Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A special message from Gretchen



Greetings. For those of you who don’t know me, the name is Gretchen and I am the undisputed Goddess of Horrorthon. It’s nice to see some new blood in addition to the familiar faces in this year’s competition. The action begins tonight at midnight so I trust everyone has their movie tickets purchased, their DVD players plugged in and their IPods loaded up with the most excessively violent, vomit-inducing films available. Let’s have a good, clean competition, ok folks? Better yet, let’s have an unholy, hate-filled, wretched month of darkness and discontent!

Let the games… begin!

New t-shirt design



I'm still having some Cafe Press woes I need to work through but it should be ready to go by tomorray. I know, isn't it just deadly awesome?

A final word before Horrorthon 2008 commences...


I’ve been discussing the Horrorthon ratings system with JSP (pictured above with unbridled enthusiasm about Horrorthon 2008). His take has been that there should not be a rating system because this is all so subjective. I agree about the subjectivity, however I also feel that having a scale with some inter-rater reliability (JPX, JSP, and Octo) provides some insight into our thinking after watching 100s of movies over the past few years. In my opinion I like the rating system. When I turn on my computer and see 10 reviews posted, I like to scan quickly through to see if anyone has found a horror jewel or suffered through a horror stinker. The loose rating system is a quick and dirty way to gauge how others are thinking. I’ve provided an updated and revised scale for those who like some loose guidelines on how we’ve rated past well-known movies. I’ve moved some of the films around and I’ve added some more recent films to keep the scale current. Obviously you can completely ignore all of this, after all, your reviews will tell the real story.

***** -- A horror masterpiece. Absolutely essential viewing. (Psycho, Alien, The Wickerman, The Omen (original), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original), Halloween (original), The Ring, JU-ON, Dawn of the Dead (either version), The Exorcist, The Shining)

****1/2 -- Brilliant (Evil Dead, Suspiria, The Others, Inner Senses, The Eye [original Japanese version], Kairo, The Last Man on Earth, The Thing [1982])

**** -- Excellent (I Am Legend, Hostel, Wolf Creek, The Craft, Phantasm, Poltergeist, Evil Dead II, Race with the Devil, Hellraiser)

***1/2 -- Great, fun, worth watching (Saw [franchise], Vacancy, Creepshow, Halloween 2, Candyman, Elm St.1, Friday the 13th 4, Return of the Living Dead, Pumpkinhead, Dementia 13, Trilogy of Terror)

*** -- Good, watchable, no real surprises though (Bride of Chucky, Blair Witch 2, Friday the 13th part VI, Elm St.2-4, )

**1/2 -- No big deal if you miss it, barely adequate (I Know What you did Last Summer)

** -- Pretty lame (Red Eye, Scream 3, Leprechaun, Motel Hell, Gothika)

*1/2 -- Really bad (The Ring 2, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Martin, Last House on the Left)

* -- God-awful, virtually unwatchable, not even so-bad-that-it’s-good, just bad, a painful exercise to endure - save for the absolute bottom (Shocker, Return to Horror High, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Creepshow 3, Ring of Terror)

Something else fun for October


Remember when Horrorthoners went to check out the atheist toys? Looks like the website is almost up and running, so you can pick up your evolution playmat and creature coloring book.
Best of luck tonight. I know I will be an incredibly minor player, mostly here to support Jeff as he tries to squeeze in even a few movies.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Am I In!? Damn Right I'm In!



A Horrorthon member who doesn't take part in Horrorthon?

That's like a castrated bull...looks tuff, but ain't good for nuthin'...

"Bring it."

"Oh, I'll bring it. Consider it brung."

(I'm still not watching The Exorcist.)

JPX has always loved Halloween


Here I am, age 7 (?) preparing for a night of saving dames and loading up on sugary joy. I have no idea where this picture was taken but I want to make it clear that my family did not own any sad clown pictures.

Why wouldn't I wear a blue long-sleeved shirt underneath? Sigh.

1 day until Horrorthon 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sharpen Your Knives... Again!

Greetings, my freaks! It's the weekend before October 1st and I wanna watch a horror movie. But it's too soon, too soon. Just ramped my Netflix account up to eight movies at a time, made sure my frontrunners were what I want. If I were a cartoon, I'd be rubbing my hands together, tying a napkin around my neck and gripping a fork and knife in my fists, droolingly gazing at the pig-with-apple-in-its-mouth on the table before me. This will be my fifth Horrorthon. I shiz you not, this is one of the most anticipated times of year for me. I love Horrorthon time.

And what an interesting place Horrorthon has become! All old faces and new faces -- mostly Avatar faces, of course, but Miko564, my old debate teammate? What are the odds? And now you're all going to concerts together? Hanging out in bars? How cool is that!

Last year for the new folks I did a Horrorthon nuts and bolts post, and I'm re-presenting it below. I'm going to revise as I go, so you vets might want to read it again. The earlier version is here.


HISTORY


Horrorthon began in 2000 as a contest between JPX and Johnny Sweatpants, who are brothers. "Who can watch the most horror movies during the month of October?" I believe that only two siblings could cook up such a rivalry and actually make it happen. They did this for four years, just the two of them. The first scores were in the twenties, but rose every year. And every year Johnny Sweatpants won. The score in 2003 was an agonizing 60 to 59, JPX having to disqualify his 60th because his copy of My Bloody Valentine crapped out halfway through.

I was in RI that year, and over the course of October JPX and I sat in my sister's massive leather barcaloungers and watched around seven movies with all the lights turned off. This was my introduction to Japanese horror, and if you want to hear about JPX scaring the bejesus out of me on one of those nights, read this.

The 2003 contest is notable because the reviews began that year (I intended to cover my seven movies but I never got around to it). The reviews started as one-paragraph capsules the boys would email back and forth to 1) warn each other about horrible movies that must be skipped, 2) tempt one another with news of good deaths, a decent amount of skin or, occasionally, a good movie, and 3) as proof that the movies had actually been viewed, since as lifelong siblings they had a healthy mistrust of each other.

In 2004 I was back in California with a stupid job and a stunted social life. I joined the contest full blast, and the numbers from that year have yet to be topped. I would get home from work, rent a stack of videos on the way home from the BART station, settle onto my bed that had a TV at its foot, and suck 'em down. I'd write my reviews at work the next day and that would be pretty much all I did until about 1 in the afternoon. The other guys were in pretty much the same boat regarding jobs and lives, so we fed off of each other's fury and the final score was 98-96-95. The newbie had taken the hill, and JSP had once again topped his older brother's score by one. And we had written hundreds of reviews of horror movies (okay, two-hundred-something, but that's technically "hundreds").

In 2005, instead of having these reviews pile up in our email folders, we made the blog you see before you. For eleven months the blog morphs and gathers members, and now it's a forum for chatter about movies, celebrities both loved and despised, strange technology, our common disregard for organized religion, showing off our work, keeping in touch with each other -- basically a place for flexing our weird and personal artistic brain muscles.

There are sixteen potential contestants this year, although I know the group is facing some handicaps. I've got the 3 and 1/2-month-old kiddo to take care of, Jordan's got a book deadline around Halloween, 50PageMcGee is starting graduate school in October, Catfreeek's got yoga camp to attend and scary makeup to apply, etc. etc. et freaking cetera.

And how about our resident European? I hope the recent Turkish Star Wars post means Anas Demens Purpurea will be joining us again this year. And what of Miko, who watched us battle last year but stayed on the sidelines... you in, boy?

Regardless, it's always interesting. And we welcome all levels of participation. 50Page only reviewed three movies his first year. At its heart the contest is about the numbers, but these days that's mostly to provide an impetus for fun and good writing.


SCORING (AND MORE HISTORY)


If you click here you will see the Horrorthon Score blog (the link is also conveniently located in our links sidebar on top of the main blog here, just beneath the now huge list of contributors). I've made a post for everybody's individual list of movies viewed and a scorekeeping post on top. I'll go in and add titles and numbers as the reviews pop up. This year I've also requested the help of JPX and Johnny Sweatpants to do the scoring, so hopefully the numbers will be up to date more frequently. PLEASE let us know if we screw anything up, since we are not infallible.

Also on the Score site, you can scroll down to see the scores and lists from the previous few years. JPX finally bested his brother's score in 2005, although I beat them both again that year. Then in 2006, after six years of battle, JPX took the top spot with a very respectable 67 flicks viewed. 50PageMcGee also joined in earnest that year, upping our contestant list to four.

Which was PEANUTS compared to last year, when no less than a full dozen people threw down. JPX once again proved he was here to win, watching a whopping 80 movies. With all the obstacles facing the group in '08, I must admit I'm hoping for a battle royale between our founders again. How about it, herr Sweatpants? Maybe you've got some more free time this year?


REVIEWS


You do have to write a review of a movie for it to count, but we hope that requirement should be considered as friendly and inviting as the player should want. A couple of sentences is fine, providing a brief plot description and your opinion of the whole affair.

Format for the reviews is pretty basic: the movie title is the title of the post, the post starts with the year the movie was made, then your rating out of five stars, then whatever you want to say about it.

Mr. Sweatpants put together this scale in the pre-blog days, and although every year we talk about amending his movie examples, we still haven't. Here it is yet again:

***** -- A horror masterpiece. Absolutely essential viewing. (Wickerman, The Omen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Ring, JU-ON, Dawn of the Dead)

****1/2 -- Brilliant (Halloween 2, Exorcist, the Shining, Hellraiser, Evil Dead, Suspiria, The Others, Inner Senses, The Eye, Kairo)

**** -- Excellent (Blair Witch 2, the Craft, Phantasm, Poltergeist, Evil Dead II, Race with the Devil)

***1/2 -- Great, fun, worth watching (Candyman, Elm St.1, Friday the 13th 4, Return of the Living Dead)

*** -- Good, watchable, no real surprises though (Friday the 13th part VI, Elm St.2-4, )

**1/2 -- No big deal if you miss it, barely adequate (I Know What you did Last Summer, Bride of Chucky)

** -- Pretty lame (Scream 3, Leprechaun, Pumpkinhead, Motel Hell, Gothika)

*1/2 -- Really bad (Martin, Last House on the Left)

* -- God-awful, virtually unwatchable - save for the absolute bottom (Shocker, Return to Horror High, Return of the Killer Tomatoes)

It's generally understood that 3 stars is the base level for something worth one's viewing time. If you want to check out the reviews of years past, check the blog archives for October and November for 2005 through 2007. And if you find something worth less than one star, by all means say so. You've just watched a horrible movie, and you deserve the credit.


MISCELLANEOUS RULES


There aren't many. The contest starts at midnight, right after October 1st begins. The contest ends midnight on October 31st -- but, if you start a movie before midnight that night you can use the little bit of November to finish it off.

Last year we tried to impose a deadline of November 15th for leftover reviews, a deadline that later was pushed to the end of November itself. The thing is, once the buzz of October has past it's hard to keep typing, and everyone wants to know who won. For those of us who go for big numbers, it can be a bit of a drag. Last year Johnny Sweatpants took a lower score than the actual amount of movies he watched, which was too bad for fans of his writing (like me). I don't really have a great solution to the November woes; it's kind of part of the chaos that is Horrorthon, just like trying to whip together a costume concept at 4 in the afternoon on Halloween. I think maybe we should stick with the end of November as a review deadline, but maybe some discussion about disclosing the final score earlier... what do you guys think?

With the debut of the Masters of Horror series in recent years, we now limit the number of hour-long movies you can watch to five. Watching short movies is a time-honored strategy for getting your numbers up, but besides the MoH flicks it's unsual to find a movie that doesn't pad itself out to 80 minutes or so. We don't want people to get too sneaky.


FINALLY, WHAT MAKES A HORROR MOVIE?


I refer you again to the Horrorthon Score blog, where the full lists of all movies viewed for the past three years can be seen. That might help. Anything that imdb or Netflix tags as "horror" also counts. But basically, it's any movie designed to have some kind of scary thrill. There's a fair amount of spillover between horror and genres of action, sci-fi, thriller, suspense and comedy. We're going with a loose definition of things this year to be encompassing, so go ahead and use your judgement. Johnny Sweatpants pushed the envelope last year when he reviewed High School Musical -- obviously not a horror movie, but horrifying none the less.

(Of the genres I just listed, I'd say that maybe comedy is the one to best avoid, as it sort of subverts scary. But not always. Shaun of the Dead counts because it's actually pretty scary, Slither has some funny elements. In my opinion outright parodies like the Scary Movie titles wouldn't. A lot of the crappy movies that have shown up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 count, but watching them with the MST3K commentary would defeat the purpose. Again, in my opinion.)

Most of all, don't be afraid to experiment. We've never disqualified a movie after the fact, and I don't really see that happening in the future. The point here is to have fun.

What am I saying? The point is to CRUSH YOUR OPPONENTS!!!

HorrorTHOOOOOOON!!!

I love October.

The Ropers are getting excited that Horrothon is only 3 days away!

C3P-Oh my!


Star Wars Topps trading card #207 is a well-known collectible among non-sports card collectors (i.e. nerds/JPX). This image comes from the 4th series of Star Wars trading cards (green series) and at this point virtually every image that could be taken from Star Wars and put onto a trading card had been done (believe it or not, a 5th series, the orange series, would soon follow) and I can only imagine that the people at Topps were getting a bit sick of Star Wars and wanted to have a little fun. Thus, to the surprise of the Star Wars trading card collecting community, the famous "X-rated C3PO" card was inserted into a number of packs.

The official word from the Star Wars camp is that the mistake comes from a random trick of light and shadows, but most others believe it was a disgruntled employee replicating part of the picture to make 3PO look so well endowed. It's not too hard to find this card on the collector's market (yes JPX has one), but it makes for an interesting conversation piece.

OMG Finally

So,
it has taken me a total of 3 weeks to figure out what the hell the new blogger wants from me to actually be able to log in, and whether it is with a gmail account or hotmail or google account with my hotmail account as the login name...
Seriously I have never been as confused on the internet, and I consider myself somewhat savvy.
In either case!
Here are two vids I've been wanting to post for the longest time evar.
NUMERO UNO
MUSIC MADNESS

NUMERO DUE
Just a little something to get you in the mood for all those crappy movies that you will be watching next month ;)

(Octopunk's note: if you want to skip the credits, jump to about 1:50... but don't miss this)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shia wants to remind everyone that Horrorthon is in 4 days!

Paul Newman Dies at 83.



(Sad. Still can't flip by Butch and Sundance without watching the whole damn thing.)

From CNN.com- Paul Newman, the legendary actor whose steely blue eyes, good-humored charm and advocacy of worthy causes made him one of the most renowned figures in American arts, has died of cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Imperious Leader here to remind you that there are only 5 days until Horrorthon!

Ebert rocks


From slashfilm, It’s not funny enough that someone out there actually liked Disaster Movie, e-mailed Roger Ebert in almost unreadable internet shorthand, but Roger actually took the time out to respond using the reader’s native language.

Question: Yo dude, u missed out on “Disaster Movie,” a hardcore laugh-ur-@zz-off movie! Y U not review this movie!? It was funny as #ell! Prolly the funniest movie of the summer! U never review these, wat up wit dat?

Ebert’s Response: Hey, bro, I wuz buzier than $#i+, @d they never shoed it b4 hand. I peeped in the IMDb and saw it zoomed to #1 as the low$ie$t flic of all time, wit @ lame-@zz UZer Rating of 1.3. U liked it? Wat up wit dat?

Led Zeppelin reunite


Frm NME, Reports state that the band - with Robert Plant in tow - will hit the road next year

Led Zeppelin are planning a full tour for next summer, with singer Robert Plant set to rejoin the band, according to reports in The Sun today (September 26).

Despite their massively-successful reunion gig at London's O2 Arena last winter, the band have so far declined to confirm whether they will plan any more shows together.

Initially, it was believed that singer Plant was against a full tour with the band.

However, today's report claims that Plant is now ready to join guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones and drummer Jason Bonham in rehearsals for a tour set to start next summer.

An unnamed source told the newspaper: "He [Plant] realised he couldn't face the thought of not being involved. The band were over the moon when he told them the news."

NEWT sounds underwhelming


From slashfilm, Yesterday when we told you that Cars 2 had been moved forward to the Summer 2011, we forgot to tell you that Pixar’s Newt would be getting the old Cars 2 release date of Summer 2012. It wasn’t made clear why the change was made, but I’m assuming that newt probably required more development time, while all the characters of Cars have already been designed, cutting down the traditional pre-production timeline.

newt marks the directing debut of multiple Academy Award winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who made his Pixar debut with the short film Lifted (which premiered in front of Ratatouille). The plot synopsis that was released earlier this years follows: “What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other? Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science.”

Romero talks about 'Island of the Dead'


From slashfilm, George Romero is about to begin filming a new Zombie film in Toronto, but thankfully, it isn’t the Diary of the Dead sequel that has been mentioned in interviews. Romero revealed the following to SchlockAroundTheClock:

“It’ll be about three weeks in [past the outbreak] and it doesn’t start with the people in the mansion [at the end of Diary]. It starts with the blonde who drove away and the national guardsmen who robbed the people. So those are the only characters that return. What it’s about is tribalism. How the internet creates a Hatfields and McCoys situation. It’s on an island, where people have been lured by someone on the net as a safe haven, but really what these guys are trying to do is hold them up at the boat docks.”

Movieset spoke with Nicolas Chartier, the president of Voltage Pictures, who joked that while the film is yet to be officially titled, it is being referred internally as “Something of the Dead“.

“We’re shooting underwater zombies,” Chartier revealed. “They’re swimming, grabbing people’s legs, pulling them down. It’s a lot of fun.”

So there you have it. A film which takes place three weeks after the outbreak, with a group of survivors fending off underwater zombies on a secluded island. Sounds good to me. Lets just hope its better than Diary of the Dead…

Ghostbusters 3?


From AICN [excerpt], (Bill Murray) said that he knew "some writers from THE OFFICE" were taking a stab at the script right now (which we already knew) and that he thinks that's a good start. He paused for a few seconds then said that he thinks enough time has passed and that "the wounds from GHOSTBUSTERS 2 are healed" and that he would definitely be into doing another GHOSTBUSTERS movie, stating that the first 40 minutes of the original film is some of the best stuff he's been associated with and the whole shoot was an amazing amount of fun.

He also went on to say that his enthusiasm for Ghostbusters was heightened after recording the voice of Peter Venkman for the video game over the summer. In fact, he said he found himself walking down the street singing the Ghostbusters theme song and then thought people walking around him were going to start yelling at him to "get over yourself, Bill," so he stopped... But the enthusiasm was there.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clay Aiken wants to remind everyone that Horrorthon begins in 6 days...

Depp Is Mad Hatter In Burton's "Alice"


From dark horizons, Johnny Depp himself was on hand at the Walt Disney Showcase in Hollywood and revealed not one but two new roles for himself.

First up he confirmed the rumors that he had signed on to play the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's upcoming adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland".

Mia Wasikowska and Matt Lucas also star in the re-telling of the Lewis Carroll classic which will combinelive-action and motion-capture footage.

Shooting is slated to begin in November for a March 5th 2010 release.

Cage confirms third 'Treasure'


From darkhorizons, Jerry Bruckheimer and Nicolas Cage both attended the Walt Disney Showcase in Hollywood this afternoon and revealed a third "National Treasure" is in the works.

Director Jon Turteltaub will be back behind the camera, and much of the original cast will return as well for the film.

No plot details were announced, but a late 2010 release is looking likely.

Johnny Depp Joins "The Lone Ranger"


From darkhorizons, More news of Johnny Depp from the Walt Disney Showcase in Hollywood today as the actor strolled on stage in Jack Sparrow costume but wearing the Lone Ranger mask.

After the music died down, Depp confirmed he has signed on for both Jerry Bruckheimer's "The Lone Ranger" and a fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio penned the film, a new take on the origin of the lawman. Disney later confirmed to IESB that Depp isn't playing the titular character but his sidekick Tonto.

Another Simpsons milestone


By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY

Homer Simpson is gunning for you, Matt Dillon.

With Sunday's premiere (Fox, 8 ET/PT), The Simpsons will tie Gunsmoke's record of 20 seasons on the air.

The writing staff keeps track of the longevity milestones, executive producer Al Jean says, but creator Matt Groening only cops to one record for the iconic Springfield family, its friends and neighbors. "I think we've used more yellow paint than any other TV show," he says.

Both believe the show is still performing strongly despite recording 445 episodes, including a season premiere that has Homer and neighbor Ned Flanders teaming as bounty hunters and Marge Simpson unwittingly going to work at an erotic bakery. "The writers and animators continue to amaze me," Groening says.

He has proof of the show's staying power, too: its 10th Emmy for outstanding animated series, bestowed this month.

"Every time we get an Emmy, it buys us a couple more years" on the air, Groening says. "That gives us one year to wreck the show and one year to run it into the ground."

Actually, they probably have more time for demolition, if they so choose, with the voice actors signed for four years, including the one that starts this weekend. That would put the show over the 500-episode mark, leaving it trailing only Dillon's Gunsmoke (633) and Lassie (588) for the most episodes of an entertainment series.
Other evidence of The Simpsons' continued vitality includes The Simpsons Movie, which took in $526 million worldwide, and The Simpsons Ride, which opened this year at Universal theme parks in California and Florida.

Jean says there will be a movie sequel, but there are no plans yet and it probably wouldn't happen until the TV show ends production.
Asked for a favorite Simpsons moment, Groening chooses slapstick over satiric, each a show specialty.

"There's an episode from a few years ago in which Homer tries to kill a spider in his garage and ends up getting his neck smashed repeatedly by the automatic garage-door opener. It's just an exquisite little piece of mayhem," he says.
His rare disappointment comes when he feels a gag or concept contradicts the history of the show, "such as when we found out that Principal Skinner was really an imposter."

If the show seems to be more political these days, Jean says that it's just reflecting a more politicized "us vs. them" society of recent years.
Even though production begins nearly a year before broadcast, some upcoming shows are timely. When the Simpson house is foreclosed, neighbor Ned Flanders buys it back and rents it to Homer, Marge and company.

"Things turn nasty," Groening says.

In another, when Bart befriends a Muslim boy, Homer suspects the boy's family of organizing a terrorist plot. In a segment of "Treehouse of Horror XIX" (Nov. 2), the annual Halloween trilogy, Homer tries to vote for Barack Obama, but the machine keeps casting ballots before attacking him. That episode also features "It's a Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse."

After such a long time, Groening says a major show challenge is to avoid repeating itself, as sometimes happens. He disagrees with critics who question the quality of the show as it ages.

"We've had our ups and downs, but it seems like most people who say the show has gone downhill don't watch it," he says. "The latest episodes are as clever, complicated, sophisticated and wild as any we have ever done."

"Legend" Prequel, "Hancock" Sequel?


From darkhorizons, They may be amongst the weakest films he's done, but Will Smith's two most recent major hits look like they're about to become franchises.

First up, Warner Bros. Pictures has set in motion a prequel to post-apocalyptic thriller "I Am Legend" which Francis Lawrence will again direct reports the trades. Writer D.B. Weiss is currently working on a script.

Smith is expected to return to the role of military scientist Robert Neville in the story that will deal with the final days of humanity in New York before a man-made virus caused a plague that left Smith's character the lone survivor in a barren city over-run by deadly nocturnal mutants.

In less official news, a reliable source tells Dark Horizons that Sony has quietly set a "Hancock" sequel into development. More on that when it comes.

Whirlygirl, the perfect pinhole camera for Horrorthon!


From geekology, This pinhole camera was made out of a skull by artist Wayne Martin Belger, mwho may or may not dress entirely in black and scrawl pentagrams on the floor of his apartment in virgin's blood.

This work entitled Third Eye, a study of "the beauty of decay," uses precious metals like titanium and silver to expose the memory of time onto film, sheering the 150 year old skull of a 13 year old girl.

Wow, it doesn't get much creepier than that. Well, unless the skull still had a jawbone and said "Say cheese!" Jesus, I just gave myself goosebumps.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Final Quantum of Solace poster stinks


I much prefer,

or even,


Okay, I'm just joking about Moonraker.

Sarah Conner looks into the Ark of the Covenant

Dragon's Lair turns 25


From retrothing, This week is the (deep breath) twenty fifth anniversary of Dragon's Lair. For those of you who didn't grown up near the bowling alley in my hometown, Dragon's Lair was a stand-up arcade game that didn't use video graphics - it used full motion cartoons for gameplay. Animation by Don Bluth's studio lived inside the cabinet on laserdisc, a radical departure from gaming of the era.

Dragon's Lair has been released on practically every computer/console/video device ever made, totaling up to nearly 60 ports of the game trying to capture the full animation of the arcade original. Recently Digital Leisure remastered the game in HD from the original film elements - the first time a Dragon's Lair port has looked better than the original. We'll have a review as soon as I can hoodwink someone into letting me take over their Blu-ray player.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this remarkable game, Digital Leisure is offering 25% off of Dragon's Lair on their website today - all copies of Dragon's Lair HD will be signed by the creators of the original game. Visitors to digitalleisure.com can sign up for a drawing to win a fine-art print of the opening castle scene. Today is the end of the 25th anniversary week specials, so visit Digital Leisure now if you're interested.

Miko's phone?

Heather wants to remind you that Horrorthon begins in 6 days!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More on that Dandys show we caught!


From mel.opho.be, Not a bad Tuesday night. We were looking forward to The Dandy Warhols / Darker My Love concert at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston, partly for the music, and partly because it was our first time seeing a show in the historic, newly reopened Wilbur. Most other Boston venues, while coming through with excellent sound, provide just enough light to make you feel like you're in a cave. As a photographer and concert-goer who enjoys seeing bands when they perform, this is less than ideal. "Maybe," we hoped, "the Wilbur will have adequate lighting actually focused on the bands rather than the walls and the audience." I guess we'll keep waiting.

Opening the show was The Upsidedown, a solid six-some playing upbeat, fun stuff. Performing to an unfortunately and undeservedly lightly populated theater, The Upsidedown nonetheless impressed with a nonstop collection of catchy, guitar-heavy rock, accented with deep and grooving bass rhythms and, um, grooves. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, they're in for the tour, and are well worth getting to the venue early for. So you should do just that.

Darker My Love mounted up next. Unfortunately, the lighting designer must have thought the name was "Darken My Light," considering we could barely make out faces. The projections didn't help much either. While fun in theory, the old-school overhead projector exhibiting petri dish solutions of water and oil seriously dampened the already sparse light, and cast a muddled blanket over the set. As compared to the silhouette show from Feist's tour this past summer, it wasn't nearly as compelling.

Setting aside the visual aesthetic complaints, Darker My Love play good music. Really good, actually. They have a sly, sustained sound, sometimes seeming drone-ish but darkly persistent. Close harmonies drew me right in, and maybe the dark atmosphere helped to keep us pleasantly on edge, waiting and expecting something to happen at any moment. Strangely enough, they also have a weirdly U2 sound to them (in the Achtung Baby - Zooropa period), though in a more mildly poppy, alt-indie vein. Parse that!

Here's what I don't get about the Dandy Warhols: are they really serious? I've always assumed that they play their cotton candy hits with tongues firmly lodged in cheeks. But now I'm not so sure. Talking it over with friends on Wednesday night, I learned that I wasn't alone in this assumption; having seen them live, however, now I believe that they may be wholly unironic. Not that there's anything wrong with simply enjoying popularity and writing reasonably straightforward, accessible music that is widely enjoyed across at least 1.5 generations. I'm just a little surprised.

The Dandys had great presence and a well polished stage affect and tone that serve them mightily. They're easy to watch, easy to listen to, and easy to enjoy.


Ac, 3rd from the end! Desroc2 second from left!




A ton more pictures here

Thanks, ac, for the link!

Michael Caine Probably in a Movie


From iwatchstuff, According to Michael Caine, he's probably doing some kind of moving picture with Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey, but he can't remember the name of it. From MTV:

“I have ‘Harry Brown,’” the actor said of his elderly vigilante film. “Then I’ll probably do a film with Scarlett Johansson. I forget what it’s called. It’s an adventure film. I was told yesterday that they have Matthew McConaughey as the guy. I’ve got go home and read it again.”

Someone really needs to start writing down Michael Caine's roles and pinning them to his jacket.

UPDATE: Coming Soon has pointed out it's probably Brilliant.

An Invitation

Catfreeek + a day off + a basement full of Halloween props = Playtime!


So, I had this great idea while I was playing with my severed limbs and torture devices. I'm going to go all out this year and set up my back yard as a haunted wood. Now I have plenty of stuff to do this and as I previously stated my neighborhood is a virtual playground for hundreds of little kiddies. I would like to officially invite any of you who would like to join us for a night of mayhem and terror. Bring the kids, bring friends, dig up a dead ancestor and bring them along for all we care. As you can see from the pictures, the site of our old shed is what inspired me. I was looking at that rotted floor, collapsing work bench and all the twisted vines surrounding it and thought, this is way to cool to let it go to waste. If you'd like to come by just shoot me an email & I'll give you my number. Dontcha just love October.

This one is for JSP cause I know how much he loves spiders, and that's no prop either.



The Cats of Amityville


Who could forget the original 1979 film "The Amityville Horror". I remember tearing through that book at the tender age of 14 followed by Stuart Rosenberg bringing all the frightening pages to life on the big screen. Of all the visuals that were put into that film none were as haunting as the glowing red eyes of Jody the pig showing through the window. Those eyes were all we could talk about at school.
Well, 1979 to 2008 marks a world of difference in special effects. The red glowing eyes seemed to have lost their edge over the years & were even left out of the 2005 remake. Still, those of us who were fortunate enough to experience the nail biting terror of those eyes in a time of cgi free special effects will be able to appreciate...
The Cats of Amityville



Horrorthon 102

After posting the Horrorthon 101 list below it has been pointed out to me that there are some glaring omissions. After scanning through past Horrorthon competitions I pulled together some additional must-see horror for the novice.

The Thing (1982)

Psycho (1960)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Alien (1979)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Phantasm (1979)

Re-Animator (1985)

Audition (1999)

Frankenstein (1931)