see how the series lives up to our expectation.

As it was revealed earlier in the week, Hayley Atwell will be reprising her Captain America: The First Avenger role as Agent Peggy Carter in the Season 2 premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before she takes the lead in her own ABC series, simply titled Marvel’s Agent Carter. The first photo has debuted from the upcoming episode “Shadows” with kicks things off on September 23. While no plot details revolving around Peggy have been revealed, she is seen here with her Captain America: The First Avenger cohorts Jim Morita Kenneth Choi and Dum Dum Dugan Neal McDonough, two of the infamous Howling Commandos. Read on for more details…

via ‘Agents of SHIELD’ Photo: Agent Carter and the Howling Commandos!.

When Getting Angry Is the Most Rational Thing to Do

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hulk

A wise cgi muppet once said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”  I read the article below in which the writer talked about how anger to make one feel empowered depending on the situation. I think if one could channel the anger like how Bruce Banner and become something greater to produce a positive outcome, then yes, anger is the way to go.

A couple of months before I was laid off from the library, I was transferred to a branch which was my wife’s former supervisor. Since I already knew the problems my wife had to deal with, I prepared myself for an un-fun and soul sucking experience. However, there was one incident, my supervisor got on my ass for having a longer bedtime storytime program than planned for. For me, if a library program, especially a kids program runs longer, I consider this to be success. Many times, kids are ready to leave at the first chance if they don’t like something but if you can get them to stay, be engaged, and don’t want to leave, that is the ultimate success for any librarian. My supervisor thought otherwise and practically chastised me for being over 15 minutes. Later than night, my supervisor had her adult program which not only did it run longer than expected but the branch was closed and those patrons were still in the library. Quite the double standard – do as I say not as I do. I felt that night hating my supervisor with all the piss and vinegar in my blood. Yet, even by the time I got home, my hostility for my supervisor did not wane. I had to something.

I put on The Incredible Hulk dvd, (you know the good one with Ed Norton). I started to notice, like with many movie characters, I found myself living through the actor who portrayed Bruce Banner. For the most part of the film, when Banner did change to the Hulk, I too felt strong and empowered. Towards the climax of the film, the Hulk finally spoke with rage, “Hulk smash!” I felt a release come over me like a tipping point that made me realize what I had to do the next day. “I had to confront Vader again.” I had to talk to my supervisor and tell her how unfair and unbalanced her treatment was to me but I had to say it with out the anger. The “Hulk smash” line was the push I needed to get past the anger. And it worked.

The next morning, I worked out what I was going to say on the drive to work. Luckily, there were no other staff members but my supervisor noticed my dour demeanor. I spoke in measured tones to get my point across. I told her that I when it comes to running a children’s program anything she had to say I would take it as something constructive to improve future programs. However, when it came down to telling that I was in the wrong to letting the program running longer than planned for, I brought up how her program ran longer than planned for. She said point taken. That was it. (ok) From that point on, I did not have any further problems with her on that level. Had I known at the time that I would have been laidoff shortly thereafter, I would have probably done nothing and let it fester. This time, I didn’t let that happen.

Anger gets a bad rap. Sure, when there’s too much of it or when it’s improperly applied it can cause damage, but you could say that for nearly any other emotion. Learn how anger can make you smarter, more competent, and more realistic.

Anger is a Great Substitute for Fear or Despair As nasty as anger is, it’s a picnic when compared with terror, depression, or despair. That sounds like damning with faint praise, but it’s not. No one’s ever going to have a life so smooth and sunlit that nothing bad ever happens to them. Unless we are able to achieve serenity to the point of complete detachment, when bad things happen to us we feel negative emotions. Anger can be the best option

via When Getting Angry Is the Most Rational Thing to Do.

SDCC 2014: Police Need Your Help Concerning a Cosplayer

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Originally posted on Graphic Policy:

When a lot of the discussion before, during, and after San Diego Comic-Con has been about cosplay, harassment and consent, this drives home the point something needs to be done, and conventions need to take safety seriously. Tumblr blog Test Your Luck has the details.

One of my dearest friends was found on the side of the road, unconscious and bloody. She was wearing this cosplay on the day it happened. She was last seen with friends when she ran off after a disagreement. Please, please, please, if you have ANY information or saw her anywhere, contact her mother. The full information is down below. This isn’t okay and it’s sickening to know that this happened at a place people truly can enjoy themselves. Please spread the word.

”I just received a call from the San Diego Police Department and my daughter (redacted) aka (redacted) was found on the…

View original 194 more words

What If The Fantastic Four Film Also Doesn’t Want To Have Anything To Do With The Comics? – Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News

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I think this is a case of trying to have your cake and eating too for Marvel.  I came across this article and was wondering about WTH (What the Hogwarts) was going on with the Fantastic Four movie. Aside from changing the race of Johnny Storm, I did not see much of a problem with the reboot but Marvel is having an apparent shit fit.

If Marvel is not happy with Fox Studios treatment of their property, well Marvel, you can suck it. You gave away to rights to Fox because you 1) needed the movie and could not afford to produce your own version or 2) you didn’t care enough about this product in the first place and if you did you would have still kept the rights. Does anyone remember the first Fantastic Four movie by Roger Corman??? Well, do you? ‘Cause I sure do remember this piece of…

first fantastic four movie cast

So, did Marvel stop making the Fantastic Four comics after Corman’s movie? No. What about the two movies in 2005 and 2007? No. Granted that the movies were not up to the caliber of Marvel Cinematic Universe with Disney’s $$$ but it make money. What gives then? What could be the underlying decision for Marvel to cancel their Fantastic Four books? Racism? Really?

I would really hate to think this is the case but the recent news yesterday announced that the character of Falcon Sam Wilson, first African-American in mainstream comics back in the late 60’s, will be the new Captain America. Couple of years ago, Miles Morales, a Black Hispanic, took over the duties for the dead Peter Parker. Heimdall in the Thor comics was white but in the Thor movies he portrayed by Idris Elba who is black. Moving back to the reboot Fantastic Four movie, actor Michael B. Jordan is going to play the white role of Johnny Storm. I think I can rule out racism on Marvel’s part.

So is Marvel really pissed at the idea that the reboot is going to ignore the comics? If so, Marvel needs to get over it. In some cases being a slave to the source material does not translate well into a different medium. Regardless, the reboot does not come out till next year whether or not Marvel prints any Fantastic Four titles. I think that Marvel is shooting themselves in the foot.

Let’s say that the new reboot takes off, one would think that fans of the movie may want to see out Fantastic Four books and if so, there would be a new crop of fans that Marvel can tap into and perhaps lead them to their other Marvel titles and product. If the movie bombs, Marvel can still claim victory by saying to the consumers that Marvel is the only place to go to read and buy great Fantastic Four stories. On the other hand, the recent death of Johnny Storm was a mark of trying to do something new and creative and yet it fails to be either one. Perhaps, the really reason for the cancellation is because the Fantastic Four comics are really done.

Well, it’s a working theory.

Bleeding Cool has reported on Marvel executives’ extreme dissatisfaction with Fox Studios, who hold the rights to make X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, making its way out into banning Marvel sketch card artists to draw Fantastic Four movies, creators asked not to create new IP for X-Men and Fantastic Four books, the taking down of Fantastic Four imagery in the Marvel offices and the rumoured cancellation of all the Fantastic Four-named titles. The lack of an X-Men panel at San Diego Comic Con, unlike all other recent years also get thrown into the mix.But is the Fantastic Four movie striking back?

via What If The Fantastic Four Film Also Doesn’t Want To Have Anything To Do With The Comics? – Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News.