100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Eight - "Return of the Living Dead!"


Sleazy greetings to you one and all!

Yesterday presented an actual challenge for this quest, because we wound up going to a local fair with another couple and hanging out until 10:30. The only problem was, I hadn't watched "The Happening" yet, and was worried about missing it ... for like, three seconds. Because I told myself, "This is a stupid fucking you're doing anyway, so what's the difference? It's not like there are cameras watching you!"

Or are there?

Regardless, I was ready to just say fuck it and hang out and get drunk, when the wife pointed out that the kids were home alone and that we should attend to them eventually. So we were home before 11, and at that point, I felt the urge to carry on. So with one beer in me belly, I set out to watch "The Happening," and it was enjoyable! I laughed, I cried, I hurled insults at Marky Mark - it was awesome.

And it reminded me of one of the reasons I am doing this - to truly discover where my love for these kinds of films lie.

And today's selection is a perfect example ...

"Return of the Living Dead" was one of the first - if not THE first - zombie movie I ever saw (or remember seeing anyway - I may have caught a Romero film before that). And of course, I proceeded to tape it and watch it over and over again. So it's one of the all-time favorites in the horror genre as it exemplifies ... well, you can read all that shit below. Enjoy!

Return of the Living Dead (1985): Directed by Dan O’Bannon. Starring Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, Miguel A. Núñez Jr and Linnea Quigley.

The Skinny: This could be the first actual cult classic on the list so far. This zombie comedy follows a group of teens as they deal with hoards of undead, suddenly reanimated after one of their group helps his boss cremate another reanimated corpse from a government-sealed canister in the basement. The smoke causes a chemical rain to leak into the ground, and the dead – both fresh and years dead – begin to crawl from their graves.

What’s Good: This is the quintessential 80s zombie movie. The effects are good, the cast is perfect (even when they’re overacting), and the story spawned two sequels of very inferior quality. It even acted as a sort of social commentary, with its acid rain and secret government projects … there’s even an inferred nuclear deterrent used when the outbreak becomes too great and the government is contacted for help. What is more 80’s-paranoia-inspired madness than that? Plus this is a throwback to the era of practical effects versus CGI effects (i.e., the effects are done in-camera rather than in post production), so you get to see top-of-the-line effects done by a ragtag group of artists. The blood spurts, the brains, the horrible thing in the basement - they all exist in real time and space, not green balls on sticks.

What’s Bad: Well, that really depends on your idea of “bad.” Yes, it’s “bad” in as much that it is a low-budget 80s zombie movie – and if those five words don’t’ send a chill of excitement up your spine, then you are reading the wrong damn blog. It is also as violent as you can get, what with the constant consumption of brains. Yes, you see unlike Romero’s zombies, who just want to scrunch on your creamy, succulent guts, O’Bannon’s zombies can only cure the pain of being dead by consuming what’s in your gulliver like. Also, oh my god is there ever nudity – Scream Queen Leanna Quigley (aka “Trash”) runs around starkers to the strains of SSQ’s “Tonite We Make Love Til We Die,” a synthpop hit with lines like, “I once slept with the devil/it was really no big thrill.” Mercy.

Why We Like It: Oh we loves it, Precious. We loves it. Again, this is one of those movies that speaks right to the heart of me – it’s corny, it’s violent for the sake of violence, and – duh – it’s a zombie movie! And one of the greats in that category, I might add. And it is bolstered by a great soundtrack featuring SSQ, The Cramps (one of my all-time favorite bands!) T-Sol and Roky Erickson. And by the way, if you don’t know Roky, get to know him now – he’s badassery in the flesh.

Memorable Stuff: “BRAINS!” Followed by “MORE BRAINS!” A scene where a reanimated zombie grabs the two-way radio from the ambulance (the drive of said ambulance now being consumed on the ground) and in a gravely brain-soaked voice says, “send more paramedics” is also damn funny. For intensity, the scene where Clu Gullager drags himself into an active crematoria to avoid becoming undead (to the strains of “Burn The Flame” by Roky Erickson, just so’s we know not to take it too seriously) is a keeper. Oh, and let’s not forget Quigley strutting around naked in the cemetery, espousing bad Goth poetry as she strips naked (“Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying? You know, violently? And wonder, like, what would be the most horrible way to die?”). So dang it, what’s not to love here?

Friday, July 30, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Seven - "The Happening!"


Hey there you ravers and shavers.

Well it's a latte-less Friday for Yours Truly, which just really sucks. But what can you do? I can only beg my compassionate friends at Starbucks for so many freebies before I am exiled to the land of Dunkin Donuts. And that ain't happening on MY watch, mister or missus. That dawg won't hunt.

And enough of all that ...

Indeed it is Friday and it is also Day Seven of the 100 Days of Horror. Truth said, I am shocked I made it a week; I've wanted to give up all along, frankly. I am starting to really question this thing, because it isn't attracting any attention - not on Facebook and not on the blogsphere either. I have maybe five people following on FB and ZERO FOLLOWERS at my blogspot blog. Halfway through "30 Days of Night," I started getting a tight feeling in my guttiworks. And when I later said, "Why bother?" the wife said, "No, no, stick to it!" I was so exasperated I didn't even start in with an argument. I am very appreciative that those you who are reading and even trying to play along (all two of you ;)), but I think in my head I pictured massed legions of people bowing at my feet to sample my wisdom.

Maybe the problem is I have no wisdom to offer? Hm, yes. Let us ponder this.

Okay, no more pondering ...

Today's selection comes from M. Knight Shyamalan (yes, I spelled that from memory), his attempt at making a cheese-filled delight called "THE B-MOVIE." "The Happening" was sort of lost on audiences who wanted either blood and gore or another twist ending like "Sixth Sense" or "Unbreakable," the latter of which still gives me chills ("It was the kids! They called me Mr. Glass!").

I advise you, if you are watching along, NOT to have expectation and just be open to things like bad dialogue and wooden acting - because that's what he was aiming for.

Or so he says ... check The Skinny below and thanks again for reading!

The Happening (2007): Directed by M. Knight Shyamalan. Starring Mark Walberg, Zooey Deschannel, John Leguizamo,

The Skinny: After posing himself as the successor to Hitchcock with “The Sixth Sense,” Shyamalan started going downhill fast. But he tried a rebound effort with this modern take on the corny B-rate movies of the 50s and 60s. When a rash of mysterious and violent suicides plagues the east coast, the first inclination is that terrorists are launching an attack. The truth, however, is that Mother Nature is trying to take back control of her planet by eliminating its most virulent pest – man!

What’s Good: See? When you put it that way, it sounds half interesting! The problem was that no one knew how to market this film, so the cheese factor was lost in a sea of faces awaiting a plot twist worthy of “Unbreakable” and “Sixth Sense.” So much hype effectively ruined this mild horror/thriller that needs to be watched with tongue firmly in cheek. You’re supposed to groan and roll your eyes at the dialogue and the half-baked effects (intimidating breezes, anyone?). Roger Ebert put it best in his Chicago Sun Times review (three out of four stars): “It is no doubt too thoughtful for the summer action season, but I appreciate the quietly realistic way Shyamalan finds to tell a story about the possible death of man.”

What’s Bad: Again it’s all hype, hype, hype. If you go in expecting “The Sixth Sense,” you will be utterly disappointed. But if you understand that the director was intentionally shooting for the very cheesiness you find yourself saying, “THAT’S CHEESY” over, then you just might enjoy it. Forget that Marky Mark is kind of a douche and that Deschanel looks hypnotized half the time. And try to find the glee in watching a band of survivors run from a breeze as it glides through the grass just at their heels (it’s assumed that the plants are the cause and the wind its vector). Also, the violence is stylized and graphic and includes such scenes as teens getting two barrels of buckshot in the face for snooping on the wrong porch.

Why We Like It: I watched it initially because I love Shyamalan’s work so far (I kind of even liked the dismal “The Village,” but I cannot bring myself to watch “The Lady in the Water). However, after a second viewing I started to get what he was after, and since then I’ve come to have some affection for this understated thriller. The suicides are wild and varied – knitting needles in the neck, lying down in front of a lawnmower, and bodies dropping nonchalantly from a construction sight are just a few of the bizarre images. Once he settles into the story, however, is when you have to say to yourself, “Okay … this is SUPPOSED to suck!” The director said himself, “We're making an excellent B movie, that's our goal.” Well put, sir. Well put.

Memorable Stuff: The suicides at the beginning are inspired. Also, as previously mentioned, when the survivors run ahead of a breeze, I crack up every time. And anytime Wahlberg looks tense and disturbed, you can count me in! The shot in Jersey as a group of survivors searching for their relatives discover that the entire town of Newark has succumbed to the attack is intense – dozens of bodies hang from trees lining neighborhood boulevards. This stuff keeps me smiling in the wee small hours of the morning.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Six - "30 Days of Night!"


Ghoulish Greetings, scabknees and crabtrees!

I am actually shocked that I haven't given up on this thing so far! Seriously I am astounded at myself. I can't usually commit to something longer than five minutes, let alone 100 days. That must be why all my diets and relationships fail. Hm. Best not dwell on it.

Anyhoo, here we are - Day Six and once again, I am excited about today's selection, "30 Days of Night!" This is a vampire movie, but it ain't your granny's vampire movie. These ain't no Edward Cullens nor Draculas - they're vicious to the point of being animals and savage in their violence. This movie is bleak and can leave you feeling a little hollow inside if you're looking for a pat, dry ending where everything is resolved. Not this bastard, however - this sucker is bleak.

I hope you're all suitably entertained and I thank you all again for reading!

30 Days of Night (2007): Directed by David Slade. Starring Melissa George, Josh Hartnett and Danny Huston.

The Skinny: This graphic vampire film is actually an adaptation of a successful comic book of the same title written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith. It is the story of the true-to-life town of Barrow, Alaska as it enters an extended dark period (the titular 30 days). As a month of darkness falls on the tiny community, a pack of savage vampires emerge from the blizzard to feed unmolested by sunlight.

What’s Good: This is what I am talking about. This movie scared me in as much as the savagery of the violence disturbed me to the point that I thought I might never watch it again. But British director Danny Slade (who most recently helmed the latest film in the “Twilight” saga, 2010’s “Eclipse”) knows that the violence is only shocking when it’s A) realistic and B) when it’s necessary and not just violence for the sake of it. Blood splashes on snow as throats are ripped open, a man is tossed into a garbage shredder and a main character graphically hacks off his friend’s head with shocking realism. But never is it glorified or stylized; rather, it moves organically with the story while causing you to squirm in your seat.

What’s Bad: It is oh-so-violent, and while not packed wall to wall with blood and gore, when it happens, it happens hardcore. Also, this is not for the youngins. These ain’t no glittery, sexy, lovable Edward Cullen-esque vamps – they’re disfigured and savage, with vicious claws and jagged fangs (and, I might add, a successful translation of Templesmith’s provocative art to the silver screen). Other than that, there isn’t much else to dislike – the characters are real and believable and easy to sympathize with as their lives are destroyed by something they can barely wrap their working-class heads around. And I won’t fool you – don’t look for a happy ending here.

Why We Like It: Again, I love this movie. Hartnett and George have great chemistry as an estranged married couple pulled together again by the vamp attack, and the sacrifices they both make to save their lives will bring you to tears. And kudos to Danny Huston, as the leader of the disfigured vamps: he pours malice into his every motion and glance. When a victim begs for mercy, and Huston looks skyward for Divine Intervention before ripping thei r throat out (“God? No God.”), it chills to the bone. And the vamps themselves are so foreign – they look like literal monsters and speak a gutteral, vaguely Russian language – that from the moment you see them you know there’s not going to be an elegant dinner with a cordial count. They are here to feed, and we are the main course. And when they’re done, they’ll disappear back into the wilderness without a trace.

Memorable Stuff: There are a few lines that are gripping in context but nothing you’ll be dragging out to impress your buddies. The heart and soul of the film lie in Hartnett’s attempts to keep his family safe and as a result of his actions the ending is sad and bitter and as downbeat as a film could possibly get. It is disturbing, it is graphic and it is a brilliant addition to the world of comic book adaptations.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

100 Days of Horror - The Entire List, revised.


Attention Boils and Ghouls!

For those of you who have the home version of our game and are playing along, here is a corrected list of the entire "!00 Days of Horror" roster.

The list has been updated to include whether or not a movie is original or a remake, and what era the remake hails from. I also modified a few titles and added a few and "Videodrome" was misspelled as "Videodrone."

I removed "Transylvania 6-5000" from one date and replaced it with another title. However, "T 6-5000" is still on the list as part of a double bill on my birthday, Aug. 6. Since it's technically not a horror movie, but a parody of them, I decided to remove it, then add it back since it's one of my favorite comedies. And it's my birthday and it's special, so nyahh.

Anyway, here it is - whole and proper. Any other questions please let me know!

1. July 24: The Ring
2. July 25: Carnival of Souls
3. July 26: Carrie
4. July 27: The Grudge
5. July 28: Planet Terror
6. July 29: 30 Days of Night
7. July 30: The Happening
8. July 31: Return of the Living Dead
9. Aug. 1: Psycho (original)
10. Aug. 2: The Beast of Yucca Flats
11. Aug. 3: Bubba Ho Tep
12. Aug. 4: The Hunger
13. Aug 5: Videodrome
14. Aug 6: House of 1,000 Corpses/Transylvania 6-5000
15. Aug. 7: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original)
16. Aug. 8: Prince of Darkness
17. Aug 9: Satanic Rites of Dracula
18. Aug 10: The Fly (1980's version)
19. Aug. 11: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1970's version)
20. Aug. 12: Last Man on Earth
21. Aug. 13: Hostel
22. Aug. 14: Drag Me to Hell
23. Aug. 15: The Severed Arm
24. Aug. 16: Re-Animator
25. Aug. 17: I Bury the Living
26. Aug. 18: The Lost Boys
27. Aug. 19: Paranormal Activity
28. Aug. 20: Lady Frankenstein
29. Aug. 21: Shaun of the Dead
30. Aug. 22: Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
31. Aug. 23: The Dunwich Horror
32. Aug. 24: Dawn of the Dead (2000's remake)
33. Aug. 25: The Blood on Satan’s Claw
34. Aug. 26: Scars of Dracula
35. Aug. 27: Christine
36. Aug. 28: Scanners
37. Aug. 29: The Devil’s Rejects
38. Aug. 30: Shadow of the Vampire
39. Aug. 31: Fright Night
40. Sept. 1: Creepshow II
41. Sept. 2: Christmas Evil
42. Sept. 3: Monsters Crash the Pajama Party
43. Sept. 4: The Brain that Wouldn't Die
44. Sept. 5: Cujo
45. Sept. 6: From Dusk Til Dawn
46. Sept. 7: Taste the Blood of Dracula
47. Sept. 8: White Zombie
48. Sept. 9: The Amityville Horror (original)
49. Sept. 10: House of Wax (2000's version)
50. Sept. 11: The Mist
51. Sept: 12: Sleepaway Camp
52. Sept. 13: Killer Klowns from Outer Space
53. Sept. 14: Frogs
54. Sept. 15: The Blob (original)
55. Sept. 16: The Creature from the Black Lagoon
56. Sept. 17: Firestarter
57. Sept. 18: The House of Usher
58. Sept. 19: Bucket of Blood
59. Sept. 20: Plan 9 From Outer Space
60. Sept. 21: The Signal
61. Sept. 22: The Dead Zone
62. Sept. 23: Once Bitten
63. Sept. 24: The Shining
64. Sept. 25: Phantasm
65. Sept. 26: The Terror
66. Sept. 27: Pet Semetary
67. Sept. 28: Dracula AD, 1972
68. Sept. 29: Horror hotel
69. Sept. 30: Blacula
70. Oct. 1: Poltergeist
71. Oct. 2: Evil Dead II
72. Oct. 3: A Nightmare on Elm Street (original)
73. Oct. 4: Friday the 13th (Original)
74. Oct. 5: An American Werewolf in London
75. Oct. 6: Interview with the Vampire
76. Oct. 7: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
77. Oct. 8: The Bride of Frankenstein
78. Oct. 9: Hellraiser II
79. Oct. 10: The Blair Witch Project
80. Oct. 11: The Howling
81. Oct. 12: The Hills Have Eyes (original)
82. Oct. 13: Rosemary’s Baby
83. Oct. 14: Poltergeist II
84. Oct. 15: Dracula (original)
85. Oct. 16: Night of the Living Dead
86. Oct. 17: Creepshow
87. Oct. 18: The Omen (Original)
88. Oct. 19: The Thing (1980's version)
89. Oct. 20: Frankenstein
90. Oct. 21: Hellraiser
91. Oct. 22: The Mummy
92. Oct. 23: The Exorcist
93. Oct. 24: The Wicker Man (original)
94. Oct. 25: The Ninth Gate
95. Oct. 26: My Bloody Valentine
96. Oct. 27: The Wolfman (original)
97. Oct. 28: Halloween III: Season of the Witch
98. Oct. 29: Blair Witch II: Book of Shadows
99. Oct. 30: Halloween II (original)
100.Oct. 31: Halloween (Original & Remake)

100 Days of Horror Day Five - "Planet Terror!"


Greetings with the stickiest of the icky firmly in hand this humid Wednesday morning!

Yes, it's "Hump Day," a phrase which I loathe (then why the hell did I just use it?). I am working from home today and also taking off to get fitted for a tux at some point, because my friends thought it would be a hoot to put me in their wedding party. And of course I have put it off until the very, very, very last minute. And it has to be done today. Dammit.

And enough with the boring shite. Today's selection for the 100 Days of Horror challenge is the first one I am actually excited about - Robert Rodriguez's "Planet Terror!"

i have been dying to watch this movie for weeks but abstained because I knew it was on this list. I had to settle for its partner, the superior "Death Proof," directed by Quentin Tarantino. As far as I am concerned, this movie has just about everything I love about movies - it's funny, it's cheesy, it's well directed and well acted and it looks great. It goes to show how cool cheese can be if it's treated in a serious manner. Not every cheesy movie has to be as bad (well, so bad it;s good) as "Night of the Comet," which should probably be on the list, too ... oh well.

Planet Terror (2008): Directed by Robert Rodriquez. Starring Bruce Willis, Rose McGowan, Freddie Rodriquez, Josh Brolin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey and Marlee Shelton.

The Skinny: the first part of the two-part “Grindhouse” movies, “Planet Terror” revolves around a secret biological weapon and the havoc it unleashes on a small town. Made with the 80s cheesiness factor firmly in place, this film emerged from a project between Quentin Tarantino and Rodriguez as an attempt to recreate the 70s-era Grindhouse double bill films of their teens. It succeeds, in that they make a quality product seem shittier by leaving in the damage marks, stressing the sound quality and even including a “missing reel.” The idea was largely lost on audiences, who somehow failed to grasp the fact that they were getting two great films from two top-drawer directors for the price of one. Granted the whole affair – complete with fake trailers that are worth the price of admission alone – was almost four hours. But still … it was four hours of Rodriguez and Tarantino! Oh and in case you didn’t know: one of the trailers, “Machete,” is now a full-blown film in the “Grindhouse” tradition, hitting theaters Sept. 3! Danny Trejo! See it!

What’s Good: “Planet Terror” manages to seize that cheesy 80s John Carpenter-esque atmosphere while retaining sharp acting, snappy dialogue and a host of stock characters given new life by quality actors like Tom Savini and Michael Biehn. It also captures the murky lighting and pulp dialogue synonymous with low-budget films from time immemorial – again, totally on purpose. But by stocking his lead roles with solid actors like “Ugly Betty” regular Freddie Rodriguez (who is capable of delivering a line like “I never miss” in reference to both his shooting ability and his fertility and make it golden) and Josh Brolin, Rodriguez transforms the cheese into coolness.

What’s Bad: It is very gory, so if that is something you dislike, you’ll hate this fucker from the get-go. Plus, there IS a “missing reel” segment of the film, so you miss a good 15, 20 minutes towards the final third of the film, but again that was intentional. It pissed a lot of people off, but it was still intentional. It’s also a little long for a horror movie, but trust me – it squeezes excitement out of every second. Also, the presence of Rose McGowan is sometimes enough to turn you away, but she actually delivers in this movie with a combination of sexy/cool and one-legged machine gun disco action (I’m telling you – it’s badassery at its best).

Why we like it: We don’t like it, we luurve it! For starters, it’s Robert “From Dusk Til Dawn” Rodriguez, and he is a modern horror god. He understands that if you treat the material – no matter how bizarre or unbelievable it may be – as a serious topic, even the cheesiest of premises (like vampires living in ancient pyramids in Mexico) can blossom with new life.

Memorable Stuff: Lines, lines, lines. Tarantino cameos as a rapist army dude, and says one of the greatest things I have ever heard in a movie: “I've seen me a lot of weird shit in my day, but I ain't never seen a one-legged stripper. I seen me a stripper with one breast. And I seen me a stripper with twelve toes. I've even seen me a stripper with no brains at all, but I ain't never seen a one-legged stripper. And I've been to Morocco.” If that doesn’t please you, then you should probably be looking elsewhere for you entertainment.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Four - "The Grudge."


Greetings and welcome to my home! Enter freely of your own will and leave some of the happiness that you bring!

And enough with the "Dracula" quotes ...

Tuesday morning and I am beat. It's DEADLINE DAY for the newspaper and it ain't my best day ever. Regardless, Tuesday nights are infinitely better, and tonight will be no exception I am sure.

Except for the movie selection, that is ...

Tonight is "The Grudge," and I am not thrilled in the least. I cannot recall this movie (despite the fact that I own it) and I cannot recall how I even came to possess it. But I DO remember I didn't like it. I think. It's all below:

The Grudge (2004): Directed by Takashi Shimizu, starring Michelle Gelar, Bill Pullman, Jason Behr and William Mapother.

The skinny: Yet another remake of a better Asian film. And while I do own it, it’s been so long since I watched it that I hadda look up what the damn thing was about, and after reading it I was still lost. But here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it: “The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow. The curse gathers in the place where that person died. Those who encounter this murderous supernatural force die and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passed from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror.” Okay, if you say so …

What’s good: I have no idea. I own this movie and have only ever seen it once, so it must not have impressed on me very much. It has something to do with a curse and a house and scary Asian children. I think. And I think Buffy is in there somewhere, but she doesn’t kill one stinking vamp the whole movie, and that’s just wrong. Dammit.

What’s bad: Well, I have never seen “Ju-on,” the Asian film that spawned this flick, but from what I’ve been told it is superior in every way. But I can also say that – other than screaming Asian children – this movie failed to leave a mark on me in any way. And it even has Grace Zabriskie in it (Laura’s mom from “Twin Peaks”) and she’s one of my favorite actresses, and she can’t save this piece. I’m not even sure why I own it.

Memorable stuff: Like I said – scary Asian kids, crawling down stairs, hiding in attics and scrabbling up your leg as you lie in bed. And that’s about it. How did they squeeze two sequels out of that?

Monday, July 26, 2010

100 Days of Horror - "Carrie!"


What's quakin', shakers?

Well, this is already shaping up to be an ass day. I am behind, there is much to do and so much is up in the air at work that I am just sitting here protecting my head, waiting for it to fall.

BUT ... I am still blundering ahead with this mission - more determined than ever, in fact, especially in the face of adversity. I welcome a challenge. I really do.

So, anyway - there is no set time for today's film. I will have to squeeze it in at some point, though it's hard to say when. Monday is kind of deadline day for me at work and I also have nighttime meetings of the municipal variety. And boy do they suck.

I'll post the Last Wordz once I've completed the viewing, but here's the rest of the Low Down on "Carrie," now with an exciting new format! SQUEAL!

Thanks again for reading and playing along!

Carrie (1976): Directed by Brian DePalma, starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, William Katt and John Travolta.

The Skinny: In case you’ve been under a rock for the last 30-plus years, “Carrie” is based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name about a girl with telekinetic powers who unleashes vengeance on the kids that used and abused her. It even spawned a sequel/reboot and a semi-successful off-Broadway musical. Yes, you heard me – a musical. Rumor even has it that King himself approved, but what do I know?

What’s good: “Carrie” is one of those rarities in Hollywood – a horror film that garnered Oscar attention. Both Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek were nominated for Best Supporting and Best Lead Actress awards, respectively, and it essentially launched Spacek’s career. It was also an early springboard for Travolta’s film career, leading up to “Grease,” and of course, “Saturday Night Fever.” But the main thing about “Carrie” is the way director Brian DePalma creates an atmosphere of true suspense and horror that most modern horror films don’t come close to. We know what’s coming, we see the bucket of blood, we know it ain’t gonna come down in a good way … but getting there is one white-knuckled ride.

What’s bad: It suffers from poor lighting at times, and like most films from the 70s, there is a naïvete to the entire production, like everyone is learning about the process as they go. This can be frustrating if you better enjoy the glossed and high-dollar productions of the 80s and 90s but if you succumb to its charms, “Carrie” can transport you to when feathered hair, disco and bullying and hazing were all acceptable. Also, it is classic DePalma (who would go one to bigger fame with a string of erotic thrillers in the 80s also starring Nancy Allen by then, DePalma’s wife), and DePalma ain’t for everyone. He is dedicated to putting his stamp on his work, and “Carrie” is no exception, so split screens, jump cuts and a dramatic score are firmly in place.

Why we love it: Two words: Piper-fucking-Laurie. A movie maven from the 60s, Laurie struck gold with this role as Carrie’s overly religious and delusional mother. She gnashes her teeth, slaps her face and pulls her hair in her frustration and rapture, all semblance of self-preservation as an actor gone – a sign of a master. And her memorable line, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” in that rising, desperate pitch, is the wail of every mother struggling to maintain control of a child they feel is slowly slipping from their grasp.

Memorable stuff: Again, there is a lot to walk away with. The prom scene, the shower scene, the final showdown between mother and daughter – it’s packed with moments that have you biting your lip in antici … pation! And in between all that, you have Piper Laurie, vacillating between preening and wailing, and the monologue about Carrie’s conception just before the final showdown (“Then he took me. He took me, with the stink of filthy roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and I liked it. I liked it!”) never fails to bring me to both laughter and tears at the same time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

100 Days of Horror - A Crash Course for the Ravers.

Hey Boils and Ghouls! How is every single damn one of youins? Yeah, right, enough with the small talk.

So we're approaching Day Three of the 100 Days of Horror challenge, and already with the questions: “Why are you doing this?” “What’s the point to all this?” “Who are you and what are you doing in my bedroom?” It’s enough to put you off your food!

The answers to all of the above questions (except that last one) are simple enough, and I could have sworn I went over these in a previous post, but since it seems that most of my so-called “friends” only use the Interwebs to check their emails and harvest their crops on “Farmville,” I had better go over it again! Because I really want your feedback, even if it’s to say, “Please, for the love of god, would you stop with these farkakta posts?!”

Essentially, as a movie collector I found that a preponderance of my sizable collection (well, sizable as it pertains to me – I know you fools out there with your TERABYTES of movies, but mine is lovingly and painstakingly crafted, not downloaded in between “Warcraft” sessions) are in the horror genre, yet I only really watch those movies at certain times of the year.

This is my quest to first, see if I truly still enjoy the Horror genre, and two, see if I can really stick to such a goal. It sounds easy, really. I mean most people watch a few movies a week, if not exactly every night. But think about it – 100 days in a row, one of the same type of movie every night. That means I start in the summer and end on Halloween night. That’s a whole ‘nother season. Plus, I have to do it in the face of work, life, sex, birthdays, holidays, a planned Halloween bash and whatever else comes down the proverbial pike.

Plus, not only am I watching them I am keeping track of them from a carefully planned list and blogging about it on a daily basis. As a writer by trade, sometimes when you’ve written six news stories in two days, the last thing you wanna do is MORE writing. Well again, here is the “can I pull this off?” element that truly does make this a challenge.

And finally, it’s also an attempt to build up hype for the upcoming Halloween season. Yes, Halloween constitutes a season for some of us – this is the most important holiday of the year for me. It’s a chance to be a kid again for a night, a chance to spook up my house and my yard and my kids and everything I come across. It’s a chance to scare the bejezus out of the neighborhood kids. And it’s when my wife and I met almost 18 years ago. So, as you can see, it is the most special night of all nights. And this is my 100-day-long celebration of it and all that it encompasses. Amen.

I am at a point in my life right now where I am trying to make some serious changes to how I live and how I behave. No, really – you can stop laughing. I am seriously trying to change some things that are fundamental to my existence. And I know from previous attempts at a variety of projects that I eventually give up on … well, everything. In the face of all those other daunting challenges, I am also picking up one more – although obviously a little less important than changing one’s behavior. But the point here is not to give up, even in the face of all that other shit. Like I usually would. It’s a change. An opportunity to prove to myself – and others – that I am capable of change, and of sticking to a goal and that I can be serious about things when I want and/or need to be.

Not too serious, mind you, but serious enough.

I hope this clears up any lingering doubts, questions, inquiries and thoughts. I welcome ALL input and hope you’ll stick with me – in one way or another – throughout this journey.

Thanx again and mad mad monster love to you all!

DJ Shawny Shawn

100 Days of Horror Day Two - Carnival of Souls!


Hey peeps, what's good.

I'm just on Day Two of this thing and I've already begun to question its logic. I'm an a bad mood, don't feel like even talking to people, let alone focusing my attention on ... well, anything. But, I am trying to prove something to myself, dammit. So I am doing it, the blogging, the watching, and the potential socializing.

Part of the reason is that DO enjoy today's movie, unlike yesterday's turd, "The Ring." "Carnival of Souls" is a cool film and one I find I could watch at just about any time. Here's the skinny below:

Carnival of Souls (1962): Directed by Herk Harvey. Starring Candace Hilligoss and Sydney Berger.

What’s Good: An independent horror classic, this is one of those films that every aspiring filmmaker should see. Because like the films of famed B-Movie director Ed Wood, there is a love of moviemaking at the heart of this odd piece of cinema. Candace Hilligoss stars as a professional church organist who moves to a new town and a new life, only to be plagued by a series of disturbing events. She finds herself pulled to a strange abandoned carnival on the outskirts of town where the souls of the dead twirl in endless dance.

What’s bad: A shoestring budget and no major studio support, making it an independent film in every aspect. So you also lack for what counts as hard hitting talent, although Hilligoss is enchanting in a walleyed kind of way, and Berger is a hark back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, where every male lead seemed to start every line of dialogue with, “Say …” and ended it with “See?”

Why we like it: What’s not to like? Well, okay it’s an acquired taste, like fine caviar, and just about as fishy at times. But Sydney Berger is very comical and while you can detect the ending about halfway through if you pay close enough attention, it is still a shocker when it hits and has been repeated in many films since.

Memorable stuff: Plenty! The so-called “Dance of the Dead” at the titular carnival is bizarre and the scene where Hilligoss trances out and starts in with the Richard Wright organ solos is also great. And while there are no real lines to recall, Sydney Berger is great to watch and most of the memorable dialogue is between Berger and Hilligoss as he tries to logic his way into her drawers. Oh and listen – avoid the late-90s remake at ALL costs. Despite the fact that Wes Craven’s names is attached to the production, it is awful to the point of being almost unwatchable.

Thanx for reading, fiends and lowlifes!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

100 Days of Horror begins today with "The Ring!"


Hey there my Groovy Ghoulies!

Yes it is here at last - the beginning of the 100 Days of Horror challenge! We begin tonight with 2002's "The Ring." We will be watching around 8 or so, so if you're playing along at home or are planning to come by, schedule appropriately.

The Ring (2002): Directed by Gore Verbinski. Starring Naomi Watts, Brian Cox, David Dorfman, and Martin Henderson.

What’s good: One of a flood of early-2000 remakes of Asian films that are ultimately inferior to the originals, “The Ring” actually has a few stand out moments that wind up disturbing more than horrifying. The opening scenes between the teenaged girls is an exception to that rule, however, as well as the action happening on the supposedly cursed tape that causes all the problems. The titular “Ring” is the phone call you receive seven days after viewing the tape – the one that seals your grisly fate. And of course, the image of Samara crawling out the television is always as creepy as hell.

What’s bad: Plenty. First, the film suffers from its PG-13 rating, that forces director Gore Verbinski to hold back both the gore and the horror factors. Instead, he relies on smash cuts and a jolting soundtrack to solicit the thrills. Second, the film just isn’t scary, really – it’s more a disturbing drama than a true horror movie, but since it is a pared-down version of a much scarier Japanese movie marketed to teens and tweens, the horror tag sells more tickets than the drama tag.

Why we like it: We don’t actually. But, the tape and the dead girl and the opening scene are all great. And Naomi Watts is always a pleasure. But that’s about it, really.

Memorable junk: No lines stand out, really – the tag lines were “Before you die, you see … THE RING!” GASP! The horror! And some of the things the little girl says that appear innocent at first wind up being damn disturbing (Dr. Scott: “You don't want to hurt anyone.” Samara: “But I do, and I'm sorry. It won't stop.”). Other than that, it’s all about the creepiness of the video tape itself. And damn is it ever creepy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

100 Days of Horror - The Entire List!

Hey Boils and ghouls!

Here as promised is the entire list, from now until Oct. 31, all 100 movies!

I am posting the list because some of you have actually expressed some interest in playing along - either at home or here at Maison Weigel! And that thrills me to the bone! So here is the whole list, so those Netflix or whatever users out there can schedule appropriately.

And of course, if you're local and a friend, you're more than welcome to stop by and watch them in person!

I love you guys and thanks for reading!

1. July 24: The Ring
2. July 25: Carnival of Souls
3. July 26: Carrie
4. July 27: The Grudge
5. July 28: Planet Terror
6. July 29: 30 Days of Night
7. July 30: The Happening
8. July 31: Return of the Living Dead
9. Aug. 1: Psycho (original)
10. Aug. 2: The Beast of Yucca Flats
11. Aug. 3: Bubba Ho Tep
12. Aug. 4: The Hunger
13. Aug 5: Videodrome
14. Aug 6: House of 1,000 Corpses/Transylvania 6-5000
15. Aug. 7: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original)
16. Aug. 8: Prince of Darkness
17. Aug 9: Satanic Rites of Dracula
18. Aug 10: The Fly (1980's version)
19. Aug. 11: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1970's version)
20. Aug. 12: Last Man on Earth
21. Aug. 13: Hostel
22. Aug. 14: Drag Me to Hell
23. Aug. 15: The Severed Arm
24. Aug. 16: Re-Animator
25. Aug. 17: I Bury the Living
26. Aug. 18: The Lost Boys
27. Aug. 19: Paranormal Activity
28. Aug. 20: Lady Frankenstein
29. Aug. 21: Shaun of the Dead
30. Aug. 22: Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
31. Aug. 23: The Dunwich Horror
32. Aug. 24: Dawn of the Dead
33. Aug. 25: The Blood on Satan’s Claw
34. Aug. 26: Scars of Dracula
35. Aug. 27: Christine
36. Aug. 28: Scanners
37. Aug. 29: The Devil’s Rejects
38. Aug. 30: Shadow of the Vampire
39. Aug. 31: Fright Night
40. Sept. 1: Creepshow II
41. Sept. 2: Christmas Evil
42. Sept. 3: Monsters Crash the Pajama Party
43. Sept. 4: The Brain that Wouldn't Die
44. Sept. 5: Cujo
45. Sept. 6: From Dusk Til Dawn
46. Sept. 7: Taste the Blood of Dracula
47. Sept. 8: White Zombie
48. Sept. 9: The Amityville Horror
49. Sept. 10: House of Wax (2000's version)
50. Sept. 11: The Mist
51. Sept: 12: Sleepaway Camp
52. Sept. 13: Killer Klowns from Outer Space
53. Sept. 14: Frogs
54. Sept. 15: The Blob (original)
55. Sept. 16: The Creature from the Black Lagoon
56. Sept. 17: Firestarter
57. Sept. 18: The House of Usher
58. Sept. 19: Bucket of Blood
59. Sept. 20: Plan 9 From Outer Space
60. Sept. 21: The Signal
61. Sept. 22: The Dead Zone
62. Sept. 23: Once Bitten
63. Sept. 24: The Shining
64. Sept. 25: Phantasm
65. Sept. 26: The Terror
66. Sept. 27: Pet Semetary
67. Sept. 28: Dracula AD, 1972
68. Sept. 29: Horror hotel
69. Sept. 30: Blacula
70. Oct. 1: Poltergeist
71. Oct. 2: Evil Dead II
72. Oct. 3: A Nightmare on Elm Street (original)
73. Oct. 4: Friday the 13th (Original)
74. Oct. 5: An American Werewolf in London
75. Oct. 6: Interview with the Vampire
76. Oct. 7: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
77. Oct. 8: The Bride of Frankenstein
78. Oct. 9: Hellraiser II
79. Oct. 10: The Blair Witch Project
80. Oct. 11: The Howling
81. Oct. 12: The Hills Have Eyes (original)
82. Oct. 13: Rosemary’s Baby
83. Oct. 14: Poltergeist II
84. Oct. 15: Dracula
85. Oct. 16: Night of the Living Dead
86. Oct. 17: Creepshow
87. Oct. 18: The Omen (Original)
88. Oct. 19: The Thing (1980's version)
89. Oct. 20: Frankenstein
90. Oct. 21: Hellraiser
91. Oct. 22: The Mummy
92. Oct. 23: The Exorcist
93. Oct. 24: The Wicker Man (original)
94. Oct. 25: The Ninth Gate
95. Oct. 26: My Bloody Valentine
96. Oct. 27: The Wolfman (original)
97. Oct. 28: Halloween III: Season of the Witch
98. Oct. 29: Blair Witch II: Book of Shadows
99. Oct. 30: Halloween II
100.Oct. 31: Halloween (Original & Remake)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

100 Days of Horror Begins in just Three Days!

It's been months in the planning, but somehow it's here at last - July 24 and my 100 days of insanity!

This Saturday, I will kick off the 100 Days of Horror challenge with "The Ring," the 2002 remake of the Japanese film of the same name ("Ringu") from 1998.

I am working from a carefully assembled list compiled by a panel of experts in the horror genre field (i.e., my kids and best friend, Mr. Andress-Klimaxxx). However, we are open to suggestions, since many of these are pulled from my massive personal collection. So if you see something on the list that should be and isn't, please feel free to suggest one!

Here is a rundown of the first week's worth of movies:

1. July 24: The Ring
2. July 25: Carnival of Souls
3. July 26: Carrie
4. July 27: The Grudge
5. July 28: Planet Terror
6. July 29: 30 Days of Night
7. July 30: The Happening

Except for "Carrie," most of these movies are obviously more recent. In fact, I ain't sure how "Carrie," which is one of my favorites, made it so early as October is "Ringer Month." That means, it's packed every day with movies that I desperately love - and "Carrie" should be among them!

Anyway, please play along online, at home, or feel free to contact me for a personal viewing at home!

Thanks again for reading and I hope to keep you suitably entertained!

~DJ Shawny Shawn

www.unstoppablemoviemonster.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 8, 2010

100 Days of Horror!

Welcome all you Groovie Ghoulies and Hep Wildcats and thank you for checking me out!

Allow me a brief introduction, you would please. My name is Shawn and I am a writer for The Kennett Paper in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. I am also an avid movie watcher and fan, who often dreams of one day selling that Great American Screenplay and moving to that fabled Deluxe Apartment in the Sky.

As well as loving just about all kinds of movies, I am also a rabid Halloween celebrator. Having met my wife on Halloween nearly 18 years ago, and with some of my clearest childhood memories stemming from that Most Spookiest of Days, Halloween is like Christmas, Easter and my birthday all rolled into one. With rubber latex masks.

Among the literally thousand or so movies that I own in one format or another are roughly 200 (give or take) so-called horror movies, ranging in quality to Oscar-nominated ("Carrie," "Poltergeist") to ones so bad and esoteric most people have never even heard of them ("Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy," "The Beast of Yucca Flats").

Because you see, along with the love my wife and I share for all things Halloweeny, we also share a deep affection for bizarre and downright disturbing cinema. Whether it's a schlock-fest spook romp from 1966 (Like the infamous "Spider Baby"), a highly stylized classic 70s-era Hammer film ("The Satanic Rites of Dracula") or anything by John Carpenter, we've more than likely seen it more than a few times and laughed at its awfulness. Like our own personal version of "Mystery Science Theatre 3000."

Not being a rabid horror fan (I usually only watch them now to gear up for the Halloween season, squeezing in my favorites as much as I can starting in late-September on up to October 31), for someone who isn't crazy for the genre, I sure do have a lot of horror movies.

To that end, I recently found myself wondering, "Just how much do you like the horror stuff, buddy boy?" Because the blood and gore aspect that has in the last 40 years become synonymous with Halloween is not what attracts me to the holiday in the first place. True, as a teenager I was of course obsessed with the Slasher classics like "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Friday the 13th" and of course, the granddaddy of them all, "Halloween." But as I grew older and developed a more mature interpretation of what "horror" truly is, I fell in love with classics like "Rosemary's Baby," "The Omen," and all of the Universal monsters like Frankenstein, The Mummy and Dracula. And let's not forget Hitchcock, Raimi and Burton (Tim, not Richard).

So now we come to the challenge. Starting on July 24 with "The Ring," I will watch 100 horror movies for 100 days in a row, ending on - what else - Halloween with a double bill of both the original "Halloween" and the 2007 remake directed by Rob Zombie.

The rules I set for myself are simple:
1. I must watch the appointed movie on the appointed day, but at no particular time of day provided it occurs within 24 hours after midnight of the day in question.
2. Movies can be substituted if a viable suggestion is posed with enough time for me to find the film in time to watch it. If that doesn't happen, I must watch the original slotted film.
3. If, due to emergency or some other unforeseen circumstance, I CANNOT watch a movie on any given day, I must watch it the next day, along with the following day's slotted selection. More than one day/one movie back-up is unacceptable and is a violation that results in disqualification.

And that's it. All of the selections so far (and yes, they've all been picked already - my family and I did it way back in May) come from my collection, mostly out of convenience. And the reward for success? Well, nothing really ... unless everyone wants to pitch in and buy me something awful pretty?!

No? I guessed not, anyway.

No, the reward is seeing if I am even capable of pulling off something that requires so much effort. And yes, it does take effort - between July 24 and Oct. 31, I have several birthdays (including my own), many upcoming work assignments (especially in September and October, as usual every year) and god alone knows what else will come along. It takes a lot of coordinating to squeeze in one move every day, and to also blog about it and find and provide background info on each one, because some of these buggers are a might obscure.

Like I said, each daily blog will give the background info on the daily selection, as well as my comments on why I love or hate it and other gems like favorite scenes and favorite lines. And please be aware that most of these films are Rated "R" and many include copious amounts of sex, drugs, rock and/or roll, and of course bloody mayhem, bad language and endless scenes of all-American gut-wrenching violence.

In other words: not for the faint of heart. Keep grandma and the kiddies in the kitchen with a copy of "Little Shop of Horrors" or "Aladdin."

The fun part in all of this - for me, anyway - is if you all play along with me. If you can, watch the same movies (I'll publish the list very soon), or if you've seen them already tell me what you think. And if you know me personally, well then feel free to come over and watch the suckers with me whenever possible!

I will post the entire list soon and will also post weekly updates on Sunday morning.

Again, thanks for checking me out! I look forward to your comments, recommendations, insults, personal character attacks and death threats!

Yours in Horror,

DJ Shawny Shawn