Sunday, August 30, 2015
Wes Craven has lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 76. The man lived a good, long life and was already known as a horror legend before his passing. Looking back on the man's filmography, including just what all he's had his fingers in over the years, really helps in terms of fully appreciating what all Craven lent his talents to.
While claiming to have helmed some pornographic features back in his early days of filmmaking, Craven really burst onto the scene with the infamous "The Last House on the Left" in 1972. Afterwards he brought us the original "The Hills Have Eyes", as well as the underrated "Deadly Blessing" and a hysterical adaptation of "Swamp Thing". But it was in 1984 when he unleashed "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and introduced us to slasher icon Freddy Krueger that really cemented Craven as a true icon of the genre. He would follow that with "The Serpent & The Rainbow", "Shocker", "The People Under the Stairs", "New Nightmare", "Deadly Friend", "Vampire in Brooklyn", and the "Scream" franchise as a director, while serving as a producer on a number of various horror flicks including "Mind Ripper", "They", the "Wishmaster" series, and "Dracula 2000", as well as remakes of "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Last House on the Left".
A lover of classical music, Craven even ventured outside horror to helm the 1999 "Music of the Heart" starring Meryl Streep. Though I was never a fan of the "Scream" films, they have their place in horror history for re-invigorating the slasher genre in the 90s (for better or worse), which wouldn't have been possible without Craven's slick and imaginative direction. The man did more to legitimize the horror genre than anyone else from his era of filmmaking. For that, he will always be beloved.
So sadly, even though Wes Craven has passed on, he leaves behind a body of work that many of his contemporaries can barely rival. He was special as a man, and as a filmmaker, and his work remains iconic all these years later, and always will forever more.
Rest in peace Wes, you've earned it.
It's hard to believe that it's been over 15 years since "Mystery Science Theater 3000" left the airwaves. A show that somehow impossibly ran for over a decade between Comedy Central and The Sci-Fi Channel, MST3K touched a chord with viewers that enjoyed comedy, riffing, and movies in general. For some reason, even after all this time off of the air, the show still manages to resonate. Why is that exactly?
Well for starters, riffing on shitty movies never gets old. Like ever. Anyone can riff on a super shitty movie to help make the viewing experience of said shitty movie more enjoyable. That will never change, which you can tell considering MST3K leads Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett continue to riff on shit movies with Rifftrax (and in between MST3K and Rifftrax, the short lived The Film Crew).
As for MST3K itself, it's managed to stay relevant all these years later because it's just timeless. Riffing on movies is timeless in itself, but actually being legitimately funny in doing so helps make it all the more truly timeless. It helps that somehow a lot of the jokes made during specific films ("Werewolf", "Future War", "Manos: The Hands of Fate", and "The Beatniks" come to mind) somehow still manage to hold up. Don't ask me how, but they do. That in itself is a total fucking accomplishment and something that many, many other TV shows from the era fail to do.
I still watch old MST3K episodes, usually as background noise whether I'm working, reading, or masturbating. The fact that they're so readily available on physical media and online streaming just goes to show you that there's still a large demand for the show as a whole. Maybe one day Mike (or Joel) and the bots will make a true comeback. Could you imagine a new take on MST3K, with them watching newer shitfests or going back through the shitfest catalogue of yesteryear? I wish, I really, really, wish.
If you have only faded memories of MST3K, or never checked out the show at all, you missed the fuck out. Go remedy that. Right now. Thank me later...and thank YouTube and Shout! Factory too.
Friday, August 28, 2015
I'm going to tell you all something that not many people know about me.
No, it's not that I masturbate with peanut butter. This is the digital age, and because of that, you all already know about it.
No, I'm going to tell you all about the one sub-genre of horror that truly freaks me the fuck out.
It's not zombies. It's not ghosts. It's not torture. It's not even fucking clowns.
It's aliens man. Motherfucking aliens.
When I was a kid, maybe about five or six, I accidentally saw "Communion". It was a shit movie adaptation of Whitley Striber's supposedly "true" chronicle of his experiences with alien abduction. The film starred Christopher Walken as Striber, and featured the typical big-eyed and grey styled alien beings haunting him. Watching the movie now makes me wonder how this ever scared me at all, but looking back on it, that shit stuck with me.
Just the look of the beings by itself freaks me the fuck out to this very fucking day. Thinking about it now though, I realize that it just isn't their appearance that gives me the creeps, it's every fucking thing else about them. The fact they're from another world. The fact that they can get you in the middle of the night, or whenever they want because they have the technological means to do so, makes you feel way more vulnerable than any slasher villain ever could. Not to mention the fact that say, you did get abducted by aliens and they did weird stuff to your butt...no one would ever fucking believe you. Ever.
That shit is fucking scary.
I'm probably going to get laughed at by you fucks for this. "Oh this hardcore horror fanatic is scared of something so fucking stupid". Well, to that I happily say, blow me. We all have one dumb fear that creeps us the fuck out. Mine just happens to be taken away in the middle of the night, shot across the galaxy, having my cock and ass prodded, then shipped back to Earth buck naked in a cornfield and have no one believe me about it.
Then again, no one believed I once porked a pornstar way back when, but I did.
No seriously, I did. Spoiler alert: it was awesome.
Anyway, on a serious note, I'm sure you'll probably find this unbelievable too, but I do believe that we're not the only intelligent life in the universe. Granted I don't necessarily think anyone is coming to earth to jam things up random people's asses, slaughter cattle, or make crop circles, but I do believe these fuckers actually exist...and that scares the hell out of me.
That's the one thing that ties us all together: every one of us has a legitimate fear of the unknown. It's a natural feeling, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it's true. And there is nothing more unknown, and terrifying, than something inherently alien to everything you know to be true.
Also, to close here, I did totally bang a pornstar. Dead serious. Best two minutes of my life.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Very recently, footage of some amazing practical effects work done on the unnecessary 2011 prequel to "The Thing" (which for some reason was also titled..."The Thing"...huh, I guess originality is bankrupt even in creating the titles of needless prequels) surfaced on the internet. The outcry from horror fans has been deafening, mostly because this is some truly amazing effects work...and just about none of it was seen in the finished product, and replaced with thoughtless CGI effects. I've personally never seen this 2011 prequel, mainly because John Carpenter's 1982 film (which in itself is a remake of "The Thing From Another World") is fucking perfect and probably the best horror film of the 80s.
Trust me, go watch this footage.
Anyway, seeing these practical effects, as well as the CGI effects shots that replaced them, got me thinking about something that I've thought about many times in the past, and all this does is re-affirm that thought: practical effects are a dying fucking breed.
I remember going to see "The Devil's Rejects" in 2004, and realizing that the gunshot wounds were CGI. I realized this because they blatantly look totally unbelievably fake. Was it really cheaper to do this than to use traditional squibs? Or was it more time and shooting effective to do so? Probably a mixture of both. Now I'm not knocking the work that goes into making CGI shots of any kind: it's something I know I'd never be able to do...but for me, any originality or craftsmanship that would go into practical effects work gets totally lost in translation.
Recently, makeup legend Rick Baker retired from the industry, more or less citing that as CGI has become the norm, his services and the services of many of his contemporaries and others in the practical effects business, are going the way of the dinosaur. CGI does make some otherwise impossible effects become possible, that's true...but it takes away that sense of realism that practical effects could always conjure up. Remember Rob Bottin's disgusting effects in the 1982 "The Thing" that were frightening and brilliantly crafted? Or Baker's iconic werewolf transformation in "An American Werewolf in London"? We don't see things like that anymore these days, and that's a total goddamned shame.
I know I may be sounding like an angry and out of touch old man again, but in this case I feel totally justified in being so. One of the reasons the 1982 "The Thing" is revered so well is because of its iconic effects work. Virtually no one remembers anything about the 2011 prequel, and there's good reason for that. It may not be all because of the cruddy CGI effects, but at least if the film itself sucked, you'd still be able to say "those practical effects are awesome" and get some amount of enjoyment out of it in spite of itself.
There's still practical effects wizards like Greg Nicotero that pretty much run what's left of the practical effects business, but despite that, it can't help but feel like that era is rapidly closing. Some may think that's a good thing because it may be cost effective and faster, etc., but to someone like me, it's a damn shame.
Long live ingenuity, practical effects, the art and craftsmanship that went into making those old moments so damn memorable.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
So this is happening I guess.
There's a possibility that we're getting more "Exorcist"-related shit. Don't ask me why though because I can't fathom anyone actually wanting a remake or a reboot or a re-whogivesafuckingshit of "The Exorcist", but it looks like we're getting one in the form of some kind of limited TV series. Or something.
We really shouldn't be surprised in all honesty. Everything gets remade, or "rebooted", which is now the preferred term for studio execs with limited imagination that only want to spend their time counting cash instead of attempting to help come up with something creative or even push for someone to come up with creative. It's all a load of horseshit if you ask me, as I sit here on my rocking chair on my porch yelling at these fucking kids to get the fuck off of my lawn before I stare at their hot cougar mother through the peephole I drilled in their house.
Wait, where was I?
Oh yeah. Anyway, we see everything from "Robocop" to fucking "The Stepfather" get remade (sorry, REBOOTED) these days, so should be really be surprised that something as beloved and revered as "The Exorcist" is going to get plundered? I mean for fuck's sake I'm surprised that no one has tried to make a new bullshit version of "Jaws" with a CGI shark...and now that I've said that, I'm sure THAT will be in preproduction before today is out.
Maybe a serialized TV take on "The Exorcist" is a far better idea than having some rehashed bullshit take on it be thrown into theaters nationwide, considering that horror TV has had a resurgence in recent years to pretty okay effect (mostly), so this might not turn out too bad. Well, as long as it's not on prime time network TV that is. Regardless, I'm not thrilled about any of this because all it does is reaffirm the fact that the bankruptcy of original ideas isn't going away any time soon...if ever.
Nope, nope, and nope. I'll stay in my hole like the grumpy old man I am and continue staring at the cougar. If no one hears from me, don't fear, I'll be perfectly fine. Maybe.
Your mother sews socks that smell...
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Over the past few years, we've seen lots of reboots and revivals of classic properties for the sake of mining our nostalgia to scrape just a little bit more cash from us. These have ranged from all sorts of things including "Star Trek", "Robocop", "Terminator", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Total Recall", and tons more, with even more upcoming like "Star Wars", "The X Files" and more on the horizon as well. Some of them get well received in terms of critical response and box office, but most do not, and justifiably so. Some of this shit should never be touched, seriously. In fact, many often question just why go back to the well like this for these properties to begin with? Is Hollywood that bankrupt for ideas that they have to keep going back? No, not really...they just want whatever can produce a quick turnaround and has a high chance of breaking the bank, that's all. That being the case, it's just shocking that some of this shit would get modern revitalizations, some of it is the last shit you'd expect to...
...like "Twin Peaks".
The serialized TV drama that entertained and mystified audiences in the late 80s/early 90s before flying into a ratings tailspin and getting cancelled by ABC is coming back to Showtime. Filming is supposed to start sometime before the end of this year, and probably premiere sometime next year. David Lynch is returning to direct every episode, of which there were originally nine planned, but has since been expanded well into double digits. We're finally going to get some kind of closure on the cliffhanger that left us with our jaws on the floor over 25 years ago.
Yes, everything you read in the above paragraph is actually fucking happening. This is not fake, not an imaginary tale, this is all actually fucking happening. I don't know how, and I don't really care either, all I know is that this is actually fucking happening.
What a time to be alive.
For those that may be unfamiliar, "Twin Peaks", for at least most of its existence, was unlike any other show to hit network TV in its time. It certainly wouldn't work on network TV today, which is why it's a great thing that it's on Showtime this time around instead of ABC. That being said, every single serialized TV show to come out in its wake owes its existence to "Twin Peaks". There'd be no "Lost" or anything of its ilk were it not for "Twin Peaks", which mastered the art of withholding secrets, using cryptic messages, and generally frustrating the viewer. Despite all that though, somehow this show managed to be kind of masterful.
Since this announcement was made, there has been a little bit of drama to go with it. Originally announced as nine episodes, Lynch bailed on the project, which left its future in doubt. Eventually things got ironed out, and reportedly Showtime has given Lynch full creative control over the whole affair. This both mystifies and terrifies me all at once. I have a lot of love for David Lynch, but so much of his recent work borderlines between being brilliant and him fully inserting his head up his own ass. I imagine that the end result of this new take on "Twin Peaks" could probably fall somewhere in the middle.
Also since the announcement was made, I've been rewatching the show from the beginning, concluding with the "Fire Walk with Me" movie. Now the tone of the movie itself is one thing I truly hope the new series doesn't fully reflect, but that's kind of what I'm expecting. This isn't network TV. There won't have to be any soap opera elements or careful editing and cutting away or hinting at certain things like sexual violence, etc....Lynch can go balls to the wall if he truly wants to, and part of me thinks he will, which like I said above, could go either way.
No matter how it all turns out, the fact we're getting more "Twin Peaks" in the 21st century is a marvel in of itself. I know I never thought anything like this would ever happen, and I'm sure not many other people did either. But we're getting it, for better or worse, and I am seriously truly hoping that this turns out to be something truly fucking great.
Anyone else want some coffee and pie?
Saturday, August 8, 2015
We're getting a "A Nightmare on Elm Street" reboot...for the second time.
Yes that's right, after the 2010 reboot of the beloved slasher series, we're going to get ANOTHER reboot as well. Why? Was the reception to the 2010 reboot really that bad?
Well...yes, it was. Reception to that was never good to begin with...and it was never going to be. I can't speak for that film myself, because I've never ever seen it. I refused to from the minute I heard about it. While I gave new takes on "Friday the 13th" and "Halloween" a chance in the past, I refused to give one to "A Nightmare on Elm Street", and I still won't.
Now why have I given the newer takes on "Friday the 13th" and "Halloween" a chance whereas I didn't give one to the new "Elm Street"? Well there's a few reasons. For starters, the remakes/reboots/re-whogivesafuckingshit of "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" were shit (granted I actually kind of enjoyed "Friday the 13th"), but we knew they'd be shit going into it. At their hearts, they're just simple slasher fare that features an invincible killer pitted against horny teenagers. The "Elm Street" franchise has always been a lot more high concept than the rest of its slasher ilk. Freddy Kruger haunts your dreams, which means that anything is possible to happen. Even in the worst films of the "Elm Street" franchise, the deaths are super creative. With a modern day reboot produced by Michael fucking Bay, the word "creativity" just doesn't exist. That's why we knew beforehand not to even bother with it; we already knew it'd be total fucking garbage...and hey, we were right.
So because we were right, we're being punished again with ANOTHER reboot. That's right, they're not going to stop beating this dead horse until they can squeeze just a little more cash out of it and get a whole "new" franchise out of it with more sequels, prequels, then more remakes and reboots of those sequels, etc.
Come the fuck on. Those beloved slasher icons from the 70s/80s like Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Michael Myers, etc. are everlasting because when we first saw them, the films they appeared in were actually good and original and we wanted to see more of them. It was only after a while that we got sick of it all because it winded up being the same old shit, but at least most of those franchises tried to re-invigorate themselves by injecting some new blood now and then without going the remake route (at least at first).
So yeah, we're getting another "Elm Street" whether we want it or not. I think since we didn't want one the last time, what's really changed in the last five years that makes Hollywood execs think we'd want one now?
Don't give into this guys, save your money and time for something at least somewhat original. It's better for all of us that way, plus for the industry as a whole.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Ho-hum, we're getting another "Friday the 13th" movie...or remake...or reboot...or whatever you wanna call it. Just like every other slasher franchise from back in the day, "Friday the 13th" will never die...and you know what? I think that's actually a good thing...at least in the case of this franchise.
Contrary to what many in the horror community thought, I actually surprisingly enjoyed the 2009 remake/reboot of "Friday the 13th". I understand why many did not, I truly do, but for me personally it delivered the goods in everything that fans of that franchise look for: blood, plenty of boobs, smoking pot, and a very physically imposing Jason Voorhees. Like I said, it wasn't for everybody, but I enjoyed the shit out of it.
Now that brings us to this next new take on the franchise. Normally I'd be shitting all over it and screaming for it to "please die"...but in the case of "Friday the 13th", this is probably one of the absolute few franchises that I never want to die. Why? Well, quite frankly, this franchise hasn't gotten the shaft put to it as much as others of its ilk like "Halloween" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"; both of which have seen numerous sequels, remakes, reboots, prequels, and other sequels that don't count anymore. Both of those franchises are damaged so bad that any new films to come out for either are just...well, they're dead on arrival.
Now I know what you're going to say: "but we had movies with Jason going to hell and him in space and him fighting Freddy! You're a hypocrite!" To that, I would agree with you (mostly), but at least the franchise hasn't been fucked over time after time like those previously mentioned. Maybe I'm just partial because the "Friday the 13th" franchise is probably my favorite slasher series, but even the worst sequels in the series are better than any of the recent films to come out with "Halloween" and "Texas Chainsaw" attached to it.
Now, since we are getting another "fresh" take on "Friday the 13th", depending on how things with it go, maybe we'll eventually have that final nail in the coffin of the franchise hammered upon us if it gets fucked with too much. That wouldn't surprise me in the least honestly, and I'd have to be pretty naive to think that day would never come. That aside, I can still get behind another take on it...for now that is.
Just remember: smoke pot, have premarital sex, and try not to get slaughtered in the process.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
I really didn't want to touch this situation with a ten foot pole, but I guess I'm going to anyway....shit.
Anyway, apparently Hulk Hogan made some kind of racist rant...that wasn't really so much a rant as most are spinning it, but that doesn't negate the fact that the Hulkster still said some...well, calling them "questionable" is an understatement, but no matter how you look at it, it doesn't change anything. Hogan said some shit he really shouldn't have said, and that's the end of the story.
Predictably, Hogan got fired from WWE...and apparently they are working on scrubbing Hogan's history from their record books, etc.
That in itself is a bit overkill don't you think?
Now Hogan getting shit-canned is one thing, but wiping away his whole history in the business is something else entirely. He was the focal point of pro wrestling as a whole attaining heights that the business had never come close to reaching before. He turned into a multi-national, global phenomenon. I know every single kid in my generation got turned onto pro wrestling because of Hulk Hogan (mostly), and then years later got re-wrangled back into wrestling when Hogan did his legendary heel turn as leader of the nWo.
To put it lightly, pro wrestling wouldn't be close to what it is today without having Hulk Hogan as the face of the business.
Like I said, I can understand firing him over it (which is really just WWE pulling damage control and nothing else, anyone that knows anything about the business knows that Vince McMahon isn't quite ethnicity friendly), but wiping away his legacy? That's overkill. Why do you ask? Well, think about it like this:
Ultimate Warrior, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year shortly before he passed away, was a known bigot and homophobe, professing as such during his public and motivational speaking days.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage, who was just recently posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame, allegedly boned Vince's then underage daughter Stephanie, and was also known as a total control freak behind the scenes that led to many fallouts with fellow wrestlers as well as his real life ex-wife (and on-screen manager) Ms. Elizabeth.
Scott Hall, AKA Razor Ramon, who was also recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, was and is known as a notorious drug addict, alcoholic, and overall violent man that legitimately KILLED a guy decades prior.
Other guys that have huge legacies with the company and wrestling as a whole, like Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, X-Pac, and more besides, have done their fair share of scummy shit over the years that has become public knowledge, but regardless of that have good standing with the company somehow. The only wrestler whose legacy was erased by WWE was Chris Benoit, which was totally justifiable, but then again, he murdered his fucking family. Hulk Hogan said ignorant and overall stupid shit. He was punished accordingly, it should be left at that. Especially after so many other wrestlers who have worked with him over the years have come out and supported him in the wake of this, even those of color.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating Hogan's idiotic comments in the least, I just think things are getting taken a bit too far. I'm sure I'll get called out on it, which is one of the reasons I haven't said much about it since the news broke. Either way, don't pretend that the man didn't put his all into his profession, because that's almost as ignorant as the shit that spewed from his mouth that got him fired.
Oh, and if it's one thing that should get Hogan's legacy erased, I'd say it's a dead heat between the unintentionally hilarious sex tape he was a part of, and starring in that one "3 Ninjas" movie. Fucking hell.