Wednesday, September 30, 2009

spongebob squarepants: scaredy pants

don't laugh. spongebob's got a lot to teach us: love, compassion, enthusiasm, joys of work. he's also, along with his best friend patrick star, hilarious. think of the relationship between spock and kirk, transfer the action to under the sea at a mythical place that is bikini bottom, and have the principals be a sponge and a starfish, et viola, you have magic.

i became a fan of the show when nicholas started watching it. the timing and the themes of the series are impeccable. spongebob and patrick are two losers who are oblivious to their own silliness and go about making a life of fun. what more can one ask of our lives.

this episode is the only halloween themed spongebob show that i'm aware of . there maybe more halloween themed shows but perhaps they've not been released to dvd. in this episode it is halloween night and spongebob is frightened of everything, including patrick's wearing fake nose and glasses. to beef up his confidence, and perhaps make him more scary in order to become the frightener rather than the victim, spongebob asks patrick to shave down his square head to a round shape. spongebob thinks round shapes are more scary. spongebob then dons a sheet, looks like a fake ghost, and runs around claiming that he is the flying dutchman.

well, the real flying dutchman will have none of it. insulted that spongebob is claiming to be the flying dutchman while wearing such a cheap costume the flying dutchman appears at a halloween party to steal spongebob's, and the entire group of guests', souls. only spongebob gets the final laugh by scaring off the flying dutchman when the ghoul pulls off spongebob's sheet. what lies beneath is exceptionally frightening and the show ends with spongebob scaring the bejesus out of everybody.

now, i've seen this particular show several times. i love it. perhaps it should give me hope to have become a fan of a kid's show in my 40s. i'm not so inured to the hard world not to enjoy a small dab of goofy fun in the form of a cartoon sponge. then again, maybe i should be scared, very scared, that i've not matured enough to develop more sophisticated tastes and look upon spongebob with a sneer and a bad taste in the mouth. because i'm so emotionally retarded that there's no hope for me at all.

as danny elfman once wailed, who do you wanna be today / who do you wanna be / do you wanna be stupid / just like me!


quote unquote

Passion is underrated. I think we should all produce work with the urgency of outsider artists, panting and jerking off to our kinky private obsessions. Sophistication is conformist, deadening. Let's get rid of it.

--dodie bellamy

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

quote unquote


going to be
all right

and even if
isn't going to be

still going to be
all right

--william packard

Monday, September 28, 2009

watching the mist [2007] in black&white

the tone of a film is established by its photography. how it looks, how the characters behave within the confines of the frame determines a movie's feeling. thus we react strongly if the colors are too bold, or if the colors bleed, or if the film is grainy, or if it looks too shiny and therefore fake as it looks to be made of plastic.

monster movies are made for black&white photography, that much is clear. black&white sharpens the contrast between the silliness of the monster -- after all, monster movies are nothing if not exercises in goofy logic since monsters are by their very creation impossible to believe that they really exist -- and the terror felt in the viewer.

stephen king's stories, some very well-done, others are just camp, are just begging for black&white photography. problem is that audiences today, especially younger audiences, run from even the hint of black&white photography. making a monster movie in black&white is a sure way to kill off any potential interest in the finished product.

so what's a filmmaker to do? frank darabont who helmed this stephen king story released his movie in color, but for the dvd release added as an extra a digitized version in black&white. the result is a vast improvement on one seriously goofy b-movie.

the difficulty i have with stephen king, in his written works and his films, is that king does not know how to carry out the narrative to a satisfying conclusion. i remember reading the novel IT when i was 18. a thick doorstop of a book that literally carried me away by the writer's magical storytelling. yet, the ending was such a let-down, a real bummer, so anticlimactic, i felt very cheated. the same goes for his movies. at least the movies that are faithful adaptions to king's novels.

the mist is no exception. the first third of this movie is first-rate, rattle-you-up, b-movie fare. the middle is flabby as a middle-aged man's beer belly, and the ending, shock ending as it is and the only time darabont deviates from king's source material, was pretty okay, but still felt like a cop-out.

in black&white these flaws are leavened by the tone created by its stark photography. it harkens back to the classic monster movies of yore while creating a real sense of dread. darabont is no hack and i think with his movie in black&white he managed the genuine thrill of watching a b-movie.

at any rate, i have a love-hate thing going with this movie. i've seen it twice in color but i've seen it twice as many times in black&white. it works better without color. the mist is shimmering and ominous and the very silly monsters appear like vicious apparitions rather than the combinations of puppets and cgi.

not bad. not great. a decent waste of time.


Friday, September 25, 2009

memoirs of a soccer-poet-dad

i wouldn't believe it myself but it's true. here i am now a soccer dad and loving it. nicholas joined the local league and tomorrow will be his third game. if i ever get off my lazy ass and upload some pics i'll post them here. because i am a proud papa and i wouldn't have thought that i'd be cheering in utter joy at the sight of 4-6 year-olds chasing, and occasionally kicking, a little round ball in a field of grass.

* * *

i've been outta it. it was a long one yesterday. afterward i tried finishing reading dodie bellamy's barf manifesto but 3 pages in and i was down for the count. i woke up an hr later with a crick in my neck, the chap in lap, and my laptop unopened on the table beside me. getting up from the prone position to turn out the lights, lock the doors and head for bed was harder to do than a skid-row drunk passing up the chance for free booze. i was zonked. out. like totally. fer sure.

* * *

i agree with sr priego's piece he titled seriously. if you're gonna go thru the bother of setting up, and i assume write and maintain, a blog what the fuck do you mean to block access to it. i find that sort of thing annoying at the least and goddamned arrogant by the blogger. if you don't want readers then don't write, okay.

* * *

the past few weeks have brought parcels of poems. well, the u.s. postal service, that nearly quaint and antiquated of organizations, did. and as quaint as the postal service might be i love coming home to find envelopes and packages stuffed with pubs and poems. especially if they are unexpected, like today, but so very welcome.

so here's a few:

i've received a packet of pubs from john bloomberg-rissman

white chapel by ryan scott

and today i came home late after a very long and trying day at work to find jone cone's recent chap, family portrait with two dogs bleeding, from arnold skemer's phrygian press. my partner in rhyme, jonathan hayes, also has a chap from the same press and i see in the listing in the back of cone's chap so does geof huth.

these pubs makes me, in the words of mater from the pixar movie cars, happier than a tornado in a trailer park.

* * *

cuz ain't that what it's all about, love, and friendship in all its manifold forms. and poetry. i've hit an age now when i think that what really matters is the practice of lovingkindness and that this world is more than enough. as bloomberg-rissman writes in the notes section of his chap a spectrum of other instances [bamboo books; 2008]:

To quote lolabola, who gets my award for writer of the year for just these words: "are you sure you don't love it all? I certainly do. it's the end of the year and I love everything!"

* * *

as the beatles concluded one of the greatest rock albums:

and in the end the love you take
is equal to the love you make

i suppose that that is what happens when this dude, me, i guess, turns into a soccer-poet-dad.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the crater lake monster [1977]

i'm a nut for cryptozoology, the alleged study of creatures that might exist, the kind of animals that live in the mind and are therefore more powerfully scary than the biggest of the big cats walking the african veldt. bigfoot, yeti, the loch ness monster, all manner of monsters that are the matter of folklore, tall tales, and the occassional grainy image taken either from a picture still or from a long-distance video shot by someone with a supremely shaky hand.

i'm born and raised a norcal boy. they say that there are bigfoots -- would the plural might be bigfeet? -- in the nearby sierra nevada mountain range. i've been going into the mountains for years, always with my eyes open for the spectacle of an 8 ft tall hairy apeman. haven't seen him, at all, but not for lack of trying. i still look every time i go to the woods or head up to lake tahoe.

in the '70s there were scores of movies capitalizing on the larger public's hunger for news and evidence of critters of the cryptozoological kind. some are pseudo-documentaries while the most of these films are cheap-ass horror/exploitation ripoffs. so when i saw this film in the racks some years ago, selling for about 5 bucks, i picked it up rather quizzically. i didn't recall seeing it back in the day, and believe me, i was even more rabid for this caliber of filmmaking then i am now. but the price and the fact that the dvd case claimed the actor stuart whitman stars in it decided the matter for me.

to call this a bad film, a really bad movie, is no small claim. the crater lake monster is most likely the worst movie ever made. most critics call ed wood jr's plan 9 from outer space the worst move ever made. boy they got it wrong. wood's magnum opus is citizen kane compared to this tripe. cheaply shot, not even acted by a lackluster cast, which includes a rich playboy who wears a sea captain's hat and will destroy your eardrums with his horribly fake british accent and will melt your frontal lobes from his utter stupidity. to make matters worse stuart whitman, veteran of many poverty row horror/exploitation flicks, i guess thought that he couldn't stoop this far and, despite what the dvd box claims, is not in this movie.

plot? you must be joking. whoever is to blame for this mess looks like he took two or three separate films and spliced them together. what the fuck does a man who goes on a drunken spree of robbery and killing have to do with a monster that emerges from the bowels of the earth, resides in an idyllic lake, and goes on a tear eating people -- and most likely had to head to the nearest 7/11 convenience store for massive amounts of tums and rolaids because eating so many cheesy actors just had to give the monster a severe case of heartburn, and also a serious case of the shits too -- have to do with the movie? the director probably cobbled whatever pennies he saved and decided to go for broke and shoot every dumb damn idea he had and throw them all together. fuck the idea of logic and continuity.

oh what the hell. this is most probably the most frightening movie you can watch this halloween. it's so bad it is truly scary. but i gotta warn you, tripe like this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. you'll never see anything like it ever again in your life. sit down with a few beers, the lights turned down, pop the disc into the tray and try to sit thru it all at once. even if you break into a cold sweat.


Monday, September 21, 2009

martyrs [2008]

i don't know what to make of this film. after reading some rave reviews, and a few simple accolades, online i checked out this most recent contribution to french new-wave horror. oh the french do it differently alright. french cinema is now embracing hardcore horror as it had not done before. the results are a rather mixed bag. more likely the young french horror directors, such as alexandre aja who helmed the vicious but beautiful haute tension, and this movie's creator pascal laugier, are weened from '70s and '80s horror pics from the u.s. and italy and are now creating movies that can piss off and offend just about everybody.

ostensibly a revenge flick martyrs takes its title seriously. laugier likes to keep the viewer off-balance so it is difficult to keep abreast with the narration. the theme is of martyrdom but it takes nearly 2/3ds of the film to see why and how. and when the how is explained i simply just wanted to blow up my tv set in frustration. seriously flawed i think in its conceit it would've played better if the filmmaker decided to keep this a tale of one young woman's revenge against a couple that had imprisoned her and tortured her when she was a young girl.

still, i like the idea of tantalizing the viewer with notions of religious purity and a baptism by fire. if i sound willfully obscure in describing this movie so be it. also there's something creepy about the newer french horror filmmakers obsessions with women. misogynistic? that might be a bit harsh, after all, most genre filmmakers, as advanced by film critic carol clover, have long upturned traditional social roles for women. these filmmakers create women who are strong, flawed, fully-fleshed, who are both victims and victors.

which might be what laugier is doing here. at any rate, the movie is an assault on the senses. beautifully photographed, superbly acted, and steadfast in its editing, i can not not fault the film for these qualities. when you get to the end, if you've not turned the movie off in utter nausea, you will feel like not only do you need a shower, but you also need to head to the e.r. because of the beating your mind has just taken.

some of the critics charge laugier of creating more torture porn. i don't agree. there is a methodology at work here that is absent in say the saw or hostel movies. one might even argue that laugier made a work critical of catholicism while endowed deeply into catholic mysticism. still, i'm troubled by the fetishism of women and the role of women in this movie. even still, if the movie begins and ends with the violent acts of strong women the very notion as explored by laugier of creating a class of martyrdom for women that prickles my skin.

see it for yourselves. but i gotta warn you that it is a hard view to watch. for this film is very like clive barker's hellraiser, on steroids. laugier knows his beloved genre well. stick to the end credits and see which famous italian filmmaker he dedicates his film to. you'll still have time to throw up then call an ambulance for your battered soul.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

the soundtrack today went something like this

first okay this

then this

and finally it turned out like this

Thursday, September 17, 2009

poltergeist [1982]

all too often horror movies fail at horrifying us and are simply horrible to endure. unless you're a certain kind of cinematic masochist who loves to be tortured by the terrible. at any rate, director tobe hooper's second full-length feature, texas chain saw massacre [1974], is that rare beast: a product of pop culture that has entered the bloodstream of the masses. like shakespeare's writing -- no, i'm not making a direct comparison of hooper and shakespeare -- that has entered the culture at large where it's influence is felt in the culture itself, hooper's horror show is that film that everyone knows even if one has not seen it, nor ever plan on seeing it.

poltergeist is a different creature than that texas film yet despite being scripted and produced by steven spielberg, is a genuine creepy piece of celluloid. hooper predates the vision of tim burton by a few years with presenting the shiny exteriors of late 20th century suburban life in the u.s. what goes on behind closed doors is the stuff of nightmares. yet, hooper dwells on these surfaces just nicely. the opening shot of a man riding his kid's bmx bike with a case of beer as he dodges the remote control cars of the neighborhood children that ends with the man running to the living room to watch the big game is so redolent of the lives of our fathers that a frisson of recognition is felt within the viewer.

or at least this viewer. suburban life is rarely captured in all its glorious banality on film. then hooper ups the creep factor with subtlety. the family of whose little girl will soon be lost within the horizontal and vertical lines of their analog tv set, and how brilliant it is of spielberg and hooper to make such a vital and omnipresent commodity, the television, the locus of such terror as losing a child, begin noticing strange things start happening.

the best example of this is when the mother, played by jo beth williams, is in the kitchen putting away groceries. her daughter, who will soon be snatched away by the eponymous ghosts, is playing nearby. the kitchen table is in the background as normal as can be. williams turns to put something away and turns back to her daughter. all the chairs are now stacked on top of the table. freaky. nothing more scary than that thing that is just out of sight.

hooper continues tweaking our fear with such fineness until the girl is gone. the family can hear her but can't find her. they can only hear the girl within the tv. suddenly the somatic device, normally such a comfort, becomes an object of terror. a brilliant concept that is played straight and works for the effort made by hooper.

only when the family turns to paranormal investigators does the movie become rather standard play. the monsters become visible, the girl is rescued and the family moves out of their neighborhood because the ghosts, who we learn at the end have good reason to be pissed and justified i suppose in their wanton destructiveness because of a capitalist's greed, have seriously fucked up the neighborhood. the last shot is the family checking in to a motel, walking thru the door, then the father, played by craig t. nelson, puts the tv outside.

the film has its flaws, particularly the hokum reason given for the existence of the poltergeists. yet there are enough creepy set pieces to make this flick good halloween viewing. hooper throws in everything he knows about terror, including wicked dolls and a monster in the closet. the cast is game and there is that scene, when one of the paranormal investigators goes to the bathroom to take a piss, looks at a blemish on his face, rubs at it, then proceeds to tear his face off piece by small piece, that really grossed me out. damn, that scene is that good.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'that old black magic'

oh man, when two voices collide. louis prima's gruff, goofy voice and antics married so well with the young, shiny, very boss sound of keely smith. together they were so magic. black magic. i got into prima in a half-assed way when a co-worker and friend brought her discs of prima and smith to work and played them constantly. wondering what the hell kind of music this is -- swing? jazz? novelty? -- i fell in love with prima's sound and keely smith's voice.

is it halloween music? does a bear poop in the woods? if you're at a halloween party and this song is not played then you might reconsider your friends, or the taste of your friends, hosting the party. seriously wild this is a song to bring out your dead and start boogeying with your boogeymen, and women. a tune perfect for a night of tricks and treats.


a little dab will do ya

sf poet del ray cross's, maker of the excellent daily poetry blog anachronizms, is the editor of the long-running zine shampoo. issue 36 is out, is rad, and is ready for a bit of rub-a-dub. get squeaky clean now, will ya.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ouija board

now how can we take a board game seriously when it is manufactured and mass marketed by a toy company? some people swear that they can talk to the dead with them. while the more rational kind tell us that it is ourselves, our subconscious, that moves the planchette across the board as it spells out whatever it is that you might want to hear.

whatever the explanations of the ouija board's mysteries it is a lot of fun to get some friends, catch a buzz, and fuck around with one on a night when the moon is full and little goblins are going door to door yelling trick or treat!

i must confess that i've not used one of these boards in years. not because of some bad experiences but maybe perhaps i've grown up and out of it. i've become too realistic and have soured in my own abilities to scare myself.

but perhaps my need for magic, even if that magic is faked by my own wish fulfillment, needs to be stoked every now and again. halloween is a grand time to scare oneself. and even if i needed to convince myself to use a ouija board even if it is a piece of fakery i am reminded that poets and artists of all types have used like-minded devices in their creations. the poet james merrill wrote his long poem the changing light at sandover using such a board. it is said that yeats believed wholly in automatic writing.

like the cowardly lion in the woods who kept the mantra, i do believe in spooks, i do believe in spooks or like scully in the tv show the x-files who wants to believe sometimes i just gotta let the curtain of disbelief rise.

good shit anyway. i recall one time when me and an old girlfriend would play with a ouija board all the time. i tell you it's freaky to feel that planchette move beneath your fingers for it feels like it is moving on its own accord. at the end of a session you must conclude by saying your farewells to the spirit you were talking to otherwise that spirit could linger in this world for maybe like forever. well, one thing led to another and we set aside the board without saying goodbye. i think we were drinking tequila, my girlfriend and i, when suddenly i said oh shit, we didn't say goodbye. i leaned over to the nightstand where we had placed the ouija board and placed my hand on the planchette. it moved suddenly straight to the word goodbye then stopped. scared the shit outta me. really.


Monday, September 14, 2009

death sucks

it is all around us. stevens wrote that death is the mother of beauty. that's probably so. it hurts and shocks us anyway. dylan thomas reminded us that after the first death there is no other. which i take to mean that death is always brand new no matter how often it occurs, and is always a shock when it happens.

today mr death liked his blue-eyed boys a lot. i just learned from geof huth that otherstream verbo/textual poet thomas lowe taylor passed away today. please read geof's memorial.

as duncan mcnaughton wrote in his poem 'cavafy's suitcase':

the absence
                    of you
If I never know you
                              should I not love you more?

by which i say yes. i learned today nyc poet jim carroll has died at age 60. carroll was ageless to me. his collection, living at the movies [penguin books; 1981], was either the second or third poetry book i ever bought. the spine is cracked and the pages have yellowed as i've thumbed thru these poems many, many times. i've fallen in and out of love with these poems many times over the years. however, carroll was an excellent poet and the world is emptier now for him not being in it.

finally, the actor patrick swayze died today. a terrific actor who has starred in many movies as the tough, sensitive soul. i prefer the swayze of action rather than swayze as romantic lead. i simply can't stomach his love scenes with either demi moore in ghost or jennifer grey in dirty dancing. both are horrible movies. instead, my swayze can do a roundhouse kick to your temple while holding a beer in his hand. movies like point break, directed by the inimitable kathryn bigelow, road house and the very silly but completely satisfying cold war epic red dawn are the shit.

below is the infamous AVENGE ME! scene from red dawn. just try to keep from laughing and remember to mind your ps and qs as swayze can just probably still kick your ass all the way from there.

rip, good souls

Friday, September 11, 2009

on not being a genius

i have in my possession an almost complete set of the canary. i think it's an almost complete set. i have issues 2-6 and i think, i could be quite wrong about it, that the the journal never got past the number 6. it was a brilliant journal, one of my favorites fetishized not in the ether but in paper form. clean looking with simple bios located -- where else -- in the back.

#2 is a great issue. one of my favorites among my favorites. among the contributors is i think a very good poet, tina celona, who's contributions are among the highlights of a stellar issue.

it might not be noticeable here but during the month of august i had placed myself on a no poetry writing prohibition. rather than worry myself to death over poetry, its abundance, my own place within it, my unhappiness at my very writing and hence the core of my being, i decided to stop writing and simply be as still as possible. locate myself in other things. be a reader. not worry about shit out of my control.

i have just returned from my monthly poetry writing get-together. the poets are a conglomeration of old pros and absolute beginners. we meet at a local brew pub, shoot the shit, talk shit, gab, gossip and exchange poems. i've been a member of this group for over a year. tonight i thought went well with a rather large group. a few of the poets are superb writers.

rather than continue the episodic nature of this post i'll say that i had little to contribute to the group because of my self-imposed exile from writing poetry. my text 'thought(nothought' was well-received i think but it is an occasional poem. when asked why this poem, or any poem, when i had announced that i'd placed myself on a no-poetry writing restriction i told the group that sometimes the urge to write is too strong to resist.

when asked why a put myself on a no-poetry writing restriction i told them that sometimes i need a little distance. for perspective. to remind myself that the love of writing is not the same as the need for attention. that the historical weight of poetry needs to be surmised. that i am no genius. neither is anybody.

i told the group that i'd been reading poets who in my estimation are at the height of their powers, published a few books, and yet still worry about audience and their writing and their place in poetry. that when i read about such poets' worries it makes me happy because no matter how successful another poet might seem to me that that poet has the same worries as me. the idea of success is a chimera and if these poets deem themselves failures then that gives me hope for my own dismal life.

for example, last night i stopped at the newsbeat on the way home from work. i bought two publications, one movie magazine, the other a lit journal. i love movies. i live and breathe movies. i dream about movies. i think about movies all the time. but it was the two poems that i read in the lit journal that made me glad to be alive.

that's it. that's the essence of poetry. the reading and writing of it. it makes you glad to be alive, whether you are a genius or no. chances are you are -- i am -- not a genius. like tina celona in the canary #2 with wonderful, crazy poems and whose bio reads simply thus:

tina celona is not a genius.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

american scary [2006]

once upon a time in the u.s., beginning around say 1955 and ending around 1982, before cable tv wrapped its tentacles on the viewing public, there were only three networks, nbc, abc and cbs. oh these networks are still around but last i checked there are several competing networks and a couple hundred cable channels on air today. but back then, that's all there was. and if you didn't like what the networks were showing, tuff titty.

except there was an alternative. almost all metropolitan markets had at least one local channel as its own. the programming on these independents was whatever the managers of these stations could think up. they all thought up very similar stuff. when they had crates of bad movies, especially horror movies, and time slots to fill up these programmers needed a gimmick to get viewers to watch these horrible movies.

hence the birth of the horror host. the horror host is the guide before, during and after the movie that often had a shtick of some sort, cheap props, sets that looked like your little brother's bedroom, if your little brother collected famous monsters of filmland magazines and decorated his walls with cobwebbing and perhaps a poster of lon chaney in full werewolf makeup. pure cheese. utter schmaltz. and oh so beloved.

now director john e. hudgens finally released his documentary on tv horror hosts last year. an obvious labor of love this film is a collection of talking heads with the movers and makers of tv horror hosts and i'm sure, if your were a like-minded fanatic who begged his/her parents to stay up late to watch this sort of cheese, hudgens found and interviewed and has a few clips of your favorite horror host. also on hand is neil gaiman who discusses his own memories, distant as they are because his own england did not have horror hosts, of the phenomena.

what's cool about hudgens' work is that he starts right at the beginning with vampira's show in mid-50s l.a. and ends with horror hosts migrating to the internet. hudgens even has clips and an interview with sac's, and s.f.'s, own bob wilkins who was later succeeded by john stanley. wilkins and stanley were the odd men out of the group because tho their shows did have a fair share of goofy props on a cheap set they hosted their movies straight without any gimmicks or make-up. for the most part tv horror hosts were campy as all get out.

one might wonder what's the big deal about horror hosts. could be a kind of nostalgia that is lost on those born after the advent of mtv. viewing habits have changed and so has programming. would you believe there is a generation or two of kids who have never been to a drive-in movie? the horror!!! be that as it may, this docu is a terrific addition to a late-night fright fest when the last jack o'lantern is placed on the porch and somewhere in the distance a few dogs -- werewolves? -- begin to howl.

for the curious i highly recommend watching two horor hosts who are still at it and do their work both on tv and on the web. first is sac's own mr lobo who hosts his own weekly show at cinema insomnia. then there's the veteran tv horror host from washington dc count gore de vol's creature feature weekly web program which is positively hemorrhaging with good stuff found within the good count's links.

now, hie thee to some horror hosting and get a copy of this docu.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Monday, September 07, 2009

the creeping cruds

most halloween songs suck big donkey dicks. every halloween party music disc seem to have the same shit over and again. songs like bobby boris pickett's 'monster mash' are limp to say the least. there is good halloween music out there, much more than the usual line-up of the misfits. you have to look for it. i don't mean soundscapes and movie soundtracks but there are horror bands that surround us who are undead and kicking.

the creeping cruds hail from nashville, tn. their sound is derived from, i think, surf, country and rockabilly sleaze. they take their cues from horror films, as you can tell from the vid below, and do it with a southern twang. good shit to crank out during the scary season for with the creeping cruds this one goes to 11.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

worst case scenario

ideas for movies are interesting in themselves not because of the age-old argument of there being no new ideas, but of the odd facts of the debates regarding who owns what ideas. i recall in the early '90s when tv show host david letterman jumped networks. his old network told dave that he couldn't do certain bits developed on his show because these ideas and concepts, called intellectual property, were owned by the network and not by letterman's production company, world-wide pants. i recall the derision of the commentators critical of the old network and that the phrase, intellectual property, could be a bit more orwellian than not.

now in our early century the phrase intellectual property holds a bit more weight as the recording industry, and tv and movie production houses, are staggered by the primacy and immediacy of our emergent digital cultures. when the product is distributed on the net the concept of ownership is diaphanous at best.

rather than get into that debate of intellectual property in the age of digital media (for lucid essays regarding these subjects please see ernesto priego's brilliant blog) i bring the subject up in relation to a pair of movie trailers for a film that was never put into production.

i read about director richard raaphorst's trailers for his unmade film worst case scenario in the pages of rue morgue a couple months back. a dig on the nazi zombie flicks of the 1970s and recently resurrected by the norwegian horror flick dead snow [2009] raaphorst could not make his movie because he, as i understand it, does not own the rights to the story. too bad because the trailers are rather goofy but beautiful.

take the first trailer for example. playing off nazi fears it plays as a kind of b-movie that gets little notice by an audience today. a set piece consisting of stock news footage it becomes spooky only in the last few seconds. it is the sort of trailer that at first lulls you into boredom but by the last image knocks you out of your seat.

better, i think, is the second trailer that plays like a very short film. the bluish images of a pair of children digging for worms on a cold day in squishy mud develops a tone for the strangeness of the concluding images of zombies floating above in the weirdest victorian-looking balloons ever conceived. the synth score swells up and you know that the world is now an alien place.

both trailers parlay their b-movie origins into a compelling visual presentation of a movie that, at this time, will not be made. seriously goofy but haunting just the same raaphorst has created a sumptuous feast for halloween.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

candy corn

all candy is associated with halloween. it is the thing that children go door to door for yelling TRICK OR TREAT hoping for the treat rather than playing tricks. yet no other candy is so closely identified with all hallow's eve than candy corn.

i can't say it is my favorite type of candy but put a bowl of it in front of me -- suddenly desire complicates the frail scaffolding of my reason. like a junkie needing a fix my hands seem to develop a will of their own as they scoop up the waxy treats and deposit them in my mouth. more is never enough.

what is cool about the candy is how it looks: orange, yellow and white which conjures the umber tones of fall as it is fabricated to look like corn kernels off the cob. not knowing much about the candy i googled for some info and found this brief wiki article. some one also made the following paean to the sweet treat. come, 'tis the season to satisfy your cravings.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

60 days of halloween

tonight nicholas and i have eaten the first pumpkin pie of the season. here at chez really bad movies we take the scaring season pretty seriously silly. fall is my favorite time of year and even tho the temperature today was in the triple digits i can detect a change in light and a certain ambiance of halloween.

at least in my mind at any rate. today marks 59 days to halloween, not 60. but yesterday i began my countdown to my favorite holiday and 60 is a good round number to start with. so beginning tonight i'll begin posting reviews of horror movies, some good, some so-bad-they're-good, a few truly awful and a couple of surprises. i'll not write about halloween all the time but for most of the time i'll dedicate my thoughts on halloween and halloween related items, such as collectibles, toys, games, and even a music review or two.

tonight i'll start with a trailer for a hotly anticipated flick, at least for horror movie geeks like me, that was made last year and was not given a theatrical release. rather, the movie, trick 'r treat, is being dumped onto dvd on 10/6/09. no matter, i've been reading raves about this film for some time now. even if it sucks the movie, at least in the trailer, looks cool with saturated browns, oranges and blacks occasionally punctuated by a blast of color creating a smokiness that lends a spectral beauty to the images of jack o'lanterns, costumes and candy thru out. the movie, directed by michael dougherty, who cut his teeth penning horror movies, is an anthology of 4 distinct stories happening simultaneously. it is clear that dougherty is nuts for the spooky holiday too.

i'll review the film when it comes out on dvd. until then, feast on this:

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

horatian note to self

take 2 aspirin for the headache
pop the cap to the bottle
worrying about the long day
won't make the day short
just chill the fuck out