1,000 Thoughts on Horror & Sci-Fi

1,000 Blogs

1,000 blog posts as of this e-writing. A nice, parade-worthy milestone, yes? Not to brag, but I think a Congressional Medal of Honor or some chewing gum might be a nice acknowledgment as well. And would it kill any of you lady strippers to comp me a lap dance? Heck, I’ll even take a free boob flash (lasting no less than thirty seconds, please).

As of this writing, 585,930 views, 285 comments, 2,737 best one day ever stat, 4,008 pictures, countless typos and grammatical failings, and 16,792 total spam since starting this silly blog on June 9, 2010. (Note to spammers: die already, you worthless dumbasses.)

I’m a LIFELONG horror/sci-fi fan who has collected monster magazines since I was old enough to shoplift (just kidding – I merely used the inside of my pants to transport the mags to the counter, leaving my hands free to wave hello to people in the spirit of being neighborly), watched thousands of horror/sci-fi movies (which might explain the eye twitch), and have championed the genre for 1,000 blogs and countless hours for NO PAY. Obsessed? Duh. Stupid? Ask my mom – I bet we’re all in agreement here.

Actually, I’ve done many more than 1,000 blog postings. MSN.com hired me for two very fun years to post six days a week on a variety of horror/sci-fi subjects prior to me starting up this NON-PAID blog. (Between 600 and 1,000 posts after the checks cleared.)

So what horror movie wisdom/insight can I impart over the last five or six years of near obsessive postings? Glad you asked… (Warning – what you are about to read while moving your lips are my opinions and perspectives and are NOT intended to be taken as gospel.)

1,000 Blogs

HORROR/SCI-FI MOVIE TRAILERS: Note to Hollywood – unlike the lovely gals at Mary’s Club in Portland, OR, you’re showing/giving out WAY too much. Moviegoers don’t need you play the entire movie in two minutes. Nor do we need multiple trailers. Make better movies and you won’t need to spend twice in advertising what the film costs to overkill shove down our throats.

1,000 Blogs

ZOMBIES: More than any other genre combined, zombie movies have flooded the marketplace in unprecedented numbers over the last five years, 99% of which have the SAME PLOT. Enough already. And chew with your mouths closed. To do otherwise is just plain icky. (Disclaimer: whomsoever is behind it, DO NOT quit making The Walking Dead TV shows.)

INDIE HORROR FILMS: By and large, disappointed. After all these years, I see a continuing and unsatisfying trend wherein the bulk (not all) of indie horror filmmakers of varying budgets have abandoned any quest of breaking new ground and expanding the genre’s horizons, and simply go for the quick, formulaic cash-in. (see “ZOMBIES.”)

Then, occasionally, I’ll come across a handful of low budget horror/sci-fi movies that go a long way in renewing my faith, a few recent examples as of this writing being The ABCs of Death (2012), V/H/S (2012), Monsters (2010), Yellow Brick Road (2010), and (guilty as charged) Sharknado (2013). Seriously, how could you not like a movie that has face-eating sharks raining down out of the sky via a nature-borne delivery system?

1,000 Blogs

FOUND FOOTAGE FILMS: The karaoke of filmmaking. Any aspiring douche bag with enough money to buy an entry-level digital camera and able to edit it with iMovie™ can make a wretched found footage “film.” And they have been. In droves. You can thank the infuriating Blair Witch Project (1999), a found footage movie that featured little more than a few noises in the dark, a lot of snot-nosed crying and no title character for lighting the fuse here. The $22,500 budgeted project succeeded with an admittedly brilliant marketing campaign (far better than the film itself) and turned on the profit faucet to the tune of $248 million, setting off a cinematic gold rush for thousands of cash-in douche bag found footage “filmmakers.”

1,000 Blogs

Then there are exceptions to the rule: Paranormal Activity (2007), Cloverfield (2008) and since then, quite effectively, The Bay (2012), a movie about a mutated strain of watery parasites, which realistically mixes found footage with “authentic” TV broadcasts, street and cop car cameras. It’ll make you quit drinking the water, which I have done. Nothing but beer for me as I’m not down with mutated parasites from the town’s water supply getting into my body and eating their way out. I have enough problems with spiders crawling into places meant for outgoing mail.

1,000 Blogs

FOREIGN HORROR: I’m a big fan of foreign horror/sci-fi films, especially those of Japanese descent (Meatball Machine/2005, Tokyo Gore Police/2008, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl/2009, RoboGeisha/2009, The Machine Girl/2008, Mutant Girls Squad/2010). And why is that? Because these movies are so surreal, abstract, non-linear and ridiculously over the top with gore/blood/intestines, that I often just stare at ’em without blinking for fear I’d miss something.

1,000 Blogs

Bizarre, comedic and budget/category defying foreign horror movies I’d personally endorse with my valued name brand™ are Dead Snow (Norway/2009), Dog House (England/2009), Saint Nick (Dutch/2010), Rare Exports (Finland/2010), Troll Hunter (Norway/2010), The Host (South Korea/2006), Mutants (France/2009), La Horde (France/2009), and Whale Watching Massacre (Iceland/2009). And an enthusiastic shout out to The Cottage (England/2008). There’s more, but this has already turned into a laundry list.

A personal fav foreign horror movie? Let The Right One In (Sweden/2008), which arguably reinvented the vampire genre. You didn’t like it? I feel sorry for your family and friends. In fact, I weep for you. OK, not really.

1,000 BlogsTORTURE PORN: Not sure why this distasteful sub-category of horror is so popular. What can possibly be the appeal of watching highly graphic depictions of serial killers systematically turning easily lured victims into stir-fry when you see the SAME THING on the news. These movies (Hostel, Wolf Creek, The Collector, and even the big money Saw franchise, to name a high-profile few) don’t hold a candle to the horror of the same type you see reported on in real life every day of your life. And here’s where I stick my foot right in my mouth again – I was duly impressed with the plot twist revenge aspects of The Last House on the Left (2009), a remake of Wes Craven’s 1972 lurid exploitation film. And yes, I own all the Saw movies on DVD as I lost my taste for the evening news a long time ago.

1,000 Blogs

HORROR/SCI-FI REMAKES/SEQUELS: Like non-alcoholic beer, I wish these would just go away. Yeah, I go see every single one of them, but not because I want to. I’m commanded by a higher power, which is my obsessive passion for this genre. Remakes/Re-Boots/Re-imagined – they’re irrelevant to everyone except those making ‘em.

It’s all about the MONEY. That a bad thing? Not necessarily. Good for the genre? My personal opinion: cinematic version of rat turds in your cherry Jell-O™. And even though I’ll swim neck-deep through this crap time after time (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw, Dawn of the Dead, Amityville Horror, etc.), there are a few rewards: Evil Dead, Piranha 3D, The Crazies, A Nightmare on Elm Street (admit it, that was solid, if not a home run), and even the much-maligned Halloween do-overs, re-envisioned by Rob Zombie. (Anyone younger than me who saw it and didn’t like it, go to your room.)

HORROR/SCI-FI MOVIE BLOGS: Essential and pointless, both at the same time, this blog included. Why most now-commercial horror blogs (accepting paid advertising) exist is the same thing that’s subverting the very movies we all seek to promote. Hyper passionate about the subject matter, often poorly written (ahem), and hyper critical of every new horror movie – commercial or indie – to come down the pipe, often before the flick even comes out. And yet, give any one of these horror movie websites content exclusivity, advance previews, star interviews, or piles of advertising money, and watch the accolades roll in. (Note to potential advertisers – I can be bought, too.)

1,000 Blogs

THEATRE REWARDS: I am a rewards card-carrying member of AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas as I am fortunate enough to live close to both and who bring in all of the big budget horror movies (with the exception being an AMC showing at the mall of The Lords of Salem/2013, directed by Rob Zombie. Not a good movie, though I probably missed the point. Regardless, I remain a big fan of his work.)

AMC’s $12 annual Stubs™ rewards give you popcorn and soda upgrades for free without having to reach a spend goal ($100). Once your spend minimum has been reached, you get $10 back in free snack counter goods of your choice. I always go for the hot dog as that’s a high ticket item. (Note to AMC – your hot dogs are fine, but when you steam the buns to heat them, they turn into glue. I’d rather eat a raw hot dog bun than a steamed one.)

1,000 Blogs

Regal Cinema’s Crown Club™ rewards card is free, with points racked up for how many times you go to the movies. (For me two to three times a week.) Rewards are free movie tickets, free popcorn and free sodas. (Not candy, dang it.) And popcorn upgrades are $1.50. Stingy, I say. Regal’s hot dogs are far better than AMC as they are bona fide Nathan’s™ franks, and they don’t steam the bun. AMC’s popcorn is slightly better, though they tend to re-heat yesterday’s leftovers. Soda pop taste at both theaters: depends on what airline bottles you smuggle in to “accessorize.”

Both theatres: your snack counter employees are either dumb as Jell-O™ or they’re just plain stupid. Recent true experience at Regal: Bought $10.75 worth of stomach-pumpers at the snack counter and handed over a $20 bill. The teen gal working the counter actually had to call for management to come over to assist with making correct change. I wish I was making this up. But alas, this is the true horror of going to see a horror movie these days.

Onto the next 1,000 unpaid blogs…

8 Responses to “1,000 Thoughts on Horror & Sci-Fi”

  1. Brilliant ! Love you man;-)

  2. Jeff…so great to stumble back upon your hilarious work and insightful comments! I tried sending you an email via the website, but I suspect it is no longer valid as it bounced back imeadiately…

    So here is the email I tried to send:

    Hi Jeff,

    I am sure you do not remember me, but I placed an ad in Mansplat back in 1997 or so, for my Tales From the Dougside books. (SlackJaw, The Disparity Of Gravy, Tainted Circus) You had some very nice things to say about them, and I wanted to thank you.

    I also wanted to let you know that I am just about finished compiling a mega-huge book of my comic strips and art. I will be appearing at this September’s FantaCon to debut it. Would it be ok if I used a snip of your review on my back cover for blurb purposes? You will be in good company as I have lined up quotes from Robert Fripp and Dave Sim. Also, I would like to reproduce the review to be included as a “bonus material”.

    I didn’t think it would be a problem, but as my mom says, it is polite to ask first.

    I was pleased to find that Mansplat still sorta exists here on the web. I sporadically found my copies in Buffalo back in the 90’s. I do see you have a couple of books out, and I may just have to purchase them soon!

    In any event, good luck and good day to you,

    yours in beer,

    Douglas Arthur
    President
    Dougside Syndicate
    Home of
    Tales From the Dougside comics
    Assault Of the 2-Headed Space Mules podcast
    and
    Flaming Schwarzkopf Experience music

  3. Shieldheart Says:

    Congrats Jef!
    Always looking forward to your new entry almost EVERYDAY, even though I was start reading your blog out of accident due to Zomboobies apocalypse in Japan :’))

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