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."

Friday, August 6, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Fourteen (The Birthday Edition) - "House of 1,000 Corpses!"


Greetings from the grave, one and to all.

Yes today is my 338th birthday, and I'm coming to some startling conclusions.

Many friends have been leaving me messages on my Facebook wishing me a happy birthday. But they're also leaving a disturbing picture of me behind them in the wake of their kindness.

It started when one friend jokingly said, "I don't have a lot of bail money, so don't get into too much trouble!" I "lol'd" and said something semi-witty back and that was it. Then, as more friends added their greetings and wishes, a pattern started to emerge, Agent Scully: "Happy birthday you degenerate bastard!"; "Happy Birthday you dirty old bastard;" "Make tonight one for the record books" (that from my wife!); "Time to kick back the absinthe!"; "I know it will be one to remember (maybe!)"; "It's your birthday, go crazy ... oh wait, you go crazy on a daily basis!" And the topper - "Don't scare too many children this year!"

Now ... there were also some nice, polite ones, and even a "sexy bastard" greeting (except that was from a man). But those other ones ... my god, what kind of person am I?! I suddenly felt like Jim Morrison, coming to the realization that he had pushed all the boundaries - sex, drugs, rock n roll - and now felt that only his death would do. "Teenage death girls want my death not my cock!"

Oh my god, these people want me do die!

I kid, I know no one wants me to die, heh ... right?

Or is it that all these people just know me too damn well - even people I barely know?!

Damn that's just frightening.

But not as frightening as tonight's movie! (Ooh, the power of the segue!)

Not only is tonight's main selection, "House of 1,000 Corpses," one of my favorites, it is joined in a Triple Feature with "Transylvania 6-5000" and "Once Bitten," both comedies that parody the horror genre. "T6-5000" stars Jeff Goldblum and Ed Begley, Jr. as two journalists working for a tabloid that are sent to Transylvania to find the source of a tape that seems to indicate there really is a Frankenstein's Monster terrorizing the countryside. Michael Richards (Kramer of "Seinfeld" fame) plays a flunky at the hotel and he is utterly hilarious, bringing his physical schtick on years before Kramer ever made an appearance. "Once Bitten" is an early Jim Carrey vehicle that also stars Lauren Hutton as an aging vampire who needs the blood of a virgin, and Cleavon Little as her gay butler. Of course, Carrey is the virgin she goes after, but the real funny is Little, who lilts around in scarves, rollerskates through a foggy bistro playing an accordion and many other tasty visual treats.

These are two of my favorite cheesy comedies right beside one of my all-time favorite horror movies! The skinny below!

And also ... thank you to everyone for your birthday wishes! If I used your quote in this blog, it was all in humor and I thank you for the time!

House of 1,000 Corpses (2005): Directed by Rob Zombie. Starring Sid Haig, Sherry Moon Zombie, Rainn Wilson and Bill Mosley

The Skinny: It took industrial rocker Rob Zombie more than a few years to get this cult film to the silver screen, fighting a sea of suits trying to take its teeth out and smooth it into a PG-13 will less gore and violence. Thank god he didn’t buckle. “Corpses” is about a group of college students touring roadside attractions who get lost and wind up victims of the most twisted family of serial killers since “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

What’s Good: The movie is pure horror camp, just like the best of Zombie’s music. It has a bit of everything but not in a “throw it all and see what sticks” fashion. Rather, Zombie wears his influences on his sleeve and with total pride, so it’s a little bit “Hills Have Eyes,” a little bit “Massacre,” and a whole lot of Zombie. Also, he unearths a gem of an actor who once starred in 60s era cult film “Spider Baby,” by the name of Sid Haig. His Captain Spaulding clown character is both charming and vicious, and he is so teasingly used that you practically scream for more. It wouldn’t be until its sequel “The Devil’s Rejects,” when Haig really gets to chew the scenery and deliver funny line after funny line, that the character’s true personality comes through.

What’s Bad: The aforementioned gore and violence comes to mind. This is not your average horror movie, folks – it was aimed for a market of viewers who enjoy the schlock of bad 70s horror films that tried so hard they wind up being good. To that end, the violence is stylized and glorified and includes things like skinning a man and using his face as a mask to psychologically torture the dead man’s daughter. Yeah, it’s like that and that’s the way it is.

Why We like It: WE LOVE IT! See, we are the target audience here – we get the references, we get the humor and we get the goddamn point. Plus, Zombie knows when to abandon the comedic for the serious and, ultimately, the disturbing. As the movie spirals towards the jarring conclusion, the true sadistic side of the Firefly Clan comes to the fore, and it’s as disturbing as modern horror gets.

Memorable Stuff: Any scene with Cap’t Spaulding is great – he has most of the funny lines in the movie, and Haig delivers the lines with a seemingly innate sense of comedic timing. In fact, the entire cast shines, particularly Karen Black as Mother Firefly, in a nuanced performance that somehow manages to be sleazy and sexy all at once. And Bill Mosley as Otis gets to be as creepy as they come. This is one of my all-tome faves.