Just when I thought everyone forgot about Twilight…

While we were setting up at a convention recently I noticed a rather large decal on the back of another vender’s truck that read “LOST BOYS DON’T SPARKLE”… Which perplexed me because I was pretty sure no one even cared about Twilight anymore… Then I saw another couple of memes posted on social media and learned that, apparently, it’s still an issue…

So, in an effort to educate the pop-culture ignorant, I present you you and article I wrote:
(Two years ago… when it was still relevant)


Lost Boys Vs. Twilight

lost boysI know that in a world full of stupid internet memes it’s hard to believe that these are a couple of the stupidest and least thought out memes that I’ve ever seen…

I want to start out by saying The Lost Boys is one of my favorite movies.


But lets take a minute to think about this film in depth.

Michael Emerson (yeah, the guy from Solarbabies) and his younger brother, Sam (The late Teen-Idol, Corey Haim), move with their recently divorced mother, Lucy, to a beach community in California. Sam decorates his room like a 12 year old girl complete with a sexy poster of Rob Lowe. The brothers begin hanging out on the Boardwalk, which is inhabited by punks and mysterious smooth young boys with Aqua Net encrusted hair and excessively long eyelashes — Not to mention the concerts featuring oiled down muscle men with silky hair playing saxophones like rugged manly men. We’re introduced to David (The super dreamy Kiefer Sutherland). David is the almost angelic and statuesque leader of a local gang. Meanwhile, Sam buddies up brothers Edgar and Alan Frog, a pair of self-proclaimed vampire hunters, who give him horror comics to teach him about young romance… er I mean vampires.

Michael is approached by David, who uses his bedroom eyes to convince him to follow them by motorcycle down the beach until they reach a dangerous cliff. At the gang’s cushy clubhouse David initiates Michael into the group, having him drink from a bottle of wine. The next day, Michael develops a thirst for blood and Mascara.
This initiates some zany vampire slaying antics including steaking Ted from “Bill and Ted” who explodes with glistening glittery blood. Everyone leaves the clubhouse covered in glitter. Sparkly blood. Once more, when the vampires die, they bleed glitter. Um…. need I go on?

I’ve never seen Twilight but attacking it using The Lost Boys is about as effective as using, say, the 80’s boy band New Kids on the Block to attack the newest flavor of the month One DirectionIT’S THE SAME THING.In our case it’s a bunch of sexy, effeminate, romantic vampires being marketed at teenaged girls while ignoring traditional vampire tropes and creating new ones. If you’re not interested in a romantic vampire movie made for young women, don’t watch Twilight, but you’re no better for watching The Lost Boys.

In most cases we’re dealing with is people not so much arguing about quality of movies but jumping on a bandwagon and having these imaginary arguments about apples and oranges, and in this case it’s apples and slightly older apples.
What we all must try and remember that it’s just as pretentious to hate something because it’s popular as it is to like it because it’s popular. Goodnight Ladies and Gentlemen and even gentler men… er… vampires?


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near_dark_bill_paxtonCan we just agree that there is more studly vampirism in Bill Paxton’s diastema than there is in all of these boy’s fangs put together? Because, if you’re looking for the ultimate violent and macho vampire flick that you can watch on date night, you need look no further than NEAR DARK.


Since I am a glutton for punishment, I put together a small gallery of some other memes I found after a 2 minute google search. You’re welcome.


I also found this which is either really hilarious, or unrelentingly stupid:
58d9e9336f8433971282091623058ad5Don’t even get me started on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

House of the Devil

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Hey, Remember the Eighties? Well, probably more than you remember Jim Breuer’s career (R.I.P.) but maybe also not at all, in which case do not fear, because me and today’s film in focus The House of the Devil (2009) are here to tell it like it is, or was, and shall be again? Haha, none of that now, I already made that joke in a previous review, and I don’t wanna start reusing old jokes here, because I don’t believe anyone should be recycling, unless you want the commies to win!!!

This Review Is Based On A Real Movie.

Follow me back to a time with bubble letters, and where yellow and orange are just lighter shades of brown. Where fashions of the 70s were still en vogue and horror movies could be just one girl and one house full of creepy things that kill you. If you’re like me, the early eighties are glamorized by their sensational pinball machines, video games, and goth music, and fashion faux pas, not to mention the full-on slasher genre blooming into irresistible and tasteless levels of imagination to produce new and more horrible images. This era also brought us sequels to late seventies classics like The Amityville Horror and Halloween, which The House of the Devil, while not in any way parodying or copying them, pays homage to them in a style that was pretty inherent of all horror films at the time. While definitely resembling films like When A Stranger Calls and others from the late seventies, the film has more of  the early eighties horror boom cheapness that gives you a campy delight.

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Tom Noonan is one of my favorite actors. Yes, he plays the same psychotic, murderous, child-touching freak in Manhunter, RoboCop 2, The Last Action Hero, that X-Files episode and that Louie episode, but he’s also a lovable Frankenstein in Monster Squad, and the weird counterpart of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Synecdoche, New York. Anyways, I love this tall character actor in the same way that so many of us loved William H. Macy for so long. This movie is no different from Tom’s other outings as a creepy guy every girl has the instinct to spray mace at, and he’s does his role perfectly in a character he’s been cooking for decades. You don’t need flash cuts or loud noises to scare your audience when Tom can make you feel like you’re 6 years old again, and no army of teddy bears is going to save you from his cold clammy stare of death. Lots of horror movies, or just movies in general, have a part or scene or idea that really sold the whole thing, and sparks the debate in your head between the two trolls living in your ears (past review reference, c’mon, keep up sheeple!) and for this movie it’s the great sleepover question, if someone who hires you to babysit then reveals that they don’t have a child and instead wants you to stay in their house in case their mother upstairs needs anything and will pay you 400 dollars, do you do it? Or are they going to try and use you for some satanic ritual like your local church pastor told you people are doing? The choices are yours, and yours alone! You won one pendant at the temple gates, who’s going first?the-house-of-the-devil-image-2

“I am!”

Very well Miriam, when Kirk gives the signal you’ll race through the gates, into the temple, and make your way towards The Secret Map. Hidden inside the temple are temples guards assigned to protect three specific rooms. You can trade you pendant for an extra life and go on, BUT, if you’re caught without a pendant, you will be taken out of the temple, and it will be Zacherie’s turn to enter and try his luck. If you can reach the map, all the doors of the temple will instantly unlock and the temple guards will vanish. Return throughout the gates with The Secret Map of The Bandit Queen within three minutes and you will be handsomely rewarded, and here’s how!!!

Woah. uhhhhhhhhgggg, I don’t know what just happened. It felt like I was possessed by some ancient demon named Olmec, and there were all these legends about temples that were hidden. That is, the temples were hidden, not the legends, which are just kinda not written or anything, I guess, I don’t know. It all seems to be fading now. Ok, so House of the Devil isn’t a hidden temple but it does have some spooky shit that’ll probably make a few kids pee themselves. Like all great slasher films of the early eighties and late seventies, the protagonist of this film is a girl and gets to act like she came out of a closed roller disco turned bar only with a Xenon pinball machine moaning in the background. For some, maybe it’s easier to empathize with a girl lead, but for many angst ridden male teens of the genre’s fan base, it’s seeing the perfect blonde girl who never talks to them getting her punishment for not going on a date with them. It’s always a little bit of both, from both sexes, a little bit of jealousy mixed with fear and we get to feel like normal people while watching people fake getting murdered.

But don’t worry folks, the film never shoots itself in the head, or if it does, it survives. Though when it ends, some might hope for an omen for a sequel. But for anyone who knows The Fly II, knows that would probably be inadvisable. And no I don’t mean Return of the Fly, not that I’d be hurting it’s reputation by comparison (ooooooh, snap attack!).

Well folks, until next time, remember, when drinking blood from a skull, always put trash bags down first. Goodnite.

Event Horizon

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Doom_cover_artI love me some DOOM. As in, the 1993 video game that in 1995, was installed onto more computers than Windows 95 itself.
Now, Event Horizon from 1997, starring Morpheus and the main dude from Jurassic Park, is absolutely nothing like the legendary video game DOOM,

 

 

BUT…event-horizon

 

 Event Horizon takes place near Pluto, back in the future when it was still a planet (get it?) and is the story of what happens when humans screw with portals and contact Hell. That’s where DOOM comes in, cause that’s what DOOM is all about. In fact, Event Horizon is more a DOOM movie than the actual DOOM movie was for that exact reason, what with the DOOM movie having a portal but not using it to connect to another dimension like DOOM the video game did. Wow, I’m saying DOOM a lot, maybe I should sing the DOOM song now? Nah, I’ll save that for another day.

So in this film, we have not only Laurence (Apocalypse Now and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors) Fishburne and Sam (Hunt For Red October) Neill, but also Sean Pertwee, who, if you’re a Classic Doctor Who fan, will look very familiar, or at least his eyes and pointy nose do.

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He is the son of the third doctor Jon Pertwee, and he is the only other interesting person in this film, and that’s only because of his father. I should mention, there is another actor in this film who, while having a slightly more shaved head, still throws me off throughout the movie because he acts and talks just like Sean. Maybe I’m crazy, but that shit threw me off, and like, whoever was doing casting would have not wanted that. Ok, I’m stalling. This film isn’t actually that good, in fact, it’s full of clichés and terrible characters and lots of groaning moments. Like when the characters are acting like they know they’re in a horror movie, and jump in their skin and then frightenedly asking “wh- who’s there!?” WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK IS THERE!? YOU’RE ON A GOD DAMNED SPACE SHIP WITH ONLY 4 OTHER PEOPLE!!!! And you’re a scientist!!!! You would use logical thinking to deduce that it’s one of 4 other people and then just ignore it because it was nothing, because you’re in fucking space, with lots of gadgets and stuff in the walls that are surely making some sort of noise that you’ve learned to ignore!

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The film is set with the same “2001: A Space Odyssey rip-off but mixed with a modern horror feel” idea as Alien, only instead of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space” they went for a “Hellraiser in space” feel. Sooo, that’s basically taking the very beginning and end of Hellraiser 4 and making a whole movie out of it. Ahh, Hellraiser 4, which I actually kind of like for it’s explanation of the Lament Cube and for the jumping timeline and not just waiting til the end for Pinhead. But that’s another review for another time. Now I need to wrap up this review in a way that makes it feel like it wasn’t written over a four week period while I was vacationing in Bermuda. Uuuummmm, I know I didn’t really talk about what happens in the movie, but I prefer discussing the nuances rather than giving you a step by step ruining of the movie’s plot. Maybe I should just tell you why you should bother to watch this movie when it has some pretty obvious flaws. Well, there’s blood. Blood is cool, right?
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Blood. Please enjoy responsibly.

 

Night Of The Creeps

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

When Zombies conquer the earth, will it be from a virus or a voodoo curse? Hell, maybe it turns out we all shoulda been eating kosher. So what about that other idea you had, the one about it being from alien slugs from space, that are slugs? Yeah, I know i know, you’ve seen them in every blockbuster movie, from The People vs. Larry Flynt to Man on the Moon and then, umm, well whatever else Courtney Love was in. But if you ask me, and you haven’t, but this little gremlin sleeping in my ears has, I think Night Of The Creeps best represents this genre at it’s full potential.

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So beyond its zombie alien slug exterior, beats the heart of a film made with post-­modern (I sound cool when I use that word) elements, revisiting classic horror staples in a tongue-in-cheek, “let’s have fun” kinda way that was becoming prevalent in the eightites horror genre. It starts with an homage to the black and white early slasher films involving premarital lovers out for a night smooch. I’ll let you decide what you think happens to them.

Flash forward to 1986, or, the present, as it was and shall be again (seriously, look at the kids these days and the things they wear. oy vey!) you’ve got a dork, and a Robert Downey Jr in Back to School type dork, but with crutches. For some more little homagey fun, make sure to listen to everyone’s names, especially the last names – there are some nods to the likes of George A. Romero, David Cronenberg, James Cameron, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Sand Raimi, and Steve Miner (guy directed the first three Jason movies). Check out that list, it’s almost too much, but then Dick Miller shows up, and everybody inside my head cheers!

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You’ve also got a fraternity jock named Brad with (dyed) blonde hair and a “Darsh!” kinda attitude.

But the real star of this whole movie is the hard­boiled cop, played by 80’s mainstay cop actor Tom Atkins. Yeah, he’s in The Fog and Escape From New York for Carpenter, then in Creepshow, again with Adrian Barbeau, but now directed by George Romero. The the love­-it-­or-hate­-it Halloween III, and after Creeps, did Lethal Weapon and, one of my favorite bad movies of all time, Maniac Cop. I love this guy. I could watch him forever. He shines in this movie, like a sun crashing into another sun at like, 100 kazillion miles per hour, and they’re both covered in sparklers. He’s so entertaining. Please, if you’re watching this and finding the 80’s kids to irk you, just wait til Tom, he ain’t gonna let you down.

And this film finally answers that age old question that I know many of us have held in our hearts for many years. That is, can a nerd look cool in a tux with a flame thrower strapped to his back?

No. He can’t.

Though honestly, I’m not sure i agree with that verdict.

Trick or Treat

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

HO-LY COW!!! Folks, we’re in Halloween Week right now, and while we all get to feel like a broken clock at 6:30 (a REALLY broken clock), here’s an extra spooky review of the 1986 Trick Or Treat heavy-metal-themed horror movie, with cameos from both OZZY and Gene Simmons(that together, don’t total more than 5 minutes, but it was enough to inspire a 2002 DVD cover photos)! Horrible re-release covers aside, this film earns the tag “horrible” on its own. Or maybe we can just call it misunderstood.

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Trick Or Treat is the kind of movie made with a teenage mentality, similar to Corey Haim in License To Drive, where, “hey, isn’t it really cool how stupid and antagonizing I am? It’s the eighties and us teenagers live in the future, while our parents are so lame!” You know, the Pepsi Generation. It’s one of those movies like the Brad Pitt early venture Cutting Class, where they just took a common phrase and made a movie around it, plus a bunch of entitlement issues they mistaking labeled as “teen angst.”

Anyways, this Columbine wannabe, Eddie Weinbauer, has unrealistically abrasive bullies busting his chops. It seems like some sort of rational decision to report their obvious infringements on school policies, but instead he takes the humiliation like some masochist and goes home to cry and listen to his recently deceased favorite hair metal rock star Sammi Curr. Just moments after finishing a letter to Sammi, in which he writes his aching heart out, Eddie finds out Sammi had died in a fire. So Eddie gets the acetate disc (music buffs, you can rejoice knowing that your awareness of what an acetate disc is has finally paid off, but despair over the fact that I’m just going to explain it anyways, since nobody knows what the hell it is), which is the first single pressing of a record before it’s mass produced, made to just check it’s all good and ready to go, of Sammi Curr’s last unreleased album, “Songs in the Key Of Death” (Stevie would roll around in his grave if he were dead).

A radio DJ named Nuke (cue 2 minute Gene Simmons cameo) just happens to give this priceless object to some kid who hangs around the local rock station occasionally, instead of having a life. So then Eddie goes home, and like any good 80s teenage moron, decides to play the record backwards. Now, we all know that when you do this, it invokes the dark beast to return to our realm and wreak havoc on the sinners above, HOWEVER this film suggests that instead, Sammi Curr is resurrected though this heinous act, and is now going to use his power to do a few things: 1) He’s going to help this kid with his bully problem by almost murdering a bully in front of Eddie, 2) He’s going to crash a high school dance and be the front man for the crappy band that’s playing, and 3) He’s going to kill everyone, starting with the students at this random high school, and that kid he was helping before.

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But it’s only when you play the record backwards that Sammi can come out to kill you. And the record is destroyed, and now so is the tape that this idiot made of the record playing backwards. But, OH WAIT, Didn’t Nuke say he was going to play the record at midnight on Halloween? We’ve gotta stop him! Those of you paying attention are going “but, it doesn’t matter, it has to be played backwards,” but Nuke just has a taped recording of his broadcast (guess Gene didn’t wanna do another scene) AND he just happened to decide to play the record backwards, YA KNOW, FOR WHATEVER REASON!!! Also, Ozzy pops up as a minister decrying the evils of Heavy Metal music in what turns out to be the best minute of the whole movie. And yeah, you can’t understand a bleeping thing he says.

So what, did I give in and finally review a bad movie, or am I just having a bad day? Naw, the film has its moments, like when the one house has a mirror over the fireplace, and a brown chair, with a desk with a built-in lamp next to it that was pretty much exactly like my grandparent’s house. There’s also a funny joke about a toilet. BUT THAT’S IT. Watch at your own risk.

 

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil and The Cabin in the Woods: A Double Feature Review of 2 Post­modern Horror Examples

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

So what exactly is a post­modern horror flick? Well, to phrase it my way (‘cause with words like “post­modern,” or “meta,” or “avant­garde,” someone never hesitates to tell me I’m using it wrong), it’s like going into a horror picture that has assumed you’ve already seen every horror movie before, and they play on that. This ‘genre’ has to evolve with time, and so I’m writing about the state of the genre in the now, not about what it used to be. What it used to be, it isn’t, and though what it is will change, for now, it’s something I hope to define. Got it?

tucker and dale 1
So how does a post­modern horror picture deal with its audience who already knows, or thinks they know, what to expect? With comedy, that would be more of a spoof, which these movies are not. They exist right before the line of spoof, and hang out in the warm and fuzzy haze of “so crazy it could just be true.” Ya know, there’s just something about somebody jumping head first into a wood chipper that can evoke the most horrified laughter. So no, Young Frankenstein doesn’t count, and neither does Night of the Living Dead, (but its ending does). NotLD has been referred to as an early example of P­M horror, in how its characters deal with each other as potential enemies rather than dealing with the monsters attacking them, but this concept wasn’t entirely new at that time, just underused. Its ending however, continues to shock new audiences, who are years past its opening “running woman” cliché, with its unexpected, unwanted, and unrelentingly bleak nature.

Other ‘not quite there’ examples include Return of the Living Dead, (which references the movie it was a sequel to in order to explain the plot). While it walks the line between horror and comedy seamlessly, as does American Werewolf in London, and Evil Dead II (intentionally or unintentionally) it’s not a spoof. On top of that, its creating its own mythology, so it’s still serious horror.
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Moving into the mid-nineties, we have two great examples from one of the kings himself, Wes Craven. His New Nightmare and Scream affairs, which were dripping in heavy meta masturbation, play with our knowledge and preconceived notions of horror. But again, these two still end up having a crazed killer concept behind them. Thus, these films still aren’t in the same breed as my examples. They still establish their boogeymen in the same way as the horror from before, whereas the horror in Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and The Cabin In The Woods comes at you in a completely different way.
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Both films are rich in comedy, and their whole notion is to play off of your preconceived ideas of what a horror movie is, both paying mega­-homage to the Evil Dead films. Tucker & Dale uses a much more down-­to­-earth and believable comedic mix­up plot device, whereas Cabin uses, everything, (more specifically, a government conspiracy that uses everything, but still, everything nonetheless. If I have to give you my personal opinion on the films, which would seem stupid not to do, (what with me having you here, reading these brainfarts I’ve called words), I would tell you that both are extremely enjoyable films (how articulate right?). But really, they’re top notch in a sea of dwindling ideas in horror, and I regret that for them, I had but only one ticket to buy (Pffft, as if. Yey Netflix!) Ok, so maybe Tucker & Dale kinda sputtered at the end, but Cabin ended in a flawless bouquet of Living Dead inspired endings. I mean, maybe I’ve been eating too many of Stormy’s Stimutacs®, but Marduk, slayer of Tiamat, rules. He totally does.

***SPOILER CONTENT***

So technically the ending of Tucker & Dale hurts my argument due to a crazed killer appearing. I hated that crap, and anyways, he wasn’t the one doing all the killing, so it doesn’t count, and my point remains valid.

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And for Cabin ­ yes, there are monsters, some that you’ve technically never seen before. They aren’t conventionally pursuing their desires on their own volition. Sure, there ends up being one huge villain in the very end, but I still don’t count that because they’re my rules, and if Romero can hate running zombies after starting NotLD off with one, then I can rewrite the definition of any words I want to (Lady Gaga and your ArtPop), an if you don’t like ’em, well then you can just git.

Lord of Illusions

 

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

lord_of_illusions_poster_03In continuing to review movies that I can view for free on Netflix (it’s my roommate’s account), I turn my attention to a man who’s brilliance is known well in the horror world – but that’s where his recognition stays. Clive Barker has never been a Hitchcock, or a Spielberg, or even a Stephen King (by which I mean, the general public is not really aware of him on any level other than some movies called Hellraiser, which they’ve never seen, but they do know that guy with the pins in his head). He’s a mind for the horror fan who wants to see something different than the normal killing spree or ghosts, and wants the fabric of their imagination challenged. There’s gore, but not like you’ve ever seen, which I would detail further, but I don’t want to ruin what you might not have seen yet, though I will note: I have seen corpses come back to life in two of his films in ways that I have never and probably will never see again. His characters are unlikable, reflections of Clive’s own introverted displeasure with the commonly negative disposition of humankind, not for the general viewer. It’s funny, his movies can sometimes seem like lesser horror films due to his seemingly one dimensional characters, but that’s just an illusion along with it also being more realistic (yes, it can be both).

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And that’s as good a segue as any to mention the name of the film I’m supposed to be reviewing, rather than gushing over my cinematic man crush. Lord Of Illusions. From 1995 and starring Scott Backula (in-between creating and destroying franchises) as Harry D’Amour, a character that Clive has featured in multiple literary works as a tattoo-laden paranormal/occult detective, appearing first the short story “The Last Illusion”, on which this movie is loosely based. The movie also features Farnke Janssen, or Jean Grey of the x-men, since that’s easier to say, Kevin O’Connor, who you might know as that weird looking guy in that thing you’ve seen, and Daniel von Bargen (what a name) who you might know as that bald-looking guy in that thing you’ve seen. The cast is great, and further drives home the very 90s feeling that the movie captures. To me, it feels like a mix of a Spawn comic book and a Marilyn Manson music video.

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The story begins at what feels like the end of another movie. A group of former followers of a Christ-on-crack-like crazy guy Nix (von Bargen) confronts him after a bunch of things that we didn’t see have transpired. All we know is that there’s a kidnapped girl, a dude who can fly, some 1998 Leonardo DiCaprio movie stuff going on, and all in all, shit has gotten way out of hand. After that, we move 13 years into the future and meet Captain Archer before he had crashed the Enterprise into the ground, playing a detective with the chiseled good looks of an ubermench.

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There’s this cool flashback to some more stuff that happened before what we’re seeing and are not told what it is. That scene just shows this detective has already seen paranormal shit and so he’s ready for the madness. We move with him through following up on the people we met 13 years ago who defeated their former messiah. Looks like another follower didn’t like them murdering Commandant Edwin Spangler (that’s a von Bargen Malcom in the Middle reference. ‘member him?). So then some wild stuff happens, then more stuff, and even MORE stuff, until Count Backula flies through the air and saves us all from the destruction of the universe.

This movie has so many good quotes, most from Nix. “I was born to murder the world.” “(I am) A man who wanted to become a god… then changed his mind.”

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My personal favorite though, is: “We were going to be together… when I finished with the world. We were going to keep each other company… in the dark.”

This movie may feel a bit camp, but its value as entertainment in the horror genre is immense, and this film needs to be recognized by horror buffs of the world.

Look Out! It’s The Ghouligans! Misunderstood Monsters Looking for a Place in This World!

IMG_5185(1) THE GHOULIGANS! MINI-SERIES (2xDVD’s, 3 half hour episodes per disc, 2013)

by MR. LOBO

This is a critical review as well as a general article about these “cool” creeps and the challenges they obviously face. With decline of broadcast and DVD, the stranglehold of corporate media, the glut of amateurish horror content on the internet, and the attention span of the average monster kid diminishing to about 4 seconds…a lot of you reading this may have yet not taken the time to actually watch THE GHOULIGANS!

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We’ve had the DVDs in our possession for some time. Why did it take us so long to check it out? Mr. Lobo saw some of their old black and white stuff, with the now absent Count Farnham, years ago and liked it. That was THE GHOULIGANS!(2006) B&W DVD, 60min. As an independent producer myself, I often deal with the reality of my peers and potential fans–who really love the idea of my show–putting off actually watching it for months or many years. Is it fear of disappointment? Is it ADD? Is it Jealousy? It’s understandable–Who doesn’t secretly want to do their own comedy-horror show? Is it “not wanting to have to look the creators of the show in the eye” at conventions or shows and tell them the truthfully how they feel about what is obviously a back breaking labor of love. Many fawn all over the plight of the independent film director but few share that same support for independent TV producers. It’s not as simple as that old saw,

“SyFy Channel should pick them up…”

The technical and legal hoops one must jump through to get on network cable are discouraging to say the least.

Let Mister Lobo end the suspense for you right now. They’re good.

Here’s the trailer…

DIXIE DELLAMORTO, MISS MITTENS, and MR. LOBO sat down and watched both DVDs straight through–that’s 6 total episodes–and two bonus cuts.

http://www.philebrity.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/6a010534ca5d8b970b010535ae6ed9970c-800wi.jpgEven with the potential “Bro” vibe, it’s balanced with some heart…and it’s very often smart in it’s knowledge of the genre and in it’s satire. Mr. Lobo had grown up watching Filmation’s THE GROOVY GOOLIES–a spin off of SABRINA and ARCHIE from the comics, Hanna-Barbara’s THE DRAK PACK and both the Saturday morning version of MONSTER SQUAD from the 70’s and the Fred Dekker film of the 80’s…
ALL featuring good guy versions of classic monsters. The SLACK PACK, the team behind THE GHOULIGANS!, had a lot of burned in memories to compete with! To make this review process even more complicated, we’re also big fans of our long time friends and colleagues from GHOUL-A-GO GO, also from New York, who have a long running black-and-white show featuring monhttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/_oXsV5Js58Dg/SP_4_dNSAYI/AAAAAAAAAi4/NyLoqfU1-hw/s320/82788201_l.jpgsters hosting a kiddie show. In the interest of full disclosure, you must also consider the bias that Mr. Lobo produces and hosts his own show CINEMA INSOMNIA. However, it was fun, over the course of all the THE GHOULIGANS! episodes in this mini-series, to see them find their own thing and set themselves apart from the influences we all share.

 

This show is incredibly ambitious and kudos to everyone involved in this homegrown Independent series. IMG_5107These guys are horror heroes. When you watch you sometimes forget that they are up against a lot and this is an amazing undertaking for such a low budget show! Everyone must be doing the work of 10 people and you can sometimes see the seams as they lose focus. The make up effects range from brilliant to barely passable. Sometimes it’s unclear–Who is their audience? The humor is often too adult for kids and too kid-like for many adults. Is it a struggle to find their audience? A struggle to find their own voice? Or just a reflection of the many different personalities involved?

On the plus side–there is something for everyone.

Whatever the case may be, as a viewer, you are always rooting for these guys and you always want to “Be True to Your Ghoul” even at times when the DVD feels like a sampler.

Let’s talk about the name for a second. For those of you who lost your slang thesaurus, “Ghouligan!” is a compound word made up from the word “Ghhttp://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20070115044937/mst3k/images/8/8b/Joel_3-5_cast.jpgoul” and the derogatory remark “Hooligan!” Hooligan is a dated insult meaning “Thug!”  or “Troublemaker”– mainly used by old people and square adults in old movies and TV shows. However, there doesn’t seem to be many “adult” characters in their world. You get the sense that they are roommates entering middle age and their days hanging out at the malt shop or giving the crusty principal at the high school a “hot foot” are behind them. They are still binge-drinking and still trying to get girlfriends as well trying to  fit in with their monster peers.  Like in the opening of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000–repeat to yourself, “It’s just a show, I should really just relax.”

http://reelybored.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/wolf.jpgWOLFGANG W. WOLGANG–seems the most confident and is a natural performer and as such is often doing the heavy lifting in scenes. A biker clad werewolf and selfish party animal who often gets the other two main GHOULIGANS in trouble.

BORIS STEIN–a man made monster, is established as the smartest and most responsible…but his better qualities are not always present depending on the skit. His make up also seems the most complicated and unfortunately, the most volatile.We love Werewolves and “Frankensteins”–but for us, VOID seems to be the most consistent, most original looking, and most dimensional character…a lonely, shy, blue zombie, with a knit hat a la Mike Nesmith of the Monkees .

http://pthumb.lisimg.com/image/5371898/250full.jpgWith the first episode MR. LOBO was immediately hit with bright colors, toe-taping music, and the broad comic vibe of THE KROFT SUPERSHOW–complete with laugh track–which would seem to disappear as the shows went on. Showing their influences, second series was called THE GHOULIGANS! SUPER SHOW(Color, 42min. 2008) and seemed to have had wall-to-wall canned laughter.
This series features some very funny pop-culture references to unlikely 80’s fare like NEVERENDING STORY and black and white parodies of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD(1969) and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE(1955).
The Second Episode, the MOMMY’S CURSE, had a very well done spoof of SCARFACE(1983)– Something for the stoner crowd, I expect. They introduced BOB TUTANKHAMEN–who in a later episode does a great fake local ad for his own Pyramid building business.


Seems like by the end of episode 2 they lost the laugh track.
There is even a spoof of masked Mexican wrestling movies in here for all you SANTO and BLUE DEMON fans.
KRILL GRILL–is another favorite character. At one point he drops his beach bum monster from the surf persona and imitates angry smoking comedian DENNIS LEARY from the 90’s. A highlight for anyone who actually remembers Dennis Leary.
Much of the writing is farcical and I found myself looking for more of a plot than the writers seem to allow. These are self aware characters doing “a show” and they seem to bounce from situation to situation like Warner Bros. cartoon characters.

The Jackass type “reality TV” spoofs of pranks played on VOID by WOLFGANG and BORIS are all funny and well done…even though it seems out-of-character for usually-square BORIS to pull such shenanigans. Like I said, there is a lot of bouncing as far as tone, style, and story. No laugh track at all in the 3rd episode but on the Second Disk in the 4th Episode the canned applause is back briefly and BORIS is suddenly shiny again like he was in the first episode. There are some Inconsistencies in the make up here and there–especially with BORIS STEIN and make up coming off hands and around the neck–But ALL are Very loveable though-out and all the quirks give it it’s charm.

Slimy Disco vampire COUNT FLEMING is introduced as well as some more adult humor–Less KROFT SUPER SHOW–More MAD TV. There are a few unexpected edgy Moments –like a Mexican Stand off with pistols in the bathroom with VOID putting a gun to HIS OWN head at one point. There is another bit where he actually shot himself through the head–very upsetting but somehow funny and in character.
In one episode they are leaping from world to world with a magic TV remote and my wife Dixie leaned over an said http://images2.makefive.com/images/entertainment/television/tv-shows-that-should-be-made-into-feature-films/quantum-leap-7.jpg“QUANTUM LEAP references will get you everywhere!” Well, it does with Dixie and Mr. Lobo caught himself giggling, too.

Erik, THE PHANTOM who appeared in the first episode comes back…you’re not supposed to like him and you don’t. He represents the worst of the more hammy humor. On the second DVD there are more well done movie spoofs like KRILL GILL as “Bruce Gillis” in FRY HARD a parody of DIE HARD(1988).http://i.ytimg.com/vi/y3bzrzkA2UQ/maxresdefault.jpgSome of the bits are a little thin and run a bit long. As much as we love WOLFGANG W. WOLFGANG–there is a George Michael music video parody that got a big laugh at first–but then overstayed it’s welcome. Their Corny humor–is self aware and addressed in one of the better fake ads from Ulcer Corp. for THE GHOULIGANS! ACTION FIGURES. It shows children doing dangerous things with the figures and gleefully watching ahttps://i.ytimg.com/vi/ch6dF69DBcE/mqdefault.jpgs their dad is eaten by the real THE GHOULIGANS! Perhaps they made that commercial just to make it painfully clear that the shows are not intended for younger audiences.  The second disk has more gross-out humor–there is a belly busting bit with a proper English butler who throws up everywhere in a fake sit-com pilot called “HEAVESWORTH”.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfp1/v/t1.0-9/189186_1990360123807_4127414_n.jpg?oh=d4087e0c898c2260225aa5fb6366c444&oe=54B79976&__gda__=1420455738_27b053431c6f759cb1108b9215849a19

indexTHE GHOULIGANS! MINI-SERIES(2013) is full of variety, surprises, memorable humor, and remarkable production value considering it’s budget. They obviously have a lot of great people who believe in them and are helping them in their unholy quest to save comedy-horror from itself! One gets the feeling that these mad scientists are tooling and re-tooling themselves for Prime Time. Overall, THE GHOULIGANS! shows are creative, colorful, and infectious. In a perfect world, they would have a blank check and world wide distribution. For now, it is your duty to purchase your own copies of their fine work and load up on their merchandise. Look out puny humans! Here comeTHE GHOULIGANS! Go get ’em, lads!

IMG_9896All The Ghouligans! full episodes will be released on DVD/VOD/Streaming next summer through Wild Eye Releasing and it’s available streaming now on ROK TV’s The Monster Channel, as well as some goodies on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

American Horror Story: Cutting Corners?

freaks-movie-poster25 I am very excited about the new season of American Horror Story! Sideshows have always been a part of Pop Culture and have been intriguing and mysterious ever since their conception. The imagery associated with sideshows is striking to say the least. Tod Browning‘s masterpiece, FREAKS is haunting and unforgettable. Tales from the Crypt had a couple of amazing Circus themed episodes, and Carnivàle was very successful on HBO… Rob Zombie also borrows heavily from the ascetic. What we have is a full history of good imagery.

Which is why not I’m Impressed with American Horror Story’s supposed new opening sequence.

They ask Are there hints lurking in Freak Show’s mesmerizing main title sequence? We’ll let you decide… If they’re asking about the corners they’re cutting to keep the cost down, they gave us more than a clue: AHS New

Heavily featuring a prop from Spirit Halloween stores?… A prop which has been in stores for at least two years?

Fan reaction has been mixed. Most people are extremely excited and love the visuals of the new main title sequence, others think it looks like a poorly executed Tool Music Video. With the budget this project has I feel they could have hired someone to make this $36 dollar animated Halloween decoration a new pillbox hat, or repaint his face… or anything? I guess the neck ruffle is a nice touch.

So many questions spawn from this observation:

Is it Fan Made? If it’s fan made, kudos too you unnamed fan, whoever you are. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to use a pre-made prop if you’re working on zero budget.

Is it Product Placement? Is Spirit Halloween sponsoring the new season of AHS?

Did they think no one would notice? Soo Bawls Sees all. I live in a Halloween store, you can’t slip anything by me.

Oh well, regardless of this minor disappointment, I’m still excited and can’t wait to see what twists and turns this new season takes.

Everybody has to eat shaving cream once in a while

 

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

b00004y6a6_01_lzzzzzzz1985’s The Stuff is right up there with They Live for making a heavy handed metaphor into a whole movie, and doing a damn good job of it, sort of. Confused? You won’t be, after the next episode of… Funky Fred’s Freetime Feline Fur Face Floundering.

More confused? Good. Now I’ve got you right where I want you.

So what do you do when you’re just walking along, and this weird white substance bubbles out of the ground? You taste it, right? And what if that “stuff” tasted really good? Well, immediately, you’d think of selling it to the public. Or, you would if that “Stuff” (please don’t make a drinking game out of this) was somehow changing your brain and making you it’s mindless zombie, obsessed and craving more stuff, more and more because you just can’t get enough of the stuff! (DING!)
THESTUFF007The movie itself has some pretty good characters in it. i wouldn’t say they were solid, but it’s fun watching them, for the most part. My personal favorite, of course has to be Garrett Morris, of original SNL cast fame, playing Chocolate Chip Charlie, an obvious homage (obvious to me, maybe not to you cretins) to Wally Amos, of Famous Amos Cookies. But his character just appears and disappears throughout the story, and it just doesn’t really make sense. The film also suffers from some pretty bad special effects, that, while campy and fun, and decent for their time (I guess, I dunno, probably, given their budget) sometimes took me out of the film. But it comes together in the end, thanks to one of the actors whose face you’ll recognize, but probably not know from where (hint: it’s Goodfellas) Mr. Paul Sorvino. He plays an over-the-top military general character with such precision, I really loved every second of his performance.
T
As for the lead actor, playing “Mo” Rutherford, he’s alright, but i never knew what to think of him. He’s the ‘gun-for-hire’ corporate saboteur who ends up learning The Stuff’s plan and leads the revolution against it. But, he acts like a greedy businessman and his shady past is mentioned a lot, blurring his character so you don’t know whether to like him or not. That’s probably what they were going for, but I still lament at a character’s true core being lost in a muddle of devious tricks and then redeemable actions (if you can really call kidnapping a child redeemable). But it doesn’t really matter, because the real star of this movie is “The Stuff” itself. This movie succeeds in its send-up of consumer culture, one of the favorite subject matters of modern horror. The adverts, the jingles, the fashion models, the fake commercial starring Abe Vigoda and the lady from the “Where’s the beef?” ads! It’s such a smarmy experience, as you watch the bright flashy ads and feel the part inside of you that thinks “I wonder what that tastes like?” Cause that’s when they’ve got you. They don’t expect you to run out and buy their product based on an ad, they want you to walk by it in the aisle and think “hmmm, I should try that out, and see if that ad is right about it really whitening my brain like it promises.”.

No, the stuff won’t whiten your teeth, but it does taste delicious. You should definitely try it. C’mon, try some. Don’t be chicken. See, I’m eating it right now.

MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaarrrrgHRGAAAARRGGGHHHLLHFARGLEFUNNGLEFOHACKENSACK!