Monday, June 29, 2009

More MJ Shit...


Between Larry King Live, Nancy Grace, and pretty much every media outlet in existence, most of you are probably sick as lupus of hearing about the late pop-genius-creepy-bastard Michael Jackson. But in my surfing adventures, I found a long forgotten project MJ did as sort of a sequel to Thriller. It's called "Ghosts", and the main reason I'm posting it is because it touches on another tragic death: the immeasurable loss last year of the great Stan Winston. Winston directed and created the makeup effects for this short film. Note: in a testament to Winston's brilliance, the role of the fat-ass mayor is played by MJ under a shitload of latex.

So here it is - enjoy.







Thursday, June 25, 2009

just 'cause...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers 2: The Revenge of Michael Bay's Splooge


The fact that bad movies make it to theatres while some films worthy of a packed house never make it to the big screen, is a travesty. One of those bad movies that's crowding the theatres this weekend is Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen. According to most reviews, director Michael Bay has seemingly lost his mind. For example, two of the new transformers are called Mudflap and Skids, and they are apparently even more offensive a racial stereotype than Jar Jar Binks.

And from what I understand, one of the robots has balls. Testicles. Shiny metal testicles.

But on a rare occasion, a movie can be so bad that it can set a fire under the collective movie reviewing community's ass, angering and inspiring them to write some goddamn hilarious bytes. T2:RotF is such a movie, and here's a few of the winning comments:

Massawyrm, Aintitcool.com:

"...the mistake this film will most likely be forever known for: Mudflap and Skids, the Stepin Fetchbots of the film. It’s as if Michael Bay looked at Jar Jar Binks and said “Oh, fuck no. Really? People find THAT offensive? Fuck that, I’ll show them a fucking stereotype they’ll never fucking forget!” And he does."

"It’s like the script was written in one sitting on a Morphine bender, with the writer nodding in and out of consciousness, thinking that he’d already written what happened in his dreams and simply picking back up where the dream left off."

Dana Stevens, Slate Magazine:

"...the simplest thing Bay could have done to clarify the stakes of the robot wars would be to visually distinguish the robots from one another in some way. Armbands? Shirts and skins? "Hello, My Name Is" stickers?"

Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal:

"Compared to this sequel, the first "Transformers," which was released two years ago, ranks right up there with Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason.""

Garth Franklin, Dark Horizons:

"The male teenage cinematic equivalent of snorting cocaine off a hooker's ass."

Marshall Fine, Hollywood and Fine:

"It finally occurred to me that pyrotechnics are Bay's pornography: massive, fiery money-shots. I hope he had a sufficient supply of tissues in the editing room."

Jenna Busch, JoBlo.com:

"I know they had to get this script in before the writer's strike and that it was really rushed, but did no one proof read this thing? It's like three different people wrote their own version of the film and taped pages together"

Quint, Aintitcool.com:

"We hardly ever get to see any of the robots when they’re not fighting, with the exception of the new ‘bot named Jetfire who should be called the Expositionicon. He’s an old timer that walks with a transformer cane and randomly shits a parachute due to incontinence."

FHM UK:

"It’s like watching a blender for two hours while someone shouts at you. And then the last half an hour is the same, except it’s more like having your head strapped to a washing machine while you watch a blender and someone shouts at you."

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times:

"...a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys."

"The dialog of the Autobots, Deceptibots and Otherbots is meaningless word flap. Their accents are Brooklyese, British and hip-hop, as befits a race from the distant stars. Their appearance looks like junkyard throw-up."


These reviews almost make me wanna see the fucking thing.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Funkenstein!

In honor of next month's ONE TIME ONLY screening of the most offensive movie ever made, BLACK DEVIL DOLL (July 11 at the Pawn Shop!), here's a collection of Funkenstein videos. MadTV's riffs on Blaxploitation horror flicks are probably some of the funniest shit they've ever done.










Monday, June 22, 2009

Double Feature – Hell Ride / Zombie Strippers

So I popped in to the local video store expecting to find exactly fuck-all; instead, I found gold. While the rentals were pretty much cleared out, the store put out a shitload of previously viewed DVDs and marked them down to $6.99 each. Figuring $7 bucks is a lot cheaper than my usual accumulation or late fees, and I wouldn’t have to waste gas bringing them back, I snagged a couple of flicks that flew under my radar, but deserved a second look. As a result, I had a grindhouse-y good time with a double bill of the sleaziest flicks of 2008 – Hell Ride and Zombie Strippers.


First up – Hell Ride, a nasty little tribute to all those AIP biker flicks of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, executive produced by Quentin Tarantino and directed and written by, and starring Larry Bishop. Who the fuck is Larry Bishop, you ask? Well, Larry was IN a lot of those old biker flicks from way back (although you wouldn’t know it from looking at him – dude is in his 60s and looks younger than Tarantino). Recently, Bishop had a side-splitting cameo in Kill Bill as Michael Madsen’s strip club boss – the “asshole on an elbow” guy.



So how did this guy with a fairly limited resume land such a sweet gig? Turns out Tarantino was a fan, and after meeting through mutual friends, Quentin and Bishop decided to make a biker flick of their own. And with the Tarantino stamp of approval on the project, some pretty big names jumped on board. In addition to Bishop, the film also stars Madsen, the late David Carradine, Dennis Hopper, and Vinnie Jones, among others. The plot is pretty simple. Bad bikers The 666ers, led by Vinnie, wanna take out the not-so-bad bikers the Victors, led by Bishop. At the same time, the Victors are plotting some nasty revenge against the Sixers for a thirty year old murder. But at the end of the day, this film is about two things: boobs and bikes, and this film has plenty of both.


What the film doesn’t have? Great dialogue and a coherent plot for starters. The dialogue was so overblown in this flick, I couldn’t figure out if Bishop was dead serious or taking the piss. With character names like Pistolero, The Gent, Comanche, and The Deuce, there are times Hell Ride bordered on spoof, then there are times where it seemed to take itself way too seriously. I think the problem is highlighted in the special features, where Bishop states that he didn’t care who liked the movie, but if Quentin didn’t like it, they’d have failed. Well, I sure as shit hope Quentin got a big kick out of it, because it was obvious Bishop was writing for him and no one else.


But as unimpressed as I was initially, something strange happened – by the second half of the flick, I found myself liking Hell Ride despite itself. The boobs got bigger, the bikes got louder, and there wound up being a couple of zingers that roused a chuckle out of me. And maybe I’m just a sucker for gloss, but if a movie is filmed well – and Hell Ride was sweet looking indeed – I can forgive its flaws. Also, the film has a pretty cool, Tarantino-esque soundtrack with some wicked little ditties (among them, one from Canada’s own Neko Case!). By the end of the flick, when Bishop, Madsen, and third amigo Eric Belfour ride off into the sunset, I was digging it. If only this film had some better dialogue and a snappier plot, it might have been a worthy addition to the Grindhouse franchise.

Speaking of Grindhouse, its strange how a movie that had been deemed a flop started a trend of new exploitation-inspired films since its release. Among them: last year’s Zombie Strippers, starring Robert Englund and porn queen Jenna Jameson. The plot? Zombie fuckin’ strippers dude. There’s not much else to know other than Englund is the club owner, Jameson the head undead peeler, and the zombies get naked. This flick’s undead horde aren’t your typical mindless corpses but intelligent (well, for strippers anyways) ghouls using their sex appeal to lure patrons to the champagne room for a little lap munching.

The girls were the best part of the movie – they go from bitchy, insecure vapid strippers to bitchy, insecure, vapid undead strippers, making for some wicked zombie catfights. The filmmakers went for the fun factor with this one, making it as over the top as possible. There’s even a Mexican janitor who goes all Poncho Villa on everyone’s ass towards the end.


Still, the film’s bad (and very shrill) acting, cheesy music, and crappy dialogue make it better viewed on a Metal Monday at Filthy’s with the sound off, subtitles on and some Black Label Society banging in the background. Zombie Strippers and Hell Ride are great party flicks… as long as you don’t pay too much attention to them.

Hell Ride 3/5 Zombie Strippers 2 ½/5
Friday, June 19, 2009

Weekend Shenanigans







Leprechaun here... YARRR! Time fer the weekend and time fer shenanigans! We got lots of fun and... WHERE'S ME GOLD?? I NEED ME GOLD!! Er, sorry, where was I? Ah yes, the weekend. If it doesn't rain, it pours, and it's pourin' fun tonight! We've got not one, but two great gigs fer yer pleasure this fine Friday!





First off, the lovely lasses from Lascivious Burlesque (who hula'd their fine arses off at our Zombie Luau last week) will be waggling their tassles and showing us the "7 Deadly Sins" tonight at the Starlite Room. Along with these half naked lovelies, the evening will feature our home grown hillbillies The Give'em Hell Boys and The Frolics. Show starts at 9:00 and tickets are $10 advance, $12 at the door.








And at New City Suburbs, The New Jacobin Club will give you the heebie jeebies with their special brand of spooky metal punk! If that wasn't enough to raise the dead, the show also features the sick and twisted talents of the Angry Teeth Freak Show! See them do things to themselves that I usually do to those simperin' fools who try to take MY GOLD! WHERE'S ME GOLD???






Whoops... gettin' a little too excited for me own good. The show at New City starts at 10:00. Until next time, go get pissed, see some boobies or freaks, and find yourself a four leaf clover. But stay away from me gold, or I'll make a boot out of yer nutsack!
Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trailer for Park Chan-wook's THIRST

FUCK TWILIGHT.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Brief Chat with David Carradine...


In case you were under a rock this past month, one of the kick-assiest guy’s guys ever to lay a whuppin’ onscreen died. David Carradine, star of Kung Fu, Kill Bill, Death Race 2000, and many more classics of coolness, was found dead in a hotel room in Bangkok under mysterious circumstances.

But I’m not going to focus on how he died. I’ll just remember the brief chat I got to have with him just a few weeks prior to his death. David had been in Edmonton filming a short movie; the producer of the movie had invested in a lo
cal bar here in town called Prohibition, so naturally he got David to help christen the new establishment.

I swung by with my copy of Hell Ride, a film that despite the cheese factor still kinda grows on me with each viewing (review coming soon). Carradine had a brief but memorable role in that flick as the main baddie who gets his head chopped off by the good guys. I first encountered David, well, at least his head, at the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear in Toronto at KNB EFX guru Greg Nicotero’s table. Greg, who had done the makeup effects for Hell Ride, had Mr. Carradine’s head on the table with him.

Strangely enough, I would run into that head again months later. I worked in the production office of “Fear Itself”, the short-lived NBC reincarnation of the “Masters of Horror” series. KNB did the makeup and prosthetics for that too, although Greg and Howard Berger did the work out of LA and shipped it up to Edmonton. One day, I happened to stretch my legs and take a walk through the office to the prop department. A jar with a head in it (not an unusual sight in our office) caught my attention – the head was the same white and grey flocked noggin I had posed with back at the FOF. Mr. Carradine’s head had apparently followed me back to Edmonton.

When I got the chance to meet David, I had to tell him the story. I brought the photo along with the DVD, and he graciously signed both, and when I told him the tale of his severed cranium he looked at me with a grin and said “impressive”. I’m not sure if he was impressed by the story or by his globetrotting head, but either way it was a cool moment.


By then the bar was packed to the tits, so I took off to visit friends at another venue. But later on my drive home, I passed Prohibition again. Outside on the street was David, having a smoke and entertaining the crowd. I figured “fuck it”, and I parked and walked back to the bar. This time, away from the noise and loud music, I actually got to talk to him a bit. He was very kind, but a bit of a sly smart ass when he wanted to be. The ladies were trying to flirt with him, but he would always graciously say, with a wink and a smile “I’m a very happily married man”. And he seemed like he meant it. In fact, he even pulled out pictures of his kids for us, and bragged about them at length. It was a rare and cool moment to see a tough guy icon turned into proud papa.


By this point, he was done his smoke and looking to get back to the bocce game inside, so I got a quick pic, bid farewell, and headed home. I’d talked to his people about possibly getting him back here to screen “Death Race 2000” and have him do a Q&A. Sadly, I’ll have to make due with a few brief anecdotes on a patio. Let’s take solace in the thought that somewhere, David’s hanging with Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, and Elvis, riding dirtbikes and drinking beer.

Cheers, David. Thanks for being one cool motherfucker.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ghouls Get Lei'd!


Despite the weather being ungodly hot, 100 of you ghouls dragged your shambling tropical asses to Metro Cinema this past Saturday for our screening of Fulci’s “Zombie”! Thanks to all of you that showed up and supported Edmonton’s Horror scene!

Thanks to the ladies of Lascivious Burlesque for showing us how to Hula! Don’t forget to check out their show on June 19th - THIS FRIDAY - at The Starlite Room! Also, thanks to our sponsors – Rue Morgue Magazine, Mars & Venus, Atomic Zombie, and Happy Harbour – for contributing to our wicked prize packs. And last but not least, cheers to The Pawn Shop for graciously hosting our after party and to Amber's Brewing Co. for keeping us inebriated during the movie. I’ve got a new jones for your Vampire Maple Ale.

To those that didn’t show up – you owe us one! Actually, you owe it to yourself to come to our July 11th screening –the first, and so far the ONLY Canadian screening – of the hugely controversial and hilarious blaxploitation riff “Black Devil Doll” at The Pawn Shop.

We’ve had our eyes on this film for a while, and after the positive response at last year’s horror fest, we knew we had to bring it in. And lo and behold, that black militant puppet with a homicidal streak is coming!

Unless you’re of the faint of heart or have a huge stick up your ass, you’re gonna love the murderin’, rapin’, cussin’ exploits of the doll that makes Chucky look like Opie. And what better way to watch “the most offensive movie ever made” than with a rowdy bunch of degenerates like us!

Tickets are $12 and are on sale NOW at The Lobby DVD Shop on Whyte. Your ticket is also good for our Mothafunkin’ Baaaaadaasss After Party, where DJ Love Shovel will be bustin’ out the funk. Break out the afro wigs, platform shoes, and funky bell bottoms and you could win a prize for best pimp and ho of the evening!

WARNING: TRAILER NSFW!

video
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fulci's "Zombie" gets some love


Yes, I am a whore - shamelessly whoring out this weekend's ZOMBIE LUAU featuring our 35mm presentation of "Zombie". But man, I can't wait to share the demented genius of Mr. Fulci the way it was meant to be seen - on a big screen.


In case you're still not convinced that it's going to be a helluva good time (and a great way to cool of for a few hours - Saturday is expected to hit 29 degrees celcius), here are a couple of new reviews:


SEE Magazine:


"Zombie (also known variously as Zombie Flesh Eaters, Zombie Island, Island of the Living Dead, Zombi 2, and Woodoo) is absolutely indefensible as art, but as an exercise in old-school, down-and-dirty, entrail-munching grindhouse cinema, it’s damned hard to beat. Fulci uses his makeup effects sparingly but he gets the most mileage he can out of every single one of them. These zombies don’t just bite people; they rip long, juicy strips of flesh right off the bone. Worms spill from mouths and eye sockets, skulls explode in a shower of watermelon-esque brain matter, blood pours copiously out of slack zombie jaws and down zombie chins ... and wandering through it all is, of all people, Tisa Farrow, whose physical and vocal resemblance to her older sister Mia makes the film occasionally seem like a berserk cousin to Hannah and Her Sisters."


...and Vue Weekly:


"Even if you've already seen it, re-watching Zombie in an enclosed space projected from its richest source should likely charge the experience with the thrills intended for an audience 30 years earlier. As time passes, we get the chuckles over imagining the frames of mind that came to both make the film and shamelessly enjoy it—in its first release, the theatres offered complimentary barf bags for viewers upset by the wildly obscene gore; maybe you ought to finish your popcorn fast as to provide an empty container for you and your date. "


OK, back to more whoring.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sick Fuckers (?)

Usually this blog is just an excuse to either rant a bit about the latest movie news, plug a friend’s worthwhile event, or just say “shit” and “fuck” a lot. But this time out, I’m actually going to write a serious rumination on our genre! Bust out the dictionary folks, I got me a case of the “pretentious dick” syndrome.

What got me going was this link (thanks for the post, Rue Morgue!): http://www.physorg.com/news163266028.html. The basic gist is that a study at Cornell University concluded that those that dislike icky things like horror movies tend to be conservative. To my many conservative friends out there who revel in the gore just as much as my liberal ass, my apologies. But the article did bring up some interesting points.

Working on a horror film festival in this city has been a challenging but rewarding experience. The reward has been realizing how many of you depraved bastards and bastardettes are out there in my very own city, and it’s a blast being able to bring to you the craziest horror flicks from around the world, and share them in a communal experience.

The challenge? Hearing those dreaded words “I HATE HORROR MOVIES”. I’ve heard them a lot in the past 2 years, and the challenge has been to convince people that despite the fact that they don’t like it, many do, and it’s a viable market with the potential to put our city on the map. But no matter how many facts and figures, how much brass tax, or how many dollar signs you flaunt, some people are just convinced that horror has no place in our society.

So it’s got me thinking about what it means to be a horror fan, and what horror in general means to our culture. Almost from birth, we are indoctrinated into a world of the horrific through the most unlikely source – fairy tales. Today these tales have been Disneyfied, complete with a whole slew of product tie-ins readily available at your local strip mall. But if you go back to the original source material, the Grimm Brothers, you find worlds filled with terrifying imagery in which no one – not even a child – was safe from the wrath of the supernatural and the spectre of death. Many of the Grimm’s works were based on ancient folk tales that went much farther back into our dark collective history.

I won’t bore you with the historical details, but I will say that horror has been a part of our world stretching back to the dawn of our civilization. At every era in our history, horror has been represented strongly in our culture – ancient Greek tragedies, Grand Guignol plays, German expressionism, the Universal monsters of the ‘30s and ‘40s… all the way to the modern age, yada yada yada.

It’s always been a part of our culture because, ultimately, ours is a culture of death. None of us can avoid it. And our history is full of real horrors – both inflicted by nature and by our own hands. My belief – and this’ll piss off a lot of folks, I’m sure – is that where horror fits into one’s entertainment and escapism is a factor of how one deals with the horror of reality. There are two types of people: those living in the bubble and those living out of the bubble – and I believe horror fans fit squarely in the latter category.

What is “the bubble”? Its insulation. Its chick flicks. Its all things Oprahfied. It’s like a comfy blanket to a three year old – that little piece of security, no matter how false. Its how some people may choose to deal – or not deal – with the nature of our world. Living is like walking a tightrope, even in today’s modern times. We may not have nature’s predators stalking us around every corner, but we have predators nonetheless. There are economic predators, looking to strip us of our livelihood, microbial predators like cancer and the new crop of emerging diseases, human predators, or even just the dumb fuck driving his pickup too fast on the highway. The world, despite its progress, is still scary as hell.

The Bubble, in many ways, is denial. That’s not to say that everyone who dislikes horror is a pussy, or in some way mentally incapable of dealing with life, or that everyone that likes chick flicks is in denial - some form of escapism is important for us all. But there are some people who can’t accept that, despite diligently going to work every day, paying their taxes, and doing what’s expected of them, they may still get fucked in the end. When real life horrors encroach into their lives, some people simply can’t handle it. We see this with the ‘knee jerk” types who, when faced with horrific tragedy, rant and rave that “something must be done about this”. Randomness be damned…

So naturally, many of these people shy away from anything that reminds them of the precarious nature of our existence, and there’s no better reminder in our pop culture of how thin the strings are that hold us up than a good old frightfest.

Why do horror fans embrace the darkness? What makes them different? Despite the fact that I refer to us as “sick fucks” and “depraved bastards”, I think nothing of the sort. Most horror fans I know are also the most balanced, sane people I know. I believe the horror fan doesn’t embrace horror because we’re messed in the head, I believe we embrace horror because our head is screwed on well enough to know that the world is a messed up place, and what’s on screen is nothing in comparison.

Sarte (or maybe Voltaire… what the fuck do I know) once said – and I’m paraphrasing – “to escape death, one must immerse one’s self in it”. For us, horror film is escapism because it’s a horror that we can walk away from after ninety minutes. We choose to watch the movie, and we choose to shut it off. We may root for the hero or we may root for the killer; we may revel in mindless gore or seek a less tangible terror that preys on our own imaginations. But however we do it, we do it on our terms. We might as well chase the darkness rather than have the darkness chase us.

On second thought, you guys ARE all sick fuckers. :)
---------------------------------------------------------------
On that note, if you need your monthly quota of on screen blood and boobies, don't forget about the ZOMBIE LUAU this Saturday at Metro! The shenanigans begin at 9pm with contests, giveaways, and my very own home-cooked trailer reel that I hope will have you all busting your guts in the seats. Then we can watch more guts get busted with our 35mm screening of Fulci's ZOMBIE!


Advance tickets are $10 and are available at The Lobby DVD Shop on Whyte!
Monday, June 1, 2009

R.I.P. Don Edmonds

Who the fuck is Don Edmonds, you may ask? He's a Hollywood producer, sometime actor, and exploitation director with, to paraphrase Dabney Coleman from Dragnet, "balths as big as choich bellths". While Edmonds starred in a number of TV shows from the late 50s to the 80s, including The Munsters, Green Acres, and Hunter (and was one of the producers of Tarantino's True Romance) Edmonds is best known for his career as director of some of the seediest, greasiest grindhouse flicks of the 70's, among them, Wild Honey, Tender Lovin' Care, and Southern Double Cross. But his greatest contribution to celluloid sleaze? The Nazisploitaition masterpiece Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS.

Ilsa was certainly a controversial film that took a lot of balls to make, what with its cheesy yet graphic scenes of concentration camp torture mixed with a generous helping of 70's soft porn T&A and afro bush. But what sets Edmonds apart from other sleaze-meisters of the time was that he had the unmitigated gall, the big brass ones, the ample ripe cahones, the aformentioned church-bell-balls to DEDICATE this depraved SS skin flick to CONCENTRATION CAMP SURVIVORS! Yes folks, that;s right. The Holocaust has two films to memorialize it - Schindler's List and ILSA. Dedicating Ilsa to the Holocaust survivors is like dedicating Space Chimps to the lost crews of the Columbia and Challenger space shuttles.

I gotta be honest, when I first viewed the film, I found it pretty fucking stupid. But with time and repeated viewings, Ilsa's tawdry crassness won me over. I mean, c'mon, Gestapo officers with pee fetishes? Gold baby! And this film would go on to spawn a number of sequels (one that never got made, Ilsa Vs. Bruce Lee In the Bermuda Triangle, would have been an absoulte shit sandwich of joy), and inspire an entire subgenre of knockoffs like SS Hell Camp, Salon Kitty, and Last Orgy of the Gestapo (none of which would match Ilsa's depraved, insane, tasteless heights). I kinda hope Tarantino riffs on some of these when Inglorious Basterds hits this summer.

So here's to you Mr. Edmonds... I'll be hoisting a pint of German beer in your honour tonight.

PS. Some trivia for you... Ilsa was filmed on the set of the TV show Hogan's Heroes. Also, Ilsa herself, Dyanne Thorne, now runs a wedding chapel in Vegas. That's right horror fans - you can get hitched by the SS vixen herself!

(Also, strangely enough, when you do a Google Image Search for "Ilsa She Wolf SS", you get a picture of Republican John McCain's wife Cindy. Hmmmm...)

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