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."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Forty-Four - "Cujo/Maximum Overdrive!"



Well, it was bound to happen - I missed a day yesterday. Missed a movie and a blog post, my first in forty-two consecutive days. I didn't even miss it when I was sick or on vacation. And what caused this first major misstep in my mission?

A hangover.

That and I couldn't locate yesterday's scheduled movie, "The Brain that Wouldn't Die." Which sucks, because it's a great crappy B-Movie and I was excited to talk about it. If I locate the DVD, I will put it back on the list for a Double Feature somewhere.

Also, today is a scheduled Double Feature on its own - and this one is a Stephen King double bill! So since I am watching two movies today anyway, we'll go ahead and say that still counts as 100, m'kay? Good.

I also wanted to add that since Friday was a payday and since the damn retail stores are already moving the Back To School section out and are moving the Halloween section in, I could not resist buying just a FEW things for the upcoming season. So for $19 we got a great resin skull that is very realistic, one of those ripped up muslin rags, some great autumn-theme scented candles and a bag of creepy insects to stuff into the skull's open mouth, of course. I had to, it's like crack - that shit was CALLING ME, POOKIE!

Invites go out in a week or so to the Halloween party! Hope you all can attend!

Seek ye below The Skinny 'pon today's twofer - "Cujo" and "Maximum Overdrive" - and read ye Sai King's books, aye, and make 'im richer than he already is! So until we reach the clearing at the end of the path, I thankee sai for readin', so I do. And long days and pleasant nights to ye.

(That was my "Gunslinger" talk! How was it?)

Cujo (1983): Directed by Lewis Teague. Starring Dee Wallace Stone, Danny Pinaturo, Daniel Hugh-Kelly and Ed Lauter.

The Skinny: One of the seemingly endless Stephen King adaptations that came out in the 1980s, the titular "Cujo" is a big sloppy St. Bernard that become infected with rabies and traps a mother in her son in a car. As they both start to succumb to dehydration and the rigors of the attack, the mom starts to plan desperate measures to save their lives.


What's Good: As far as King adaptation's go, this one was sort of meh. I mean, most of the film takes place in the confined space of the car, making it a very claustrophobic shoot. Also, with a big dog as its antagonist, this is pretty much an animal movie, and I ain't a fan of those. But it does have its moments - Dee Wallace Stone is almost always solid, and for a young kid, Danny Pinaturo gives it a fair go. There isn't much in the way of action and the horror aspect of it is one of mortal terror, as the dog somehow manages to kill every person who comes to the farm - including an armed sheriff. This was director Lewis Teague's first King adaptation - he would also go on to helm "Cat's Eye," which is only somewhat slightly better than this one.

What's Bad: It's hard for me to sustain interest in a film where the bad guy is a dog, even a rabid one. The book also had a much different ending, which would have been more effective for the film - Pinaturo's character, Tad, dies. In the film, she's trying to resuscitate her kid when the Terminator - I mean Cujo - comes through the window for one more assault. This is after being beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed with the handle from the car window. So you get my drift with the "unstoppable monster" premise, yes? I don't know, it's just okay. I mean, it's no "The Dead Zone," another David Cronenberg movie that is probably in the top three King movies.

Why We Like It: I guess I don't really, but as a massive King fan I have to have it for the collection. Again, it has a few of those funny King moments that aren't supposed to be funny but still are. But like I said ... it's a dog, for god's sake. And while I do not advocate animal cruelty in any way, I would have just kicked the living shit out of that bastard dog and got the hell out of there! But instead of focusing on the physical and emotional weakness of the main character - who has let her marriage fall apart by indulging in an affair - as they do in the book, Teague instead focuses on the action (almost non-existent) and the horror (also missing in spades) and fails at both.

Memorable Stuff: The best part is when they're first trapped in the car and Cujo just keeps ramming the sides of the car with his head. It's reminiscent of a similar scene in "Jaws" and it's also kind of funny watching this stupid dog batter itself to bits and still survive - more of the unstoppable force theme that runs through many of King's works, including "Christine."

Maximum Overdrive (1986): Directed by Stephen King. Starring Emilio Estevez, PatHingle, Yeardley Smith, Laura Harrington, Frankie Faison and Leon Rippy.

The Skinny: Adapted from King's short story "Trucks," it's man versus machine as the tail of a mysterious comet makes all machines - from soda dispensers to electric kitchen knives to automobiles - come to life and attack!

What's Good: Hm, loaded question. The truth is, this is probably the worst King movie (except maybe for "Thinner," but more on that at another time), but at the same time it's kind ... well, good. As a first-time director, King obviously doesn't know what he's doing. And he was also reportedly "coked to the gills" during the filming. So, there are certainly moments where the action is lacking and the dialogue boring and stilted, but there are also some classic 80s-Movie moments in it with rocket launchers and big explosions and lots of hard words said by hard men. That said, there isn't much "horror" going on - the scary stuff is reserved for the machine attacks, augmented by an annoying soundtrack that sounds like the "Psycho" violins done with a heavy metal flavor.

What's Bad: King just doesn't know how to make with the movie magic. He's said he would like to direct again, but maybe he should stick to the typewriter end of things and leave the camerawork to a better man. Like I said, there isn't much "horror" to go on here, and the violence is almost cartoonish - which is actually typical of 80s horror flicks, where the Slasher Film ruled the roost.

Why We Like It: I don't know why but I kind of do. Maybe for its very cheesiness, which is a major factor in my decisions. Also I like Emilio Estevez - who manages to be good even when he's just plain awful. And the action isn't too bad, even if it is typical super-macho 80s style violence with rocket launchers and machine guns. But there's something watchable about this movie that I can't quite explain. I guess it's just plain funny to watch - I mean, it is King and like old Emilio, he's usually pretty good even when he sucks.

Memorable Stuff: The best scene is when the people trapped at the diner are forced to stand outside all day and "feed" the now-animated semi trucks by pumping gas all day. It's typical King - funny and scary all at once. Also, when the guy gets eaten by the lawn mower is pretty off the hook. And let's not forget King's cameo at the beginning as a man insulted by an ATM ("Honey! This machine just called me an asshole!")