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!

Feb 29, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the WILLIAM GIRDLER edition!
















I nabbed most of these images from a wicked sweet William Girdler fansite I just discovered. I don't know why more horror-schlock fans aren't turned onto him.

Something Is Out There is the title under which Day of the Animals was rereleased after Girdler died. The alternate title and the accompanying poster don't actually tell you shit about the movie.

Attention comic nerds: the artwork for the first Grizzly poster (with the chick sitting by the fire) is by the great Neal Adams. Thrill your friends with your newfound trivia prowess!

"Warning: not for the bloody mary for lunch bunch!" is just plain awesome. And true!

Feb 28, 2008

Thursday is complete

This is sure to put some spring in your step.



Ah, Killer Workout. Someday...someday I'll get around to reviewing this movie, I swear. It's like a bottle of fine wine, though- you know, like Night Train or Wild Irish Rose or something- that I'm saving for a special occasion. I watch it, but I can't quite get myself to write about it, because, well, how can I? This video speaks louder than I ever could.

Does the song not kick ass? Killer Workout has the best '80s horror soundtrack by people you've never heard of, period. This isn't some John Hughes superstar-laden affair a la Pretty In Pink; Killer Workout simply boasts some of the best anonymous eurotechnocrap in all of moviedom. To wit: the soundtrack features a song called "Aerobicide".

The song in the video above, "Only You Tonight", is performed by someone who's not completely anonymous: Donna DeLory, who's undoubtedly best known as half of Donna and Niki, Madonna's back-up singers throughout the 80s and 90s.

What? I love Madonna. Don't you? And don't you love that Killer Workout video? Come on. Of note:

- the hideous-looking woman with the enormous boobs
- the woman who looks like Michael Jackson circa "Thriller"
- Rhonda's exaggerated eye-rolling and general bad attitude
- condom spillage, indicating that the girl is a slut
- said slut's fingerless gloves, high heels, and massive wedgie
- dubious exercises
- the shot of the woman on the exercise bike, trying to get healthy, for "comic effect"
- the sinister zoom on Jimmy

Not to mention it's just the best song ever. I bet it's stuck in your head right now, making for a kickass Thursday!

Feb 27, 2008

diminishing returns

I try as best I can to shy away from posting useless news item after useless news item about films in production (or pre-production, as the case may be). Sometimes tidbits get me amped and I don't want to spoil anything for myself (see: Silent Hill), and sometimes there's simply an information overload as new, pointless minutiae is released daily on MySpace or something (see: Rob Zombie's Halloween). Either way, the less I know, the better- and speculation is just an exercise in frustration until you see the finished product.

Sometimes, though, you just say to yourself...COME ON.


Today, Bloody-Disgusting posted some (alleged) details about...sigh...The De2cent, the forthcoming sequel to Neil Marshall's caving-expedition-gone-awry flick you may have heard of before. I mean, it's not like I've ever mentioned it before. But anyway, back in the heady days of July the film was announced and I did a bit of ruminating on the plot possibilities:
Will another group of hapless cavers get trapped and eaten underground? Will a group of paramilitary commandos head into the caves to do battle with the crawlers? Will the crawlers emerge from the dark depths and wreak havoc above ground? Will they try to assimilate in a wacky fish-out-of-water style comedy? The possibilities are endless!
Rumor has it that the creators of The De2cent (man, I hate typing that) are taking the Aliens approach. Quoth the B-D:
Shauna Macdonald's character of Sarah returns as a rescue crew finds her and takes her back into the cave to find survivors - where terror ensues once again. We've also been tipped that in the sequel you'll get to see "little" cave monsters in action.
I just...I can't...I have to remember to breathe. Who knows what the film will be when all is said and done? Still...I have to say...I'm not terribly excited beyond the fact that Shauna Macdonald rocked the house in the first film and I'll be happy to see her on screen again. But...it kind of defies all logic, doesn't it? Even Ripley didn't want to go back into the fire- is Sarah, who's a tad bit completely cuckoo nutso at the end of The Descent, really going to return to the cave to look for survivors- especially considering that she knows that all her friends are dead and there are no survivors? Ah, well. Again, speculating like this is an exercise in frustration.

However, what little we know for sure doesn't bode well either, at least in my opinion. It was known from the get-go that Neil Marshall wouldn't be directing, but now it seems he won't be writing, either. And supposedly Lionsgate isn't interested in distributing the film, which kind of boggles the mind. Wasn't The Descent a success for them? Given some of the shit that Lionsgate does distribute, their turning it down is a big red flag. Yet again,
speculating like this is an exercise in frustration, and we'll just have to wait and see. These tidbits, however, are leaving me decidedly unamped.


Feb 26, 2008

bring it

Scarecrow movies are a real crap shoot. For every good, effective one, like Dark Night of the Scarecrow, there's a total- and I do mean total- stinkfest like Hallowed Ground. I watched it and it so made me want to kill myself that I couldn't even muster up the energy to write a scathing review; I could only take solace in the fact that star Jaime Alexander looked like she wanted to kill herself, as well.

One scarecrow flick I've been itchin' to see forever is the 1988 cult sensation Scarecrows. Long unavailable and long rumored to awesome and- gasp- scary, Scarecrows is available on DVD...which means it's prime Film Club material.


VHS cover vs. DVD cover: the battle continues

Here's the skinny, courtesy o' Netflix:
After pulling off a major heist, a group of ex-military outlaws commandeer a plane for their getaway. But when one of the group betrays them by parachuting out with the cash, the rest follow -- and find themselves in the middle of a nightmare. They take shelter in an abandoned farmhouse set in a cornfield, where sinister scarecrows soon come to life and start taking them out one by one in this spine-chilling cult classic.
Awww yeah. I'm so ready- this selection can't get here quickly enough!

The film: Scarecrows
The due date: Monday, March 24

Feb 25, 2008

Film Club: The Manitou

Oh, William Girdler, how I miss you and your work. Grizzly, Day of the Animals, Abby (or I as like to call it, The Blaxxorcist), Three on a Meathook, The Manitou...in a mere 6 years you delivered a lifetime's worth of horror schlock. What would you have given the world had your life not been cut tragically short in a helicopter crash? I can only dream!

The key word of that paragraph, of course, is "schlock". Schlock certainly isn't to everyone's tastes, and it's not usually...well, good. If there's one thing you can say about Girdler's cinematic output, however, it's that he brought us schlock con gusto. You might not actually enjoy The Manitou, say, but chances are you've never seen anything quite like it and you probably never will again. To that notion you might say "Well thank fucking Christ for that", while I myself say "Oh, William Girdler, how I miss you and your work".

Poor Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg) wakes up one day to find some sort of lump on her back- a tumor or something that not only grows at a ridiculously fast rate, but also "kind of moves sometimes". Can I get an "Eww!" up in here?

Her ex-boyfriend Harry (Tony Curtis) is a sham psychic who spends his days bilking gullible, needy old ladies out of their dough by giving Tarot readings whilst decked out in a fake moustache and a fancy zodiac-laden robe. Harry is drawn into Karen's drama when a client, Mrs Herz (Lurene Tuttle)...uh, when Mrs Herz starts chanting the same nonsense Karen has been chanting at night and then...Mrs Herz screams, floats down a hallway, and throws herself headlong down a flight of stairs. As you can imagine, the scene is fucking awesome.




Seriously, I was clapping like a simpleton for, like, ten minutes.

Doctors determine that Karen's tumor isn't a tumor at all- it's actually a fetus. It's a fetus, growing on her back. Now, I've got nothing against motherhood whatsoever- I mean, if my mother wasn't into motherhood then...you know...chances are I wouldn't be here. If you want to have a baby, go for it. Me? I'm not at all interested in having a baby grow where it's supposed to grow, never mind growing on my fucking back. I would have been shrieking "Get it off me!" every second of every day until the thing was gone gone gone.

Karen is pretty much on my wavelength; the problem is, every time the doctors attempt to remove the thing, the fetus-tumor-lump wreaks havoc in the operating room. A surgeon cuts himself with the scalpel, a surgical laser starts zapping all over the place...it seems that the fetus-tumor-lump is on Karen's back to stay.

Harry seeks advice and aid in all manner of places in his quest to de-lumpify his lady love. He and his sham psychic colleague Amelia (Stella Stevens, all gypsy-fied in what is, essentially, black face lite) hold a seance at Karen's Aunt's house in an attempt to figure out what's going on. Despite a crazy light show and a weirdo-melty dude rising from the table, the gang doesn't learn much. Meanwhile, I learn that I can come up with a good number of Elizabeth Taylor jokes to make at Ann Sothern's expense, so all is not lost.

The Scooby Gang then hits up Dr Snow (Burgess Meredith), a cranky professor of something or other who, in one of his books, once mentioned a Native American medicine man being birthed out of a tumor on someone's arm or some shit. Seriously, by this point logic is your enemy; don't fight it- just go with it.

Dr Snow suggests that The Scooby Gang get their own Native American to do battle with the medicine man that's going to burst out of Karen any minute now, so Harry enlists the aid of John Singing Rock (Michael Ansara), who reluctantly agrees to do said battle.

At that point, I made a joke about John Singing Rock not being called John Singing Rock anymore because he's too old...now, he's called John Singing Adult Contemporary. I don't know if it's a good joke or not, but you can feel free to steal it when you show The Manitou to all your friends.

So. John Singing Rock and Harry head to the hospital to save Karen and the world, the medicine man busts a move out of Karen's back...and that's when things get weird. What, you thought it was already weird? You ain't seen nothin' yet, honey.

The last 20 minutes of The Manitou really need to be seen to be believed- any attempt at explanation is sure to fall miserably short, but let's say it's somewhat akin to sitting in a 1970's era Spencer's Gifts which turns into a kaliedoscope before your very eyes and then the kaliedoscope explodes. There's a dude in a lizard suit, the worst fake ice you'll ever hope to see, a jacked-up medicine man midget, decapitations, typewriters with souls, and a naked Susan Strasberg sitting on a floating bed shooting lasers at a big eye. Sometimes, my friends, all is right with the world.



It's pure madness, I tells ya. The Manitou makes no sense from the get-go, but then, somehow, by the time it's over it ends up making even less sense. I suppose you could glean some kind of science vs religion argument out of the whole thing, but really, what's the point? Again, just go with it.

And really, if elderly people floating down hallways and naked women shooting lasers at jacked-up midgets aren't reason enough to make you want to cram The Manitou down your pants, then it's obvious that you have no soul.

Oh, William Girdler, how I miss you and your work.

Film Club Coolies, y'all!

Look Back in Anger
Kindertrauma
Anchorwoman in Peril!
Meg Wood's Boyfriends in the News
Aphorisms and Ectoplasm
Askewed Views
Bloody Mary

Feb 24, 2008

stuff you should know: the today edition

It's Oscar night, y'all! Now, given my tattoos and attitude regarding the Academy Awards, you might think that the last thing I'd be doing tonight is watching the ceremony. That's where you're wrong, o erroneous one! Not only will I be watching the Oscars, I'll be nerding out behind my computer liveblogging the goings-on with a few other rad film bloggers over at GreenCine! Guess what? You can even join in the fun...yes, YOU. Log on (the shit hits the fan at 4:45pm PST) and we'll all hold cyber-hands and kind of watch the Oscars together. It's so 21st century I can't even stand it! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!


You should also be aware that tomorrow is the due date for this month's Film Club pick, The Manitou. I still haven't watched it yet...I've been waiting and savoring the anticipation, but today's the day. Tomorrow all the cool kids will be talking about it. You do want to be cool, don't you?

Feb 21, 2008

calling all YOU.

Good ol' Arbogast recently sent me an email regarding the odd proliferation of negative reactions round Yon Internette to Neil Marshall's forthcoming apocalyptic thriller Doomsday, and it's got me thinking. In a word, what the fuck? Unlike me, most people don't seem to be pumped about it; there are cries of "Looks like Escape From NY", "Looks like Mad Max", "Looks like a pump, feels like a sneaker", blah blah blah. Well no shit. It's a post-apocalyptic, action-flavored, popcorn extravaganza. Is there something wrong with that? Add to that Marshall's impressive track record and I'm baffled by the dismissals.

Internet cynicism kind of bums me out- and believe me, I say that knowing that I've done more than my share of ragging on stuff sight unseen. But...I don't know, it's different when I do it, dammit! Yeah, I'm sure everyone feels that way about themselves. Maybe the difference is, I'm not afraid to get excited about movies. When did looking forward to something or having an unabashed I cannot fucking wait to see that attitude become passe? These are movies, people...they're entertainment. I pay money to be entertained, and I want my fucking face rocked off. I want to circle a release date on my calendar and be the first in line when the date arrives. Sure, sometimes the hype doesn't pay off- I know that Silent Hill certainly didn't measure up to the months and months of metaphorical boner-popping excitement I experienced before it hit screens. But you know what? Those months and months were fun, and pardon me- I'd much rather look forward to a movie than instantly write it off. Are excitement and anticipation uncool? Fuck that.

Because I'm all about putting up rather than shutting up (starting right now, at least), I'm sending out a call to arms to anyone in Internet Land who is on my wavelength and wants to write it down. Yes, people, it's the

HEY, INTERNET, STOP BEING SUCH CYNICAL EFFING DOUCHEBAGS BLOG-A-THON!

One day, and one day only: Tuesday, March 18.

You: write about something in the world of film that fills you with complete and total unbridled fucking retarded JOY.

I don't care what it is. I don't care if it relates to horror, although that'll be my bag for sure. Write about a movie you adore. Write about a single movie moment you adore. A performance, an actor, a trailer you're looking forward to like crazy. Write about that time you went to the movies and what you saw made you so happy you wanted to make out with the screen. Write about that film you couldn't stop thinking about for days, and how awesome that feeling is.

In other words, for just one day, internet, don't be a cynical effing douchebag. Wear your heart on your sleeve and tell us all why you love something. That's not so hard, is it? I mean, that's why I started this friggin' blog to begin with.

Write something on your own blog or site and send me a link. If you don't have a blog or site of your own, send your writing to me and I'll post it here. C'mon, let's rock this shit like we did on Friday the 13th. On Tuesday, March 18, I want the whole internet to feel like this:

WITH AWESOME.

Feb 19, 2008

Driving Miss Stacie

A couple of weeks ago I attended "Focus on Female Directors", an evening of short films, surprisingly enough, directed by women. The results were pretty much as could be expected from any evening of short films...in other words, I liked some of them and I thought some of them stunk. None of them qualified as anything remotely resembling horror, so sorry- that's all the reviewing I'm gonna do.

Nevertheless, I've got a point here, I swear. One of the shorts, In the Spotlight, featured screenwriter/actress/director Guinevere Turner, who just so happened to be in attendance that evening. After the films were over, there was a "reception" in the lobby that boasted free lousy wine and mingling. I spotted GT making a beeline for the door and boom, out she went. I was bummed because I wanted to, for lack of a better phrase, pull a Kelly Hu on her...and no, that's not a euphemism. The code for that is "pull a Waylon Flowers and Madame", silly. I just wanted to do the cheesy "Durr, hi, I like your work" thing with Ms Turner.

Luckily enough, she'd only bolted to grab a smoke and she was hanging outside by herself. With a "Let's go say hi!", I grabbed my friend Elissa and made for the door. Elissa, meanwhile, had no idea why I was so eager, so I clued her in. "Oh, you know who she is. She co-wrote American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page...she wrote *cough* uh, BloodRayne...she was in American Psycho..." Each film rang a bell and Elissa followed me outside. After said cheesy "Durr, hi, I like your work" we made some small talk. We mused about what was actually in the "Women's Empowerment Kit" that was raffled off that evening (I opened with "a box of maxi-pads" while Guinevere countered with "a lifetime membership to Curves") and eventually I asked if she'd be up...or down, or whatever...for a chat. She gave me her email address, promised she wouldn't be boring, and I told her that I'd hold her to that promise. What's worse than a boring interview? Anyway, Elissa congratulated me on my "brass ones" (she couldn't muster up much more than the opening "durr..." as we talked) and that was that.

After several emails trying to figure out logistics (should we do this over the phone? in person? where should we meet?), Turner suggested that I accompany her on a little trip a bit out of town so she could replace her cell phone- we could talk in the car. I think we can all agree that there's nothing in the world more exciting than running errands; surely running someone else's errands with them must be like heaven right here on earth! I asked if we could maybe do her grocery shopping as well, or perhaps she had some dry-cleaning to pick up? Yeah, we'd hit it off well enough that we reached an immediate sassing familiarity- the afternoon would be nothing if not a bit of a laugh, so why not go? Her phone needed replacing because of some big chain of events resulting from using it to take pictures of herself in the bathtub...or something like that. See, she's totally self-absorbed in that way I find immensely entertaining, much as I do with my friend Scott who has nothing but pictures of himself hanging on his walls and only wants children because he thinks he'd look really good driving a Land Rover with two children sitting in the backseat. It's oddly endearing to me.

"I'm Guinevere Turner...but what does it all mean, really?"

Anyway, off we went in search of a new cell phone. We got lost, stopped for directions three times, had some Subway, and ended up spending most of our hours together talking about our personal lives. I think I asked but two questions that were actually on my list, and even now I have no idea how to cobble together anything resembling a coherent "interview" from several hours worth of taped conversation...so I'm simply going to write down anything I find amusing, and I don't care if you find it dull. It's my blog, I can do whatever I want! You are so not the boss of me! But who knows, maybe you find this type of exchange (sitting in a strip mall parking lot, trying to decide where to ask for directions) as positively scintillating as I do:

GT: I wonder if the ladies at Lingerie Dreams can tell us anything.

SP:
Ooh, lingerie "modeling".

GT: Maybe the nail salon...

SP: "Optical Dentist"? I'm confused.

GT: Glasses for your teeth. The sign says it all.

SP: I don't know if I'd trust any of these people for directions.

GT: No...although, what about the Payday Advance people? They tend to know what's up. They're all business. They're not there to shoot girls in lingerie...

SP: Or put glasses on teeth.

Incidentally, the Payday Advance people did not know what was up and we were quickly lost again...

SP: So why screenwriting?

GT: Oh, Jesus.

SP: Dude, I don't know anything about you. I have to ask at least one boring question. Were you into writing as a kid...?

GT: You know what I hate more than anything? People who are like "I've been putting on plays since I was five years old" and "I've been directing films since I was six months old". Like...no. But in actual fact, I have been writing since I was very young.

SP: Riiiight.

GT: Not screenplays, though, because I didn't even understand what a screenplay was until I was, like, 20. I never even thought about it. I was an avid journal keeper when I was a kid- the year between when I was 9 and 10, I have something written down for every single day of that year. It is a fascinating thing if you're incredibly self-involved. I studied fiction writing in college...yes, I've always been a writer. It's a sort of natural extension of my being, to write stuff, to have ideas and to make stuff up or write down things that people have said to me, or to do some combination of the two. I decided to write a screenplay because I wanted to write a lesbian movie...

Guinevere prays to her god Yog-Sothoth

That "lesbian movie", of course, is 1994's Go Fish, the lite drama Turner co-wrote with director Rose Troche. Turner stars as Max, a young lesbian looking for love while spending a lot of time talking with her friends...and that's pretty much the extent of it. Love it or hate it, Go Fish was undeniably groundbreaking as part of that mid-'90s wave (along with Kevin Smith's Clerks) when the word "indie" actually meant something in the movie world. Of course, the Go Fish conversation fell away as we tried to follow the misleading directions from those bastards at Payday Advance...

SP: It just says "to Westurn". "Western" with a T-U-R-N?

GT: No, it's just messy handwriting. I know how to spell "western".

SP: I don't think you do.

GT: No, look! It's an "e". Can I turn here, do you think?

SP: "Do not enter, wrong way"? Probably shouldn't. She lied...Payday Advance lied!

GT: God damn you! I wish I'd looked at her name tag so I could curse her right now. She said we'd just come to it?

SP: This just says "to Western". But she's deceived us once...

GT: Maybe she got scared of me and was like "Just say something so she'll leave- she has the eyes of madness..."

SP: You shouldn't have started threatening her.

GT: Yeah. "Listen, lady, cough it up..."

SP: "You're gonna tell me what I wanna know, see?"

Eventually the conversation got somewhat back on track, although we were still driving around Carson, CA with no clue as to how to get where we wanted to go, which, uh...wasn't in Carson.

GT: I'm often very surprised that screenwriting is what I ended up doing, because it's just sort of a means to an end. I always imagined that I would be a novelist and I still will, it's just been quite a detour. It's been great, I've done a lot of things I didn't think I was capable of. But really, I would just like to make enough money so I can go away to some house in the woods and write books. That's who- well, I can't say that's who I really am because I'm almost 40 years old, this is who I really am, this is what I do. Once I started writing and directing (Turner has written and directed four short films), then I realized I could be a screenwriter if I could also direct because that's different. It's always been hard for me to write a script and then give it over to someone else, even though I did that with Rose and I did that with Mary Harron (director of American Psycho and Bettie Page)- they were very collaborative with me and my input was valued and all that. But writing and directing, it's so satisfying.

SP: I know of screenwriters who are just, "Once I write it, fuck it- I get paid, I hand it over, and I don't really care what they do with it".

GT: To me, that's like being a surrogate mom. Wait, there's a better analogy- like giving a kid up for adoption? Eh, it's not like that either. I guess motherhood and scriptwriting don't have any sort of correlation that I can make sense of.

First directions stop: note the donut shop.

SP: What else, what else...umm, where do babies come from?

GT: Not from lesbians.

SP: So much of your work centers around...lesbiana...do you ever feel obligated to write lesbian content into your work...? (PS: Guinevere Turner is a lesbian)

GT: Weirdly enough, sometimes I feel responsible to not make lesbian stuff just to prove that even though I can and do make lots of lesbian-related work, that I have a lot more to say than just "I'm gay and here's some gay stuff I want to talk about". I want to prove that I have something to say, regardless.

I counter with some barely-coherent "question" wondering how and/or if this attitude sways reactions to her work within in the gay community which, much like any other fan community (hello, horror fan community, I'm looking at YOU) can be unreasonable, unforgiving, and demanding while also remaining completely devoted...particularly in the online world.

Actually, I made quite a few barely-coherent comments and questions that day, which would eventually prompt Guinevere to analyze my speaking patterns...something about me speaking in fragments and ending sentences with qualifiers. I told her not to fucking analyze me thank you very much- but at least she always managed to figure out what I was trying to say.

GT: The irony of being someone who makes a lot of lesbian-related stuff is that people are at once hyper-critical and hyper-demanding, but they will watch anything. Not everyone, of course, but so many lesbians are willing to sit through stuff that's mediocre to poor because they're starved for anything. That's understandable. But at the same time being hyper-critical...and I always like to say- if this is Western, I'll be so fucking happy...

SP: It's Wilmington.

GT: Dammit! But I always like to say, I wish people would put less energy into complaining and judging, and put more energy into making what you want to see.

SP: Well that's what you did with Go Fish.

GT: Yeah, totally.

SP: So, put up or shut up?

GT: Just follow my lead! No, obviously a lot of people who have opinions aren't necessarily in a position or have the desire to actually make content, I just...umm...

Carson was suddenly looking more and more desolate...

GT: Wow, we're going nowhere fast...

SP: We're going to the end of the earth!

GT: Jesus fucking Christ! I'd be crying right now if you weren't here, I just want you to know that. But talking about myself keeps me sane.

SP: You love yourself.

GT: I love myself so much!

from Guin's commercial for Japanese toothpaste
Shiny Fun Happy Teeth OK!

GT: I think American Psycho is so homo on so many levels, I mean it's basically calling a bunch of straight men a bunch of homos...

SP: They're sort of the prototype for the metrosexual.

GT: Right. And Bettie Page has a real kind of homo-sensibility, I think. I don't know, everything is homo to me.

SP: Speaking of homo, I've seen 3 episodes of The L Word, and in one of them...well, there you were.

GT: There I was, playing the lovely Gabby Deveaux.

Gabby Deveaux is, essentially, an unrepentant womanizer...kind of like JR Ewing without the oil and the accent. Or maybe nothing at all like JR; sorry, it's been a while since I've mentioned Dallas around here.

SP: No one likes her.

GT: That's the best! I only worked on the show for two years and I don't watch it, but I think there are a lot more villains now. But that first season, there was no one else like Gabby who was just trouble. She's a bitch, she's unreliable, she's just sort of flippant and self-involved...

SP: Wow, where did they get that? What did you have to tap into...

GT: I had to do a lot of research. No, I'm nicer than Gabby, but let's just say it wasn't a huge stretch for me to embody that kind of person. But playing that character, which is almost campy to me, was so easy and so much fun, it's like "I wanna do this for a living". Banging out a script is sweat and tears- walking around in professional hair and makeup being a bitch is fun.

Wondering if her professional hair is
"bouncin' and behavin'"as Elizabeth
in American Psycho.

SP: I read American Psycho when it first came out, and I really resisted the film because the book is so...

GT: So gnarly.

SP: It's really gnarly. But with you and Mary (Harron) attached, I thought, well, those are interesting choices to bring this book to the screen...and I ended up really liking it.

GT: I think that it's one of those movies that a lot of people- women, in particular- didn't see it because the book had such a feminist backlash.

SP: I liked the tone you took with it...I think it's good that you sort of reined in the gnarliness...

GT: It's funny, (in the book) there are all these really elaborate sex scenes, described like a frickin' Penthouse letter, and then it transitions into something really violent in this sexual context...so it's really disturbing, it plays into kind of a snuff film sensibility. That was something that we were like...we can tell this story without having to really play with that dynamic. I think it takes away from some of the intelligence and humor of the story because it's like, dude...you're just being gross now.

SP: It can pull the audience out of the moment, because they're just reacting to the viscera. You're covering your face...

GT: I just had a realization, what the similarities are between American Psycho and Bettie Page- it never occurred to me until this very moment. Certain kinds of fans didn't think American Psycho was violent enough, and certain kinds of fans didn't think that Bettie Page was...you know...

SP: Boobie enough?

GT: Yeah, horny enough. You know those fans are like, "Don't let Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner get a hold of something good because they will water it down!"

Then I got distracted by a donut shop with a giant donut on top.

GT: That's the first time you've seen a big donut in LA?

SP: Yeah...you know, I feel like I live in The Donut Belt now. There are donut shops everywhere here.

GT: You wanna know why? Because when I first moved here I was really amazed by that, too- like, how many fucking donuts can one population eat? It's because a donut shop is the cheapest business you can start that gets you the kind of license in California by which you have the power to bring other people in your family over from wherever they are.

SP: Which is why you see places like "Mom's Chinese Food and Donuts".

GT: Exactly. It's an immigration loophole. I mean, they're real businesses, but that's why there are so many of them. Isn't that a really interesting fact to know?

SP: It is, actually. I'm going to write about it in my diary tonight.

GT: Let's go in this strip mall and see if we can make some friends.

SP: Go to Domino's. They deliver pizza, they have to know where things are. "Bodacious Q"? What's that?

GT: Barbecue?

SP: Oh. That's a let down.

Guinevere Turner: informative and non-threatening

Domino's, too, would lead us astray with the directions, and on we drove...

SP: Do you like horror movies?

GT: No.

SP: Ugh, I gotta go...

GT: I can't even watch a horror movie trailer, I'm such a wimp. It's not that I don't like them. I can appreciate them, it's just that I get really, really, really scared and then I have nightmares...I try to force myself to see a scary movie and I'll be sitting in the theatre so scared that it's not fun. I don't like rollercoasters, either. Stuff really sticks with me. I know, it's ridiculous. I'm just not emotionally capable of watching them, and I will tell you that I really hate movies like Hostel and Saw and Turistas...all that. Those, I think, are actually forces of evil in the universe and I do not approve of that kind of horror. Funny? Exploitative? Sure, even though I can't watch it. Or real horror movies that are trying to be scary. But ones that are just trying to push the envelope of human decency, I find it a terrifying trend in films.

SP: I think it's dying off. Hostel II and Captivity tanked...I think the trend is dying. But I understand what you're saying. I like horror movies for exactly the reasons why you don't like them- I wanna be scared. I want that adrenaline rush.

GT: If it was just that, it would be okay, but the stuff sticks with me...I don't understand how people can walk away and not be disturbed. Like, when you're in your bed at night and the lights are off, and you can't sleep...

SP: Yeah, I like that! I've been that way since I was a kid, though.

GT: You're weird.

SP: Yeah...

GT: No, it's not weird. There are more people like you, obviously, because it's a booming genre. It makes me sound like such a wuss.

SP: See, I don't have nightmares. I've had, like, one nightmare.

GT: You're so lucky. I used to watch Twilight Zone a lot when I was a kid, which was really scary to me.

SP: Talky Tina scared the hell outta me.

GT: Yeah! How did it go? "I'm Talky Tina...and I don't like you". Talky Tina scared the crap outta me. It's all her fault.

We stopped again, at a gas station, for directions...but this time I went in to ask and we arrived at our destination fifteen minutes later. Is it coincidence? Or am I simply an awesome directions taker-downer? I'd like to think it's the latter.

SP: I think Bettie Page is probably the least judgmental biopic I've ever seen. Was that the intent?

GT: Well, in real life what happened to her after our movie ends was...she went a little cuckoo and she stabbed someone, and she got arrested, and she had a really hard time. We wrote so many versions of the script. We experimented with trying to tell the bulk of someone's life, and we realized that no matter how we wrote it, it would become a morality tale. You have this character who's a free spirit before the '60s, before feminism really had a name in the way that it did in the '60s and '70s, and who was basically a conservative country Baptist girl who decides to make money off her sexuality because she doesn't want to work in an office. And that's rad- that's rad that she had both of those things in her. She wasn't, like, "Fuck everyone!", she was like "You know, I don't like this work- let me find an alternative", you know? I think it's hard for people to understand that she wasn't really a hero- she was, but not in a way like "This is for all women!" It was "This is what I'm gonna do because I can"- but not in a self-empowering way, more of a matter-of-fact way. So if you add the part where she goes crazy at the end, it felt like we were punishing her for her sexual freedom. But I think people want that- I think people want to believe that because she was molested by her father that she became this exhibitionist. But it's "and", not "because".

SP: I think, too, that sometimes people who are "pioneers", I guess, don't realize it at the time. That's not why they're doing something...like with Bettie, she was just trying to do her job- not strike a blow for women's rights, or get the pornography laws changed or whatever.

GT: See, I think there's a bit of self-deception on her part. She either didn't get or didn't let herself get that these photographs were going to be mass-produced, sold secretly in brown paper, and sent to men who were then going to jerk off to them. I don't think she ever let herself believe she was just filling up the spank bank.

SP: Maybe that's how she rectified it all with her religious beliefs, made it okay.

GT: Yeah. It leads to a larger question, like, if someone takes a photograph of me, that later someone says made them want to kill someone- I mean, it's not Jodie Foster's fault that what's-his-name shot Ronald Reagan, you know?

SP: If you take a picture of yourself in the bathtub, for example...

GT: For example. And you end up lost in fucking Carson because of it...

And that's when we finally reached our destination. Then we sat inside the Device Support Center (which sounds both more 12-steppy and more kinky than it actually is) waiting for her cell phone issues to be resolved and talking about BloodRayne. I had to let her know...it's not a very good movie. She knows it's not a very good movie, and she's not particularly bothered by it. Guinevere was given a copy of the game and a little background info to prepare her to write the script...and according to her, after all was said and done only about 20% of what she wrote ended up on screen. Director Uwe Boll went heavy into pre-production before the script was finished and when it was finished, apparently he handed it around for several rewrites. No wonder Turner wants to get into directing her scripts.

GT: People bring it up and they tend to wince, like they think I'll be like "I won't talk about BloodRayne!" or something. I don't give a shit, it's funny! I have a sense of humor about it. I didn't even do it for the money- I was like, why not give it a shot? It's so out of my usual genre, and I'm open to learning. It was a funny process for me- action doesn't come naturally to me.

SP: Well, you tried something new.

GT: C'mon, there's an underwater girl-on-girl fight scene! Come on. Two hot girls, too.

Guinevere Turner laughs at everyone who paid to see BloodRayne

Guinevere got her new phone and surprisingly enough, we had absolutely no problems finding our way home. After passing a billboard for The Eye, which I had just seen, we talked about it and the PG-13 trend in horror. I gave my theories on the subject ("It all goes back to Titanic..."), which soon led to talking about the Spice Girls and our mutual love of Spice World ("It's so subversive...").

Then we just talked about personal stuff (wouldn't YOU like to know?) and had some grinders, the end.

The lesson here is...wait, there's no lesson here. Although I learned that Guinevere Turner is kind of the knees- I guess there's that. Ooh, and I learned about donut shops in Los Angeles! Awesome day!

Feb 18, 2008

horror movie cliche #2274: the moon shot

One of my favorite horror movie cliches is the obligatory moon shot, the director's way of letting you know that the action on-screen is taking place at night. I mean...how are we, the audience, supposed to know that it's night without seeing the moon? Lack of light outside, or darkened windows seen from the inside, or a throwaway comment by a character about the time of day simply aren't enough to prevent viewers from being confused as to what the hell is going on and where is the sun? The last thing that a filmmaker wants is a confused audience.

Mind you, said filmmakers obviously aren't taking into account those people who see a moon shot and conclude that the action is taking place on the moon- they're likely to remain confused.

Here is but a small sampling of moon shots found in horror films. Look for a moon shot in your favorite scary movie today!




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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre '03