Showing posts from October, 2010

What to Watch, What to Watch...

My plans for the weekend did get switched up quite a bit yesterday morning when the early Saturday double feature I was planning at the Starlight Cinema City Theatres (where they run cheaper than anything pre-noon showings of all films in their lineup) was canceled by torrents of rain. One of the films I had been planning to see was Saw 3D, after catching up with the last three installments in the torture-laden series over the previous few days. Keeping in the Halloween spirit, I was going to follow that up with Paranormal Activity 2, having just seen the first film a couple of weeks back.
But it was not to be. I was already feeling run down from a quite stressful day at work on Friday (in which everything was handled just fine by EOB -- and that doesn't mean Edgar Octopus Burroughs), had some possible follow-up in the a.m., and then the rain hit around 5:30, just as I was setting up plans for the day. The rain was actually a relief since I was feeling so tired, and it became a ve…

Halloween! ["Happy" adjective only applicable depending on your situational POV...]

Oh, so this is the big thing to which we have been counting down? Anything feel noticeably different now that we are here? Do you feel any different?

Me? I am doing the same thing that I always do, 365-12, 24-7. Halloween might be a date on the calendar to the general public, but for the vast majority involved in this Countdown to Halloween blogroll, our great love for the traditions of the holiday is something we tend to celebrate throughout the entire year.

Speaking for myself, counting down a mere 31 days until a calendar point is actually rather, for lack of a better term, pointless. Not that I haven't had fun concentrating on blogging once again, but being in the Countdown hasn't garnered me one single comment out of the normal few friends that are kind enough to stop by and pay a visit to my too long dormant working notebook. Sure, I can't wait for Halloween to roll around, but chiefly because it convinces people who would normally "tsk, tsk" such obsessio…

Random Abode Spookage & Monsters #7: Inactive Model Division

As a child, I made models by the dozens. Always had something being glued together... cars, jet fighters, dinosaurs, monsters. It wasn't that I really loved doing it, but every month or so, I would convince one of my parents to purchase one or two new model kits for me. Suddenly, I found myself putting together some tank battle set or T. Rex, but the truth is that I was never very good at it.
To me, it was always like putting together any other puzzle, like a jigsaw, but you don't have to glue jigsaws. Well, some people do, but that has always seemed silly to me.  Model-wise, I was sloppy. I never had the patience needed to build one to perfection. I hated the smell of the glue, I hated getting it on my fingers, but my real downfall was in the painting. Zero skill with the brush and too many other things to do not to rush the job. I would begin to paint, something would drip no matter how careful I was, and I would see other models that master builders would do and it would dr…

Attack of the Seriously Slutty Princesses: The Disney Halloween Party 2010

Honestly, for the first hour or so at the Disney Halloween Party at Disneyland Tuesday night, I didn't even really notice the costumes. Sure, I did mention to Jen the astounding amount of younger kids I saw dressed as one of the Super Mario Bros. (and even at least four people dressed as mushrooms from the games), and I also pointed out a couple of truly cool costumes here and there. But in noticing the usual feast/horror for the eyes that comes with younger women dressed, body-appropriate or otherwise (and it is more than often that "otherwise," hence the horror side of the equation) in too tight or absolutely revealing Halloween costumes of their favorite characters, I was very negligent.
But Jen wasn't (and she didn't believe me that I hadn't noticed, but I indeed hadn't). She was the one quickest to point out (or at least smirk) when some particularly slutty version of Alice in Wonderland or Pocahontas swung into view. It was at the exact moment when I…

It's Alive! Freshly Carved and Ready for Action This Weekend...

While I have yet to light the candle that will bring him to life, here is why I did not write very much this evening (apart from watching three Halloween specials, two Halloween episodes of NBC comedy series, and Saw IV).

The best part was having the pups convince themselves they were helping me the whole time, especially Isabelle. We are pretty sure that she just thinks a pumpkin is just a larger version of her favorite thing on the planet -- a carrot, also orange -- and she spent much of the evening trying to snarf up every little shred that got flung about the place whilst I carved.

Tomorrow? Pumpkin #2...

Son o' the Return o' the Comic o' the Jack-O'-Lantern Undead...

My beloved and I attended the Disney Halloween Party (with awesome fireworks) last night, but a massive headache and a serious lack of sleep the last couple of days have eaten away at my time to put up a decent post about it this evening.

In lieu of such a post, I am cheating a bit for the second night in a row in this Countdown to Halloween (last night was a mere picture of a slice of my dining table full of monster toy sets, with only text in the title, so it was a real cheat). This is a comic page that was drawn on a camping trip last August by my brothers Mark and Chris, for which I provided the dialogue.

The twist here is that the comic page is absolutely improvisational, a massive derivation of the surrealist drawing game called Exquisite Corpse, where artists draw unconnected and unseen images on their own half (or quarters if there are more than two artists participating) of a folded piece of paper, and when it is revealed, the two separate images forge what is hoped to b…

Got a Party to Go to...


Cousin Huet and Brother Dave... Not So Much Resting, but Having a Peaceable Time

When Jen surprised me with these for my birthday about three years ago or so, I didn't realize that I even wanted them. I didn't even know they existed, so therefore I never had a craving to own them. But there they were, heavy and bulky and surrounded by that annoying Styrofoam shell-casing that shreds as you pull them out of the packaging so that it gets all over your floor, so that you keep discovered minute white, foam pellets for the next three years every time you look down.

I had never known that I wanted them, but I am sure glad they are here now. It turns out they were one of the most unique and cool surprise presents I have received since a certain someone scored me an eighteen foot that lit up with "LIBRARY" in giant, two-foot-high block letters (and that only weighed about 250 pounds). Storage is impossible, since the foam shredded so much, so they now stay relatively out in the open for most of the year. I just make them a little more prominent come Hallo…

Goooood Eeev-en-ing...!

Frequent visitors to my old abode in Anchorage -- the Ink 'n' Paint Club -- were no doubt familiar with the other human-like figure who dominated a corner of my dining room (which was only ever used for dining about a half dozen times) for roughly fifteen years: that of Alfred Hitchcock, albeit in spooky cardboard stand-up form.

I had acquired him as a video buyer for the old Book Cache chain of stores in the mid-1980s, when the four Hitchcock films that had been purchased back from Paramount by Universal following Hitch's estate being settled in 1983 (he died in 1980) were finally released on VHS. We ordered several floor displays for the stores, but space being a premium in most of our then 20 locations, not all of the Hitchcock standees made it out of our building. I say space being a premium was the reason, but the real reason is that I and a couple of the bosses wanted them for ourselves. And so it was...
But Hitch, since leaving Alaska, hadn't made it back to an u…

Random Abode Monsters & Spookage #6: Monsters from the Universal Backlog, Pt. 2

If you are going to do a Google search for the following words all at once: "Frankenstein's," "monster" and "squirter," don't be surprised by what you get in reply. The results will be a little light on the Frankenstein's monster part, and more than a little heavy (or should I say "drenched") with the third word (and I will not explain beyond that...)
Yet another product of the 1991 Universal wave of monster production, these are actually pretty swell items standing about four inches high and that will get you a pretty decent 25-foot squirt if squeezed properly. I don't know how I kept ending up with just the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolfman in some of these items, but that's how it worked out. I pretty much just grabbed whatever was available at that store, and it seemed to come up Monster and Wolfman over and over again. (As always, if I had found the Creature instead, he would have been first...)

Random Abode Monsters & Spookage #5: Monsters from the Universal Backlog, Pt. 1

Not a lot of time tonight. Two movies I need to cram in now since I have to write a piece for work in the morning (and hopefully not much beyond that). Can't miss the mail pickup in the late a.m.; otherwise I won't maximize my Netflix rentals before Halloween.

So, here is what you get tonight: a couple of official Universal Monster sliding puzzles, copyrighted 1991. Universal had a big push on their famous creations that year. I remember Doritos stickers, soda box designs, and a vast array of toys, some decent and some, like these puzzles, really annoying to use.

Here's a tip next time you think about making a sliding puzzle game. Slightly round the corners of your pieces in order to ease the user's ability to slide from slot to slot. These puzzles are swell to have, but man, I hate using them. It's the one time I would think about joining the villagers...

All Flicks Bright and Shiny, All Films Timeworn and Used...

Heading into the last two weekends of the Halloween season proper (I say proper because I tend to extend the holiday up until right before Thanksgiving), I am scrambling to line up appropriate movies in my Netflix cue and am scrounging On Demand for any films I simply have to cram in for a viewing in time for the big day.
My theme this year was to catch up on a lot of films from the past few years that I have either largely avoided or just didn't have the drive to go see when they came out. So many of these films are remakes of films I love too deeply in their original form to give the new versions a chance or they were overly hyped productions of the sort that always make me wary of dropping serious coin to risk seeing them. And some, like the odd Trick 'r Treat, was something about which I had not heard very much, negative or positive, so the result was a very pleasant and often scary surprise.

I've been trying hard not to revisit old favorites this year, but I am sure …

Random Abode Monsters & Spookage #4: Fuzzy Pun'kins & Bats That Can't Turn Left

It's almost like being on, but with happy Halloween stuffed toys instead of kittens and puppies in costume!

All of these guys were presents over the years from various friends, except for the squished-looking little pumpkin, who might be the cutest stuffed toy I have ever seen. (Seriously, get to know him...) In a way, they almost look like Sifl & Olly, pumpkin-style...

"Why is it always, always so costly for man to move from the present to the future?"

The answer to the question in the title above is "Because mankind is generally composed of ignorant dickheads."

Halloween for me isn't so much about the scares than it is about the monsters. People frighten me in real life far more than imaginary creatures from our mythological systems or Hollywood-style dream machines. They can be the revenge-driven undead and they can be sci-fi aliens; they can come from the ocean, the forest, underground, or they can come from outer space; they can be 500 feet tall or they can be squirmy little worm-like creatures... as long as they irrationally but rightly seek to devour or destroy mankind and his works. (Or be our pals, but that rarely happens... though it might fall into the "mating with our women" category...)
It would be somewhere close to this time of year that I first discovered this Ray Harryhausen treat: It will undoubtedly not end well for the poor Ymir, but that's how these things go. You just have to enjoy his…

The Sideshow is Almost Always Better Than the Circus...

As I detailed a few posts ago, I recently spent a solid weekend going back through boxes and boxes of my collected Halloween memorabilia and horror toys, having a completely grand time getting reacquainted with old pals and favorite treasures.
Chief amongst these objects was my collection of the official Universal Monsters figures that Sideshow Collectibles began putting out around 2001, I believe (don't correct me if I'm wrong, because I don't care).  I had suffered through any number of half-assed Universal collectibles up to that point in time, but when Sideshow started releasing these 8-inch masterpieces back then... well, I don't remember actually weeping at their utter perfection, but let's say it would have been appropriate if I had done just that.
Since I am really bad at being a completist -- the lack of my own vehicle and the fact that, yet again, I just really don't care really plays into that status -- means that I didn't quite get t…

The Boogieman's Day Out (and Its Immediate and Future Consequences)

I had meant to spend a lot more time writing this weekend, honest. I had been hoping to carve out a couple of days where I just dig deep into a subject or two and create something at least halfway worthwhile for the Pylon. But, you know how it goes... the Halloween spirit is in the air, Jen suggested that we go see Red (or is it actually RED? It is meant to be an acronym.) after she got off work, and I immediately thought, "I could also go see a horror movie before she gets off work!"

Which is what I did yesterday, and the rest of my weekend plans went to hell. Today I have had no drive to finish my Halloween decorating, carve the pumpkin that has been sitting on my table for over a week, do the dishes, knock out a couple of short pieces for work (we are wrapping up our latest soccer magazine, for which I am the associate editor and main writer), clean up a bit around the apartment... and write. I barely have enough resolve this day to pen these scant few  paragraphs.

I let t…

Flickchart Comment #28: I Tentacoli [Tentacles] (1977) vs. Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)

The theme with this match-up seems to be one of rising, the well-known to be thoroughly "Abominable" Dr. Phibes literally doing so even in the title for the sequel to his far-superior first effort. On the other side, you have the hamhandedly filmed antics of a massive octopus rising to the surface to wreak havoc upon landlubbers in the Italian Jaws-ripoff I Tentacoli (known to Americans, especially those of us unfortunate enough to catch this as part of a double feature onscreen back in the day, as Tentacles).

All that rising to very little effect. If you like a lot of murkily shot underwater cinematography, then Tentacles is your octopus. Double bonus if you want to watch a lot of Hollywood stars -- Henry Fonda, Shelly Winters, John Huston -- slumming it up big time in what I hope was a decent payday for all of them. Winters' abrasive voice does its usual number on me (i.e. making me want to not hear her at all), and the fact that she and Huston play "Ned and Tilli…

Random Abode Monsters and Spookage #3

Almost Gojira. Almost the Creature. Just a little too wound up, that's all. Old pals that I have had for just about forever.

Flickchart Comment #27: Trog (1970) vs. The Beast With A Million Eyes (1955)

You see, this is exactly what Flickchart is all about. Just the other day, I posted a comment wherein I chose Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive, an fairly famous awful film, over Trog with Joan Crawford, which I found to be just a tad more awful than the atrocious King film. But every Trog can have its day on Flickchart. All you have to do is see that more terrible film of the two matched up against something which is truly dreadful.

Which is where we are with this match-up. Trog may suck beyond belief, but it at least has a handful of interesting scenes along the road to Crapville. The Beast with a Million Eyes, which betrays nothing of its true nature in the poster you see above, as there is no actual visible beast with all those eyes, might be considered the Chinese Water Torture of '50s sci-fi films. It is so deadening in its pace that you sometimes swear the DVD is on pause for a full hour. It will disappoint you at every turn, and it will make you wonder just how someone …

FEED ME!!!! Redux

Longtime Alaskan pals of mine will immediately recognize the puppet above as Audrey III, who not only was used in a costume contest about 20 years ago, but also took part in various dirty puppet shows over the years at the Three Barons Faire in Anchorage. As for that costume contest, my attempt to portray myself and Audrey III as the Rick Moranis version of Seymour Krelborn and Audrey II from the 1986 musical film of Little Shop of Horrors was only slightly brought down by the fact that a couple of votes for us were actually for "Buddy Holly carrying a plant." Fucking idiots...

I spent a large proportion of time this weekend finally digging into my many boxes of various and sundry Halloween folderol, practically taking up most of Saturday sorting through items at which I had not given five seconds glance over the five-plus years I have been in California. Dozens of monster action figures, playsets, cars, decorative objects... you name it, it's there. After a half-decade o…

Those Eyes, Those Eyes!: Watch "White Zombie" (1932) with Bela Lugosi

It's another public domain feature horror flick found on! The classic White Zombie from the Halperin brothers in 1932, featuring the iconic image of those crazy, scary Béla Lugosi eyes, used many times over in other non-Lugosi productions. Lugosi's character, who is the master of a crew of zombies that run his sugar cane mill, has the fantastic name of Murder Legendre, and it's all over-the-top hysterics and sinister atmospherics from that point forward. Enjoy... if you dare!

Random Abode Monsters & Spookage #2: The Non-Karloff-Looking Official Universal Frankenstein's Monster (Imperial Toys, 1986)

I remember buying this fellow, but I still can't figure out why I never bought the Dracula, Mummy and Wolfman figures that came out with him. Oh, yeah... now I remember. He kind of sucks. Well, sucks as an officially licensed representation of the famous monster played by the great Boris Karloff. That's right, this guy is the real deal,  authorized by Universal Studios, but as it so often happens with monsters, he has a face that only a monster maniac could love.

He actually stood as the only toy representative of his "breed" in my home for several years, at least until the next big Universal Monster wave hit the market. My brother and I even used Mr. Three Points of Articulation to make an exceedingly crude  four seconds of stop-motion film many years back (lost to history, sadly). Beginning in 2001, once I got the Sideshow Toys figures (more on them later this month), I was pretty much spoiled by their near perfection. In a way not unlike many mad scientists…

Flickchart Comment #26: Creature (1985) vs. Alone in the Dark (2005)

Back in the '80s, such was the impact of the original Alien upon myself and a few of my friends that we ended up seeing just about any knockoff of that film that hit our local screens. William Malone's Creature certainly fit the mold of Alien ripoff, making absolutely no bones about doing so, and it was thus that we ended up seeing it one night. Despite the fact that it hasn't an ounce of originality in its making, Creature became a part of the lexicon of our little group thanks to our then-infatuation with the actress Wendy Schaal, an infatuation we didn't really know we had until we saw this film (chiefly because we didn't know who she was). 

During moments of duress when it seemed her character was in imminent danger, a particular one of my pals would blurt out, in rapid fire speech, "Don't die, I love you!" This became her nickname from us, and any time we saw her in a film after that – she appeared in Joe Dante flicks like The 'Burbs (nice flo…