Showing posts from October, 2015

There's a Monster in the Surf! (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!)

A short clip from the ultra low-budget monster/beach mashup, The Beach Girls and the Monster, directed by former matinee idol Jon Hall in 1965. The puppet is Kingsley the Lion, voiced and operated by the late Walker Edmiston, who you may know better as the voice of Ernie the Keebler Elf, Orson the Vulture from H.R. Pufnstuf, or my favorite, Enik the benevolent Sleestak on the original Land of the Lost TV series.

I had already seen The Beach Girls and the Monster a couple of years ago, and while it is a pretty dismal affair, I also found it to be enjoyably schlocky in only the way that a cheap guy in a monster suit movie can be. At 3:30 a.m. this morning, as I awoke to start what was to hopefully be a 24-hour period of monster movie watching, I ran into this TV print of the film, known as The Monster from the Surf, on one of the nostalgia channels cramming up cable TV these days.

The song reminds me of a tune my brothers and I used to sing when we were young (having created it) called Th…

Good Thing the Clay Was So Red: Interior Decorating with Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak (2015)
Dir: Guillermo Del Toro
TC4P Rating: 7/9

I am not sure that I ever truly believed in ghosts.

Scared of the dark? Early in my life, sure... I wasn't exactly afraid of total darkness, but dark places, yes. Mainly darkened rooms adjacent to hallways down which I was passing that either had an unearthly stillness to them or else had something deep within the bowels of that dark room which was making a noise my brain couldn't explain. 

Or sometimes, my brain invented the cause of that noise. In the house in which we grew up in Eagle River, there was a small furnace room without a door under the stairs at the end of a short expanse of hallway around the corner from our bedrooms, and in that unlit cove was a furnace that insisted in making this long, slow, but repetitive whistling noise. And sometimes, as you were passing the furnace room, that noise would stop cold for a short period, and my little kid brain couldn't cope with staring into an absolute darkness tha…

It's Alive! It's Alive! The Cinema 4: Cel Bloc

It has been great getting back into blogging full-time and writing every single day for the past month (plus a couple of weeks), but now I am truly excited.

As some of you may recall, when I first started my online life a decade ago with my move to Southern California, I ran a second website called the Cinema 4: Cel Bloc, a site devoted to animation. Its original intent was to be someplace where I posted short one to two paragraph pieces about whatever animated film I watched that day. But, like most plans or cute little pet monsters, it quickly grew into something else altogether. The daily thing ambled on for a few months, but I was dissatisfied with the pieces I was producing. My manner gradually evolved into the style which I have adopted through today, less concerned with the hows and whys in which the film was created and more about how the film has affected me on a personal level or what influence it may have or may yet have upon me. 

As for the cartoon reviews, I felt it was imp…

Taking Comfort in a Pilgrimage to Dracula (or Drácula... Take Your Choice)

My life of the past few months has been one of redefining the borders of my personal comfort zone. Since losing my job in February, still battling a depressive state even while being weaned from the medication that was helping me through the darkest portion of it, and with my ego taking a very confused beating in searching for new employment, that comfort zone has been decidedly compromised.

Not finding employment in the areas in which I have experience now has me kicking through the doors of that comfort zone and applying for positions at places I never thought I would. Embarrassment has been swallowed through absolute necessity, and the longer this drought continues, I will likely have to become even more used to the taste of it.

The outside perimeter of that bubble of personal comfort may have been battered by recent events. It might have fluctuated greatly as I adjusted to whatever was confronting me at the time. But it has also proven to be a little too stalwart from the opposite d…

Of Pickaxes, Popped Skulls, and Party Tapes Lost to Time...

The only downside of getting back on the writing track is that it definitely takes time away from sitting down and enjoying films as I have become accustomed. Since one is decidedly more beneficial to my health than the other, so be it. I do not need to keep up my ridiculous two-plus films a day pace of the past few years. (On a good open day, I could even get in anywhere from six to nine films, depending on length.)

Yes, it is a new era for me, though really, I have merely reverted back to my ways of the first few years I was in California, when I was actually eager to be here, start over my life, and cut loose with the verbiage. Let's call it a bold new second edition of an old era. However, I am still watching films, just not at the same relentless pace. As proof, here are some capsule reviews and/or personal musings regarding a few that caught my attention recently:

My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009) [non-3D version]
Dir: Patrick Lussier
TC4P Rating: 5/9

I have a nagging suspicion that …

Visiting and Revisiting: The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) Pt. 1

This is Part I of a two-part article in which my good friend Aaron Lowe (Working Dead Productions) and I discuss the 1977 film version of H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau. To read Part II, click here

Rik: The 1977 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau was the first film that I ever saw by myself in a movie theatre. My craving to see the film led to my mother dropping the twelve-year-old me off at the Fireweed Theater in Anchorage, Alaska, while she and my brothers went shopping. At the time, we lived in Eagle River, about fourteen miles outside of Anchorage proper (which is considered to be a "suburb" of the bigger city, but growing up there, we always thought of it as a town unto itself since there is no real physical connection). It was also a very different time, and while I do recall being a little weirded out at being all alone in a movie theatre with random strangers about me, all of that went away when I realized that I was in my element. I had finally found my…

The Last Halloween Round-Up? Sad Days at Big Thunder Ranch...

Yes, we are all happy that Star Wars Land is going to be a reality. The old fans, the newer fans, the misguided in between, we are all happy. The only problem with the creation of the upcoming and long dreamed of Star Wars area at Disneyland is that one of my most prized areas of the park is going to go away: the Big Thunder Ranch area.

When it was first announced that Big Thunder Ranch was going to be closed for good going into construction, some people panicked and thought Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was going bye-bye as well. Not the case, especially since Disney just spent a lot of money overhauling the ride in making it even cooler only a couple of years ago. No, as far as can be surmised, the popular Western railroad-themed rollercoaster directly across from the ranch area is staying put, making people who like to be tormented by TNT-wielding goats all the more joyous. 

I am not necessarily a fan of barbecue. I have been taken to task by my friends for it, some of whom are carni…