11.23.12

11.21.12

11.19.12

07.31.12

I haven’t been writing very much lately. There is an editor looking at a draft of my latest project, The League. I am hoping to get it back soon and start some rewrites. I have been feeling a bit nervous about it, but more hopeful as I research publishers and whatnot. Still, I go into a weird hibernation during these times. I should be doing some short stories or something.

Instead,  I am up at 7:30 in the morning watching Slumber Party Massacre in a small window in the corner of the screen because it is about to go off the Netflix instant cue.


Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
The DVD seems hard to get a hold of, at least, I don’t feel any need to own it. I have been interested to see it since I read Rubyfruit Jungle. Rita Mae Brown evidently wrote this as a spoof, but the studios shot it as a straight slasher film. I’d like to know more about that. I feel an academic paper coming on. So far, the main character, Trish, seems to be regularly frightened by people who are not the killer. I hope she is later scared by a cat.

Yes!!! It just happened. Cat scare. Not kidding. Right as I am writing this. It doesn’t get any better than that. Catacting- Slumber Party Massacre.

Here’s a great dialogue exchange:

Character 1- “Let’s go by and scare the girls.”
Character 2- “But we’re not invited.”

Needless to say, Rubyfruit Jungle has a little depth to it. My dream as a writer would include having a serious novel published and a grossly misinterpreted screenplay turned into a movie. I’m almost sure it wasn’t Ms. Brown’s intention, but I think it’s sorta cool.

Mr. Frost (1990)
Jeff Goldblum as the devil? Yes, it’s a stretch, but interesting. This is one of those movies that asks a lot of vague philosophical questions and never answers them.  But you can’t look too hard for answers in a pseudo-horror film where the devil gets arrested and goes in for a psychological evaluation. Goldblum has a few good moments in this. This movie never made it to DVD, but it’s worth a look unless you find Goldblum irritating. I don’t.

Starcrash (1979)
How bad does this Corman flick want to be Star Wars? Pretty badly. The special effects fail miserably in this film, but create some interesting visuals. I watched this with Joao with the sound off. It’s a good one to listen to records to.

And if you are listening to records, here are some new slabs I’ve been into:


The Barreracudas- Nocturnal Missions
Really great power pop album.


The Dicks- Kill from the Heart
Long awaited re-ish of a long out of print Dicks record out on Alternative Tentacles. The download includes the essential Hate the Police 7″.

Lightnin’ Sam Hopkins- s/t
If you think you’ve heard Lightnin’ Sam before, then here he is again. I never come across a dull album. Arhoolie have released some reasonably priced blues re-issues on record with downloads. I also got the recent Earl Hooker re release. I’ve come across a record review website I am planning to submit reviews to. I am working on a review of this one to submit.

Midnite Snaxxx
The Bobbyteens are a favorite of mine. I’m working on a review of this for Razorcake.

 

Bobbyteens- Back in the Saddle
The BT’s discography on cassette is a no brainer. Burger Records has this on sale for $6. No-brainer.

06.10.12

I sometimes realize that weeks go by and I don’t write anything here. The website was down for about a week anyway, but in the last month, I have had a few nice things happen. Number one is, after so much hassle with denied credits and correspondence classes, I finally got my degree from the University of Arizona. Now if anyone says I’m a shitty writer, just refer them to this piece of paper: undeniable proof that I am a genius.

I watched Dead and Buried (1981) this month. I don’t recall ever hearing much about this movie, but I was really into it. It made the British Video Nasties list in the 80s. It wasn’t hella gory, but I thought it was the best kind of creepy and, besides having some pretty glaring holes in the plot, fairly unique. Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) is a small town sheriff investigating a series of murders. From the beginning, you get an idea of who is doing the killing, but not why. While the film does not make use of monsters, there is a solid H.P. Lovecraft feel to the story. The movie also makes good use of camera equipment tools for terror. The things going on in the film could probably not go on for long without somebody noticing, but if you turn your logic center off it has some brutal scares. People often equate 80s horror with slasher films or cheesy low-budget fare. Overlooked are some of these films that capture an eerie tone in the vein of the better Italian horror films. You can also look for a pre-Krueger Robert Englund in the mob.

If you want to give your CD collection a boost, this book about the birth of the rock ‘n’ roll sound in the late forties and early fifties. I say CD collection because to look for vinyl records of these often obscure musicians can be an expensive task. This is a collection of stories about the tragedies and triumphs of the people who brought the sound around while Elvis was still driving a truck. Tosches has a good sense of humor and a clear reverence for the subject matter. He’s also not afraid to print the legend once in a while. I’m not the most educated musicologist, but I’m apt to pick up random albums with guys holding a saxaphone on the cover. This book takes you down the path efficiently. Really essential reading.

And for no reason, here’s a picture of a duck I saw. This is Brooklyn after all. Seeing a duck was like watching Wild Kingdom to me.

I have also finished a draft of what I hope will be my next published novel, The League. Finishing is a good feeling, but also has brought on a new level of neurosis as I prepare to send it around and be regularly rejected. But I am really happy with what I have now. Hopefully, I will find a publisher that will help me get behind it.

03.07.12

I found another cat scare in Roger Corman’s Humanoids from the Deep (1980). The movie was pretty entertaining, borrowing heavily from H.P Lovecraft stories and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). Vic Morrow is the only notable cast member. He plays a bigoted  businessman who wants a cannery opened in the town. Why was Morrow always saddled with racially questionable characters? There is something about him that is believable as the small town, angry white man. The cannery thing is really a side plot; it has little to do with the town being overrun by fish heads. The fish creatures adhere to the slasher trope that young people who get naked are doomed. However, unlike the cannery subplot, the nudity does (or tries to) have something to do with the plot. I’ll leave that as a surprise.

Corman should have adhered to Lovecraft’s concept of the fear of the unknown. These creatures had huge brains and long arms, however they didn’t act like it.

A tasteful shot from the point of view of a humanoid. You would think these people would have noticed a giant fish person standing this close, but I don’t think that is the point of this shot.

03.02.12

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I’m really excited that I got to contribute a review of a recent Gories performance for The Brooklyn Rail. They are always way awesome. Their first three albums are essential listening in my book.

The Gories in The Brooklyn Rail

02.03.12

I revisited some movies during the past weeks while I have been feeling a little run down from being sick, yet not sick enough not to go to work. Maybe this can help you over a rough patch. Here is a week’s worth of double features for better or worse:

Missing in Action (1984)/The Octagon (1980)
Chuck Norris has become a hipster punch line the past few years, but these two slabs are why he deserves to be a household name. These movies are full of slow motion hand grenade action and Ninjas. Nobody knew much about Ninjas when The Octagon was made, but everybody knew that they kick ass. That’s all you need to know to enjoy it.

State and Main (2000)/Bowfinger (1999)
Two meta-narratives before that sort of thing was all the rage. State and Main has several good one-liners. Bowfinger shows Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin can be funny when they try. I don’t like the dad thing Steve Martin moved into, but he plays a good sleezeball.

Ghost Story (1981)/An American Werewolf in London (1981)
These two movies are the first to scare me badly as a child. Looking at them now, they might not seem terrifying, but Nazi werewolves with machine guns wrecked me at a young age. Nazi werewolves with machine guns are enough of a reason to see An American Werewolf in London.

Demons (1985)/Ganja and Hess (1973)
I know you are thinking of all the better foreign horror you would rather be watching, but Ganja and Hess and Demons are really good when the cough syrup is kicking in. There are better Argento/Bava family films, but what does Demons have to offer? Only a guy chopping of heads with a sword from a motorcycle. Only a random helicopter crashing through a roof furthering the plot. It was a good double.

Ghosts of Mars (2001)/Let Me In (2010)
There are better John Carpenter movies, but even though none of the acting in this movie is very good, I like the rapport all the characters share. The flashback scenes via cheap looking models of Mars are worth the whole movie. Although it is really a flashback inside of the entire flashback that is the movie since the whole thing is a testimony. Is she testifying that someone is flashing back and explaining something to her? Doesn’t matter. Let Me In was a respectable remake of Let the Right One In. The original was better, but I like a remake that brings something to the table besides dumbing down.

Office Space (1999)/Strange Brew (1983)
Like revisiting old friends. One thing that struck me watching Strange Brew so much later in life is how cool Max von Sydow is to appear in this movie. I mean he is too cool to begin with. He did Shakespeare. He worked with Bergman. For him to recognize value in The McKenzie Brothers is mind blowing. He can’t have needed money. Max could probably walk into any bank and say: “Hello, I’m Max von Sydow and I need some cash” and they would have to give it to him, wouldn’t they? Let’s put it this way, Max was waaaaay cool BEFORE Strange Brew. It put him into another stratosphere. You wouldn’t see Klaus Kinski in Strange Brew.

Gosford Park (2001)/Apocalypse Now (1979)
Wanna napalm a Sunday afternoon? Test your endurance with a classic and a sleeper. Robert Altman turned his knack for utilizing huge casts into a clever whodunit. I like Altman anyway, but you don’t hear about this one as much. I watched Apocalypse Now Redux because I could not remember ever watching it with the cut footage reinserted. Honestly, I think it was a better movie without that stuff. Those scenes on the plantation were just too off the road. Plus in Redux, Martin Sheen gets laid twice on a river mission in Vietnam. Coppola really Lucased Apocalypse Now in my opinion.


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