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Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 15 October 31, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in Film Thing.
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Vampyr – Der Traum des Allan Grey
1932
Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer

This film is very old and very nearly silent. I’m going to call shenanigans on one point right out . . . a significant portion of this film is a guy sitting there reading a book about all the cool interesting vampire stuff you’re NOT seeing on screen. For shame!

The excessive quiet works to it’s advantage in the scenes where things do happen though, as it gives a sense of true isolation.

There’s some truly remarkable effects done entirely with shadow here, particularly one scene that I have absolutely no idea how they did considering the year. It had to have been stand-in’s, a cut, and a lighting change we can’t notice. It had to have been . . .

I give it two spooky pumpkins out of five.

Morsure (Bitten)
2007
Directed by David Morlet

This was a short film from France that played at Sundance. Christian sent me a link to it online (you will be able to watch it on youtube) I’m assuming because it reminded him of when we filmed Conversations at the End of the World. Crazy times. My mom was not happy that I drenched the basement in Christian’s blood (it was fake, I swear).

Anyway, this 13 minute long film was a fairly conventional zombie piece, but well produced.

I give it three spooky pumpkins out of five.

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Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 14 October 28, 2009

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It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
1966
Directed by Bill Melendez

Perfect! My childhood alive.

Five spooky pumpkins out of five.

The Mystery of the Wax Museum
1933
Directed by Michael Curtiz

Let’s just all degree that wax museums are creepy, shall we?

I give it one spooky pumpkin out of five.

Suspiria
1977
Directed by Dario Argento

This is considered one of the classics of the horror genre, undeservedly so I’d say. Sure, it’s atmospheric, but that’s about all it is. I found myself getting lost in the story, which had to do with a witches coven based in a ballet school.

High point was seeing someone killed by falling into a pit of razor wire.

I give it two spooky pumpkins out of five.

“Don’t drink that. There was a fish swimming around in the percolator.” October 26, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in Podcast Appearances, science, Uncategorized.
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Cine-Rama is back with a brand new episode!

Cine-Rama Podcast Episode 28 – A Damn Fine Cup Of Coffee

Christian and Keith sit down once again with special guest Eric Martin (DC Noise, The Trip, Comics Playground). In this episode they discuss Twin Peaks, the seminal television show from David Lynch and Mark Frost. No backwards talking dwarves were harmed in the making of this episode.

And now links:

US Special Forces are field testing a medical plasma knife which could be the first step towards me actually getting a lightsaber. http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2009-10/us-special-forces-field-test-plasma-knife

The amazing! The crawling! The disgusting! The blob robot! http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2009-10/cronenbergian-blob-bot-ready-roll-or-rather-ooze

A Rant October 22, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in Life The Universe and Everything.
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Those of you who follow me on Twitter will not that I had some things to say about this particular article. I felt I needed to go into a little more detail on why it bothered me so I’ve decided to give it a full blog write-up.

First, please read the article. And, as always, bear in mind that your mileage may vary.

I was a little offended by it. I don’t see why any woman wouldn’t either.

There are three points upon which this bothers me:

1) It assumes that nerds (note the subtle hint of disdain) are an oppressed minority. That’s just silly, and was played out in the 1980’s. We live in a world where things like Battlestar Galactica win Peabody Awards, nerds are billionaires, and the President of the United States collects Spider-Man and Conan comics.

2) It assumes that all men are scum. Any reasonable person knows this is patently untrue. Guys who are shy around men don’t have an added advantage of assuaged penis guilt, they are just reacting to the natural human fear of getting hurt.

3) It assumes that women are victims. The women that I know and choose to spend time with – and, yes, pursue relationships with – certainly aren’t. They’re strong, independent people that take no crap from anyone.

The author of the article says that he is intereste in what the role of men are in society. What it takes to be a man. That’s simply a matter of having testes. If his concern is about what it means to be a good man or a bad man, though, those are issues that have nothing to do with genitals.

Maybe my main problem is that he treats human beings, and human emotions as an academic problem. Not an individual basis.

To quote Patrick McGoohan from The Prisoner, “I am not a number!”

Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 13 October 22, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in Film Thing.
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20 Million Miles to Earth
1957
Directed by Nathan Juran

This film is a stark example of why you should never remove animals from their natural environment. Especially if that natural environment is the planet Venus. Because they could become titanic stop-motion monsters and fuck some serious shit up!

Apparently the creature in this movie is known as the Ymir, but I have no idea how they arrived at that as it never seems to be mentioned at any point in the film. That’s not important though.

What is important is that the stop-motion is done by Ray Harryhausen! And the Ymir fights a fucking elephant!

I give it three spooky pumpkins out of five.

Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 12 October 19, 2009

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I Married a Monster From Outer Space
1958
Directed by Gene Fowler Jr.

The tagline for this movie was apparently “The Bride Wore Tear!” which I think is just the best thing that I’ve heard all day.

Girls: never marry a monster from outer space. I’m normally in support of mixed marriages, but this movie shows it just won’t work out. It will only end in heartbreak and ray guns. Mostly, ray guns.

Maybe I’m strange, but I found myself sympathizing with the alien invaders. All they wanted was for their species to surviving. Maybe I’m strange . . . or maybe I feel this way because I am, in fact, a monster from outer space.

I give it one and a half spooky pumpkins out of five.

Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 11 October 18, 2009

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I Sell the Dead
2009
Directed by Chris McQuaid

One of my rules in film is that if it has Ron Perlman in it, I will watch it. It rarely lets me down. It certainly didn’t this time.

This is a delightfully fun little film that deals with two grave robbers (sort of comedy versions of Burke and Hare – see my Flesh and the Fiends review) who get in over their heads when they rob the grave of a vampire. They soon find that they’ve become experts trading in a very specialized commodity, the undead.

There are a lot of fun little twists and turns that I don’t want to spoil about this given that its such a new movie, but it’s really a lot of fun. Also, I simply love the way this film was shot. The cinematography, and composition and layering of multiple shots, mixed with art as though from out of an old EC Horror comic just works magically.

Five out of five spooky pumpkins.

The Wicker Man
1973
Directed by Robin Hardy

Christopher Lee!!!!

There, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system . . .

There’s really no point of me going into a lengthy description of the story of this, seeing as everyone kind of already knows it, so I’m just going to dive right in and comment on a few things.

The visual aestetic of this movie is nutso. With its small-town setting, wild characters, and random song it’s almost like a lost episode of The Prisoner that no one ever dared watch.

The ending of this movie, the thing it is most famous for, and one of the more famous endings in horror history, could very well be one of the worst ways to die that I can think of.

I give it four spooky pumpkins out of five.

Phantasm
1979
Directed by Don Coscarelli

“Are you sure it wasn’t just that retarted kid Timmy from up the street?”

No, actor I don’t recognize, it wasn’t Timmy. It was the Tall Man and his host of midget thralls, preparing to silver sphere your brain to death!

This is kind of one of those classic horror films that was missing from my repertoire. No longer!

I don’t know if I want to call this thing overhyped or not, because it has an interesting concept behind it . . . but man, was this schlocky. Maybe that’s part of the appeal, I dunno. But when the sphere drills into the guy’s head and produces a fount of blood far exceeding the volume a human body could ever hold, you kind of have to stop and say “now just wait a minute.”

Also, the film is guilty of something I hate in horror. The double-twist-gotcha-ending where we are left to believe it never happened, but oh no at the last minute it actually did. You know what I’m talking about.

There are a few glaring continuity errors as well as these nagging questions:

1) How did one simple human move all those heavy boulders by hand?
2) Why did they, when being chased, at no point think to call the cops?
3) When the lead character was in the back of the Tall Man’s hurse shooting out the back window, why didn’t he turn and just cap the yellow-blooded bastard in the back of the head?

“It’s probably just a gopher in heat.”

Still, I’ll give it three spooky pumpkins out of five, schlock and all. Or maybe because of the schlock.

Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 10 October 16, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in Film Thing.
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American Psycho
2000
Directed by Mary Harron

People die with axes and chainsaws in this! It makes the deaths that were done by a simple gunshot pale in comparison.

I don’t know what’s scarier about Christian Bale’s character in this movie. It could be that he murders and dissects people. I think it’s probably that he’s a total 80’s Wall Street yuppie though. Now THAT is a terrifying brand of monster.

Best kill? Girl getting stabbed in the back by chainsaw hurled down a stairwell.

I give it three spooky pumpkins out of five.

Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers
1956
Directed by Fred F. Sears

I’m sorry 1950s, but I really don’t think the Army would instantly shoot the saucer people if they landed, at least without a “Hey, how ya do?”

I know what you’re going to say. “Keith, this is a science fiction movie, not a horror movie!” Okay. . . .First, get off my back. Secondly, this came from the era when science fiction and horror films were fairly interchangable commodities. So there, Mr. Smartypants.

It’s your fairly standard old 50’s sci-fi flick. Aliens come to conquer, mankind needs to fight back, an action scientist (all scientists back then were of the action variety) saves the day with some good old fashioned American know-how, national landmarks are destroyed.

The real star of the movie is the special effects, done brilliantly by Ray Harryhausen.

I give the film two and a half spooky pumpkins out of five.

I give Harryhausen’s effects five spooky pumpkins out of five, though.

Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 9 October 15, 2009

Posted by vorpalkeith in Film Thing.
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Tales of Terror
1962
Directed by Roger Corman

Whenever I see a movie where Roger Corman adapts Edgar Allen Poe I love it. In this he adapts three stories.

Not enough reason for you to watch it? I’ll give you three more:

1) Vincent Price
2) Peter Lorre
3) VINCENT FREAKING PRICE!!!!

It gets four spooky pumpkins out of five.

Isle of the Dead
1945
Directed by Mark Robson

This might only loosely qualify as a horror film. The characters are certainly under the impression that there is a monster on the loose, but thhe movie stresses that’s what happens when people are put under stress, they fall on superstition.

Boris Karloff plays a Greek general in the war of 1912 who becomes charged with quarantining an island where there has been an outbreak of plague. There is, of course, a superstitious old school lady on the island, and things get tricky.

I give it two and a half spooky pumpkins out of five.

Halloween Horror Countdown 2009 Day 8 October 14, 2009

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Cabin Fever
2002
Directed by Eli Roth

I don’t recall seeing anything like THAT on Boy Meets World!

The horror in this movie is something that has the potential to be genuinely frightening. It’s not a murderer, or a monster, or a murderous monster . . . it’s disease. In the end, there is nothing scarier than the idea of our own bodies betraying us. Trust me, I know from what I speak on this count.

It’s not a great movie, but it gets it right on the gore count.

I need to criticize it mostly for the last ten minutes, which are just a mess. I’m not entirely sure what was happening during it. For some reason the police had the main character, then he was dead by a river? A previously dead character (I swear we saw this guy’s entrails!) just wanders out of the woods only to die moments later. It’s just so all over the place that it ruined what had come before.

Also, if you should ever get a flesh-eating disease, don’t shave your legs. The results are oogy.

I give it two and a half spooky pumpkins out of five. It lost points for the last ten minutes.

Zombieland
2009
Directed by Ruben Fleischer

I’m not going to belabor this point, but this is the best comedy of 2009. There, I said it. Also, there are zombies and creative zombie kills. Also, lots of laughter. GO WATCH THIS MOVIE.

It gets my highest rating of the countdown so far, five spooky pumpkins out of five.