Saturday, July 18, 2009

Here Lies Blackest Eyes

Effective July 2009, I'm concentrating my ghoulish efforts elsewhere.

Keep up with my various non-horror scribbles at

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Seth Grahame-Smith Eats Jane Austen's Heart Out

While the rest of the world continues to amuse itself by adding the phrase "in bed" to the end of whatever very American-ish adage it finds in its fortune cookies ("You will prosper bed;" "An hour with a friend is greater than a year with 10 strangers... in bed;" "Milk Duds are better... in bed."), Seth Grahame-Smith (author of a variety of guidebooks covering topics from politics to porn... and Spider-Man) has raised the cultural adaptation bar 100-fold by imagining what great wonders might result when one tacks the words "and zombies" onto titles of classic English literature.

Smith's book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which supposedly contains the original text of Jane Austen's novel amended with interstitial scenes of unapologetic zombie-on-human violence, is currently ranked at #86 on Amazon's top-selling titles... three months before it's even released. I'm pretty sure we haven't seen anticipation of this magnitude since the Punky Brewster cliffhanger episode where Punky got trapped in a cave with the spider from It.

No word from Smith on whether he plans to "plus" other classic novels, but I'm hoping his next target is Hemingway; he'd add a whole new dimension to A Farewell to Arms.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back in 5 | Or, Sabbatical of the Living Dead

If you've been diligently checking back here over the last couple months, I owe you. How does a handful of leftover Christmas candy sound?

This is not one of those "I'm shutting down" messages, nor is it a litany of excuses about the lack of anything worth talking about; these eyes have just had to focus on other endeavors, some of which remain ongoing, most of which involve creating stuff instead of just commenting on stuff, and all of which require too much concentration to allow me to post here as frequently as I'd like.

But things will keep rolling. Not at some indefinite point in the future; they'll keep rolling right now. They just might not roll as often as that other blog you read. You know, the one with the rodeo clown.

Thanks for hanging. I've done some housecleaning to show my gratitude. Click around and let me know what you think. About anything. Especially anything that involves monkeys.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mezco wants to go to bed with you.

It's not as torrid as it sounds.

After years of successfully convincing horror fans to buy multiple action figure versions of the same three characters, toy manufacturer Mezco is branching out with…the same three characters.

Realizing that most of its core customer base has likely run out of shelf space several times over thanks to the continuous stream of varied Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface toys, Mezco (which seems to have gotten its name following a drunken discussion of North American geography) has repurposed its Cinema of Fear line for the plush doll crowd, resulting in three of the most heinous hunks of plastic to ever roll off a Chinese assembly line.

The company’s second wave of roto-plush slasher icons dolls are out now, and they’re every bit as asinine as you’d expect. While I have to commend the sculptors behind these for their meticulous attention to detail, I simply can’t endorse the creation of a Leatherface toy that looks like a disheveled Paul Reiser covered in half-chewed Milk Duds.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's a SAW World After All

If Rick Moranis and Ellen Degeneres can get their own theme park attractions, why not Jigsaw?

Maybe that's not the exact rationale that went into Thorpe Park's decision to build a new roller coaster themed to the Saw movies, but I'm sure it's reasonably close.

Whatever the case, Thorpe is building a new ride inspired by Jigsaw's exploits, and they've posted a teaser site that presents such a detailed account of the design, ongoing construction, and ultimate realization of the ride that you can practically feel the hard rubber headrests (designed to look like that jaw-trap thingy from the first film, of course) banging against your noggin at high velocity makes absolutely no effing sense whatsoever. At least it's faithful to the film series that inspired it.

As pathetically obsessed with theme parks as I am with horror, I have every reason to be excited about this announcement, except for the fact that: 1. By the time I'm able to afford a trip to England I'll be too old blink, let alone go on roller coasters; and 2: The Saw series is completely, utterly stupid.

Then again, I suppose this development is better than something like Hostel: Live On Stage.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Treatwatch 2008

If I could be anywhere in the world tonight -- excluding Drew Barrymore's couch -- I'd be at Screamfest 2008, where Michael Doherty's film Trick 'r Treat finally makes its world premiere in just a few short traffic-laden West Coast hours. Much like House of 1000 Corpses did back, Treat has turned into something a minor legend due to its shuffling release dates and the yes-we-will/no-we-won't game Warner Bros. continues to play with it, to the point that I often worry if maybe we're better off never seeing it; as if maybe there's just no way it could ever live up to the controversy that continues to grow around it, and it's much more valuable to us as a modern-day London After Midnight, talked of in complete reverence because no one knows any better.

And then I watch the trailer again.

If I could have one influential wish on Hollywood, it would not be the eradication of Jar Jar Binks, or a charity boxing match between Uwe Boll and Kevin Williamson, or a sequel to The Monster Squad. It would simply be that this film be released widely and just turn out half as awesome as this trailer.

But since the likelihood of that happening is probably less than even that of the other three, I'll settle for some reviews. When not out pumpkin' picking this weekend, I'll be scanning for reviews from tonight's screening and posting them here. If you come across one, earn yourself a nice spot in the heaven of conscientious e-mailers (and a free Slurpee, should we ever meet) and e-mail it to me. I'll look 'em over and post some overall impressions on Monday. And then I'll mail four severed ears and a broken crock pot to Warner Bros.

Treat Talk:
"...I can’t imagine a single horror fan that won’t fall head over heels in love with it."

Read only the first paragraph of any of the reviews posted above and you'll see similar conclusions drawn. Surely there are those who were underwhelmed by the film, but if they are out they're, they're not writing about their feelings and posting them on the Internet. That doesn't necessarily mean anything conclusive, but in a world where test screenings count more than contracts or common sense, it's possibly the biggest help the film can get right now. Doherty may have essentially washed his claws of the film, but if it ever does creep its way out from behind the Warner studio gates, it will most likely rest heavily on the shoulders of the comments he heard Friday night and the digital words spilled in the screening's wake. If it doesn't ever see an official release, it will most likely displace this as the pinnacle of all things viewable in a 2x2" frame.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mouse of Usher

AMC's Website Runs Better Movies Than Its Cable Channel

It's been a long time since the acronym "AMC" represented "American Movie Classics" in TV channel listings. The phrase that usually comes to my mind when I see those letters strung together is "Any More Channels?" Since the late '90s, right around the time Rupert Murdoch acquired the network and started breaking the films up for commercials, there's been little about AMC that's been "classic" (unless you're talking "classic Swayze," in which case the channel's ceaseless airing of Road House might qualify). Sure, you can still sometimes catch an old talkie from the '30s or '40s during the Cialis hours of the day, AMC's attempt to wrest Neilsen shares away from The Price is Right and Matlock, but when a channel's running movies like Chain Reaction in prime evening timeslots, it's clearly headed back down the mountain of cultural relevance.

Fortunately someone forgot to tell that to the people that run the channel's horror dept. Despite its obvious decline in just about every other realm, AMC continues to be the only fairly reliable resource for decent horror on widespread basic cable (the descriptor "decent" automatically disqualifies 97% of what airs on the Sci-Fi Channel). Between its weekly Fear Friday block and the annual weeklong Fearfest (not to mention the Horror Hacker blog), the channel continues to cater quite well to the horror crowd. Yeah, the movies are edited and riddled with commercials, but pretty soon we'll all be seeing ads on our toilet paper; that's capitalism. At least the cinematic toilet paper on AMC's roll more often than not stars Adrienne Barbeau.

And, with the recent launch of their 2008 Fearfest promo site, AMC's actually taken their TP into two-ply territory, making a handful of good oldies available for instant online viewing. And we're not talking about The Lawnmower Man or Bloody Murder 2, here. The initial wave of online Fearfest flicks actually includes some movies worth watching, especially if you're a Vincent Price fan or can't get enough of Lance Henrikson's hair.

AMC's also sponsoring a contest to award $4,000 to one aspiring horror filmmaker, but be warned: the final round guest judge is Rob Zombie, so unless your one-minute movie submission happens to be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or a classic slasher film remade into a crappy, self-indulgent after-school special, you might be better off waiting for AMC to sponsor a Road House fest (which should kick-off right around November 1).