Monday, February 28, 2011


2007 **

Another Horrorthon 2010 review! I had a little sub-theme at the end: contemporary remakes of the classic slashers.

My reasons for disliking this aren't going to surprise anybody.

I try not to be a harsh critic of soulless trends in movies. I don't sweat sequels or ever-stranger adaptation choices, nor do I automatically poo-poo the current jambalaya of reboots, remakes, prequels, and do-overs. I believe every remake wants to be Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead, except for remakes of foreign flicks that want to be The Ring. I believe that Star Trek and Casino Royale show us that reboots aren't necessarly copouts and can actually make things great. However, Rob Zombie's Halloween is guilty of crimes that make me rethink my whole position.

Much of my problem with the new Halloween stems from viewing Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses back when that came out. Someday I will watch that for the 'thon and bitch about it properly, but for now I will just reference what's relevant to Halloween, and that is that Rob Zombie has a hard-on for hillbillies.

While discussing the violence in Reservoir Dogs long ago (bear with me here), a friend of mine said "there is a vital quality to violence, and that's something that turns on intellectuals." Broadening that Tarantino-specific point, those of us who don't have Edge in their lives (i.e. most of us), look to movie characters for it. I do it too, but I draw the line at dirty, toothless, don't-give-a-fuck hillbillies.

But that's just me. Take a group of hipsters as defined by our poetry contest a few weeks ago, add a few similarly-aged conservative jock types, and chances are both groups will regard the cast of Corpses with the same swooning declarations. "His clown suit was totally disgusting! He had, like, half his teeth! SO COOL!" I'm not saying Zombie works this strange attraction as exploitation; on the contrary, I think he's got the bug worse than anybody. He's endlessly fascinated with the sordid underbelly of America; he fetishizes trailer trash.

John Carpenter wrote Michael Myers as a character on the razor's edge between guy next door and the dark sum of all your fears and nightmares. He's The Shape; there's nothing to know about him besides the fact that he kills and comes back and kills again. That's his whole point. Why did a six-year old kid turn murderous? No idea. It's a much better question when it's unanswered. It's such a potent quality that Dr. Loomis, a man whose life is dedicated to treating maladies of the mind, is forced to abandon all he's learned just by being in the same room with Michael Myers. He's just... evil.

Now, if there's one thing I do hate about the aforementioned cultural jambalaya, it's the notion that prequels exist to root out the answers that audiences are hungry for. Hell bent on that regrettable mission and armed with his favorite tools, Zombie exposes the past of Michael Myers with all the artistry of an after school special, (albeit with more swearing). His mom is a stripper, his sister is a slut, his father figure is an abusive, alcoholic dead beat. Whereas John Carpenter laces Michael's homicidal urges with unsettling but subtle sexual issues, before killing her Zombie has Michael stroke his sister's thigh.

I'm italicizing all these bits because it conveys the weight with which each element is unceremoniously dropped in your lap. This Halloween does what countless other reboots, remakes etc. haven't managed: turned me into an old crank, grousing about how things were better in my day.

Remember Halloween: Resurrection? No? Lucky you. In that cinematic tumor, a reality TV show cast wander around the old Myers house, discovering a collection of morbid "clues" into Michael's insanity. These are blunt, ridiculous props like a high chair with steel manacles on it, the room in the basement where the Myers imprisoned Michael, etc. These are revealed to be fake props, placed there by the reality show's producers to zip things up a bit. Silly, right? Well, Rob Zombie is doing the exact same thing, except he's not pretending. That's right, he stole an idea from Halloween: Resurrection that Halloween: Resurrection did not itself take seriously.

Equally offensive is Zombie's bludgeon-like attempts at writing dialogue for teenage girls, who seen through his "dark underbelly cam" apparently only talk about fucking. I don't mean boys, or making out, I mean fucking. Our first line from Laurie Strode is a foolish, caustic joke about an older neighbor being a child molester, a joke accentuated by her poking a pen through the middle of a bagel. Oh, and the joke is aimed at her mom.

The sad thing about all of this is that Zombie is actually a competent horror director. He knows how to get his point across, and although it's overdone I can't call it artless. The young Michael story is engaging, especially as the kid is creepily reminiscent of JPX and JSP's old next door neighbor Rob K. You see a bully get his, and that's always satisfying. Michael's obsession with wearing masks is genuinely creepy, as is his relentless aggression when he's finally on the loose. And Danielle Harris spends half the movie shirtless, so there's that.

But if I had my way this movie could exist pretty much like it is, but with no reference to the original Halloween or even the holiday Halloween. That way nobody has to hear about Rob Zombie's "vision" for the classic story, which is more characterized by Ken Foree the truck driver loudly exclaiming about the Mexican food he's about to poop out than it is by anything really scary. The cavalcade of b-level names gracing the cast (Mickey Dolenz!) makes it seem even more like a big, overblown party that should've never happened.

Gol dang Hollywood, ruining everything good to make a few bucks! Get off my lawn!

Peter Weller Sends a Message to Detroit

From slashfilm, Bless you, Funny or Die. We’ve heard from a great many people about the proposed statue of RoboCop in Detroit, especially since the plan to fund the statue raised fifty grand in mere days. But one important voice hasn’t been heard, until now.

The 5 Most Spectacularly Unsexy Workout Videos Ever


Go here for the rest

Nicolas Cage's "Drive Angry 3D" is a Disaster at Box Office

From worstpreviews, There were two new wide releases this weekend, the Farrelly brothers' R-rated comedy "Hall Pass" and Nicolas Cage's "Drive Angry 3D." Both underperformed at the box office.

"Hall Pass" landed in second place with $13.4 million, just behind "Gnomeo and Juliet," which landed in first. "Hall Pass" cost $36 million to develop, and Warner Bros was hoping to open at least a few million higher. Either way, the comedy will likely be able to make its budget back.

"Drive Angry 3D," however, has no chance of making anything back. The film cost around $50 million and grossed only $5.1 million, which was only good enough to take ninth place at the box office.

"Basic Instinct" Tops Most Paused Poll

From darkhorizons [excerpt], Sharon Stone's infamous leg-crossing scene in "Basic Instinct" has been named the most-paused moment in movies in a poll from movie subscription service Lovefilm.

Nudity was a big draw on the list Jennifer Lopez's naked bottom in 2010's "The Back-Up" coming in at No. 2, Jamie Lee Curtis flashing her breasts in "Trading Places" at No. 4, a flash of a penis in "Fight Club" at No. 6, and Nicole Kidman naked in "Eyes Wide Shut" at No. 10.

Geek moments also ranked high including a Stormtrooper whacking his head on a door in "Star Wars" at No. 3, Captain America's shield appearing on Tony Stark's desk in "Iron Man 2" at No. 7, and a brief appearance by Pacman in the original "Tron" at No. 9.


If you're like me and opted to watch Timecop instead of the Oscars (I'm on a Van Damme kick, want to fight about it?) here's a list of all the winners.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Razzie results

Worst Picture: The Last Airbender

Worst Director: M. Night Shyamalan, The Last Airbender

Worst Actor: Ashton Kutcher, Killers and Valentine’s Day

Worst Actress: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City 2

Worst Supporting Actor: Jackson Rathbone, The Last Airbender and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Worst Supporting Actress: Jessica Alba, The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete, and Valentine’s Day

Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3-D: The Last Airbender

Worst Screen Couple / Worst Screen Ensemble: The entire cast of Sex and the City 2

Worst Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan, The Last Airbender
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel: Sex and the City 2

Saturday, February 26, 2011


(1946) ***1/2

I must admit, I've always kinda had a school girl crush on Vincent Price. The man was such an icon in my horror obsessed youth. He could radiate pure unadulterated evil in one film then slip into the role of tormented soul in another. This single man inducing fear one moment and sympathy the next. That said, I chose to conclude this years Horrorthon with a classic Vincent Price film. And no this isn't my last review, I still have 4 more I'm dragging my feet on.

Shock puts Vincent Price in the role of the ill-fated Dr. Richard Cross. Prodded by the influence of his voluptuous nurse/lover the lovestruck doctor unintentionally commits murder. The crime is witnessed by a young bride staying at the same hotel awaiting the arrival of her young husband. Seeing the violent act leaves her in a catatonic state of shock. The hotel manager calls Dr. Cross to help with the young woman. The sight of him drives her deeper into a self induced coma state. Under the doctor's advice she is committed to a sanitarium where he can give her constant care. Now the doctor, tormented by the unfortunate turn of events must decide if he will cure the woman and pay the consequences or succumb to the demands of his zealous lover and commit murder once again.

Although this is not one of my favorite Price films it is a fine example of him playing that tortured soul. The kind doctor truly finds himself trapped within a web of bad decisions and cruelty. He is forced to commit acts as far from his gentle nature as he ever could have imagined. Lynn Bari does a bang up job as the pushy Nurse Jordan forcing the doctor's hand through every bad choice. What a total bitch, she knew enough not to commit the acts herself so she just kept pushing his buttons to get him to do it. I wanted to punch her in the face. How I do love the acting in these old films. It was a nice film to finish with.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Excellent (fan-made) Archie Movie Trailer

Humpday Poetry Slam Corny Results

I am so pleased with the entries for humpday poetry. Honorable mention goes to Fitty, for reminding us how intriguing and ultimately unsatisfying candy corn is.

Catfreek and 50P get props for the memorable phrases "kernels in semen" and "big fat fatty mcfatties", respectively.

I loved the succinct quality of Abby's haiku:

Chowder, syrup, meal,
Sentiment or biofuel,
We are children of.

Talked with Gobaers about his poem. I thought the ending was a reference of having to go through winter and a year of seasons before enjoying fresh corn again. But apparently it is a veiled poop reference. Nice one, dude.

Octo is creative genius and completely crushed with his corn man story.

But for the winner, I pick Johnny Sweatpants, for his haiku poem that sounds the gong of total truth and rightness:

I’ve loved popcorn
Since the day I was born
It's addictive like crack
And hotter than porn

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Episode III, Revenge Of The Seniors: Old Man Lightsaber Duel In France

From geekology, "Luuuuuuuuke -- Uncle Owen is drunk and picking lightsaber fights again!"

This is a video of the lightsaber duel between two old Frenchies that ensues after one drunkenly drives his tractor over the other's prized tauntaun or something. Honestly, I have no idea WTF is going on, and I watched it like four times. What I do know is the screencap there takes place after Darth Foie Gras manages to knock Obi Won Tractordriver's lightsaber out of his hands and moves in for the finishing blow. It's actually a pretty epic battle. Definitely blows all the prequels out of the water, that's for f***ing sure! But, honestly, what doesn't? "Twilight". Touché -- my butt. Go on, give it a squeeze!

'Bad Teacher' Trailer: Cameron Diaz Sure Is That!

Poppie peed on my couch!

What is this strange sign you ask? I was meeting with a patient (an obese African American man who is in his 50s) when all of a sudden he calmly inquired, “Is there a bathroom in this building?” After pointing him in the right direction he left my office to go take care of his sinful business. I happened to glance over at the chair he was sitting on and noticed with horror that there was a big pee stain! After he left housekeeping was contacted and this is the sign I was greeted with the next morning. I think that I’ll keep this sign; it’s unintentionally hilarious, isn’t it? It reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where “Poppie” pees on Jerry’s couch.

(Fake) E.T. 2 trailer is awesome

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Humpday Poetry Slam: Corn

What is corn?


Or perhaps the cornerstone of processed food

Or these f*n guys

Todays Humpday poetry subject is corn; corn must play a starring role in all submissions. Well, okay, a starring or best-supporting role in all submissions.

For newbs like me: Haiku Humpday is now open to any kind of 'poem'. Go hog wild with your limericks or your e.e. cummings imitations.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Netflix to Stream CBS Content Including ‘Star Trek’, ‘Twin Peaks’, and 'The Twilight Zone'

From slashfilm, Netflix is getting a lot of competition of late, whether from Hulu‘s huge deal with Criterion or Amazon‘s new streaming service through Amazon Prime and a planned streaming offering from Redbox. At the same time, some content owners are getting more prickly when it comes to negotiating deals to stream content online. In short, the digital age of distribution is taking a couple steps forward and everyone wants their share.

So every new content deal is a good thing for any given company on the playing field. That said, here’s a new Netflix deal that might not do huge numbers, but could be a boon for fans: the company has signed a new two-year non-exclusive deal with CBS to stream the company’s library content, including The Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks and the various incarnations of Star Trek.

Some of that content has been available to stream on other online platforms in the past, but Netflix will be the most broadly-accessible digital source for those shows. We don’t know specifically which Twilight Zone and Trek material will be available, or if all of it will stream.

Other shows included in the deal are Medium, Flashpoint, the original Hawaii Five-0, Frasier, Cheers, Family Ties and The Andy Griffith Show. They’ll all be available to stream starting in April.

The deal is notable because CBS is pretty old-school when it comes to making deals in the digital realm. Which is why Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos proudly trumpets, “Netflix is now the only online premium subscription service with shows featured on all four broadcast networks and dozens of cable TV’s biggest brands.”

Playable Angry Birds birthday cake

Alien elements confirmed for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus

From denofgeek, You probably know the story so far. Ridley Scott's upcoming science fiction movie Prometheus, due out in the summer of 2012, was originally the long-mooted Alien prequel. But with the Alien movies not equally box office gold of late (and with Predators failing to inspire sufficient confidence, too, in its box office returns), Fox moved away from spending nine figures on a franchise sequel, and has instead gambled on a standalone film.

But it's a standalone film that will still be intrinsically linked to the Alien franchise, and more details as to just how have been revealed.

The Alien prequel was set to pick up the story of the space jockey that we see in the original movie, and that's the tale that Prometheus will be following, too. Furthermore, Sky Movies is quoting an insider (and its sources have been good on the project) as saying, "I've had further confirmation that the Space Jockey creature is definitely in Prometheus and has been built as an eight foot animatronic."

Furthermore, said insider also revealed, "I've also had it confirmed that HR Giger is working on the project but only in an advisory capacity. By the way, people are going to be in for a shock when they sit down to watch Prometheus and there's an enormous semi-human head piloting a spaceship."

In effect, it's a movie that's not a direct Alien prequel, but is set in the Alien universe, then.

The film is in pre-production now, ahead of its shoot later this year. And a June 2012 release date has been earmarked.

"a STORY to tople Star Wars, Harry Potter etc investment"

A crazy person is holding an interesting auction. Go here for the details

8 Movies That Inexplicably Got Cartoon Spin-offs

#1 Robocop

See the full list here.

Want: Silicon Ice Tray - Han Solo in Carbonite

Get yours here

Lady Gaga likes to be "outrageous"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rutger Hauer Cast as Van Helsing in Dario Argento’s ‘Dracula 3D’

From slashfilm, What a great turn of events if Hobo With a Shotgun proved to be a career resuscitation for Rutger Hauer. Though he has worked steadily for the last few years, his last really high-profile roles were in 2005, in Sin City and Batman Begins. But Hobo With a Shotgun gave him some new life at festivals, and he had a notable role in The Rite. Now the latest film to bring him into the fold is Dario Argento‘s Dracula 3D, in which the actor will reportedly play Van Helsing.

Granted, it has been years since Dario Argento made a film worth watching (maybe The Card Player in 2004) and far longer since he made a really good film. (Let’s call that Opera in 1987.) Factor in yet another take on Dracula and the fact of it being 3D, and Rutger Hauer is looking like the only good aspect so far.

But I can’t not watch a new Dario Agento film, even when I know that I’m likely to be disappointed. I would very much like to see the Dario Argento of 1977 making a film in 3D — imagine Suspiria shot in the format. As experimental as Mr. Argento was there, the results could have been fun. (Though that’s not a hint for David Gordon Green and the proposed remake.) So let’s see what the rest of the cast ends up looking like for Dracula 3D. Perhaps there will be other surprises to tantalize those wary of modern Argento.

Amazing Spider-Man Spoiler Rumors Reveal The Lizard's Battle Plan

From cinemablend, Almost everyone agrees that the big problem with Spider-Man 3, aside from that whole dance scene, was that it had too many villains. So hopefully they’re scaling things back for the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man. The movie’s villain is supposed to be the Lizard, and that seems to be a good idea. So how will he fight Spidey? Big Fanboy may have uncovered a few spoiler details. Read no further if you aren’t interested in knowing before you see it.

Go here for spoilers.

John Travolta looks...different

From thesuperficial, For years John Travolta has meticulously tried to hide his baldness, even going so far as demanding re-shoots of magazine spreads if his hair piece was the slightest bit obvious. Cut to this weekend where a surprisingly sloppy John (Also, his Internet handle.) actually stepped outside in Hawaii without a rug as the paparazzi waited in the bushes. You’d figure The Force, or however Scientology works, would’ve alerted him to their presence, so I can only assume it was a woman taking these photos.

KELLY: John, I think someone’s watching us.
JOHN: *puts fingers to his temple* … Nope, not getting anything.
KELLY: She’s standing right there, waving at us.
JOHN: All I see are palm trees.
KELLY: And now she’s picking up the baby.
JOHN: Kelly, he’s flying. Does it all the time. Jesus, what’s gotten into you?

Aliens in Jerusalem

At the end of January a UFO was spotted and taped by people in Jerusalem. A huge debate has sparked up on it's authenticity. Read the Fox news report here.

Perhaps it's just preparations for the return of JC who will be starting his world tour this May according to these guys.

Are Movies Dead?

From GQ: "With that in mind, let's look ahead to what's on the menu for this year: four adaptations of comic books. One prequel to an adaptation of a comic book. One sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a toy. One sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on an amusement-park ride. One prequel to a remake. Two sequels to cartoons. One sequel to a comedy. An adaptation of a children's book. An adaptation of a Saturday-morning cartoon. One sequel with a 4 in the title. Two sequels with a 5 in the title. One sequel that, if it were inclined to use numbers, would have to have a 7 1/2 in the title.1"

Interesting. Read the whole article here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Am Here...Now trailer looks like a new contender for worst movie ever made

I Am Here....Now (trailer) from Cinefamily on Vimeo.

From worstpreviews, Neil Breen, a Las Vegas real estate agent, likes to develop movies in his free time. Today, we have a trailer for his "I am Here.... Now," which may be one of the worst things in cinema history. Watch it below.

"This thought-provoking supernatural film is filled with surprising mystical metaphors, exciting twists....and a stunning dramatic conclusion," said Breen. "[It] challenges the human species relationships to social revolution, political revolution, animal rights, green renewable energy, religion, revelations and the human species' place in the universe."

"I am Here... Now" will actually screen at Los Angeles' Cinefamily where Breen will appear in person to answer questions.

The greatest invention ever?

The Clap-Off Bra from Randy Sarafan on Vimeo.

From geekology

Miley Cyrus looks...different

A New ‘Toy Story’ Short Will Run Before ‘The Muppets’

From slashfilm, The info comes from a brief mention in Variety, which speficially says after mentioning the short that will run with the Cars sequel, “a second will unspool in front of the upcoming “Muppets” movie.” So, two new Toy Story shorts this year, with the second being the first Pixar short to play in front of a non-Pixar production. Not bad.

This is in conjunction with the official announcement of the Cars spin-off Planes, and Disney chairman Rich Ross says that there will be other similar projects in the future. I’d love to see more Pixar shorts playing in front of other non-Pixar films, as long as the studio’s high level of quality can be maintained.

Listen to 12 Hours of François Truffaut Interviewing Alfred Hitchcock

From slashfilm, If you’re a film fan, chances are you’re an Alfred Hitchcock fan. And if you’re an Alfred Hitchcock fan, today just might be Christmas. Film Detail was poking around online when they stumbled upon almost 12 hours of audio featuring the father of the French New Wave, François Truffaut, interviewing the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock in 1962. Let’s say that again. There are 12 hours of free audio of Truffaut talking to Hitchcock about his entire life, both personal and professional. For anyone who can’t afford $120,000 for film school, we may have just found a free one.

Part 1: Childhood through to his early years in the film industry
Part 2: Mountain Eagle through to the end of the silent era
Part 3: Blackmail through to a discussion about American audiences
Part 4: Rich and Strange through to realism in films
Part 5: The 39 Steps through to plausibility in film and film critics
Part 6: Secret Agent and Sabotage
Part 7: Young and Innocent and The Lady Vanishes
Part 8: Final years in Britain through to his move to America
Part 9: Rebecca
Part 10: Discussion about Hollywood through to Notorious
Part 11: Mr and Mrs Smith through to Suspicion
Part 12: Saboteur through to Shadow of a Doubt
Part 13: Lifeboat through to Spellbound
Part 14: Notorious through to The Paradine Case
Part 15: Rope
Part 16: Rope and Under Capricorn
Part 17: Stage Fright through to Strangers on a Train
Part 18: Strangers on a Train through to I Confess
Part 19: Notorious through to a discussion about suspense
Part 20: Initial discussion about the The Birds through to Rear Window
Part 21: The Wrong Man through to Vertigo
Part 22: North by Northwest through to Psycho
Part 23: Psycho
Part 24: The Birds
Part 25: Psycho through to characterization in films

Each one of those 25 pieces of audio are just over 25 minutes long so, that’s more than enough content for you to sift through for the rest of the month. Seriously, how cool is this?

Listen to the chapters here

2nd Thor trailer makes me a bit more optimistic

Hump Day poetry slam results

So this week's pickings were slim but muscular, kind of like a hipster who secretly works out. I laughed out loud at 50p's and Catfreeek's respective limericks and nodded wisely at JSP's haiku trilogy; I have empathy and appreciation for Octopunk's struggle to tell his Williamsburg hipster tale; and like JPX, I really don't know what a hipster is, either; but I have to give the win to guest poet H-Town, for the amazing
Fixies, PBR
Only douches own a car
Can I get a ride?
To me, that nailed the hipster essence while simultaneously cracking me up every time I read it. So if H-Town is willing, she can guest-host next week's competition; if she is bashful or busy, let me know and I will name a runner-up to shoulder the responsibility next Wednesday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


No, not the odious M. Night Shyamalan movie ("My son leaves half-empty glasses of water around! And these mimes in leotards are harmed by water -- that must be why they came to Earth, a planet that's 80% water! It's a miracle that restores my faith!" ) but my own photographs of signs I like. I've been interested in typography and design all my life and I've always been intrigued by older, largely-handmade signs that embody an advanced understanding of form, color, proportion and typographical beauty (even if the signmakers are just reproducing the trends of the day).

I started assembling these pictures a while ago, Photoshopping them only so as to remove the linear perspective from the original photographs and make everything rectilinear (and to remove the surrounding material). I started doing this in black-and-white but I just re-did the whole thing in color and it's definitely good-looking that way. (I've got a bunch more that I haven't finished yet; this is very much a "work in progress.") I'd be interested in any opinions on color vs. black and white (or on anything else).

Black and white:


And oh yeah...spoiler warning on Signs. Just think: You could have had your mind blown by the incredible half-empty glasses of water that the leotard-clad mimes are susceptible to (Who would have guessed?), and now I've gone and ruined it.

Early Episodes of Siskel & Ebert Shows Now Archived Online

From slashfilm [excerpt], Over the past year and change, Roger Ebert has written a new chapter in his more than forty-year career as a major film critic. Now some of the earliest days of that career are online thanks to the Library of Congress and, which presents raw tape archives of the early episodes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s film review shows that aired for decades, starting in 1975.

I grew up watching Sneak Previews, the second incarnation of their show, and this archive isn’t just a time capsule, but a reminder of some of my first exposure to film criticism of any kind. I think the show was the first exposure to film criticism that a great many people had, and it is a reminder of a time when getting detailed info on films was a much more difficult process than turning to an IMDB app on your phone. The voices of Siskel and Ebert were enough of a cultural force that the idea of the thumbs-up rating system became universally recognized.

A better Scream 4 poster

Uncle Leo ( Len Lesser) dies at 88

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hump Day Poetry Slam: Hipsters!

Maybe, like me, you don't know exactly what hipsters are, but find them intriguing and entertaining (except when they hog the comfy chairs at your local coffee house). Maybe you love them, hate them, or are indifferent to them. Maybe you are one. Whatever your stance or status, let me know your thoughts in any type of verse you wish!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Galaxy of Terror

1981 ***1/2

That's right, it's another Horrorthon review!

As a teenager I sought out Galaxy of Terror when it first came around on cable because I had read the following fact in an issue of Playboy: a woman has sex with a giant maggot.

But this movie is so much more -- as of this viewing I've decided it's the best 80's sci-fi/horror B-movie there is. That may sound like a ridiculously narrow category of achievement, but consider...

Roger Corman produced it, and unlike the huge volumes of his work that predate the 80's you can actually see tits in this movie. The production design is by some first-time hack named James Cameron, and check out the fun faces in the cast:

Freddy Kreuger, Laura Palmer's mom, and Mr. Hand!

and Joanie! In spaaaace!

This movie hits "bad enough to be good" on a lofty zen-like level. It makes it look easy while doing it, too, drawing from any number of its sci-fi betters but actually pulling off some original stuff on the way. You will see the label "Alien clone" slapped on this flick, but it doesn't really apply. Where, for instance, does Alien hint at anything like the following?

We open with narration from this witchy lady, who states her name and space-witchy stature and talks about how she and the Planet Master, who's head glows constantly, sit around and play the "eternal cosmic game," which appears to be a tabletop Ms. Pac-Man the Planet Master boosted from a nearby bar.

"Holy FUCK when is that pizza getting here?"

Ignoring the fact that someone stuck them in an undisturbed corner of a mid-level hotel lobby, the two great beings stab at their buttons with tense determination, possibly altering the destinies of thousands of lives with each stroke.

It's hard to say. The cosmos only has four buttons

Fortunately a colonel so-and-so crashes the party and gets the plot rolling, announcing that a ship of the realm has gone missing on the mysterious planet Morganthus. Citing some ominous signifigance to that particular planet, the Planet Master orders a hand-picked rescue operation. The space witch and her narration disappear from the movie forever.

Horrorthon Public Service Announcement: Not one thing from this poster is in the movie

There follows an admirably quick introduction to our crew of players, who before you can say whoop de whoop have zipped into space and crash landed on Morganthus themselves. At this point the terror rolls up its sleeves and gets to work, and the picking-off process can get going. In this sense it is a very Alienesque movie, but as the cast members go down it's soon obvious that it isn't just one kind of critter getting its claws dirty.

Actually it becomes clear pretty quickly that the characters' own fears have something to do with the monsters they face. Knowing this in advance, during this viewing I couldn't help noticing the hand-picked crew is pretty much a bunch of unstable, whiny ninnies. Take Captain Laura Palmer's Mom for instance:

"I'll never stop hearing the skurgbloks' screams..."

She's the lone survivor of some long ago Space Viet Nam thingie, and so she masks her inner damage with a rough and tumble exterior. Except she doesn't mask diddly, as any mention of the historic battle drops her straight into haunted vet flashback mode. Which can only lead to...

"Hahaha! Die, Space Santa!"

Yep. Full-blown flashback mode, tripping balls while manning a big laser cannon. Take note: these are the kind of personnel decisions that happen when your planet is ruled by a video game addict with a glowing head.

Uh-oh, looks like Willie's "just" again.

Galaxy of Terror charms my socks off every time because it's got that Ed Wood-like gumption to just tell a story, dammit, and it's got enough skill among its cast and crew to fake it like the best. There's one monster in particular that you can tell is just the worst puppet monsta ever, but they knew enough to keep it in the shadows as much as possible.

And look at the spaceship corridor above; total ripoff of Aliens and Star Wars, but it's still so sincere in its way. (I'm think one benefit of old, crappy sci-fi flicks is, cheap or not, they still had big sets because you couldn't throw it all in front of a greenscreen.)

The result is a scrappy, not terribly bright movie that has just the right slapped-together mix of stupid and clever to be thoroughly enjoyable and occasionally kind of visionary. Sort of. Maybe.

At least it's better than being raped by a giant maggot