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...beware yon spoilers!

Apr 30, 2008

wait...what?

You might know by now that for months and months I've had a metaphorical anticipation boner for the Spanish film [REC]. Some of you have seen it and have raved about it, which has only made my situation more...urgent.

I was checking out what's up over at Mermaid Heather earlier, and apparently at a Prom Night screening she caught a trailer for something called Quarantine...which seems to be a remake of [REC], yes? Is this news to you as well, or has it been public knowledge forever and I'm woefully behind the curve? That's entirely possible. I'm only cutting edge 86% of the time, and right now most of my cutting edge-ness is being utilized in my hair product choices. Or...is everyone pretending it's not a remake and the amazing, identical similarities are a madcap series of co-inky-dinks?

Why does the Quarantine trailer need all the blah blah blah? Why has it been remade to begin with? Because people hate subtitles? Reading is fucking fundamental, y'all!

[REC]





Quarantine


The Wednesday Dee

AMC time, y'all! Which end lines rock your face off? Do tell.

I'm feeling the need for a theme week around here. Something to jazz the place up a little.

Apr 29, 2008

oh my sides

You might not believe me, but it's true- I went into a viewing of the April Fool's Day remake last night with a completely open mind. From what I'd gathered, the film bears virtually no resemblance to the original (which we all know I adore), so why bother getting all wrapped up in comparisons? Better to just treat this for what it is: its own film. While most critics loathed it, at least one of my friends enjoyed it and saw something good in it; maybe I would, too. Hey, stranger things have happened- I ended up really digging House of Wax, which was an even bigger surprise than that time I was a soldier in the IRA and I totally befriended this dude I was holding hostage but things got really fucked and the dude died and I was all "Aw, man!" and so I went to find his girlfriend, and his girlfriend and I started dating each other and things were going swell but then I found out that she totally had a penis and I was all "Aw, man!"

I mean, uh...the time I saw that in a movie. Yes...a movie.

A bunch of super rich friends with super rich names like "Blaine Cartier" and "Barbie" and "Sir Caviar Wainscott Pennybottom III" are having a super rich coming out party for super rich Torrance (Scout Taylor-Compton) on super rich April Fool's Day. Desiree (Taylor Cole), the hostess with the mostess, is apparently a big fan of practical jokes and she's constantly pulling eeeevil pranks- so much so that they're as expected as they are irritating. I know this because a character said it, so it must be true regardless of the fact that we never see Desiree actually, you know, playing jokes on anybody.

Wait! I take that back! She put some blue stuff in someone's glass and then when that someone drank a toast, his mouth turned totally blue! Indeed it was a fiendish trick, so subtle in its execution and labyrinthine in its intricacies that it bore the true mark of a consummate professional prankster. It wasn't a joke that could have been pulled off by someone who simply spent a buck at Mario's Magic Shop, you know?

Anyway, Desiree totally hates Milan (Sabrina Aldridge) because...umm...because she...err, well, just because, I guess. See, relationships were never really established over the course of April Fool's Day; sure, the common denominator was that everyone was rich, but all the characters were of such varying ages and occupations that it made no sense for them all to be friends. But! No matter. Milan has been away for a time working with developmentally disabled kids or something, and Desiree wants to humiliate her something bad. Her big plan is to surreptitiously film her brother Blaine (Josh Henderson) and Milan having sex and then put it on the internet! Oh ho ho, what a devilish rib-tickler that is. Blaine agrees, someone roofies Milan's drink, Milan goes "Gak gak gak!", gets blurry (no, not blurry-eyed- she gets blurry), and pitches over a railing, falling to the floor below with a thud. Milan be dead, y'all.

Or be she?

One year later, everyone receives a note from "Milan" saying, in effect, I Know What You Did Last April Fool's Day. Then everyone except Desiree ends up dying.

Yes, those two brief sentences summarize the next hour or so of the movie, an hour which is so boring and bland and tensionless and stupid that two brief sentences is really all I can muster.

Is Milan actually dead? Why is Desiree the last one alive? Who killed all these super rich jerks? Are they really dead? Does the title April Fool's Day have anything to do with anything?

Yes, because, no one, no, doy.

The "kills", when they were shown were played for laughs. From the mincing "fag" flailing about in his pool as he "drowned" to the dude making Shemp-like "Woob woob woob" noises as he was run over by a van, I never felt anything during these sequences beyond a sort of world-weary resignation. I was never wrapped up in the "whodunit" and I never cared about anybody or anything- and that's not entirely because I knew to expect a twist.

I could see what the filmmakers were going for with April Fool's Day, and it wasn't horror- they were attempting, I think, some sort of clever mystery-comedy hybrid. "Attempting" and "executing" certainly aren't the same thing, however, and in the end April Fool's Day is like a week-old loaf of Value Brand white bread. It's dry, it's flavorless, it's boring, it's forgettable, it's cheap, and it's ultimately not good for you.

Oh well. At least I'll always have Deborah Foreman- she's some whole grain goodness, that one.

Apr 27, 2008

hurr hurr looka him

So this guy sent me an email, right? And he was all, "If I pay you, will you paint a picture of Baghead Jason from Friday the 13th Part 2?" and I was like "Fuck yeah!" and then he did and then I did and then here it is:

Yay paintings!

Apr 25, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the CLIVE BARKER edition!












Poster #2: What exactly is so funny, Mr Pinhead? Would you like to share your joke with the rest of the class?

Wow, the Nightbreed poster is so sweet and so much better than Nightbreed.

Dear Lord of Illusions, floating smoke eyeballs between hands aren't really scary. PS, you're not a very good movie.

When I went to SDCC last year and attended the panel for Midnight Meat Train, one thing that got me psyched for it was a comment made by director Ryuhei Kitamura- that he was trying to keep the film along the lines of Hellraiser and Candyman, since he thought those were the only good movies based on the work of Clive Barker. I agree with him!

Clive Barker will be at this weekend's Fangoria Convention Thingy, as will I. While I'm doing the con later today, I hope you'll be staying home and thinking up a fabulous entry for my Name That Name contest. Or you can do it while you're at work- I'd actually prefer that, if you shirked your work responsibilities and thought up silly column names for me.

Apr 23, 2008

The Wednesday Bee

Lots of stuff today, kids...lots of stuff! Let's get to it!

Firstly, it's time for another column at AMC's Monsterfest...this time 'round, it's all about our homeboy Jason. Perhaps you've heard of him? He's the one without the snazzy hat. Oh, and be sure to comment over there so the halls don't echo with loneliness and AMC doesn't wonder why they took me on.

Secondly, as we all got our Near Dark on this past Monday, it's time for another Film Club pick!! I myself cannot wait until it's time for...

THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER

Yes indeed, we're taking in a 70s made-for-TV movie this time around. What happens when you sell your daughter's soul to the devil? Probably nothing good. Bated breath, you are mine! And if your breath ain't bated yet, well...let's just say that The Devil's Daughter stars Shelley Winters and Abe Vigoda. And Joseph Cotten. And Jonathan Frid. How's your breath now, huh punk?

Get it on Netflix HERE...if you dare!

The film: The Devil's Daughter

The due date: Monday, May 19



Thirdly, I have recently become a wicked proud member of The League of Tana Tea Drinkers, an assembly of fine horror bloggers and me. Check out the roster in my sidebar to the right; I've discovered several amazing new blogs through the League already, and I'm honored to be listed amongst them.

And don't forget about The Lamb, a large assembly of fine movie bloggers and me. Did you know that some people write about movies that aren't horror-related? Weird, huh?

Fourthly, enter my Name That Name Contest! I've gotten some truly stellar suggestions so far, and it may end up being harder to pick one than to come up with one myself. However, something something snowy woods path less taken something. The point is, you guys rock, please keep 'em coming!

Fifthly,

Uh, I got no fifthly. Hmm. Guess that's not so much stuff after all. Err...here's a picture of Dr Giggles, looking more like Dr Smirkles.

You know, I'm 99.9% sure I've seen Dr Giggles. Was it so bad that I've blocked out the actual experience of watching it? All I really remember is using a really bad Spanish accent and calling it "Dok-torr Gee-Glayce", which in retrospect isn't terribly funny. Or funny at all, really. Hmm.

Apr 22, 2008

give it a good home

If you leave your couch today and venture out to some type of "store", that is, a place where perhaps they "sell" "DVDs", you'll be happy to know that The Orphanage is finally hitting shelves today.

Because I am a big lame, I missed the film during its brief theatrical run; it remained near the top of my "must see" list, though, and after all this time I must say...it was really worth the wait. If you like ghost stories that pack an emotional wallop and still manage to be unbelievably unnerving, then yeah- get off your couch today and check this one out.

Laura (Belen Rueda) was adopted out of her seaside orphanage as a young girl. Now grown, Laura has moved into the abandoned orphanage with her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and her adopted son Simon (Roger Princep) with the intention of turning it into a home for special needs children.

Laura and Carlos are mildly concerned when Simon seems only interested in playing games with his imaginary friends; concern mounts to terror, however, when Simon disappears.

After nine months searching and not a single lead as to her child's whereabouts, Laura descends deeper and deeper into despair as she uncovers the terrible secrets hidden in the sprawling orphanage during her search.

The Orphanage is "presented by" and co-produced by Guillermo Del Toro, and it's definitely got a Del Toro vibe- if you like The Devil's Backbone, chances are you'll like this. It's genuinely scary in parts- several times I had that feeling...you know, like right when you're about to get goosebumps? Yeah. Very creepy. There's a lot more to the film than scares however (and it should be noted, none of them, to the best of my recollection, are cheap), namely story. As in, it actually has one that pulls you in, keeps you guessing, and manages to be extremely evocative. Gasp! I know, right? It's almost as if writer Sergio Sanchez and director JA Bayona worked the frights into the story so they happen organically, rather than appearing completely tacked on, obvious, and useless.

I can't say enough good things about Belen Rueda's performance, either. As Laura, it's her job to carry virtually the entire film and she does it incredibly well. Laura runs the gamut of emotions, from happiness to fear to just shy of maybe going a bit mad with grief- grief she won't allow herself to feel and instead turns it into determination- and it's a fantastic nuanced performance.

After the film finished, I was struck by the quality of the original horror content coming from Spain (this film, the aforementioned Devil's Backbone, the I haven't seen it but I can't wait and I hear great things [REC]) and likewise, from France (High Tension, Them, Inside) and it made me even sadder (than usual) that American horror seems to be stuck in the remake rut. Whether reworking Asian films or rehashing native shit, it's all been seen before. Where are the original voices?

Apr 21, 2008

a call to arms!

Listen up, chumps, I have news. So, like, you know how I've been guest blogging or whatever you want to call it at AMC's Monsterfest Blog for a while now? Well...now they've asked me to be a regular columnist! I had to think about it for a really, really long time, but eventually I said "HOLY EFFING CRAP YES, PLEASE"

The thing is, see, that my column needs a name. The other thing is, see, that my brain needs a break. I've had a very busy couple of weeks and trying to think up some clever name is beyond my scope of ability at the mo.

SO! I turn to y'all for help. And to sweeten the pot beyond the obvious glory you'll receive should your suggestion become law (really, if you want to pick up a girl in a bar, just tell her that you're the one who came up with the name for my column. She won't have any idea what you're talking about, but still.), I'm offering up a prize more tangible than said glory: a totally brand-new, totally still-wrapped copy of The Sick House on DVD! WOW! Sure, I gave the movie a bad review, but hey- maybe you'll think it's the greatest thing ever.

SO PART 2! come up with some sort of name and email it to me at stacieponder at gmail dot com. Put...uh, "name that name" in the subject line. Enter as many times as you'd like before 11:59pm PST this Friday, the 25th. I'll choose the one I like best and that's that. If, by some happenstance, 2 people manage to come up with the winning title, I'll award the award to the person who emailed me first. Trust me, I'm all honest about this kind of shit.

Pretty much anything goes. I'm excited to see what people come up with. Yes, something involving my name is totes acceptable: "Pondering Horror" has already been tossed around, but it lacks pizazz.

If worse comes to worse, I'll just let Charles Nelson Reilly name the column for me. This seems like a good suggestion:

Film Club: Near Dark

I can't say that Near Dark is one of those movies about which I'm just chock full of memories. I can't tell you when or where I saw it for the first time. I never hung a Near Dark poster on my wall, and I never clamored to own it the moment it became available for purchase. Yet, while watching it I was feeling nostalgic at every turn for the late '80s, early '90s- for those days when I was finally old enough to go to the movies to see just about whatever I wanted. "Aww, remember Tangerine Dream? Remember Kathryn Bigelow? And Jenny Wright? And movies that had Mack trucks exploding for no reason at all?" Watching Near Dark, it was enough to make me run to my closet for a shoebox full of photos and pore over moments captured during "the good ole days", even if my choices in hairstyles were dubious at best. It was weird, I tells ya.

But who cares about that? Let's talk about the film, not my odd reaction to it (part of which included a burning desire to watch Aliens rightthisminute). Co-writer/director Kathryn Bigelow's tale of vampires in the panhandle is rife with allegory as it deglamourizes the vampire mythos...and it's so good, it's almost hard to believe it's from the world of late-80s horror.

One fine evening, cowpoke-type Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) comes across a young woman all alone on the street save a soft serve ice cream cone. He gives her a lift and learns her name is Mae- and that's pretty much all he learns about her during the ride. Savvy viewers know that there's something a bit wonky about Mae (Jenny Wright), however- she's awfully pale, she really digs the night and its sounds and stuff (I was waiting for her to bust out the "children of the night" line), and she really really needs to get home before sunrise. These crazy kids are almost there when Caleb demands a smooch; Mae complies, but takes it a step further- unfortunately, her 'second base' includes tearing into Caleb's neck...but only a little! Mae splits, and Caleb finds himself stumbling home, feeling decidedly ill and getting a serious sunburn- like, omigawd his flesh is smoking and he looks like he just hopped off the rotisserie at Kenny Roger's Roasters serious.


Before he makes it home, however, a Winnebago with eeeeeevil intent scoops Caleb up and drives off into the sunrise, leaving Caleb's dad and sister (Tim Thomerson and Marcie Leeds) standing there and going "Hey! Wait!" It turns out that the Winnie belongs to Mae and her de facto family: Jesse (Lance Henriksen), Severen (Bill Paxton), Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein), and Homer (Joshua John Miller). They're none too happy about Mae's brief canoodling; now that Caleb is about to 'turn' himself, the family is torn between killing the boy outright and seeing if he'll have what it takes to join the clan. "What it takes", of course, is the cajones to kill people and drink their blood in order to survive.

Why, they's VAMPIRES, ma! That word, however, is never uttered in the script.

During the rest of the film, we follow the troupe from stop to stop as they avoid sunlight and the law, sort of like a gang of undead Bonnie and Clydes. Caleb is increasingly torn between his human and his...unhuman sides; he needs blood to survive, but he's loathe to kill and refuses every opportunity granted him, instead feeding greedily off of Mae's wrist when she offers it to him out of pity. When dad and sis finally catch up to the gang after days of searching for Caleb, he's forced to choose between his real family and his new...uh, lifestyle.

Why he'd even give the decision more than a minute's thought is beyond me. These aren't the type of vampires who are going to seduce you and, like, open up a nightclub or something- they're not poets, they're not particularly attractive or bright. They're completely unromantic. In fact, they're filthy. They're dirty, and though they're essentially immortal, none of them seem to aspire to much more than shacking up in a fleabag motel and playing cards. Sure, that's fun and all, but forever? Come on- call the local community college and take a fucking class or something. At the very least, try to comb your hair. Caleb asks Mae, "What do we do now?" and she replies "Anything we want until the end of time". Unfortunately, taking a shower and doing some laundry seems to be nowhere on the agenda. It had me thinking, what's the point? What's the point of living if you really have nothing to live for besides not dying?

This notion certainly ties into one of Near Dark's major metaphors, drug abuse. The vampire-as-user is a theme that's been touched upon many times in film, but perhaps never so well (and subtle) as here- I'm sure it's no coincidence that Caleb's hometown is Fix, Oklahoma. It's a classic tale of a kid making bad decisions and falling in with the wrong crowd- "But I totally love her!" Instead of just shooting up and lying around, though, Mae and Company need to kill in order to get their rocks off.

Again, Bigelow removes any "vampires are so sexy" glamour from the kill scenes, the climax of which is the infamous roadhouse scene. The vampires descend upon a honky tonk in the middle of nowhere and brutally slay all the patrons and staff, slitting throats and breaking necks. The victims aren't beautiful, lacy-collared, puffy-sleeved, heaving-bosomed Hammer ladies- they're truck drivers, drinking cheap beer and playing pool. There's nothing romantic about it; it's gory, it's disgusting, and it's your new life forever and ever, Caleb! Caleb is, understandably, reluctant to take part.

In the end, no fangs are bared. No coffins are slept in, no stakes are pounded, no children of the night make beautiful music. Anything "alluring" about being a vampire is stripped away, and I for one find myself with a profound lack of desire to partake in the "lifestyle". It's kind of like when you watch Pretty Woman and you're all, "Wow, being a hooker would be so great!" and then you drive by the Shell station at 6 in the morning and there's some toothless crack whore on the corner giving hummers to businessmen on their way to work for $5 a pop. Kind of a slap in the face.

Why don't I have a cool name like "Diamondback"?


*I know some of you are going to argue that everything that's unsexy is exactly why it IS sexy, aren't you? Is it Bill Paxton's leather jacket? Is it the "romantic" Bonnie and Clyde thing? You kids, I swear...someday you're gonna listen to me!

Film Club Coolies, y'all!

Craig Moorhead

Kindertrauma
Sarahnomics
The Horror Section
Tractor Facts
$7 Popcorn
Evil on Two Legs
Kill Everybody in the Whole World
The Cemetery Scene
Askewed Views
Stinky Lulu

Apr 18, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the CHRISTOPHER LEE edition!




















I don't care that The Man with the Golden Gun and Airport '77 aren't horror- the posters are, in fact, awesome.

In other news, the shot of Drac in the Spanish poster for Scars of Dracula totally reminds me of that scene in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure where Pee-Wee gives Mr Buxton and Francis the trick gum. You know, when Pee-Wee goes "Would you care for some, Mr Buxton?" and Mr Buxton goes "Ah!" and Pee-Wee asks "Spearmint, or fruit?" to which Mr Buxton replies "Ah, fruit please!" and then Pee-Wee leaves and Francis goes "You do believe me, don't you dad?" and we realize that Francis has been given black mouth gum and Mr Buxton has been given hot gum and then Mr Buxton realizes he's been tricked and he raises his arms and goes "Ahhhhhhhh!". That's what the poster reminds me of.

In other other news, don't forget: Monday is Film Club day! Get your Near Dark on, y'all!

Apr 16, 2008

I'm coming to get you, Barbara...

...I mean, uh, sleep.

Sorry for the lack of updates (or simply lame updates) and being a wee incommunicado. I've been extremely busy and I've only slept about 15 minutes in the past 150 years. That's not hyperbole! Things are finally calming down, however, and I hope to watch a damn movie sometime soon, or at least come up with something interesting to say. I also hope to get some ZZZZs so I no longer look like this dude:


While my skin is a sight better than his, I will admit he's a bit more fashionable.

At any rate, there are some ITEMS OF NOTE for you to...uh...note!

*They're a FANGO-a-GOIN': big congrats to MICAH ZURER and TIM BIRD, whose names got pulled out of the magic who will win my Fango ticket giveaway extravaganza? bag. Yes, a bag. I'm feeling far too lazy to go get my hat.

*Get out your calendars and celebrate each month with a horror movie! I've got a new joint, as the kids might say, up over at AMC.

Well, that's all I got today. There's a stack of movies sitting here waiting for my loving gaze- I promise it's the end of the lame as we know it (and I feel something something)!

*WAIT! I FORGOT! A word on link exchanges.

Here's the thing. It's nice for blogs and sites to link to each other- everybody, in theory, gets new readers. Readers get introduced to a new author. Kittens dance in a circle and the world explodes in a sparkling shower of love.

I totally dig getting emails that say something like "I just found your blog and it's swell so I linked to you. Here's my blog, in case you're interested!" If I remember to (when it comes to email-related stuff, I'm terrible. I put off responding to people so I can write something "good", then I promptly forget about it. My participation in the Horror Roundtable has been awful because of this character flaw) I'll click the link, read the blog, and maybe add it to my sidebar if I like it or I think people should know about it.

I've also linked to people I've found randomly, or to people who comment frequently here.

But when I get emails from people demanding a quid pro quo ("If you want me to link to you, you have to link to me as well") or giving me a deadline by which time they will remove the link to me if I don't reciprocate, well, my immediate response is FUCK THAT. You know why? Because I don't fucking care.

As I said, my blogroll is made up of blogs I enjoy reading. That's that. Of course I'd love it if every blog in the world linked to me, but I don't expect anybody to. I've never ever ever asked anyone specifically to link to me, or to exchange, or whatever. Yes, draw my attention to your site- that's cool. But for the love of Charles Nelson Reilly, don't make demands of me and my linkage. It makes me suffer from extreme blog nausea and I do rash things when I start to feel all antsy.

Besides- I find it so much more satisfying when I suddenly find a writer I respect links to FG, doubly so when said writer doesn't link to the entire world. I remember when I first noticed I'd been added to the blogroll at Sunset Gun and how (as corny as it may sound) I was psyched, like I'd passed a test or something. The fact that I'm on the 'roll on awesome sites like Cinebeats and Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule is some sort of...blogging honor or something, as far as I'm concerned. Those blogs are amongst my favorites. Would I not link to them if they never chose to add me? Of fucking course not. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!

I seriously feel the blog bile rising after all this and I hate even bringing it up, but it's been bugging me for a while. Just write and be awesome and let it lie at that, okay?

Apr 11, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the RANDOM edition!

Gotta love the American Werewolf in London as wacky sex comedy poster.

Also, it seems Croaked took a bit of influence from those Humanoids From the Deep, no? Of course, the execution is light years apart...

Hurlements = The Howling
Survivance = Just Before Dawn
Fridays = Awesome