Monday, November 30, 2009

Genre Films on TCM (12.01.09)

Starting bright and early tomorrow (Tuesday, December 1st), Turner Classic Movies is running an interesting six-pack of suspense yarns. Check 'em out!

6:30 AM: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
"A British family gets mixed up with spies and an assassination plot while vacationing in Switzerland." [Hitchcock]

8:00 AM: Union Station (1950)
"A secretary gets caught up in the hunt for kidnappers."

9:30 AM: The Lady From Shanghai (1948)
"A romantic drifter gets caught between a corrupt tycoon and his voluptuous wife." [Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles]

11:00 AM: Fourteen Hours (1951)
"A policeman tries to talk a desperate young man off the ledge of a New York skyscraper."

1:00 PM: Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
"A distraught mother searches for her seemingly non-existent daughter, bringing her sanity into question."

3:00 PM: So Long At the Fair (1950)
"A woman searches for her missing brother in Paris despite the fact that nobody believes he exists."

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Stephen King's "The Colorado Kid" Coming to TV.

Just a quick nugget of Stephen King news.

Variety announced today that (ugh.) SyFy has picked up 13 episodes of the upcoming series Haven, a series based on King's short novel The Colorado Kid.
 "'Haven' centers on a spooky town in Maine where cursed folk live normal lives in exile. When those curses start returning, FBI agent Audrey Parker is brought in to keep those supernatural forces at bay -- while trying to unravel the mysteries of Haven."
Click here to read the whole story.



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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Screaming Skull

The Screaming Skull

Written by John Kneubuhl
Directed by Alex Nicol
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff

Eric Whitlock...John Hudson
Jenni Whitlock...Peggy Webber
Mickey...Alex Nicol
Mr. Snow...Russ Conway
Mrs. Snow...Tony Johnson

“The Screaming Skull is a motion picture that reaches its climax in shocking horror. Its impact is so terrifying that it may have an unforeseen effect. It may kill you. Therefore its producers feel they must assure free burial services to anyone who dies of fright while seeing The Screaming Skull.”

Eric Whitlock and his new wife Jenni move into the house he once shared with his deceased wife Marion. Right off the bat, he’s back in his old social circle, fraternizing with the Reverend and Mrs. Snow, and the mentally challenged gardener Mickey under his employ. Mickey’s hiding a bit of a secret, though: His undying obsession with the late Marion. Jenny herself was traumatized at a very early age, and those around her are warned not to stir up any unpleasant memories, for everybody’s sake. Everybody’s past seems a little less than Kosher, and we’re instantly reminded of how dirty pasts can haunt a sanitized present.

It’s only a brief period of time before strange things are afoot (askull?) at the Whitmore Estate, but only Jenni witnesses them. It would seem that perhaps they are only figments of her fragile mental state, but that would be a very droll explanation now, wouldn’t it?


Of the few suspects introduced, they did go with the most logical choice, which is at the same time understandable and disappointing. There were no major twists along the way, only an easy fix at the end, and for a film that offers to pay for your funeral, there were surprisingly few scares. It conjures up the old adage—I think it was either Mark Twain or Karl Marx—“Any film that opens with a disclaimer has promise, but any film that makes a promise is lying to you.”

It’s but a mediocre addition to any genre. After all, I saw the titular screaming skull damn near ten times, and I didn’t die once. A few questions to ponder, upon enjoying your traditional post-movie cigarette: Is everybody fucking crazy? What really happened to Eric’s first wife? Why was she buried beneath a tombstone shaped like an Illuminati pyramid? How exactly does a skull scream? And finally, why was a man as square as Eric behind the wheel of a car as pimp as that?

The world may never know. Discuss amongst yourselves.

View the trailer below!


1958
Not Rated
68 Minutes
Black & White
English
United States

--J/Metro

Saturday, November 28, 2009

TCM Showcase: Deals With the Devil

Starting tonight at 8:00 PM, Turner Classic Movies is playing a series of films showcasing "Deals With The Devil." Pop some popcorn, horror hipsters!

8:00 PM: The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
"A farmer sells his soul for seven years of good crops."

10:00 PM: Bedazzled (1967)
"A short-order cook makes a deal with the Devil to win a beautiful waitress."

12:00 AM: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
"A man remains young and handsome while his portrait shows the ravages of age and sin."

2:00 AM: Angel on My Shoulder (1946)
"The Devil sends a murdered gangster to Earth as a respected judge."

4:00 AM: Doctor Faustus (1967)
"A scholar sells his soul to the devil for knowledge."


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Friday, November 27, 2009

Genre Films on TCM

Late tonight/early tomorrow morning (November 27/28), Turner Classic Movies has a pair of bizarre bikesploitation films you won't want to miss.

2:00 AM: Psychomania (1973)
"When her son and his motorcycle gang are killed, a witch brings them back to life."

3:45 AM: Electra Glide in Blue (1973)
"An Arizona motorcycle cop moves to the Homicide Division to solve a hermit's murder."

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The Shining...Part Deux?

I'm sure that this is already making its way all over the blogosphere, but I've been away for a few days cannibalizing turkeys and defending myself against the horrors of Black Friday shoppers, so I just now heard about it.


Author Stephen King announced at a Toronto reading/bullshit session to promote his new novel Under the Dome--moderated by director David Cronenberg, no less--that he is kicking around the idea of penning a sequel for his classic novel The Shining. Tentatively titled Dr. Sleep (which sounds like either a Muppet or an old Poverty Row Bela Lugosi pic, I'm not sure which), it would follow the now-middle-aged Danny Torrance, currently using his powers of clairvoyance to assist him in his work as a hospice employee.

However, a short time later King told EW.com that he doesn't have any immediate plans to start work on the novel.
“It’s a great idea, and I just can’t seem to get down to it. People shouldn’t hold their breath. I know it would be cool, though. I want to write it just for the title, Dr. Sleep. I even told them [at the book signing], ‘It will probably never happen.’ But ‘probably’ isn’t ‘positively,’ so maybe.”
Well, it's a better idea than From A Buick 9.  I'm still looking for the previous 7 volumes!

--J/Metro

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Landlord (2009)

The Landlord


Written & Directed by Emil Hyde

Tyler...Derek Dziak
Amy...Michelle Courvais
Donna...Erin Myers
Rabisu...Rom Barkhordar

Lovable loser Tyler is the live-in manager of a three-unit apartment building. The location isn't all that great, and it's in constant need of repairs, but at least the rent is cheap. That's probably because Tyler isn't in this business for the money; he's in it to fulfill his end of a bargain wherein he supplies a pair of demons with room and board...and all the human flesh they can eat. But when he falls for Donna, the new tenant who is on the run from her previous life, he begins to have second thoughts about the arrangement.

As you can imagine, hellspawn don't take too kindly to being lied to.

Meanwhile, Tyler's sister Amy--a cold, cruel and somewhat crooked cop--is dealing with her own evil arrangements. She and her partner have struck up a deal with a gang of local vampires--they feed only on the criminals that she assigns to them, and never--NEVER--on children. But bloodthirst can sometimes make a man say things he doesn't really mean.

This is an independent horror comedy with a small budget but a lot of heart. While the special effects are sometimes corny, other times they are pretty impressive--especially considering the source: Demons teleport in and out of scenes, body parts are sent on a supernatural mail-chute to hell, etc. This movie isn't afraid to show you the things that most other smaller films would gleefully leave off camera.

The acting is at times uneven, and the horror is more than a bit on the light side, but the low-fi gore works reasonably well even on the occasions when the humor falls flat (which it occasionally does: some of it works, some of it doesn't.)



The real selling point of this film isn't the special effects; it isn't the acting or the humor either; It's the story, which is actually pretty original if not expertly executed, and not just a tired retread of things that the Big Boys in Hollywood have already done before. I actually enjoyed the secondary story, revolving around Amy and the vampires, even more so than Tyler's tale, as it brought a supernatural twist to a plotline that isn't often associated with horror. It reminded me vaguely of the latest season of Dexter, what with the crooked good guy in cahoots with the bloodshedding baddies.

The greatest character here, bar none, is Rabisu. With his green skin, smarmy attitude and affinity for Hawaiian shirts, he was like the Devil's own version of Bruce Campbell; What Ash would be like if he was one of the Evil Dead, perhaps. Take him, add him to the Amy story, and tone down the violence a little bit...you've got yourself a hell of television show.

Ah, a man can dream.

With a little more time, a little more money and a little more experience, the writer-director may be capable of some pretty great things.

His name is Emil Hyde, for Pete's sake! If that's not a name for horror, I don't know what is.





View the trailer below!


2009
Not Rated
98 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Read more about it at the IMDB, and visit the official webpage!

"Don't make fun of hell!"
--J/Metro


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flesh, TX (2009)

Flesh, TX


Written by Kathleen Benner and Guy Crawford
Directed by Guy Crawford

Sugar Barley...Kathleen Benner
Jonas Barley...Dale Denton
Henry...Joe Estevez
Tabitha Parker...Jada Kline
Donna Parker...Eleni C. Krimitsos

Single mother Donna Parker and her emotionally distant daughter Tabitha are on the road, and they make the grave mistake of stopping in Flesh, Texas, a backwater burg so small that it doesn't even appear on the map. Donna looks away for a moment--just one moment--but that's all that it takes. When she looks back, her little Tabitha is gone.

Donna suspects the sultry Sugar Barley, a (frankly delicious) local tramp who was lingering in the vicinity, but she has no proof. The town Sheriff doesn't prove to be much help in finding out one way or the other...but perhaps that's because, unbeknownst to Donna, he is Sugar's father. Donna's suspicions prove to be accurate, because back at the Barley Barnhouse, there's a whole fucked-up familial unit with a taste for the human form. Yum, yum!



Right off the bat, it seems pretty obvious that this is just another low-budget rendition of the all-too-common Redneck Cannibal Clan subgenre of horror: Two missionaries stop at the Barley house and are quickly disposed of; An out-of-town good ol' boy is invited over for dinner and instead becomes dinner. We've seen it all before.

Then, approximately half-way through, something unexpected happens:

It becomes a very different film. And a quite good one at that.

Flesh, TX turns out to not be all about the murder and bloodshed, but instead about family relationships and character interactions. (Hey, I'm as surprised as you are.) Although some of the characters in the film are too bizarre to be realistic--which honestly works against this film, as opposed to a film that thrives on bizarre characterization, such as Spider Baby--the love between the elder and younger Parker girls seems utterly believable, and both come across as very real people.



The surprising highlight of the film is a secondary character, the town drunkard known as Henry, played by Joe Estevez. The scenes that he appears in--with Donna Parker and, later, with Jonas Barley--are dripping with feelings and will kick you in the gut. An emotional resonance of this magnitude is a rarity in this genre, and these scenes, if nothing else, make the film.

This is a low-budget film, though, so the usual drawbacks are also painfully evident at times. Spotty acting, mediocre special effects, and its fair share of sound problems, to name a few. But when you go into these movies, you're kind of expecting that. The question is whether or not you're able to look past them. If you can't, you should probably go back to the multiplex. I think 2012 is playing a matinee.

Granted, parts of this movie are derivative of other films, from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to Wrong Turn and The Hills Have Eyes...but as far as films go, if you're going to be derivative, that's not such a bad list. If you've still got a little love for homicidal hillbillies, you could do a lot worse than this.



View the trailer below!


2009
Not Rated
85 Minutes
Color
English
United States

"What the fuck kind of doctor licks a baby's face?"
--J/Metro

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Genre Films on TCM

Late tonight/early tomorrow morning (November 23rd/24th), Turner Classic Movies is playing a triple feature of early Alfred Hitchcock films.

1:30 AM: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
"A British family gets mixed up with spies and an assassination plot while vacationing in Switzerland." (With Peter Lorre!)

3:00 AM: Blackmail (1929)
"A shopkeeper's daughter fights off blackmail after she kills a young artist who had tried to rape her."

4:30 AM: Jamaica Inn (1939)
"A young woman on the British coast stumbles onto a ring of bloodthirsty scavengers."


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Happy Birthday, Boris!



You creepy old codger you...

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Mysterious Side of Google Maps

...click to enlarge...


Stonehenge


Gigante de Atacama


Egyptian Pyramids


Cerne Abbas Giant

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Tingler (1959)

The Tingler

Written by Robb White
Directed by William Castle

Dr. Warren Chapin...Vincent Price
Isabel Chapin...Patricia Cutts
Lucy Stevens...Pamela Lincoln
David Morris...Darryl Hickman

Brooding and devoted scientist Dr. Warren Chapman is practically obsessed with his latest string of experiments, all of them dealing with the power of fear. He hypothesizes that the tingling sensation felt when afraid is the byproduct of a very real, very tangible creature that lives inside all of us. He calls it The Tingler, and it resides at the base of our spine and feeds on our terror. The only way to render the Tingler harmless is by screaming, which dissipates the energy of our terror and thus paralyzes the parasite.


Vincent Price is, of course, Price-less in his role--but when is he not? The other leads, overall, are a bit more uneven. Storywise, it could stand to move a little faster, but there are moments of gleaming beauty to be found within the direction. You won't want to miss the (supposed) first LSD trip ever portrayed on screen--it's just too bad that we only see Price reacting to what he sees, rather than being able to see it for ourselves--and the nightmare sequence was a bit of surreal genius--the blood being the only thing in color throughout the whole black-and-white film was a nice touch.

The gimmick this time around is one of Castle's most famous ones--he rigged certain seats throughout the theaters with devices that would vibrate at the right moment, in order to simulate the Tingler making lunch out out of your own frightened spine. This, coupled with the fact that the Tingler escapes into a theater toward the end of the film, was supposed to convince movie-goers that the Tingler was loose in their theater. Castle even went so far as to have the film break and show the Tingler's silhouette creeping across the projector lens; The screen even goes black at one point, which would have left the audience in complete darkness, while Price demands that the audience scream in order to save their lives.


This is William Castle gimmickry at its best, or at its worst, depending on how you look at it. It's really not very scary, and if you have to scream to save your life, you're bound to be one cold corpse by the end of this flick. It's hokey, it's ridiculous, and it's sheer unadulterated fun. On the downside, however, it relies almost entirely on the gimmick in order to work--and that gimmick really doesn't come across so well after all these years, especially when watching it in the safety of your own home. Sure, maybe being in a crowded theater with a hundred other patrons all screaming at the behest of Vincent Price's careful Stage English could be a lot of fun. But screaming by yourself while sitting on your couch? It's really just kind of sad.

Believe me...I tried it.

Probably my least-favorite of the Castle films that I've seen thus far, but that opinion might change if I saw it in a darkened revival theater with a bunch of oddball enthusiasts. Until then, if I need my fix of Castle ballyhoo, I'll be re-visiting Mr. Sardonicus or Strait-Jacket.



View the trailer below!


1959
Not Rated
82 Minutes
Black & White (touches of color)
English
United States

"Bet you in a fair fight that cat could lick this dog."
--J/Metro

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fever Night AKA Band of Satanic Outsiders (2009)

Fever Night, AKA Band of Satanic Outsiders

Written & Directed by Jordan Harris and Andrew Schrader

Elliot...Peter Tulio
Warren...Philip Marlatt
Terry...Melanie Rose Wilson
Bad People Motion Pictures claims no responsibility for any adverse or long-lasting effects due to the film you are about to see.  It is not our intention to physically harm you.  Should you slip into a coma or hypnosis, or begin to feel motion sickness or mind-body separation, please eject this videocassette immediately and consult your physician or spiritual adviser.

Elliot, Terry and Warren--a boy-girl-boy trio of weekend satanists--head over the bridge and through the woods to a place that, quote-unquote, "ain't normal." That suits them just fine, though, as they're not headed out there for the normal teenage horror movie shenanigans of rock music, marijuana cigarettes, and unprotected sex. No, they're going out there for a wee bit of Satanic Ritual.

Anton LaVey these three aren't, and so something during the ritual goes South, leaving Terry in a catatonic state. With their piece-of-shit car on the fritz and no help in sight, Elliot and Warren have no choice but to leave their unconscious lady friend unattended in the vehicle while they go out on foot in search of assistance.


What they find instead is an increasingly bizarre series of events that teach them that maybe--just maybe--the dark arts are better left to the professionals.

The budget for this film was approximately 30 thousand, and was made essentially by only two people--with one helping hand during filming--over the course of two painstaking years. Despite a low budget, a nonexistent crew, and high ambitions, Fever Night's production values are well above par for this sort of film. The leads give strong performances and deliver their witty dialogue fairly naturally, which is a rarity in low-budget horror these days.

The special effects were pretty stellar as well, and the musical backing was a tasty melange of dark cinematic scoring, creepy carnival calliope, and grimy garage rock (at times reminiscent of the great Brian Jonestown Massacre) that was right up my twisted little alley.

There were a few slow moments, and the overall pace could have been tightened up a bit with sharper editing. And to be honest, the story itself could have been stronger...but there's almost always something going on onscreen that you won't want to miss--be it blood, boobs, or Beelzebub--and, of course, a few things you'll wish you HAD missed (please see below.)


All of the above elements blended together to form a strange, LSD-tinged trip of a horror flick that I won't soon forget. Imagine the Ray Wise vehicle Dead End as filtered through Actress Apocalypse or Natural Born Killers, and you're about as close as I can get you to the reality of this film.

If you enjoy the seedier side of cinema from behind a thick purple haze,you'll probably dig this hidden trinket. Crack open a beer or spark up your favorite bong, and settle onto the couch for an hour and a half of mondo bizarro fun.



View the trailer below!


2009
Not Rated
85 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Visit the official site, befriend the film on MySpace, and read more about it at the IMDB. The filmmakers are currently seeking a distributor, so swing on by and show them some love.

"Yeah, dude. Satan's a goat. And your mom's a bitch."
--J/Metro

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Dean Koontz: Breathless



The fine fellas and Random House dropped me an e-mail today, informing me that Dean Koontz's new novel Breathless is dropping on November 24, 2009. From the website:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz delivers a thrilling novel of suspense and adventure, as the lives of strangers converge around a mystery unfolding high in the Colorado mountains—and the balance of the world begins to tilt…

In the stillness of a golden September afternoon, deep in the wilderness of the Rockies, a solitary craftsman, Grady Adams, and his magnificent Irish wolfhound Merlin step from shadow into light…and into an encounter with enchantment. That night, through the trees, under the moon, a pair of singular animals will watch Grady's isolated home, waiting to make their approach.

A few miles away, Camillia Rivers, a local veterinarian, begins to unravel the threads of a puzzle that will bring all the forces of a government in peril to her door.

At a nearby farm, long-estranged identical twins come together to begin a descent into darkness…In Las Vegas, a specialist in chaos theory probes the boundaries of the unknowable…On a Seattle golf course, two men make matter-of-fact arrangements for murder…Along a highway by the sea, a vagrant scarred by the past begins a trek toward his destiny…

In a novel that is at once wholly of our time and timeless, fearless and funny, Dean Koontz takes readers into the moment between one turn of the world and the next, across the border between knowing and mystery. It is a journey that will leave all who take it Breathless.
And, being a Koontz novel, you just know there's going to be a hyper-intelligent Golden Retriever or two.

Click here to pre-order.

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The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

The Giant Gila Monster

Written by Jay Simms
Directed by Ray Kellogg

Harris...Shug Fisher
Lisa...Lisa Simone
Chase...Don Sullivan

When two of his friends go missing, hip young hot-rodder Chase grows concerned, believing their speed demon tendencies has finally caused an accident. While investigating with the sheriff (not a very believable partnership), they find evidence of another missing person. And then another…but no sign of the victims anywhere, only their wrecked and empty cars. What on earth could be going on?


One need only to see the title to figure it out. A Giant Gila Monster is lurking in the woods, sneaking onto the highway and causing traffic accidents, then devouring the vehicle’s occupants and leaving no trace. Quite the clever creature. Evolution has done him good.


Curiously, our cool crooning mechanic hero is played as a talented, caring and responsible role model, not exploited as a violent aimless wanderer like so many other films from the era did. The special effects are pretty good, all things considered: The gila monster is an actual gila monster, super-sized by painful close-ups and miniature props. This type of drive-in fare is almost always a lot of fun, and this film is no different, increased by the presence of hep cat speedsters and a swingin’ radio DJ. How hip is the music? At its worst, the soundtrack is tame and folksy, at its best, jazzy and energetic. A real mixed bag, baby.


View the trailer below!


1959
Not Rated
74 Minutes
Black & White
English
United States

"That squirrel is just the one that could do it!"
--J/Metro

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Homicidal (1961)

Homicidal


Written by Robb White
Directed by William Castle

Emily...Jean Arless
Helga...Eugenie Leontovich
Miriam Webster...Patricia Breslin

The movie opens (following a great brief introduction by William Castle) on a cold, blond bombshell checking into the swanky Hotel Ventura under the name Miriam Webster. You know it's swanky because it costs $7.50 a night. And you know she's swanky because she bribes the bellboy a cool two grand to marry her promptly at midnight, which he promptly agrees to.

When the ceremony is over, she murders the Justice of the Peace, hops in the car, and drives away, leaving her new hubbie holding the proverbial bag. She returns home where we meet Helga, the mute old lady that she cares for that can communicate only by slamming a doorknob onto the armrest of her wheelchair.

Then we find out that this isn't Miriam Webster at all. Her real name is Emily, and the real Miriam is the half-sister of Helga's adopted son Warren. Warren, a strange-looking businessman, may or may not be Emily's husband--it depends on who you believe.

As you may be able to tell, all of these characters have a convoluted back story that's never fully explained, so it may take a while to figure out everyone's relationship to each other.

With the police investigating the murder of the Justice of the Peace, the real Miriam and her boyfriend Carl suspicious, and Helga the only one who knows what the hell is going on but unable to do anything about it, Emily continues her crazy escapades while trying to place the suspicions onto everyone else. It all has something to do with an inheritance...I think.



As noted before, the back stories and relationships can sometimes be rather confusing, as are much of the character's motivations; and there are great gaps of logic everywhere you look. But none of that really matters by the time this puppy is over, because there is a great twist ending that will really blow your precious little mind--one whose sheer authenticity makes it outshine even the great twist ending of 2009's Orphan, which I also never saw coming.

If you haven't seen Homicidal, then you're missing out on a real treat. And if you're too frightened to see the finale, don't worry. Castle gives us a "Fright Break", where we have the option to throw in the towel and run from the theater in terror.

Somehow I doubt anyone ever actually made use of that option...


View the trailer below!


1961
Unrated
87 Minutes
Black & White
English
United States

"If you do not leave this house in the next minute, I will kill you!"
--J/Metro

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Weird Keywords

Every once in a while, I like to check in on my ol' Google Analytics account and marvel at all of the information it offers. Information which, for the most part, I simply don't understand. What I do understand, however, is that some people stumble across my little blog accidentally while doing an internet search for, well...porn. Here are some of the racier keywords reported.
  • Fake Nude Actress
  • brunette wife nightvision amateur porn "2006" -gay-
  • grant dances topless with watusi dancers
  • toplessbikinifashionshow
  • Sexo Bizarro
  • Hot Inches
These keywords may not be porn related, but still, you have to wonder about some people...
  • Belly Expansion
  • miniature and dollhouse and prisoner and shrunken
  • Red Satan God Animated Gorillas
  • Zit Lover
  • "Needle Through His Cheek" Pimp
And, lest we forget, my personal favorite keyword search.
  • evil cyborgs and their dinosaur sidekicks leave the future to chase a runaway human slave to late-1990s los angeles, where the fugitive finds help in the form of prostitute-turned-nun sister ann.
I guess I really shouldn't judge these people.  After all, I'M the one with the blog that all of these keywords lead to.

Maybe my mother was right about me...
--J/Metro

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Shift by George Foy

The Shift

by George Foy

Alex Munn always wanted to be a playwright, but somewhere along the way he was coaxed into scripting television shows, most notably the crime-drama Cop Killer and the soap opera Pain in the Afternoon. With the invention of Virtix, a virtual reality program that will become the future of broadcasting, he signs onto the show Real Life, where viewers will be placed directly into the story and given the ability to alter the plot. Bored with the Hollywood mindlessness of these Real Life stories, he develops a pet project he calls Munn’s World, an interactive period piece set in 1850s New York, where the police department is actively searching for a soulless serial killer by the name of Fishman.

But when the Fishman murders find their way into the real world, Alex Munn is the only suspect, raising the question of what happens when fiction becomes too real?

It’s an unlikely combination of sci-fi, crime and historical drama that works for the most part, but the conspiratorial explanation at the ending is rather lackluster and confusing. But, as Munn says about Real Life, the story is secondary to the surroundings, and these surroundings are rich and varied. Author Foy never passes up an opportunity to poke fun at pop culture—for instance, even in the future, the Fox Network is still stealing ideas from the other major networks—and he references modern culture relentlessly, from the Ramones and the Sex Pistols to Dracula and Melrose Place. Pointing them out to yourself is a guilty pleasure and half the fun, like finding Waldo on a crowded beach.

The characters are great as well, especially Stefan Zeng the punk rock hacker, and Cosmo the Rastafarian smuggler. The excerpts from the book-within-a-book, The Smuggler’s Bible, are so interesting that I’d like to strap on some VR goggles and try to find it on Amazon. It’s an extremely grim, gritty, funny and sometimes straight-up dirty little ditty that sci-fi and pop-culture junkies alike will enjoy. But read it soon, before the story becomes out of date, as is the eventual result of all technology-laden tales.

--J/Metro

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Saw What You Did (1965)

I Saw What You Did

Written by William P. McGivern
Directed by William Castle

Libby...Andi Garrett
Tess...Sharyl Locke
Kit...Sara Lane
Steve Marak...John Ireland

Teenager Libby and her kid sister Tess are left alone overnight for the first time, and Libby invites her friend Kit over to keep them company. Living out in the country, there's not much to do after the pet goat has been put to bed (seriously!), so the girls entertain themselves with some good, wholesome crank phone calls. Oh, the days before caller ID!

These calls range in variety from taunting people for their last names (Hamburger? Ileak?) to causing wives to suspect their husbands of infidelity. Eventually it evolves into the titular prank, telling whoever answers, "I saw what you did, and I know who you are." Because everybody is guilty of something, right?

Well, when they call Steve Marak, they have no way of knowing that he is a henpecked hubby who has just murdered his wife, and the "I saw what you did" line makes him understandably nervous. The girls moon over the seductiveness of his voice (talking about kissing like kids today talk about sex: 'Would you let him kiss you? Just once, as much as he wants?'), and decide to swing on by his house to see what the murderous Mr. Marak looks like. There's a confrontation with his mistress Amy (a femme fatale Joan Crawford) that inevitably leads him right back to the girls' country home.


At the opening, there were strange moments that felt as if I were watching a sit-com, and fully expected a laugh-track to kick in at any moment. And although those moments vanished about twenty minutes into the film, when the tone drastically changed, oddly enough the soundtrack didn't, remaining inappropriately upbeat practically throughout. When Steve murders his wife, it takes place in the shower, and although it will never replace the classic Psycho scene, it's still pretty damned good.

While I Saw What You Did may seem tame by today's standard, you have to realize and appreciate that this was a different era; It just took less to shock people back then. But without these classic films, the genre as we know it wouldn't even exist, which is why it's always good to pay an occasional tribute to the past.

A great deal of fun, with even a few tense moments along the way.  Besides, it's William Freakin' Castle.  The guy could film a senior citizen golf tournament, and I'd give it a whirl.



View the trailer below!


1965
Unrated
82 Minutes
Black and White
English
United States

Uxoricide: murder of a wife by her husband
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Friday, November 13, 2009

After Dark Announces: The Final

After Dark has announced their latest acquisition for the upcoming 8 Films To Die For, entitled The Final. See below for more information.






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Happy Friday the 13th, Horror Hipsters!

Happy Friday the 13th!

...Hope you enjoy my arts & crafts project...
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--J/Metro

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