Archive for September, 2010

Cloud Creatures: The New Air-Traffic Control

Posted in Giant Monsters, Science Fiction with tags , on September 22, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

AltitudeThe last thing you want to see when you’re in a small plane caught in a storm is giant black tentacles coming out of the clouds. That, or Jesus. Or Jesus with tentacles. Either, way, you’re screwed. And the airborn teens in the new horror thriller Altitude, which releases October 26, 2010, are beyond screwed.

Taking off in a plane that seats less than a hover-cab, they aren’t in the air 10 minutes when a mechanical failure forces the rookie-piloted aircraft into an upper atmosphere designed for spaceships and/or Mothra. Parachutes or an escape pod might’ve been a good Plan B, but everyone’s gooning out over the fact that they’re flying in a dense mist (or “fog”) and that the ground below is gone. (I bet it was eaten by the same evil thing in the clouds that’s about to suck out their brains.)

AltitudeThere aren’t a whole lotta options here. The passengers don’t have a clue how to battle this “Octo-Cloud,” and with no place to land below, all they can do is scream real loud and hope it gives the monster a headache and lets them go.

Here’s how I’d do it – first, push all the passengers out the door. (I’d need to make the plane as light as possible. I don’t know why – I saw that in a movie.) Second, I’d purge the toilet tank all over the creature using one or more of those red buttons on the control panel. (It’ll be full after I look out the window and see long black tentacles 30,000 feet in the air.) The beast will likely release me from its death grip to go rinse its eye out, and I can somehow manage to fly to Hawaii and get some refreshing tropical drinks to calm my nerves. If all else fails, I’d scream real loud and hope that it gives the monster a headache and lets me go.

Altitude

Altitude, starring a bunch of people no one gives a crap about, looks both intriguing and promising. But I’m gonna wait to see if they use real monster tentacles or just some of those battery-powered rubber ones. Hey, when you’re dealing with a multi-legged cloud creature, realism is important.

Santa Claus: Packed In Ice

Posted in Classic Horror with tags on September 21, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Rare ExportsSanta Claus doesn’t live at the North Pole. He lives in northern Finland. Rather, he lives UNDER it, encased in ice, like the extraterrestrial creature in The Thing (1982). Santa is discovered during an archeological dig and is hauled to the surface. And he’s still alive.

This is gooning me out for several reasons, the least of which is how Santa got there in the first place. And where the hell are his reindeer? In some Ostrobothnia meat-packing plant? This is not good.

This “re-imagining” of one of the greatest men of all time is the premise for Rare Exports, a decidedly bent holiday horror story that smears darkness all over the face of Christmas. Here’s how the movie producers explain their blasphemy…

Rare Exports“On the eve of Christmas in northern Finland, an archeological dig unearths Santa Claus. This particular Santa, however, isn’t the one you want coming to town. When most of the town’s children go missing, Pietari and his father, a local hunter named Rauno, come into possession of the mythological being. Rauno’s clan of hunters attempts to cash in on the opportunity by selling Santa back to the misguided leader of the multinational corporation sponsoring the dig. What ensues is nothing short of a wildly humorous nightmare – a fantastically bizarre polemic on modern day morality.”

I’m down with that. But why’d they have to put Santa in a cage? That’s gonna scar me for life.

Rare Exports Another thing causing me tummy aches is the movie title. Rare Exports doesn’t even get in the lobby of telling you what kind of film it is. I would’ve called it The Frozen Red or Jingle Hell or Glacier Claus: The Forbin Project. Sometimes I think movie companies don’t have a clue.

Rare Exports makes its American debut in December – right in time for Christmas. Coincidence? I think not.

I’m never gonna step foot in northern Finland again.

Monsterwolf Cometh

Posted in Werewolves with tags on September 19, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

MonsterwolfThe rule of thumb is, if a monster movie is presented by the SyFy Channel™, it’s gonna stink worse than an asparagus fart. (Start with Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and go from there.) No wonder my red flags are already going up over SyFy’s venture into werewolf territory in October, first with Monsterwolf, then followed by Red: Werewolf Hunter. Even though we all know the monster is gonna be a dumbass video game computer graphic, like a real werewolf eating someone’s neck, you just can’t help but watch it.

Monsterwolf, debuting October 9, 2010, is about yet another greedy corporate concern ignoring the law and drilling for oil on tribal land. Sure, my car needs fossil fuel just as much as any 1973 leaking vehicle still on the road today. But not at the expense of our Native American brethren. We owe them more than that.

Blast drilling unleashes Kachinawaya, a vengeful monster wolf spirit, that leaps out of the ground and eats your face. I guess this is OK, except I was hoping for a werewolf the size of the Partridge Family bus that roams the woods, eating bears whole and knocking down old growth trees and is impervious to machine gun fire. Oh, well. I guess I’ll just have to wait until Hollywood reads my script, coincidentally titled the same.

SyFy’s second attempt at lycanthropy is Red: Werewolf Hunter, which premiers October 30, 2010. A modern day descendant of Red Riding Hood (goofy, but kinda cool) introduces her fiancé to her family, a clan of werewolf hunters. (I bet they give the happy couple matching flea collars as a wedding gift. I would.) Naturally, the guy is skeptical…until he’s bitten by a werewolf. And if the Learning Channel™ has taught us anything, when you’re bitten by a werewolf, you become one of those stinky things yourself. Nothing personal pal, but you just became your in-laws’ next target.

Monsterwolf Why am I thinking both of these are gonna be wereturds? Probably because I’ve been burned so many times before by SyFy’s endless parade of shabby digital monster crap. Yeah, I’ll still watch ’em. But I don’t have to like ’em.

Zombie Roadkill

Posted in Zombies with tags on September 18, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Zombie RoadkillZombie movies have become the karaoke of horror. Everybody’s doing it, some good, some OK, some face-pinchingly bad. And the genre is getting harder to kill than the zombies themselves. We can blame karaoke on Japan. But we have no one but ourselves to blame for the unstoppable flood of the undead. (Don’t include me, though – I’m into more believable stuff like giant monsters and UFOs.)

So now comes Zombie Roadkill, a Fearnet.com original six episode series premiering October 4, 2010 on Fearnet On Demand. Why should you watch it even though we’re all choking on zombies right now? Because this one’s different – and, judging by the trailer [click HERE] pretty dang funny.

There’s a stretch of highway that’s seemingly cursed. (I bet it was made from the Asphalt of the Damned.) Whenever you run over an animal on this particular road, it comes back to life as a flesh-eating zombie version of itself, squashed parts and all. So there’s plenty of room for creativity here: zombie raccoon, zombie rabbit, zombie rattlesnake, zombie woodchuck, zombie komodo dragon… Hey, that last one could happen, man. So now all you need is some dumbass college kids on a road trip and the thing practically writes itself.

Zombie RoadkillBesides flattened woodland creatures, Zombie Roadkill also stars Thomas Hayden Church. (Three names, each better than the one before it.) He plays a Park Ranger who comes to the rescue of the kids who speed bump a squirrel while trying to figure out where the heck they are on that winding road in the middle of a National Park. Fur is about to hit the fan as the once cute tree dweller, now reanimated, is out for revenge, blood, skin, internal organs, fingers, and a few nuts to store away for the winter.

Zombie Roadkill runs about 5 minutes per episode. This is actually good as the punch line is as thin as a zombie supermodel. Why beat a dead horse? It’ll only come back to bite you in the ass.

Devil: Love In An Elevator

Posted in Evil with tags on September 17, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

DevilOne sure-fire way to tell if Satan is hanging around is when you drop your toast and it lands jelly-face down on the floor. Other tell-tale signs include people jumping from the 35th floor and kissing a truck really hard, and people stuck in elevators who seem hell bent on killing each other under extreme claustrophobic stress. But mostly the jelly toast thing. So much so, if you’re making toast and/or a sandwich and you lose control over the situation and it decorates the floor, best to grab some Rosary beads and cram ’em in the first available God-less hole.

The toast/jelly thing is actually invoked in Devil, a taut, suspenseful horror drama that puts five people in a stuck elevator and summons forth the title character to bring out their not-so-good sides. In a Philadelphia skyscraper with the address of 333 (groan), five people – an old lady, a young hottie, a quick-tempered security guard, an Afghan war vet and a mattress salesman – are stuck in an elevator around the 21st floor area. Any attempts to free the darn thing ends in your freshness-expired date being put to the test.

Devil Each of the five has a sordid past that has nothing to do with each other. The building security can see them on the ele-cam (my word, not theirs) and can talk to them. Unfortunately, it’s a one-way conversation as the damned passengers can’t be heard talking back. After the lights flicker and someone turns up with a shard of glass in the neck (busted mirror, which was thoughtfully provided by the manufacturers for personal touch-ups and the smoothing of hair), the cops are called in. And here’s where the mostly dialogue-driven plot pushes all the buttons.

The head detective (the best character in the bunch) comes to the table with his own loss of faith. Five years ago his wife and young son were killed by a hit-and-run driver who left a note saying he was sorry. The cop went on a six-month drinking binge (he should’a called – I’m down for a little of that), and no longer believes in God or the Devil. Funny, then, how a religiously superstitious Latino security guard is quick to point out that everything that’s happening is the fault of the Devil and that he knows what the outcome will be. Let’s just say it’s an express ride to HECK.

Devil The lights go out and the body count rises, all in front of the detective’s disbelieving eyes. Meanwhile, the cops and fire department have swarmed the building and are trying to cut through a wall to get whoever’s still standing. Not an easy task as the Devil keeps thwarting their rescue attempts.

Not a lot of blood, very little in the way of special effects and no goofy depiction of the Devil, just pure tension and tight dialogue. This thing comes to a nice boil at the end, bringing with it an unseen twist. And it didn’t involve jelly.

Hellish Elevators Of course, there’ve been other hellish elevator movies, beginning with the made-for-TV horror flick, Der Lift (1972), a German a tear-jerker of a story involving an elevator becoming evil by way of a microchip. Then there was De Lift (1983), a Dutch tear-jerker of a story involving an elevator becoming evil by way of a microchip. Then there was The Shaft (2001), an American a tear-jerker of a story involving an elevator becoming evil by way of a microchip. Then there was Hellavator (2004) a Japanese a tear-jerker of a story involving massive elevators that take future people to and from sprawling floors that are as big as cities. A psychic chick learns that there are two serial killers on the elevator that she and others are trapped on/in, and madcap adventures ensue.

Out of all of them Devil is the best “trapped in an elevator” horror movie. Thankfully, they don’t get too religious preachy, concentrating rather on the ramifications of one’s lies and sins. (Wouldn’t work on me – I’m guilt-free.)

I’m surprised more Christian pamphlets don’t use more elevators as spiritual metaphors. You could make the top floor Heaven and the bottom floor Hell and your faith represented by the floors in-between. Your choices in life dictate which button you push. Then you could have a demon elevator operator with flames and black stinky stuff leaking out of his orifices and… Sorry – I almost wrote a sermon just now.

Godzilla’s Godfather

Posted in Giant Monsters with tags on September 16, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

The Fog HornYou probably knew that Gojira (aka, Godzilla) was inspired by King Kong, a 1933 movie featuring a giant gorilla of all things. The world’s most famous poop-flinger not only broke New York, but broke box office records for its time. ($150 smackers, which in today’s money is $117 million.)

But did you know The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953) was equally as inspirational to the Japanese who combined the mammoth monkey and the early ’50s monster from the ocean depths to create Godzilla, pop culture’s most enduring icons? True that.

If you said yes to both, quit reading over my shoulder. Gojira’s original working title was The Giant Monster From 20,000 Miles Beneath the Sea. Yeah, the Japanese basically stole The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and made it their own. I’ll overlook it this time, just because the end result was cooler than the movie they plagiarized.

The Fog HornThe Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, however, was inspired by the famous Ray Bradbury story that, according to the “internet”, was originally published in the Saturday Evening Post under the title, Monster From Beneath The Sea. Movie producers saw box office gold in a prehistoric creature gettin’ busy with a lighthouse, bought the rights and re-titled it The Fog Horn. They even had Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion pioneer, design the monster based on the Post’s illustration. A lot of “borrowing” going around back then. (Today we call it RIPPING OFF.)

The story, by the way, is about a giant sea creature who mistakes the fog horn as a hot chick yappin’ or something, and annually comes to grope it. Love turns to hate when the lighthouse keeper turns off the horn and the monster, thinking he was rejected, goes aggro on the structure. And here’s where I tie everything together…

In 2007, Japanese filmmaker Daisuke Sato made a 20-minute film of Ray’s story. Face slappingly, it has never been released. Why go to all that trouble of finding a prehistoric sea monster who was willing to work for scale, film everything to look ’50s retro, and then not put it out? Sometimes I just don’t understand foreign policy.

As posted on http://www.roberthood.net, the filmmaker explains why: “We made The Fog Horn as a demonstration of our technical skills. It has not been released, not even in Japan. There is actually a problem with the copyright of the original, and so that is why we haven’t yet released it to the public. But if there is enough demand for it and a lot of people want to see it, then we’ll definitely release it. If we do, it will be as a DVD or online.” Sato said that he would add English subtitles for “international viewers.” I believe I fall in that category.

The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms ’n GodzillaThere you have it. If you want to see The Fog Horn, you need to write your Congressman or call the Emperor of Japan to render all copyrights null and void so we can get this darn thing released. Until that day comes, you can see 1:29 of highlights on YouTube™ by clicking HERE

Better hurry, as lighthouses are in heat this time of year and there’s some gentlemen plesiosaurs about to come callin’.

Chawz: Bacon Gone Wild

Posted in Asian Horror, Nature Gone Wild with tags , on September 15, 2010 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

ChawzThe new Korean horror movie Chawz, a heartwarming story about a VW Beetle-sized hog that eats people alive, proposes one of those philosophical questions. I.e., if a tree falls in the woods and no one was around to hear it, would it still make a sound? (Don’t be simple – of course it would, because Bigfoot knows, sees and hears all in the forest.) So here’s the question: If Chawz was chasing you through the woods and there was no one around to hear you screaming, would you still like bacon?

Tough one, I know. But then again, bacon is so darn tasty. And good for you, too. Chawz regards you in the same manner. I bet this topic is being debated in some community college philosophy course as we speak. But the truth is, it can’t be answered. Why? When was the last time YOU were chased through the woods by a giant pig? I’m pretty sure I’m the only one.

ChawzChawz, arriving October 19, 2010, is retitled from Chaw for the American market, which is stupid times ten. Some over-paid movie company guy probably thought, “Hey, this pig could be a sort of ‘Land Jaws,’ so let’s give it a name that sounds like Jaws and we’ll make millions!” Good luck with that.

In case you decide not to rush out and buy the DVD, here’s what it’s about: “In the calm and peaceful mountain village of Sameri where there has not been a crime for years, the community’s headman dreams about developing the village to bring up the economy of the town. One day a terribly damaged dead body was discovered in the grove of the new development that send the entire town into a panic as it has not happened before. Upon investigation it was confirmed that the victim, a young girl, was murdered and attacked by a cannibalistic wild boar. The villages voice for the project to be closed but the headman greedy for money ignores the pleas and pushes the project ahead. Soon CHAW attacks again and terrorizes the entire town and new tourist/visitors…”

I know I’ve heard of this plot before, but where?

Razorback

Of course, Chaw isn’t the first of its kind. Back in 1984 there was this little horror film called Razorback, which was allegedly based on true news reports coming out of Australia’s Outback regarding a rogue pig that attacked humans and ate their body parts/babies. A guy’s news reporter wife goes to Australia to get the scoop, only to be scooped up by Razorback himself. Heh. He goes to find her and encounters the super-sized hog and has to find a way to kill it before it eats him. A sound strategy.

Pig HuntThen there’s Pig Hunt (2008), a relatively new entry in the giant hog sweepstakes. A guy and some buddies go out in the woods to hunt wild boars. Waiting to dissuade them is a 3,000 porker called The Ripper. Any marauding pig named after a Judas Priest song has my vote. Heck, I’ll even buy his tour shirt.

All of this begs another philosophical question: Would a snorting, rampaging truckload of breakfast meat turn you into a vegan? There is but one true answer: Only if he doesn’t catch you.