Archive for August, 2011

Monsters In The Movies

Posted in Classic Horror, Ghosts, Giant Monsters, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Zombies with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Monsters In the MoviesBearded and suited 60+ year-old movie director John Landis has a new book coming out called Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares. It’s a nice beard. I’m on the fence about the suit, which looks off the rack. With nearly 20 movies to his credit – five of are horror/sci-fi – his qualifications are as good as anyone. Except mine. I feel I’m far more qualified to do this book. But just because I don’t have a beard or a suit, Hollywood hates my stinkin’ guts.

Of Landis’ more notable works, two have immortalized him in a way just shy of a park statue covered in pigeon poo: An American Werewolf in London (1981, which he also wrote) and the toe-tappin; Thriller video for Michael Jackson (1983). Never heard of him. Other genre films include Innocent Blood (1992), Deer Woman (2005), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), and the overlooked classic Schlock (1973, his first, which he was also the writer). His lesser known works include National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980) and Three Amigos (1986). None of those had vampires, werewolves, or missing links in them. Pity. If they did, someone might have gone to see ’em.

As Landis is a Hollywood insider, he gets to talk to monster movie makers like Sam Raimi, David Cronenberg and John Carpenter any time he wants. He doesn’t need to be their Facebook™ fan – he has their freakin’ phone numbers! How cool would that be to call up John Carpenter in the middle of the night and say stuff like, “Dude, Ghost of Mars sucked Uranus, but The Thing totally gooned me out!” and “Hey, do you wanna hang out ’n stuff?”

Dracula

Here’s how Monsters in the Movies: 100 Years of Cinematic Nightmares, which arrives September 19, 2011 (and costs $26.40/320 pages) stacks up:Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of movie making, while conducting in-depth conversations with leading monster makers, including David Cronenberg, Christopher Lee, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi – to discuss some of the most petrifying monsters ever seen.”

“He also surveys the historical origins of the archetypal monsters, such as vampires, zombies, and werewolves, and takes you behind the scenes to discover the secrets of those special-effects wizards who created such legendary frighteners as King Kong, Dracula, and Halloween’s Michael Myers.”

“With more than 1000 stunning movie stills and posters, this book is sure to keep even the most intense fright-seekers at the edge of their seats for hours.”

Frankenstein's MonsterThat last part of the sentence is pure Hollywood hype, the lifeblood of the industry. Still, I’ll buy the book and have someone read it to me as I’m more of a TV guy. That, and I finally trained myself how to watch movies without moving my lips. Still trying to nail that one while watching books.

(Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster photos courtesy of Rick Baker, one of the all-time greatest make-up artists in the history of world. Chicks should really use some of his techniques if they wanna get jiggy with me.)

A Box ’o Aliens

Posted in Aliens, Classic Horror, Science Fiction with tags , , on August 30, 2011 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Alien VaultThere’s so many things we don’t know about the alien in the 1979 sci-fi ass-kick masterpiece Alien. We do know that it likes to make other aliens pop out of your chest like it was a stripper in a cake at a gentlemen’s party. But does the creature like a nice cold brewski every now and again? How about chicks – is it a leg man or more of a boobular action kinda guy? And what about his tastes in art and poetry? Is the alien heavy metal or smooth jazz?

You can find out about all of this and more with the September 17, 2011 release of Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film, a new tell-all book in hardcover form written by Ian Nathan, a guy who appears to have two first names. Alien Vault (kind of a cool title, though I might’ve gone with A Box ’o Aliens), is 176 pages deep and will set you back $23.10 if you buy it at Amazon.com, whoever they are.

Alien VaultFrom the press release:  “Alien Vault reveals the details behind the making of the ground-breaking 1979 science-fiction horror film, one of the cult classics of the genre. This licensed, behind-the-scenes guide examines the creation of the movie via director Ridley Scott’s hand-drawn storyboards, concept sketches, script pages, spaceship blueprints, never-before-seen production photos, and rare collectible memorabilia.”

Alien VaultYeah, but it still doesn’t answer many burning questions, like how does the alien maintain proper dental health? If he goes to the dentist and the dentist asks him to rinse and spit, the alien’s mouth acid will melt the dentist into sizzling yogurt. Probably his assistant, too. And does he ever call his mom on Queen Alien Day, or just send a card? I haven’t read Alien Vault yet, so maybe the book does fill in the blanks.

Crap – I just gotta know.

Monsteriffic Art

Posted in Classic Horror with tags on August 28, 2011 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Team WelserIn the 1985 sci-fi horror cult hit, Re-Animator, Dr. Herbert West uses his reanimating serum to make a mutant menagerie of monsters. Think of him an aspiring Dr. Frankenstein who thought way outside the box.

And speaking of boxes, if you figured out how to open Hellraiser’s (1987) Lament Configuration, a sort of Rubik’s Cube™ for the damned, you unleashed a guitar-less Goth band with nails poked in their face, split coconut neck wounds held open by needles and yourself eventually taffy pulled into serving portions by hooks on the end of chains like an exploding hamburger balloon.

Team WelserInspiring stuff. And the Erie, Pennsylvania cartoonist/graphic design team of Mark and Stephanie Welser has, with a wry and deft minimalist style, recalls me back in my Neoclassicism days. Ahem. Team Welser’s impactful (did I just use that word in a sentence? Swish – nothin’ but net!) vision reinterprets the above horror and sci-fi classics, and even The Thing and House of 1,000 Corpses to The Shining and The Omen. Click a little further on their Etsy website (link below) and you’ll find brilliant takes on The Exorcist, Return of the Living Dead, Saw, and my personal favorite, Pee Wee’s Big-Adventure, one of the most surreal horror movies you’ll ever see.

Team WelserAnd speaking of seeing, you can rub your eyes all over Team Welser’s work and even buy prints for a staggeringly affordable $20 by clicking HERE. My life will be complete if they ever do a poster of any of Elvira’s movies. For fairly obvious reasons. Hey, I’m a fan of the classics.

Elvira

Giant Maggots Are As Cool As They Sound

Posted in Giant Monsters, Nature Gone Wild, Science Fiction with tags , , on August 27, 2011 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

MaggotsNormally, maggots – those wiggly rice-shaped fly larva – aren’t too much of a bother. Unless you mistake ’em for rice and pour teriyaki sauce on ’em and, you know, start chowin’. That’d be SO icky. But if the maggot is the size of two unrolled end-to-end sleeping bags, teriyaki sauce or not, we’re talkin’ total goon out.

MaggotsMaggots, a new indie sci-fi monster movie throwback to the good ’ol days of big bugs, has giant maggots in it. How’d they get to be so large and in charge? Space stuff. (Biological rules vary widely once you get past the Earth’s Jell-O™-flavored atmosphere.) A meteor smacks into Your Town, USA and out pops some small maggots that, when exposed to our vitamin-enriched air, grow like loaves of bread exposed to radioactivity. And because the movie wouldn’t make any sense unless the space maggots craved human blood, you’ve got what we industry professionals call “USDA-grade entertainment.”

MaggotsSo when will Maggots be ready to rent/own/download? Dunno. I’m just gonna say sometime before the end of the year. If the movie doesn’t come out by then, don’t blame me, blame outer space. (Thanks to the mega-groovy Undead Backbrain for the entomology lesson.)

Cheerleaders Vs. Zombies. Sure, Why Not?

Posted in Zombies with tags on August 26, 2011 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Cheerleaders Vs. Zombies“2, 4, 6, 8, Who do we decapitate?”

That’s pretty funny. Then again, how do you make a movie called Cheerleaders Vs. Zombies and not have it be at least a little comedic? Existing only on paper for now, CvZ begins production in January, 2012. That means there’s still plenty of time for me to get a try-out. Hey, I can cheer, man.

Cheerleaders Vs. Zombies boasts 21 year-old Nancy McDonald as the movie’s title pom-pom shaker. McDonald’s colorful resume includes Nudist Camp Zombie Massacre (naked supporting), Shark Exorcist (possessed supporting), They Came From The Sky (alien lead), Concrete Evidence (supporting ghost) and Zombie (undead supporting).

Zombies Vs. CheerleadersNo word on whether or not the movie is based on the hit sketch card series, Zombies Vs. Cheerleaders (Moonstone) or the upcoming Lollipop Chainsaw: Cheerleaders Vs. Zombies video game, due out in 2012. And it seems I vaguely recall a 2009 YouTube™ trailer for a little something called Cheerleaders Vs. Zombies, a film by Richard Strieber, Jack Roberts and Kat Hudson. I could be wrong about this as I drink a LOT of beer and can’t even remember where my pants are half the time. (Seven times outta ten: 7-Eleven™ parking lot.)

Lollipop ChainsawCheerleaders Vs. Zombies better have unrated gratuitous nudity in it because zombies are getting to be quite passé these days. And cheerleaders are about as exciting as non-alcoholic beer. Why can’t they have Pierced Goth Punk Exotic Tattoo Models Vs. Zombies? I’d totally rent a movie just for the title and cover art alone.

Jeepers Creepers, It’s The Creeper!

Posted in Classic Horror, Evil with tags , on August 25, 2011 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Jeepers CreepersEight years between sequels is some hard time. But thank your local deity that the Jeepers Creepers franchise is still alive, unlike the victims of the Creeper himself, who eats eyeballs, facial skin and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups™ filled with human instead of peanut butter.

Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral, the way overdue sequel to Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003), looks to be released in October, 2011. That’s 10 years since the Creeper first flew into our hearts and yanked it out back in 2001. If you’ve been keeping score (and why wouldn’t you?), production on JC3 began in 2009. But sources on the Internet (is that thing still around?) claim 2011 as the release date. And yet IMDb – the Internet Movie Database – lists the movie as having a 2013 premier. This is making me all headache-y. How about we split the difference and release it today?
Jeepers CreepersThere may not be a movie yet, but there is a plot. Apparently, there’s an Old West flashback sequence that explains who the Creeper is/was, and how he came to be a bat-winged eater of townfolk. Then the movie jumps to the year 2024 (I think have a birthday around then), and some chick named Trish is having freaky nightmares that her son will suffer the same buffet plate fate as her brother, whom the Creeper ate alive back in the old days. (They should call the new movie: Jeepers Creepers 3: Leftovers.)
Jeepers CreepersWhile we impatiently wait for Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral to hurry the hell up and get here, let’s take a look at what we know about this guy who shows up once every 23 years for 23 days, stuffs his face with your face, and then disappears for another 23 years. Rinse, lather, repeat. The Creeper has a cool underground cave laboratory, filled with talking take-out. He has a stylish old-time-y hat and floor length Goth jacket. He drives a Mad Max-type truck (the tabs look expired, though). He has huge bat wings and can fly like some sort of demonic seagull. And his teeth, while not only as sharp as something really sharp, they’re remarkable white given his diet, which leads me to believe the Creeper not only brushes after every meal, but flosses as well. Hey, be true to your teeth or they will be false to YOU.

Jeepers CreepersNot a fan of sequels, but Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral sounds yummy.

Ghosts With No Chance

Posted in Ghosts with tags on August 23, 2011 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

Ghosts“There’s something in this house…”

True. But it may not be a ghost, but rather a copy machine. The Asylum, the film studio responsible for ripping off dozens of other studio’s intellectual property (i.e., Paranormal Entity, Transmorphers, Almighty Thor, Battle of Los Angeles, ad infinitum), has taken to ripping off itself with A Haunting in Salem, due October 4, 2011, which mimics their very own Haunting of Winchester House (which sucked, 2009). I bet they even use the same ghost. Why not? The poster art is practically rubber stamped, and the title lifts directly from A Haunting in Connecticut (2009).

Here are the plot lines of both. Discussion to follow…

A Haunting in Salem: “When the new sheriff of Salem, Massachusetts discovers that he is the victim of a Centuries-old curse, he must protect his family from the vengeful ghosts that torment his home.”

Haunting of Winchester House: “A family moves in to look after the Winchester mansion for a few months, and soon find themselves terrorized by vengeful spirits. With the help of a paranormal investigator they’ll unravel the mystery of the house.”

GhostSplitting hairs? Maybe. But Asylum, shameless in their quest to do their spin on any genre movie that looks like it could make them a quick buck, don’t seem to have any problem picking its own nose and eating whatever sticks to the finger, which has been in other people’s orifices for some time now.

CopsTo be fair – and I’d rather not – I cite the case of Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and the porn knock-off, Beverly Hills Copulator (1986) as precedent. (Beverly Hills Copulator was actually a gripping detective movie, with lubricated plot twists, street cred dialogue and boobies.)

The lesson learned today is to watch porn and not movies made by The Asylum.