FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Nov 24, 2006

ConMania

Tell me, people...can you smell the nerds in the air?

It's reminderin' time! Tomorrow begins Mid-Ohio-Con, wherein I'll be parked at a table selling stuff, expounding upon all things horror great and small at a panel, and hanging out with my pal and tablemate Dirk "Nightmare World" Manning. I hope to see some of you there - not all of you, of course, but some of you. The rest of you can take a flying leap. Be sure to look for me: I'll be the one in the Balrog costume!

Just kidding. I'll be dressed in my finest regular finery, although I did pick up a smart little tulle and taffeta number with lots of brocade to wear to the panel. I hope I'm not underdressed! Perhaps I should get some baby's breath woven into my flaxen locks just in case.

I'll have comics and art to sell, but most important will be the new editions to the StacieCo line...behold, bitches! I give you...the button maker. And a cat.

That's Chloe yelling to the heavens in a jealous rage at her lack of a Badge-a-Minit-Megatron 2000 and opposable thumbs with which to use said Badge-a-Minit-Megatron 2000. I'm telling you, this button-maker is the greatest invention in the history of ever, people...greater than the lightbulb, the wheel, fire, and penicillin. It's even greater than I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! I'm super retardedly excited about it, as sad as that may be. But the possibilities...the possibilities! They're endless! I've totally hitched my wagon to the star that is the Badge-a-Minit-Megatron 2000. I spent hours designing and making buttons like crazy yesterday to have at the con...my frickin' arm is even sore. I don't even like wearing buttons, but the draw may be too great for my weak defenses.

I'm playing with the notion of making a button that says ASK ME ABOUT MY BUTTON!, an idea that for some reason I find endlessly hilarious. It's extra hilarious when I think about what I'd say if I were to make the button and wear the button and get someone to ask me about the button. I'd only reply with "Isn't it neat?", which...I don't know...that really amuses me.

Wish me luck with the unwashed masses! NerdCon, here I come, buttons in hand!

Nov 23, 2006

Holiday Greetings

What's better on Thanksgiving than a little news about Halloween? Of course I'm talking about the upcoming Halloween reimagining/remakenbake from Rob Zombie, silly! Nyuk, nyuk.

Bloody-Disgusting has the scoop on the synopsis and casting info of the as-yet-untitled flick, scheduled to hit screens on August 31, 2007. Everything I've written below the picture is very spoiler heavy, so if you want to be completely surprised by the movie then avert yer gaze now! Come back tomorrow! Don't look! Or if you're like me, that is curious (yellow), then read on, my friends...read on.

Are you still here? I figured as much, you greedy things! Isn't tiny plastic Michael terrifying? Anyway, here's the skinny, yo. It's a huge cast list...I've marked in bold the characters returning from the John Carpenter film for your ease of use. See? I live to give.

STORY LINE: After being committed for 17 years, Michael Myers, now a grown man and still very dangerous, is mistakenly released from the mental institution (where he was committed as a 10 year old) and he immediately returns to Haddonfield, where he wants to find his baby sister, Laurie. Anyone who crosses his path is in mortal danger.

[MICHAEL MYERS (10 YEARS OLD)] Caucasian, 8-12 years old, to play 10. Stringy haired, awkward kid, you get a sense that something is off just by looking at him. He has a very unstable mental state. He enjoys torturing/killing animals and then people. He hates his teenage sister, his stripper mother, and her abusive boyfriend Ronnie. He is, however, protective and very attached to his baby sister, who he calls Boo. This is very disturbing material that we need a very capable young actor for.

[LAURIE STRODE] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 17, Caucasian female. Pretty in an unassuming, natural way, this is Michael Meyer's baby sister. She is a normal, real, smart good girl, who is very responsible and caring. The second Michael sees her, he knows. Once he finds her, he will not let go, and Laurie has a strange feeling all day that someone is watching her...An actress who is riveting to watch.

[ANNIE BRACKETT] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 18, Caucasian, female. PARTIAL NUDITY REQUIRED FOR THIS ROLE. She is LAURIE'S best friend, cute, and curly-haired, full of teen enthusiasm and charm. Borderline bad girl (she rebels, but in a sweet way).

[LYNDA] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 18, Caucasian, female. FULL NUDITY WILL BE REQUIRED for this role. She looks like the hot cheerleader type, but has a bad attitude to go with it. She is the girl that convinced you to smoke cigarettes, smoke weed, steal your parents' car and taught you how to French kiss by making out with your older brother. She is all about opportunity.

[TOMMY DOYLE] 7-12 to play 8 years old, any ethnicity, a cute little boy who talks too much and whose babysitter is LAURIE. He is a mop top of a boy who asks lots of questions, and is filled with fear on Halloween. He believes in the boogey man and the wolf man, and sees Michael Myers before anyone else does.

[JUDITH MYERS] Emancipated or legal 18 to play 16 years old, Caucasian, female. FULL NUDITY REQUIRED FOR THIS ROLE. A celebration of the Trailer trash slut. She dresses inappropriately for her age, and uses her sexuality for mass effect. She flirts with Ronnie even though he is her mom's boyfriend. She and Michael are not close, they fight a lot and she walks in on him while he is masturbating to his photo album of past pet kills. Her response? She calls him a pervert. In no way will this girl ever be a model citizen.

[WESLEY RHOADES] 14-16 years old to play 14, School-bully #1, ugly, acne-scarred. Teases Michael about his mom's profession.

[SHANE WILLIAMS] 14-16 years old, WESLEY'S sidekick, overweight, red headed. Also a bully. He tells Michael that he'd like to get physical with his mom, Deborah. He is Wesley's yes man.

[LOU MARTINI] 51 years old, large sloth of a man, bartender at the strip joint. Cares about business, and is not concerned with Deborah's troubled personal life.

[PRINCIPAL ERICS] 47 years old, thin, nervous, stiff guy who stutters when nervous. He's the Principal at Michael's school. Michael frightens him.

[ASST. PRINCIPAL JANSEN] 45 years old, attractive, older woman. School administrator.

[STEVE] 16 years old, big mess of curly hair, "string-bean" body. JUDITH'S boyfriend. He has sex with JUDITH and then brags about it. He is a life like skinny stoner character.

[FEMALE NEWS REPORTER #1] Describes the murders taking place. Real television reporting experience a plus.

[REPORTER #2] Describes the murders taking place. Real television reporting experience a plus.

[MARIA SANTOS] 34 years old, REPORTER

[MORGAN WALKER] 54 years old. Sanitarium's Head of Operations. Rail-thin man in a dark gray suit. He is responsible for MICHAEL'S escape. WE ARE LOOKING FOR A STRONG CAMEO APPEARANCE HERE - STAR NAMES ONLY

[DR. KOPLENSON] 45 years old, head physician at Sanitarium, large bearded man with a bandaged eye, recommends minimum security for MICHAEL MEYERS. WE ARE LOOKING FOR A STRONG CAMEO APPEARANCE HERE - STAR NAMES ONLY

[COUNCILMAN EDWARDS ] 52 years old. "Puffy" man with a bad comb over; WE ARE LOOKING FOR A STRONG CAMEO APPEARANCE HERE - STAR NAMES ONLY

[ELLEN LOOMIS] 55 years old, attractive silver-haired woman. The bedrock of the Loomis household. She is the ideal wife, caring supportive, terrifically worried about her husband's borderline obsession with his most famous patient. She is long suffering and a woman who the audience will need to connect with.

[LISA GREY] 50 years old, EILEEN'S best friend. She comes over for dinner more often than not, and often brings the wine she likes to drink. Thank god Eileen has Lisa to lean on!

[LUKE GREY] 56 years old, Older DR. LOOMIS' friend and Lisa's husband, distinguished looking professor type.

[KENDALL JACKS] Attendant at the Sanitarium, NOEL KLUGGS' trouble making buddy, and rapist. He is in excellent physical shape - he can handle the rowdy patient. He is one half of a terrifying team - no one wants these two attending their sick family members.

[KAREN MERCY] 27 years old, cute, severely mentally disabled, at sanitarium.

[EARL HICKS] 35 years old, graveyard-shift security guard at sanitarium.

[BILL JUDGE] 30s-50s, another security guard.

[BIG JOE GRIZZLY] 45 years old, large mountain-man. His size gives him a natural confidence, and he does not scare easily. He is a trucker dressed in dirty coveralls.

[MASON STRODE] 51 years old, handsome man with graying hair. LAURIE'S dad. He hates corporate America. He is concerned with his daughter's safety, is a great guy, and seems to be the father figure that would survive any horror film.

[CYNTHIA STRODE] 45 years old, attractive woman with classic bone structure. MASON'S wife. LAURIE'S mom. Should look like a corn fed Midwestern all American mom, not pulled too tight.

[DEREK ALLEN] 55 years old, unshaven country type, dressed in hunting gear, works at a Gun Store (WEAPONS GALORE!) WE ARE LOOKING FOR A STRONG CAMEO APPEARANCE HERE – THE GREAT AMERICAN CHARACTER ACTOR WHO LOVES A GOOD SPOTLIGHT SCENE.

[GRANT CLARK] 54 years old, cemetery grounds-keeper. He has worked at this cemetery all of his adult life. Takes pride in his work.

[PAUL] 18-19, probably held back a year, as he is ANNIE'S Boyfriend (Annie likes older guys, even if they are stupid). He is a stringy or shaggy haired bony faced teenager. He smokes, but they are probably menthols. A dude.

[BARBARA FLORENTINE] 52 years old, head of Haddonfield Adoption Agency. A real 'Stick to the Rules' type. Character actors welcome.

[LIEUTENANT CHARLES] A police officer who is there throughout the film, as a man devoted to his job and his community.

[STAN CAMPBELL] 60 years old, the county coroner. One line - has had this job for years.

[MR. DOYLE] TOMMY'S Dad. One scene. Caucasian, middle-aged. A parent type.

[MRS. DOYLE] TOMMY'S Mom. One scene. Caucasian, middle-aged. A parent type.

[AARON KRAMER] 53 years old, nervous looking file clerk, on parole, a drug user. Says "um" a lot, works for BARBARA. GREAT FUN CAMEO FOR A BELOVED CHARACTER ACTOR OF NOTE.

[LINDSAY WALLACE] 9 years old, any ethnicity, the young girl that ANNIE baby-sits. She ignores ANNIE and is enthralled with the TV. She is very smart, probably smarter than Annie. This is a role that requires a lot of scene specific smart acting choices.

[BOB SIMMS] 17 years old, tall, long haired stoner-type. He is Lynda's boyfriend, and likes to guzzle beer.

[OFFICER LOWERY] 34 years old, he responds to LAURIE'S 911 call.
__________________________________________________________

I guess Dr. Loomis is already cast, since he's not on the list; same goes for Annie's dad.

What's most noteworthy to me is the light Mr. Zombie is casting on Michael, his sister Judith, and their mother. So...Michael's a serial killer in training, what with the "weirdness" and the killing of animals. Judith is a "trailer trash slut" and calls Michael a pervert so, you know, in a way she totally deserves to get killed by her brother. And, of course, their mother is a stripper. Sigh.

This effort is going to be so far removed from the original that it's not really worth comparing the two...which, as always, leaves me begging the question "Why not change the plot just a teensy bit more and come up with something completely original?" Going by the casting call list alone, I think you can already guage what the tone will be like for this movie- sort of dirty and nasty and ugly. I mean, full nudity (for the women, of course)! Strippers! Druggies! Animal killings! Everything completely opposite to Carpenter's work. Why not, I suppose, if it's "reimagining". I can't say it sounds appealing, but that's probably just me.

John Carpenter and Debra Hill created a myth with their version of Michael Myers. He was the boogeyman, the one who keeps everyone awake at night. He was The Shape. Rob Zombie seems to be creating a standard serial killer with his version of Michael Myers. That idea seems a little dull to me, to demystify such an intriguing character- I mean, look how bad things got when they tried to explain Michael Myers in Parts 5 and 6.

But hey, you know...vive la difference and all that.

Nov 20, 2006

Ho Ho Horrible

You know what I totally love? You guys. No, really. You guys are all so rad, what with the reading of this humble enterprise and the commenting and the sending me links and stuff. I do so like it when people send me links to various whatnots around The Internet for, you see, many things come and go and I miss them. Despite what you may think, I do things other than Final Girl. I know you don't like to hear that, but it's true. Final Girl may light up my life, but the fact is I'm not always online. I'm not always "jacked in" or "logged on" or whatever other outdated Interspeak you can come up with. My point here is, keep sending me links if you feel like it. It doth rock mightily.

For instance, in a recent comment, a supercool reader pointed me to Ain't it Cool News, where there's a comparison of the posters for both the original Black Christmas and the upcoming remake. I've brought the images home to roost for discussion, thanks to the power of The Internet. Let us begin with the poster for the original movie, this one in particular is sporting one of the film's alternate titles:

OK, alright. Nothing terribly spectacular, but nothing terribly awful, either. The corpse with a bag is probably the most enduring image from the film, so it's fitting to use it here. I like the tagline...it's so so 70s, when, instead of trying to be a cool catchphrase, taglines tried to convince you that films were shocking and terrifying (see also: Last House on the Left, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Nowadays there's no real pizzazz, you know? It's like..."Evil has a new face!", which just makes me think, "Well, good for evil! How nice."

Now then, on to the poster for the remake. Before I put it up here, let me just say that I have Flintstones Chewable Dial-Up Internet Service here. Yes, I know...how very 20th century of me. The reason this matters is, I read the copy on Ain't It Cool before the image loaded and I was led to believe by the praise therein that the poster would be...well...not what I think...anyway, look at it, will you?

What. The fuck. IS THAT? I'm not just being prejudicial against the remake, I swear. I have the highest hopes for every single horror movie that emerges on screens both large and small, honestly, no matter what. But that, my friends...that poster is a piece of brightly colored crap. I really hate to get my nerd on like this, but that fucking font used on the tagline drives me nuts. Who decided to use some fucking KidPrintScriptBullShit facsimile from Microsoft Fucking Word on a horror movie poster? I see no reason to ever use such a whimsical font, least of all on a horror movie poster.

Now then, the image itself. Is that a dead person? Is that someone hiding from someone else, being scared? Is someone waiting under the fucking fiber optics to see if Santa will really come to snack on the cookies and milk? I have no idea. It's pretty damn reminiscent of the poster for the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, an image which I also thought was terrible. It could have maybe been ok, but the girl pinned down looks decidedly unterrified. Maybe they're just reusing the same bland girl head over and over again with different toppings for different movies. Now it's a hand! Now it's fiber optics! Use it again for the Halloween remake, but be sure to use a pumpkin!

Is the remake officially being called "Black Xmas"? I guess that red "x" means something bad will happen during the movie, but frankly it just makes me assume I should watch the movie whilst drinking a Mountain Dew and doing a goofy foot ollie kickflip on my board. How hip!

Ah, Mondays.

Nov 15, 2006

Mistaken Identity

Months and months ago, for one reason or another, I went to Pittsburgh. Whilst doing my thing in Pittsburgh, whatever that thing happened to be, I came across a massive store selling all manner of music and movies. They had a great horror section, full of older, used titles, and I came out with a big bagful of VHS. ‘Twas a magical afternoon in yon Olde Pittsburghe Towne.

One of the movies I picked up was a little something called Trick or Treat, starring David Carradine and Carrie Snodgress. The box promised that this movie, the anxiously-awaited directorial debut of Orson Welles’ chief cameraman, would be a terrifying tale of spoiled brats, magic tricks, and an escaped nutso from the local insane asylum. After Trick or Treat came home with me, I checked out some reviews online and, shock of all shocks, it seemed that the promises promised by the box would turn out to be the lies of a liar. Apparently, it’s a dull, plodding movie with no scares whatsoever. Unexcited about the prospect of watching a dull, plodding movie with no scares whatsoever, I kept putting off putting it in the VCR. There was always something better to watch, or something worse to watch but at least the crappiness and letdown would be a surprise.

Push came to shove the other night, however. In a fit of reckless abandon, I decided to attempt to recapture the glory days of USA’s Saturday Nightmares or Up All Night and stay up late watching a horror movie. Perusing my shelf, I saw the Trick or Treat box peering at me plaintively, sending me signals of neglect and rejection. Dude, I sent it signals right back. I was all “Trick or Treat, nothing personal, but…I know you’re gonna suck. I’ve read all about you, and quite frankly, I can’t say that I’m all that enthusiastic about spending 90 minutes with you.” The next thing I know, Trick or Treat was totally getting whiny and was all “But you brought me home! You brought me into your home, you put me on a shelf, and you’ve ignored me ever since. How do you know I’m not the right movie for you? Just because I’m misunderstood by everyone, doesn’t mean that you and I won’t really connect, dig? We could really get something special going if you’d only give me a chance to make you happy.” I thought Trick or Treat was getting in way too deep here, so I was all “Trick or Treat, listen, I—“ and then Trick or Treat cut me off with “If you’re not going to watch me, then cut me loose, dammit. Just cut me loose! Sell me on eBay, sell me at Half Price Books. Take me to Goodwill and offer me up to the poor, tired, huddled masses. Drive me all the way back to Pittsburgh and throw me in the Monongahela, I don’t even care anymore. But if I sit here ignored next to your copy of Clash of the Titans much longer, there’s no telling what I’ll do.”

So I was like “Umm…are you threatening me, Trick or Treat? Are you fucking threatening ME in MY house? Because I will totally whale on you like you’ve never—“ but then I stopped. Trick or Treat had started to cry softly. I couldn't take it...I relented. I decided just to watch the damn movie and get it over with. I didn’t want to fight anymore, you know? I just wanted to sit in the dark and watch a horror movie without all the fussin’ and the fuedin’. So, after months and months of procrastination, I took the tape over to the VCR, put it in, pressed play, and…

It was the wrong fucking movie! After all that time, it wasn’t even the right Trick or Treat. You see, instead of the 1982 David Carradine flick, I was treated to the 1986 Trick or Treat starring Marc Price of television’s Family Ties as a mulleted metalhead who unleashes the spirit of a dead rocker upon the bullies who bully him.

I have to admit, when I realized what was going on, I was a little excited. I’d seen Trick or Treat in the theatre during its initial run, and while I didn’t remember going all goo-goo over it, surely it had to be better than the turkey I’d been avoiding. I’m sorry to say, however, that as the movie progressed, I remembered that I thought Trick or Treat sucked when I saw it the first time and lo and behold, it still kinda sucked. It fit the bill of late night cheesy horror, though, so I suppose I was satisfied on that level.

As I said, Marc Price of television’s Family Ties stars as Eddie “Ragman” Weinbauer, your typical picked-on, metal-lovin’, mullet-sportin’ outcast. He’s humiliated repeatedly by the preppy crowd, led by none other than Doug Savant of television’s Melrose Place. Eddie finds solace in music, particularly the supposedly scary devil-worshipping style but really lite and lame style metal music of his hero, Sammi Curr. When Curr dies in a hotel fire, Eddie is distraught. As a…err, consolation prize, Eddie receives from a DJ friend (Gene Simmons of television's KISS in a cameo) the studio acetate of Curr’s last recording. Soon enough, Eddie is playing the record backwards and communicating with Sammi Curr from beyond the grave. To further make Tipper Gore’s worst nightmares come true, Eddie and Sammi make a pact to “get back” at all the bullies.

No one really ends up getting terribly harmed, but Eddie thinks things are getting out of hand anyway and tells Sammi their reign of lite terror needs to end. Sammi ain’t havin’ none of that, though, and decides to show up for real. Now corporeal, Sammi starts shooting Emperor Palpatine-style lightning out of his fingers and his guitar while he glowers at the camera “menacingly”. It’s up to Eddie to save the day, but how can he turn against his “rock warrior hero”?

Yeah. Trick or Treat starts out promising, and I think Marc Price does a believable job as the metalhead outcast everyone knew in high school. Once Sammi Curr starts wreaking “havoc”, though, the movie falls apart. The end is dull and drawn out as Eddie races around town destroying radios and avoiding Sammi’s glowering. Though I yearn for those sweet sweet yesterdays when our high school’s disenfranchised youth would play heavy metal records backwards and invoke the evil spirits of dead heavy metal rockers to smite their enemies instead of simply toting shotguns to school, Trick or Treat is just kind of a mess.

It’s entirely possible, however, that I avoided an even bigger mess by watching this Trick or Treat, so I suppose I should be thankful. At least the box will no longer stare at me longingly from afar.

Nov 14, 2006

All About Meve

Today's post is totally going to be like a broadcast from Action News 8 with 50 Doppler radars and several exclamation points!

ITEM!

Today sees the launch of a new site in my quest for total domination of The Internet. Yes, folks, it's the birthday of a little site called Genre Girls, wherein I and some other lovely ladies you either do know or should know will be posting all about...take a guess...genre flicks. Isn't it exciting? You see, Final Girl is totally my soulmate, but...sometimes...I just...I need to talk about Cynthia Rothrock movies, you know? And I like, don't want to dilute the horror purity of what we share, Final Girl, so I had to start something completely new where I could talk about not horror movies. Then I invited some awesome friends to play along- ain't life grand? Yes, sometimes it is. So. If you like what I have to say here at FG, you just might like what I have to say at GG. AND, in addition to my profanity-riddled musings, there are three other flavors in the Genre Girls rainbow! WOW! The Internet just got 5.2% cooler, I swear.

ITEM!

Remember last year when I went to Mid-Ohio-Con and totally became best friends with Margot Kidder? Well, guess what?? It's that time of the year once more! Yes, true believers, Mid-Ohio-Con is fast approaching! Over Thanksgiving weekend, many a nerd will flock to...err...beautiful downtown Columbus, Ohio for 2 days of nerd-related activities. Once again, I'll be there and I'll be square. Sadly there will be no Margot Kidder this time around, but there will be Joyce DeWitt of television's Three's Company- and that's...something, right? Dear lord.

Anyway, yeah, I'll be sitting at a table hawking my wares, spinning ribald tales, kissing babies, thumb wrestling Stormtroopers, and whatever else one does at a NerdCon. AH! BUT! The best thing of all...perhaps the best thing in the whole world...is that I'll be speaking on a horror panel on Saturday afternoon, November 25! Yeah yeah! If you click here and read about the Horror of it All panel, you will see my name. I am completely floored and honored to have been asked to participate. I expect each and every one of you to be there.

Pshoo pshoo!<---that's the Awesome Laser, shooting directly at YOU. ITEM!

Who likes vintage horror and sci-fi movie poster art? Who agrees that they just don't make movie posters like they used to? I do! I totally do, man! Totally! You can imagine, then, that I just about peed my pants when I got a gig doing sketches of vintage horror and sci-fi movie poster art for a vintage horror and sci-fi movie poster art collector card set! Again, I say, pshoo pshoo!<---the Awesome Laser is once more shooting directly at YOU. See, how it works is, a trading card set is released. When people buy an entire box of packs of trading cards, inside the box they'll receive a super neato piece of original trading-card-sized art, a sketch card. I'm one of the lucky folks doing the sketch cards, of movie posters from such awesome old flicks like The Fly, The Reptile, and Metropolis. You can read more about the card set right here. Cool, right? I expect each and every one of you to buy hundreds and hundreds of boxes in the hope of scoring a Stacie Ponder original. Nyah!

ITEM!

This weekend sees the nationwide opening of the much-ballyhooed horror film fest, 8 Films to Die For. Yes, for one weekend only, you can catch some fresh and exciting new horror flicks in theatres around the country- how awesome is that? It's so awesome that I think it warrants the use of the Awesome Laser. Pshoo pshoo! The only drawback to the whole horrorfest thang is that there's no all-encompassing pass to catch all eight flicks- you've gotta buy tickets for each movie individually. Perhaps I'm being greedy, but I want to see them all, dammit. I feel it's my duty as your Final Girl to check out all these movies and report back my findings. But, damn, eight movies at today's ticket prices? Am I made of money? I mean, do I look like some richy rich fancy pants like Conrad Bain of television's Diff'rent Strokes? The answer is no. No, sir, I do not. This means I'll have to pick and choose, and I hate picking and choosing. I had to do it once with my six children (I was moving into a 2-bedroom condo and I could therefore only take one child with me) and it was awful. Alas, alack. But I love the idea of this horror festival. Talk about bitchin'!

See, did I deliver the Action News exclamation marks or what? But enough about me. How are you?



*note to self: during horror panel, control swearing and talking about love of Claire Bloom in The Haunting

Nov 13, 2006

I Heart: The Convent

It's 1959. A young woman in sunglasses, Christine, walks into the St Francis Boarding School for Girls to the strains of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me". She's got a shotgun, a can of gasoline, and a lit cigarette. She uses the shotgun to blow away all the nuns and the priest, than sets the convent on fire.

40 years later, as can be expected, a group of kids breaks into the condemned convent for wacky teenage hijinks. As can also be expected, the evil of the convent is soon unleashed (in the form of fluorescent zombie nuns...yeah, read that again and you'll have an inkling why I heart this movie so much) and things quickly turn to shit. It's up to Christine and her shotgun to set things right for good.

Oh dear god, I love The Convent (2000). It perfectly skirts the line between horror and comedy and has a decidedly 80s vibe to it. I don't mean it feels dated or it's trying to emulate an era superficially (as the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did)- I mean it's got that balls-out, over-the-top, ludicrous fun vibe of flicks from that era, like Night of the Demons, Dead Alive, and Evil Dead. It takes its non-seriousness completely seriously...does that makes sense? It makes sense to me.

While The Convent is certainly a movie to watch with your friends over a few beers, there's a huge amount of originality and skill lurking beneath that fine patina of cheese. Director Mike Mendez employs some clever camera tricks that are never too clever- the style fits the substance. Film is sped up and slowed down, the zombie nuns move in a jerky style and titter like chipmunks...and it works. The opening sequence, where Christine lays down the law in the chapel, is beautifully shot and synched up nicely with the soundtrack. There's insane amounts of gore- not realistic gore that will make you cringe (a la Fulci), but rather crazy silly exploding head-style gore that doesn't always look real. I'd love to see him tackle a more straightforward horror film to see what he'd come up with.

And dammit, Chaton Anderson's script is funny. From the shroom-induced hallucination scene to the inept suburban satanists (with their "dagger of despair"), the movie is a good time throughout. One of my favorite sequences is a flashback to 1959, wherein Christine tells the story of how the nuns at the convent originally became possessed. Everyone in the school knew something wasn't right, but business continued on as normal. The nuns, though...man, they sure were acting weird! It's hilarious.

What really swings The Convent clearly into "I Heart" territory is the inspired casting of Adrienne Barbeau as adult Christine. She's stated in interviews that Christine, along with Wilma in Creepshow, is a favorite role in her long career. It's obvious that she's having an absolute blast as the foul-mouthed, cranky, tough woman who's ready to drive her motorcycle into a nest of day-glo zombie nuns to heave some molotov cocktails and end their reign of terror.
Every five years or so you stupid kids think it'd be great fun to break into the convent and see where it all happened. Then when all hell breaks loose, you come lookin' for the chick who started it. Well, fuck that noise!
God bless that woman.

Simply put, The Convent has it all: whiskey, flaming nuns, Lesley Gore, baseball bats, day-glo makeup, sawed-off shotguns, molotov cocktails, exploding heads, virgin sacrifices ("They fuckin' love virgins! Goddamn demons- it's always something with a virgin!")...the list goes on. I mean, if a leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, machete-wielding, foul-mouthed Adrienne Barbeau isn't enough for you, then what is? What could be? What more could you possibly want from a movie, people??

Nov 10, 2006

Early Christmas

Hooray for unexpected presents one buys oneself! Yes, the book I ordered on The Internet when I was 7 finally went to a second printing and has arrived at my lovely house. I now hold in my dirty greasy clutches my very own copy of Peter M. Bracke's SWEET chronicle of the Friday the 13th films, Crystal Lake Memories. I've only just begun to dig into it, but boy oh boy, true believers! Each film in the series gets a big fat chapter with photos galore, commentary, and oral history-style entries from cast and crew. It's exhaustive. I think it's simply kind of awesome that a book like this- a beautiful, lovely, coffee table style hardcover tome- about a reviled series of 'throwaway' slasher flicks would even get published. Sometimes life is good, my friends. Perhaps the hardcover fancy chronicle of Dallas won't exist solely in my head someday. I love Dallas. Man, I love that episode where Lucy was all hopped up on goofballs and Sue Ellen was pregnant and drunk and she fell down the stairs and Lucy was kneeling by her and slurring her words and was all like "Whhhhhhatttrrre youuu doooin, SueElllen? Arrre youu goinnn out?"

Anyway.

This megasupersizedgigundo work is everything you could possibly want to know about Jason and Co, in a fucking coffee table book! Crystal Lake Memories will reside comfortably next to my giant Walker Evans coffee table book because that's just how I roll.




*note to self: buy coffee table

Nov 9, 2006

Hi.

I'd say that things are back to normal, but sometimes you simply can't go back to normal. You have to learn to deal with a new normal, right? I'm not sure what new normal is yet, but I've reached the point where one must throw one's hands in the air and say "Fuck this noise" and get back in the game. We'll see what happens.

And no, I'm not getting a sex change, in case that's what you were thinking.

So on Halloween I cleverly went to see some movie called Halloween. Much fun was had by all. I've seen the movie so many times it's difficult to be objective about it- it's always been one of my favorites, but watching it this time I couldn't help but think that if I were seeing it for the first time, if I were 54 years younger, there's a chance I would've been bored out of my gourd. It feels like such a relic, despite the fact that it's not at all dated. Aside from Lynda's incessant (and incessantly awesome) "Totally!"s, there's nary a cultural anachronism in the film. At the same time, however, the style of the filmmaking is clearly from another era. It's all build, it's all mood. The thrills and kills are all crammed into the last 20 minutes of a two-hour film. There's no jump cuts, almost no blood...and even at the height of the 'action', it's subdued and calm. It's a masterpiece of horror cinema, but kids don't want masterpieces of cinema, do they? I don't mean the young'uns will accept anything that's fed to them- crap is crap and is generally easily detected, no matter how 'cool' it's made to seem. But pacing in entertainment is vastly different today than it was in 1978.

Which brings me to the forthcoming remake / reimagining / reuintedanditfeelssogoodening of Halloween. A part of me, of course, thinks it's a completely unnecessary venture. Another part of me, however, thinks well, why the hell not? I can't say I have the utmost faith in Rob Zombie after House of 1000 Corpses, but breathing new life into an old flick might not hurt. I know for sure it won't hurt any less than Parts 5, 6, or Resurrection. It's impossible. Critical mass of suckage was achieved with those shitpiles. The bubble burst, so to speak, which clearly plays in Senor Zombie's favor. And no matter what Michael Myers ends up doing on the screen next year, it won't take away from my enjoyment of Carpenter's flick. Who knows, it might even be good. Stranger things have happened. I loved the Dawn of the Dead remake, despite the fact that I was bound and determined not to. In some respects, I like it more than I like the original.

Remember a while back when I mentioned Annie's death scene and the ridiculous face she makes? Well, while watching Halloween in a darkened theatre the big Laurie finds all the bodies scene happened and reminded me about this:

What the fuck? Apparently I need to take a class in...err, death, I guess...at my local community college, because I'm wholly unconvinced that people's eyes cross like that when they die. If it is true, I call foul. Doesn't death take away enough dignity without leaving one looking like poor Lynda here? It's as if Laurie has just stumbled upon the retarded sister she never knew she had because her parents keep the girl locked away in a cupboard.

Totally.

Nov 4, 2006

hiatus

Hey kids, I'm going on a bit of a hiatus here. I hope to return to you as soon as possible...could be tomorrow, for all I know.

At the moment, though, I feel like jumping into a pit full of hungry troglodytes. These things happen, right?

Nov 2, 2006

in absentia

Sorry I've been quiet and October fizzled out. Here's a list of possible excuses...one of which may actually be true! I'll leave the decision up to you, however, so as to cater to all your needs and keep you entertained and guessing:

- tennis elbow
- major candy corn/tequila bender
- simple chronic halitosis
- achy breaky heart
- my house has been overrun by mallet-wielding, snowsuit-clad dwarves (I'm posting from my hiding spot in my crawlspace...sshh! They might hear me!)
- ebola
- I've been runnin'...against the wind
- my time machine is complete and I've been hanging out with Claire Bloom in The Haunting
- my transporter machine is complete but something went wrong and I now am a horribly disfigured creature to be known heretofore as PonderFly
- I cloned myself because I'm really busy and I thought the clones could help me get shit done but all they do is sit around playing video games
- my hair got caught in an escalator and I've only just been extracted

That should keep you occupied for a while. Keep reaching for the stars...my ebola will clear up in a jif. Not that I have ebola, maybe, but it's on the list.