Friday, December 24, 2010

How to tell if you're a tool: the Christmas edition

There's being a tool any other regular day of the week, but there's being a Christmas tool too. How does one tell whether or not they are a Christmas tool or not? Well folks, just take a look at the list below to get an idea about just what makes one a Christmas tool, and if you are...well, maybe it's time to switch religions...or just not give a shit. Your call either way, but now let's get on to the list...

You're a Christmas tool if:

Your electric bill jumps significantly by the time you've set up all your lights all over your house.

If you spend more than an hour decorating.

If you have a pet and you get them a Christmas-themed outfit (or any outfit for that matter) for them to wear. All the poor animal is thinking the whole time is "oh God get this shit off me, this is embarassing for both of us".

If you actually get up at 3 or 4 morning to go out shopping on Black Friday. You people drive me nuts.

If you dress up as Santa and tell chicks to sit on your lap or if they want a candy cane ('cause I would never do something like that, nope, not at all).

If you watch "It's a Wonderful Life" every year. People who've never seen this movie know it by heart, that's how ingrained it is to our culture...and try telling that guy who works at McDonalds making minimum wage for his family how wonderful of a life it is.

If you're that asshole who is all over the place at a Christmas party holding missletoe. No one wants to kiss you.

If you've ever made yourself a missletoe belt-buckle (guilty).

If you go get a tree the night before Christmas.

If you're at the strip club on Christmas eve. Take a night off, seriously.

If you post the lyrics to "12 Days of Christmas" day by day on Facebook, AKA your name is Seth Szajek.

If you really think Christmas is more important than any other holiday in any other religion. Regardless of the origins behind Christmas, it has been degraded into nothing more than a commercial, Hallmark holiday that represents the capitalist ideals of our country to the max. If you really think there's any more to it than that, go fuck yourself. Jesus never wanted an XBox...maybe.

That's all folks. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and all that other happy horseshit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Evil

The holidays can be horrific. Getting together with family and friends, some of which you may not have seen in quite some time on purpose or other, exchanging ill-thought required gifts and putting on phony smiles while greeting each other with fake hellos. Yes sir, the holidays can be quite brutal…especially with all this careless good cheer flowing around.

Anyway, those of us who may for whatever reasons wind up spending the holidays alone may find something better to do with their time…like watching a few Christmas-themed horror flicks. Yes, they do exist, and yes, some are glorious, and some are absolute trash. Whichever category the four I’m going to mention here fall into, keep in mind that the holidays themselves are really all about having fun, and these flicks listed below are the absolute definition of the term:

Director: Bob Clark
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, John Saxon

Garnering an unbelievably shitty remake in 2006, the original and best “Black Christmas” is directed by none other than the late, great Bob Clark, who would craft a holiday classic almost a decade later with “A Christmas Story”. Instead of a heartwarming and thoughtful tale like that film would be, “Black Christmas” revolves around a small group of girls in a sorority house that are terrorized and picked off by a homicidal stranger. Pre-dating John Carpenter’s classic “Halloween” by a few years, the slasher genre owes almost as much to this film as it does to Carpenter’s. And oh yeah, even after almost 40 years since its release, the original “Black Christmas” still manages to shock and deliver.

Director: David Steiman
Starring: Bill Goldberg, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Culp

Did you know that Santa Claus is actually a demon who lost a bet with an angel centuries ago and thus ended up becoming a giver of toys and happiness? Me neither, but if there was ever a premise for a Christmas-themed horror movie to grab my attention, it was this. “Santa’s Slay” stars former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg as Santa, who has now gone back to his evil ways and is wrecking bloody havoc. A glorified B-movie if there ever was one, “Santa’s Slay” is gleefully bad and revels in itself for being so. This is made even better thanks to the off-the-wall, tongue-in-cheek humor, and it makes no apologies for what it is either.

Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Starring: Lilyan Chauvin, Robert Brian Wilson, Linnea Quigley

When originally released, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” stirred up so much controversy from angry parents over its depiction of an axe-murdering loony in a Santa outfit, that all it did was help it become a slasher cult classic in the process. Another gleefully bad take on holiday horror, the film revolves around a young man who as a child witnessed the murder of his parents by a guy in a Santa outfit. This experience, plus spending the rest of his youth having his mind messed with in an orphanage overseen by a horrid Mother Superior, makes him flip his shit when he’s forced to dress up as Santa at the local toy store he works at. Subsequently going on a bloody murder spree through town, he makes his way back to the orphanage as an ultimate judge of who’s being naughty (i.e., if he catches you getting laid, expect an axe through your head). So bad it’s good, and it spawned a surprising shit-ton of unbelievably horrible sequels throughout the years too.

Director: Joe Dante
Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller

I have to include this, I just have to. Though it isn’t of the same ilk as the rest of the bloody, holiday schlock mentioned above, “Gremlins” is the pure definition of holiday horror regardless. You all know the story so I won’t bore you with re-telling it, but when I first saw this as a kid, it scared the holy living shit out of me. Gizmo is super cute for sure, but his evil offspring sure as fuck aren’t! The film is packed with so many surprisingly scary sights for a PG-rated film, and that is one of the many reasons why it is still so goddamned revered to this day as a holiday horror classic. I could watch this, and it’s even more fun sequel (which isn’t Christmas themed but who gives a shit, it’s still awesome) all fucking day long.

If you’ve never seen any of these flicks (and if you’ve never seen “Gremlins” you should crawl out from underneath the rock you’ve been living under) and you want to have some bloody, scary fun, check them all out…you’ll be happy that you did.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thor Trailer: First Impressions

I'm nerding out again, but I don't know if it's in a fit of pleasure or rage yet.

Marvel's film studio is churning out another superhero would-be epic, this time with "Thor", slated for May 2011. One of Marvel's oldest and most celebrated characters, seeing Thor get a big-screen, big-budget treatment merits almost as much surprise to me as seeing my beloved Green Lantern get the same with DC's "Green Lantern" flick slated to hit only a couple months afterward.

After this past summer's New York Comic-Con, some footage from "Thor" leaked online (and was quickly removed), of which it has been condensced here in the first official trailer for the upcoming blockbuster. Chris Hemsworth, best known for playing Captain Kirk's ill-fated father in 2009's "Star Trek" reboot, is playing the title character, the Norse God of thunder. As the trailer shows, he has his patented long blonde hair, mystic hammer, and what even seems like a great take on his costume as well.

But the one thing I can't quite get over is that this guy is playing Thor. When I picture Thor, I picture a big, hulking individual. I mean Christ on a bike, he's the fucking Thunder God!!! Pro wrestler Triple H always seemed like the flesh & blood version of Thor (tell me he doesn't), but I understand getting an actual "actor" for the role. That being said, when I look at Hemsworth, no matter how 'roided up he looks, I just don't quite see Thor. Thor should be a tall, imposing individual. Any fan of HBO's vampire schlock-fest "True Blood" knows that fan-favorite Alexander Skarsgard auditioned for the role, and was even heralded by fanboys the world-over to get the part, but Marvel went with Hemsworth instead. Maybe they have the right idea, but who knows. I said the same thing about Ryan Reynolds when he was announced to play Hal Jordan in the "Green Lantern" movie, and the jury's still out in both cases.

Then again, like I said before, back when it was announced that Heath Ledger would play the Joker in "The Dark Knight", I laughed. We all know how that turned out now don't we?

Anyway, the visions of Asgard look spectacular, Anthony Hopkins looks like a quasi-mix of badass and corny (I can't explain it, you just have to see and hear him for yourself) as Odin, and the reality that this is just another brick on the road to the geek-gasm inducing "Avengers" movie in 2012, where Thor will unite with Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, and more besides are all reason enough to be looking forward to "Thor".

Then again, I also looked forward to seeing "V For Vendetta" getting the big-screen treatment, and well...I'd rather not talk about how that turned out. And Natalie Portman was in that, and she's here playing Thor's human love interest Jane Foster...guess no word of mouth about her "getting shaved" will bring out any non-geeky, meat-head attendees this time around eh?

"Russian like mighty Thor. Has big hammer, seems like good communist" - The Russian from Garth Ennis' "The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank".

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Walking Dead: Season Review & Retrospect

WARNING: Spoilers are ahead, for both the first season of "The Walking Dead", as well as the comic from which it is based, as I attempt to predict what happens next.

The dead will rise...

...and boy how they have!

The first season of AMC's "The Walking Dead" has wrapped up, albeit it didn't take long considering that this season only consisted of six episodes. Nevertheless, for the course of this six-episode season, executive producer Frank Darabont and comic series creator Robert Kirkman have managed to craft a great adaptation of Kirkman's beloved comic series. After last night's finale however, just how faithful the show will be to the source material will remain to be seen...maybe.

Within the first six issues of the comic, Rick managed to re-unite with his family, and his old police partner Shane, along with other survivors like Andrea and Dale. While the show has retained these elements, the one thing that it hasn't done (at least not yet) is present the struggle and fatal blow-up between Rick and Shane. The first storyarc of the comic concluded with Rick's young son Carl killing Shane in defense of his father, who had gone a little looney over his affair with Rick's wife Lori coming to an abrupt end. While the show seems to be headed in that direction, I had almost figured that Shane would be wormfood by the finale, but he managed to escape the CDC with Rick and company before it erupted in flames.

On that subject, the fact that the crew went to the CDC is something that was NEVER in the comic. Kirkman himself stated that he had no idea the CDC was even based in Atlanta, even though a majority of the series takes place in Georgia and surrounding areas. Still, it was an interesting twist on the series thus far, which leads me to my next question to ponder: just what did Jenner whisper to Rick before everyone made a run for it?

My thoughts on what Jenner whispered to Rick is plain and simple, and will bring up the first major plot point of the show thus far: Lori is pregnant. In the comic, Lori revealed her pregnancy not long after Shane died, but the question abounded as to whether or not the baby was Rick's or Shane's. Considering that Jenner took blood tests from everyone upon entering the CDC, and his somewhat strage reply to Rick when he asked Jenner about the results, he more than likely told her that she's expecting. Another theory may be that Jenner saw Shane's drunken attempted assault on Lori. The building was wired and monitored, and maybe Jenner saw and/or heard the discussion between the two. Either way, I'll be wracking my head about it until next season.

Another plot point that I'm dying to see resolved is just what happened to Merle? We know he lopped off his own hand and made a run out of Atlanta, but after that is anyone's guess. There has been a lot of internet chatter that Merle is going to become the Governor. Anyone who has read the comic knows the kind of impact that the Governor had on Rick and company, and considering he's missing a hand, maybe his revenge on Rick will be lopping off his hand too, especially considering that Rick does horribly lose his hand in the comic.

The Governor, as well as the crew's time living in the shelter of the prison they discover, are two absolutely major story elements that really made the comic so incredible and unlike any other zombie/horror comic to hit the market before or since. Some of the other differences between the comic and the show include new characters like Merle and his brother Darrel, Andrea not being anywhere near as strong-willed on the show as she was in the comic (in the comic she killed her sister Amy before she ever came close to turning), and Shane comes off as way more sympathetic here than he ever did in the comic either. I know that Frank Darabont wants to make things more dramatic for the sake of TV, but if the prison AND Governor points are never touched upon, my interest in the show will seriously wane.

All that aside, this first season of "The Walking Dead" has been surprisingly impressive, and here's hoping that the best is yet to come...

...otherwise I'm going to be fucking pissed.