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Friday, July 30, 2010

CNAMB Turns One! Or 1?! Or Juan?! Whatever.

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It's a celebration! One year ago today, I decided that I needed to curb my internet masturbating, but I just wasn't sure what I could do to keep my hairy hands busy. At first I thought about starting a gang, but I then realized I didn't own any nice wife beaters or bandanas. Then I thought about training to become Mr. Universe, but I'm not really all that into physical activity. Well, outside of the masturbating, naturally, but I was trying to stop that, remember? And then it finally dawned on me, I can start my own movie blog and make the world a better place by sharing my opinion about shit normal people don't care about! So I did, and that blog would just so happen to be this one, the one that kisses you on the places you most like to be kissed.

It seems like it has been much longer than a year since I first started this thing, and so much has changed in my personal life since I first clicked publish. Whether things were up or down in the real world, I have found a nice escape here, talking gibberish about movies, making great new friends, and laughing at the silly internet drama that unfolds every two or three months. CNAMB has grown quite a bit in the time since I started it, way more than I would have ever expected, and knowing that great people such as yourself actually take the time to read my random bologna simply warms my heart. Or that could just be the Goldschläger kicking in.

So here's a toast to one year of bad grammar, terribly tasteless dick and fart jokes, and of course, movies! So thanks again everyone, and since it is Friday Night, it would only be fitting to end this birthday celebration with a dance-splosion of epic proportions!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Carriers: Circle Circle Dot Dot

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2009's Carriers is a film that went mostly unnoticed at the box office, as well as a film that no one really expected anything from (myself included), which could have had to do with the PG-13 rating, mixed with the somewhat youthful and attractive cast. I'm not one who believes that PG-13 horror cannot work, I just thought the movie looked weak and uninteresting. Still, when reviews came in and were mostly positive, I figured it was worth a look, and I am a sucker for any sort of Apocalyptic film, so my arm need not too much twisting.

carriers1Carriers keeps the story basic albeit slightly predictable, focusing on four survivors (played by Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris carriers3Pine, Piper Perabo, and Emily VanCamp) that are traveling the empty dessert highways as they try and survive a viral epidemic carriersthat has taken out much of the Earth's population. The story is simple, but doesn't treat the viewer as if they them self are simple. There is very little to no exposition, things unfold naturally and there is no over explanation as to what is going on. The film starts right off, without the usual back-story, and you really don't need it, as it becomes apparent through character interaction and the setting how things got the way they are.

carriers8 While there are a handful of well staged moments of tension, Carriers is not really a "horror" movie per say. It's more of a dramatical road film, with the focus being mostly on the characters as they try and keep it together to survive this pandemic. The only threat posed is from the infected, as their presence can spread the sickness either through the air or through blood. Other wise, they are just men and women that are slowly fading away to death, not aggressive or rabid zombie type of monsters, which is a nice chance of pace. There are no big action moments or wild special effects, it's a low key drama fueled thriller that goes through the paranoia motions from time to time.

One could consider the film's antagonist to be the four main protagonists themselves. They live by rules to keep themselves safe from infection, and play by what is an everyman for himself game of survival when it comes to characters they have run-ins with. One of the portions of Carriers that I found myself enjoying most was the interaction between the four main characters and a father and his sick daughter that they run into (played by Christopher Meloni and Kiernan Shipka, respectively). Meloni is fantastic in this small role and the father/daughter characters are clearly used as instruments to pull at the viewer's heartstrings. In my case, It worked.

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One of the few downfalls of the movie is it moves a bit slow at times, especially towards the end. However, the film is short, running at about 85 minutes, so there isn't much time for the film to wane too much on the viewers interest. Still, Carriers is good all around, with solid, simple direction from brothers Àlex and David Pastor. Everything about this film is simple, but it succeeds by doing what works and does so competently, without force fed plot points and exposition.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Matt-suzaka Loves Beef Stu

Do I really need to explain what this is? Pax is made of magic, Billy Love Stu, meme, blah blah blah. Just read it already.  

1: In Ten Words or Less, Describe Your Blog:

I'm not really sure how to describe my blog…damn.

2: During What Cinematic Era Where you Born?

F: The Halloween Era (Late 70's to Early 80's)

3: The Carrie Compatibility Question:

(straight guys and lesbians - make your choice from section B)

B: Sue Snell or Chris Hargensen, who would you take to the prom?

Can I pick Chris Hargensen as played by Emilie de Ravin? Well, I just did, so too late now isn't it.

4: You have been given an ungodly amount of money, and total control of a major motion picture studio - what would your dream Horror project be?

I would divide the cash out and use it to make multiple horror films with different people from different countries involved. The ability to have full creative control, without studio influence, would be amazing. And I personally would love to make a film in the style of a Giallo/80's Brian De Palma film. 

5: What horror film "franchise" that others have embraced, left you cold?

The chaotic and unfocused camera work of the (death scenes in the) Saw franchise will always drive me up a wall. All of those great ideas and inventive ways to kill people, only to be wasted by sped up seizer like cinematography. I cannot look past a visual pallet and the hyperkinetic impact the films have had on cinema is not a good one on an aesthetic level.   

6:  Is Michael Bay the Antichrist?

Nah, the people who give him the money and power are the antichrists. Them and Sandy Bullock, of course.

7: Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Frankenstein Monster - which one of these classic villains scares you, and why?

None of them actually scare me nor did they when I was a kid from what I remember, but I'll use science to make my pick, which would have to be Dracula. The Wolfman and Frankenstein are, at heart, good people under their horrific surfaces. Dracula, on the other hand, is not. He is a monster that is a monster at all times, so that would make him the most frightening. To make him an even greater threat, as opposed to the other two monsters, Dracula has an attractive facade, which works in a very deceptive way.   

8: Tell me about a scene from a NON HORROR Film that scares the crap out of you:

This is a great but really tough question because it can go so many different ways. While I would like to dig into the recesses of my youthful mind for something that frightened me, those scenes aren't as impactful to me as an adult. If I'm going to pick something that scares me now, it would have to be the prison stabbing scene of  Mark "Chopper" Read in 2000's Chopper. I hate it because I feel it, and that feeling is an awful one to have. 

9: Baby Jane Hudson invites you over to her house for lunch.  What do you bring?

I've never seen that film, but from the looks of it, she could use some Oil of Olay and a bowl of ice cream to cheer her up some.

10: So, between you and me, do you have any ulterior motives for blogging?  Come, on you can tell me, it will be our little secret, I won't tell a soul.

It's a great way to pick up chicks.

11: What would you have brought to Rosemary Woodhouse's baby shower?

The Pill.

12: Godzilla vs The Cloverfield Monster, who wins?

Godzilla has the advantage of girth and he can spit some hot ass shit, so it's a no brainer for me. Go-Godzilla!

13: If you found out that Rob Zombie was reading your blog, what would you post in hopes that he read it?

I would just repost my H2 review…that would tell him everything he needs to know about what he does wrong and what he does correctly in his films. 

14: What is your favorite NON HORROR FILM, and why?

Children of Men. The film is a masterpiece for more reasons than I care to explain.

15: If blogging technology did not exist, what would you be doing?

Working on my tan, breaking hearts and breaking necks. The usual.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Paracinema Shows A Little 'Restraint'

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So as you can probably guess from the post title, I have a nice little review posted up and over at our friendly neighborhood Paracinema, so I direct you to head over there and read it immediately! Oh, the film is titled Restraint and is a 2008 Aussie thriller that I may or may not have enjoyed. You'll have to click on da link to find out for yourself.   

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Horror Hangover

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It seems like it was just yesterday when you had the ability to walk straight, talk to people coherently and keep your bed free of urine. Boy how quickly things can change in the span of an evening, huh? It's okay, I understand and have been there myself. Well, maybe not the shitting in the pants part so much but pretty much everything else. Hey, at least you made it out of Saturday alive, and you shall be rewarded with yet another stupendous edition of, The Horror Hangover. Brought to you by Bayer.

Today actually marks a fantastic day in televised cinema with plenty of horrifying celluloid to keep the segment's namesake on point and true. We'll start by heading over to AMC for a double dose of classy horror beginning with The Silence of the Lambs tucking it away for a vaginal look at 10:30, only to be followed by Shelley Duvall looking her best in The Shining at 1:00.

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If your not in the mood for rubbing lotion all over its skin (ya prude), 10:30 gives the gift of options in the form of the great comedic horror film, Shaun of the Dead on Comedy Central. And if THAT still doesn't float your smug little boat, just wait till 11:00 and you can watch Sleepy Hallow over at TNT. It's all about diversifying your options, people.

While we're on the subject of Tim Burton, it is he that leads us to our last bloody chunk of cinema for the day, and it comes to us courtesy of Horror Hangover BFF, SyFy. First up, SyFy gets in to the (just around the corner!) Halloween spirit with The Nightmare Before Christmas at 11:00. Keeping things on the upper level of horror cinema, SyFy takes a 12:30 trip down a level with the absolutely fabulous ladies of The Decent. Wow, talk about some great choices to have to make so early in your day, huh? Well, all good things must come to an end, and that end comes at 2:30 when SyFy goes back to a familiar mold with Carny. It's okay, though, Carny actually looks fun, plus it stars everyone's favorite triple named actor, LDP. Those initials are short for WIN.

Dangerous Toys

Hey babe, this isn't written by me but is a guest post provided by Dylan from Starcostumes.com. It's a look at horror alternatives to Toy Story 3, but you can read that for yourself, so I'll let Dylan take it away… 

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While Toy Story 3 is making quite a big splash both critically and commercially, it's certainly not everyone's cup of tea, especially for those who prefer their tea blood red. Yes, the Toy Story movies offer very little to horror fans, save for some pretty freaky toys in the second movie, so those looking for some scares are left out in the cold. While everyone is getting their thrills with Woody and Buzz Lightyear, here are five films that horror fans can turn to for their toys-come-to-life fix.

Child's Play

childsplay The Child's Play franchise is arguably the most infamous example of toys coming to life and murdering people, so I'll get these out of the way right off the bat. The original Child's Play was released in 1988. When the serial killer known as "The Lakeshore Strangler" transfers his soul into a Good Guy doll via some serious dark voodoo, it kicked off a franchise that spanned over fifteen years. Chucky and crew have been in five movies and a reboot of the series has been planned for a few years now. The one major difference between Chucky and the Toy Story gang? Chucky won't play dead when people are around. Instead, he'll just kill everyone.

 

Puppet Master

puppetmaster Puppet Master is a popular horror movie from the tail end of the 1980s. If you haven't heard of it, maybe you've heard of one of its nine sequels? In true horror movie fashion, Puppet Master became a cult classic and little baby Puppet Masters started shooting out every few years, with the latest entry - Puppet Master: Axis of Evil - scheduled for release later this month. The first movie in the series involved rival psychics battling it out with puppets brought to life by an Egyptian spell. Later in the series, the puppets became the protagonists. Even weirder, some of the later movies involved Nazis. Yeah, it's an odd series.

 

Demonic Toys

demonictoys This isn't as well known a movie as some of the others on the list, but it's possibly the most appropriate. Whereas Child's Play is about dolls and The Puppet Master is about puppets, Demonic Toys is all about, well, toys! You'll find no Slinky Dogs or Mr. Potato Heads here, though. There's an evil teddy bear, a terrifying jack-in-the-box, and more. And like Toy Story, they all have names, like Grizzly, Jack Attack, and Mr. Static. They actually sound a little cuddly, but don't be fooled, the teddy bear swings a mean baseball bat. Nobody's going to be upset if these things get sold off at a yard sale.

 

Magic

magic This movie holds a special place in my heart because it was actually filmed about 20 minutes from my podunk town in Northern California. It's probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to this county. Magic features Anthony Hopkins as Corky, a magician/ventriloquist who uses his dummy Fats in his magic act. And yes, of course the dummy is evil. Fats convinces Corky to do unforgivable things before eventually getting in on the act himself. But Fat's intimidating presence extends beyond the fictional realm of the movie. Hopkins reportedly took the doll home once to work with it, but became so unnerved by it that he called the ventriloquism consultant for the film and threatened to throw the doll into a nearby canyon if it wasn't picked up immediately.

 

Dolls

dolls In Child's Play, a serial killer transfers his soul into a doll to prolong his life. In Dolls, Gabriel and Hillary Hartwicke, a seemingly-innocent elderly couple, have been trapping the souls of the immoral into dolls and puppets for who knows how long. And when guests visit their rather large mansion, those toys spring to life and make short work of them. Dolls was never as big as Child's Play, which is a shame, as it came out a year and a half prior and was possibly the inspiration.

So there you have it. If you have a hankerin' to watch some murderous toys go about their business, these five films will get you started. If you're still not satisfied, Child's Play, Puppet Master, and Demonic Toys spawned several sequels you could plow through.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Freddy's Friday Night Dance Party!: A-AH Edition!

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If any dance party were to be considered truly epic, it would have to be this one right here. Because it just doesn't get any more grand than the combination of one of music's most powerful bands, and one of cinema's campiest of films, resulting in an anomaly that is slightly baffling yet completely amazing. Not sure how one can dance to this song without looking like an ass - maybe running in place to the beat would work? It did for Jennifer Beals when she was in FLASH A-AH! Dance, so why not give it a try for yourself.

Written by Brian May - who also did vocals along with Roger Taylor and some dude with a rapey mustache named Freddie Mercur-something-or-other -  Flash (aka Flash's Theme) is the theme song for one Flash (A-AH!) Gordon in the 1980 film, aptly named, Flash (A-AH!) Gordon. Flash (A-AH!) would be the title track and only single from the Flash (A-AH!) Gordon soundtrack, which was entirely produced by one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Queen.

I simply love Queen and while it may seem strange that such a well-respected band would ever do the music for a film such as Flash (A-AH!) Gordon, I don't think there could be a more perfect fit. The music of Queen, as well as its front man, is as flamboyant and flashy as it gets, and the same totally goes for Flash (A-AH!) Gordon. I haven't seen the movie in years, but the one thing that always stuck with me more than anything else about it, is the theme song itself. There are very few bands that could have ever pulled off such an outrageous song, and the video is quite the watch too. I love when Mercury takes the time to stop and watch some of the movie clips playing on the screen behind him. I can only imagine he was impressed with Ming's A-AH!some stache and gold foil fashion sense.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Style is Mad Versatile

I just wanted to throw out a quick thanks to a few blogs (and the owners behind them) that have been kind enough to pass on The Versatile Blogger award to Chuck Norris Ate My Baby.

They are as follows:

Simon from Four of Them

Emily from The Quest to Watch Every Movie Ever

Turnidoff Productions from Death to CGI

And my boy Geof of Enter the Man-Cave fame

We've all been through this blogger award/meme stuff plenty of times in the past, and when one receives such accolades, one is "required" to list some personal stuff about them self, then pass on the award to a handful of worthy blogs. First is list 7 things about myself, second, I have to award this to 15 of my favorite blogs. Seeing as I have gone down this road plenty of times (and named plenty of blogs), I will only do ten blogs and they will be ten, somewhat newer to me, blogs that I have been digging on.

1. I once broke my arm at a playground, then lied to my mom, telling her these girls that lived down the street threw rocks at me while on a swing set, causing me to fall. She took the parents to court, and I think we sued them, but I am not really sure what happened to be honest. I was like five at the time, so give me a break. Get it…A BREAK!     

2. I hate Lady Gaga with an extreme passion. She is nothing more than a performer, not a musician. Wild outfits, weird make-up, stage presence, and creative music videos does not make a great musical artist. All that glitters is not gold.

3. I took a group photo consisting of the Iron Sheik, the kid that played Boba Fett in Episode I and a dude dressed up as Batman on an elevator at a con. Shit was epic.

4. Even though this is Chuck Norris Ate My Baby, my preferred action star will always be Arnold Schwarzenegger over anyone else. I can never get enough of him and (most of) the films he has done.

5. I dressed up as Evil Ed from Fright Night for Halloween when I was a wee bopper.

6. My first ever slow dance was to the Skid Row classic, I Remember You, and it was with a girl that I had a major crush on at the time.

7. I used to bug out one of my friends by doing a Brundle Fly imitation when I was a kid. I would spit out my tapioca pudding back into the little package in which it came. He was afraid of horror films, so naturally, he wasn't too into it. Plus, it was pretty gross. I was a weird kid.

Alright, here are ten blogs  that I have been checking out:

1. From Beyond Depraved

2. 365 Horror Movie

3. From Midnight, With Love

4. iZombie-Lover

5. Tickets and Popcorn

6. The Quest to watch Every Movie Ever

7. Bad Ronald

8. KA-BOOMSKI!

9. Z for Zombies

10. The Scream Queen

Here's your award, bitches.

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Thanks to the fine folks that gave me the award and please make sure to drop by their fantastic blogs as well. And if anyone in the future plans on passing an award my way, that would be great, but this will do it for award ceremonies for the year at CNAMB. Shit can get out of control, and quick.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lady Terminator (1989): Hasta la vista, penis

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Well before there was ever a "Terminatrix," there was Lady Terminator, and while Lady Terminator (1989) is a rip-off of the 1984 Sci-Fi Horror classic, The Terminator, it's somewhat ironic and funny to know that it was an Indonesian rip-off action film that would be the first to bring a female Terminator to the screen. Both Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Lady Terminator would use their female antagonist as the main selling point, and both would do so to amp up the sex appeal of what was started in The Terminator. That's how you make money folks… big guns, big hair, big tits, but the only one that actually shows the tits is the only one that matters.

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Lady Terminator takes out the Science Fiction elements found in its "inspiration," and replaces them with an origin story filled with some whacked out Indonesian folklore. This Lady Terminator is not sent from the future to change history, instead, she is an anthropologist who becomes possessed by the legendary Indonesian goddess, the Queen of the South Sea, for vengeful purposes. From what we learn in the film's opening, the queen - who has some seriously hot armpit hair – bones a ton of dudes in the hopes that she can find a man who can actually satisfy her deep sexual needs. When her suitor doesn’t satisfy the queen, THE EEL THAT LIVES IN HER VAGINA chomps the man's dick off, just as he is in mid-climax. Basically, she dick-capitates them and they bleed to death. Could be a worse way to go out, I suppose.

The queen runs into a bit of trouble one day when one of her suitors gets the best of her and 'snatches' the eel from her ever open cubby hole. For some reason, the eel turns into a knife, but I don't know why it turns into a knife; he doesn't stab her with it or anything, it just changes, so whatever. Anyway, the queen - pissed and without her vagina eel - curses the man's great-granddaughter (as opposed to him or his daughter), which brings us back (or forward?) to the present and to the motive of the possessed anthropologist aka Lady Terminator!

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being an obvious rip-off, Lady Terminator takes many key scenes and ideas from the original Terminator. However, it does put its own sexual spin on things, like, instead of a naked Arnold forcefully taking the cloths from a couple of biker dudes, a naked Lady Terminator dick-capitates these two drunk guys, then takes one of their leather jackets to cover up her excellent titties. While the film sort of rolls off its sexual elements, unlike many Exploitation films from the 70s and 80s, Lady Terminator doesn't feel quite as dirty for some reason. Most films from that era used sex in a much harsher way, while Lady Terminator plays things so ridiculously that it makes the sexual aspects silly and goofy, but still oh so very fun. 

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There are many hysterical and cheese filled moments in the film, and they come from all directions without any warning whatsoever. There's a disco dance scene that is just to die for; there is a Budnick (who was in T2) look-alike, complete with a red mullet and intense sexual appeal; there are cop cars that look as if they came from the junkyard, and of course, there's the amazing character interactions which result in some of cinema’s finest dialogue.

Here are a few choice moments of the powerful dialogue for you reading pleasure:

"American Express is after my blood again…my checks are bouncing like yo-yos!"

Or, my favorite cop conversation:

"Anything to eat?"

"Just hotdogs"

"I really hate hotdogs (blasphemy!)"

"Listen, Jack and I have seen more dead bodies than you have eaten hotdogs, so shut up and eat!"

*Men smile and giggle with each other in a homoerotic way*

Seriously, it just doesn't get better than that, now does it? The answer is no.

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Considering this is a Lady Terminator review, I have thus far neglected to get into the Lady Terminator herself (because if I get into her, she may chomp my dick off). As the tagline suggests, 'She mates, then she Terminates' and she does so with wicked style and sass. Her look is fitting to the times (the 80s), and while being quite attractive, her Roseanne Roseannadanna hair style and pants so high they could double as a brazier, make for a look that can only be pulled off by a woman with a bear trap for a vag. Barbara Anne Constable plays the part of the titular Lady Terminator, and as it turns out, this was her only acting gig, which is unfortunate because she is quite attractive and plays the mostly silent character as well as one could expect from this type of film. More importantly, however, is that she keeps up with the many action scenes very convincingly.

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Speaking of the action, it is just that that would be the highlight of Lady Terminator. While the film starts off a little slow, there is plenty of silly dialogue and T&A to hold one over until the wild and bloody action starts up. And when it starts up, it starts up strong and keeps going, only to lull for cock-chomps or convos about hotdogs. Every character in Lady Terminator doesn't have just a gun, they have fully automatic weapons. In addition, cars aren't made of steel, instead, they are crafted out of paper-mache and dynamite, and boy do they blow up really good. The action in Lady Terminator is pure insanity, and to be totally honest, ramps up any action found in any of the "real" Terminator films as far as quantity goes, even if many of the set pieces are stolen from The Terminator.

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Like with most Indonesian action flicks from the 1980s, 1989's Lady Terminator is ridiculous, sure, but it is also so much fun and completely entertaining from start to finish. If you love a fun action film with over the top explosions and bloody gun battles, while enjoying a plate full of melted cheese sprinkled with some sexy Indonesian ladies showing their vitamin D's, then Lady Terminator is the film for you. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Horror Hangover

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Well, it's Sunday, your brain is expanding past the capacity of your dome piece, there's a half eaten pot of crusty ass mac and cheese on your coffee table, and your thinking to yourself "I didn't have this rash last night?!" when it all starts to come back to you. By now, we should all know what this means…it's time for The Horror Hangover.

It's summer, so why not spend the day inside and away from all those pesky ants, snakes and wasps, so you can watch a bunch of movies about ants, snakes and wasps on SyFy. Things start off at 11:00 with The Hive, which is oddly not about bees, but instead, places its focus on ants. Maybe 'The Hill' or 'The Colony' would have been a more suitable title? Whatever, after "The Hive," SyFy is showing Vipers at 1:00, and Vipers is actually about genetically mutated snakes, not tarantulas or killer birds. At 3:00, SyFy finishes its day off with Black Swarm, a film about genetically mutated wasps (wait, what?) that may have been called The Hive, if not for some lame ass ant movie already stealing the name. All three films look fantastic in their own ridiculously awful way, but it is Black Swarm that has Robert Englund, giving it a tad of street cred. And I do mean tad. 

Getting away from the not-so-great outdoors, The Horror Hangover makes its first ever stop at BET for Cooley High at 1:30. I just completely adore films that are sort of coming of age tales, or focus on the lives of youths from a different time, location, or in the case of Coolie High, race. There's usually a great mixture of humor, drama, and male teenage relatability that just speaks to me for some reason. Cooley High is one of the best of that genre, showing that most young males follow similar paths and go through familiar heartaches growing up, no matter who they are or where they may come from. Pick of the week.    

And the day closes over at IFC with The Minus Man at 2:35. Never saw it, and I can't say that I really care to see it all that much either, but I will always remember seeing that wild trailer that played before The Blair Witch Project. It was definitely a brilliant trailer and caught everyone's attention, but not enough for the film to really do anything outside of having great marketing.   

Friday, July 16, 2010

Freddy's Friday Night Dance Party!: The Flower of Carnage Edition!

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Even though it's still somewhat early in the season, the horror that is summer has already reared its ugly mug, causing plenty of 90+ days, filled with as much humidity as an early Schwarzenegger film. One thing that can help curb the annoyance of the summer sizzle is some snow filled cinema, and if we're in the snow, why not spill a little blood to add a hint of color to the virginal pallet? It is summer, so the flowers are blooming - The Flower of Carnage, that is. 

Written by Kazuo Koike, with music by Masaaki Hirao, The Flower of Carnage (Shura no Hana) is the theme song from the 1973 Japanese samurai revenge flick, Lady Snowblood. What makes this song just a little more special is the fact that it was sung by Lady Snowblood herself, Meiko Kaji. I'm a huge fan of Lady Snowblood and pretty much anything that Meiko Kaji touches, so naturally every second of this song makes my head and shoulders sway back and forth like long grass in the wind. It's a very soft and beautiful sounding song, which is a great contrast to the subject matter of the lyrics as well as the film in which it was written for. The title The Flower of Carnage really says it all, as that is the character of Lady Snowblood…a gorgeous and delicate flower, that is capable of true carnage in the name of vengeance.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

RIP Vonetta McGee

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I don't know how this one got past me, but I am guessing it isn't very well known that cult film icon, Vonetta McGee, passed away on July 9th at the age of 65. I'm (not really) surprised it hasn't been a slightly bigger deal with some of the cinematic work she has done, and I might have all but missed the news if not for Ivan's post about her passing over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear. As a fan of many of the films she has worked in, as well as a fan of cult cinema in general, I feel she more than deserves a little love here at CNAMB.

Here are a few trailers for some of her most notable films:

The Great Silence (Review)

Hammer

Blacula

The Eiger Sanction

Repo Man

On an interesting side note, director Alex Cox is a Spaghetti Western guru, even writing a book on the subject. He does an interview on the DVD release for The Great Silence where he cites that film as where he would be first introduced to McGee, enjoying her so much that he would later use her in a small yet awesome role in Repo Man. I quite enjoy The Great Silence, and consider Repo Man one of the greatest cult films of all time, so it's pretty interesting how things like that come together.

It's sad that she had to go at such a young age, but she has left behind a solid batch of classic cult films for many to enjoy for years to come.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rolling Thunder: Welcome Home, Soldier Boy

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Rolling Thunder is a 1977 revenge tale that focuses on Major Charles Rane (William Devane), a man who spent seven years of his life in a Vietnam POW camp but has finally found his way home. Everything appears great at first, as he comes back to a grand homecoming celebration with much of the community there to clap and celebrate in his honor. He is a war hero, a man that survived against all odds and is being recognized by all for his time served. 

When Rane and fellow POW, Johnny Vohden (Tommy Lee Jones), make their way back home - even through the gloss of celebration - they clearly have nothing to celebrate. You can see they are hallow men by the empty looks in their eyes, a blank stare caused by spending seven years in hell. Even the interactions Rane has with other people are off, as outside of the "glad you're homes" and the "you are a true heroes," people aren't even sure how to react to Rane, even his own wife.

rolling2Everyone thought Rane was most likely dead, and seven years is a lot of time for a women - who bore his child just before he left - to stay alone. She met another man and planned to marry him, and those plans are rolling6not changed by Rane coming back home after all these years. Now, Rane is a man that lost everything mentally in Nam, he sacrificed his life, went through horrors that no one should ever go though, androlling4 now he comes home only to find out he's lost everything there too. He has nothing…

What Rane does have, unfortunately, is what the lasting effects of his trauma have left on him. He becomes very solitude and while people aren't sure how to react to him, he isn't sure how to go back to normal, especially when normal is not as he left it. In one very telling and uncomfortable scene, Rane has an interaction with another character and decides to show him an example of one of the torture he faced everyday. He does so by acting it out, showing how he learned to deal with the pain he went though. Rane goes a little too far, far to the point where it is clear that he is not yet able to separate himself from what he spent doing for the last seven years. It's almost become a part of his being – it's what he knows.

rolling3There is a clear but calm rage in Rane, a rage brought forth by going through what he did, by losing his life and himself. He has no release for this rage, but his opportunity would come when he is rolling5even further destroyed. When his return home from Nam was celebrated, he was presented with a red Cadillac and 2,555 silver dollars - one for every day he was a prisoner. These gifts are of no value in comparison to what happened to him and the loss he has faced. However, these gifts have plenty value to men that are less than honorable and carry absolutely no value.

Rane is attacked at home by a group of gun totting men who saw all the shiny silver dollars that he received on TV. They want his more than hard earned wealth, but Rane - being as strong as he is due to his recent past - will not give it up too easily. Even when they torture him, it is for not, and while Rane might not want to give up what is his because of sternness, he also may want to be tortured, because that is all he now knows. Rane's soon to be ex-wife and son come home right as all of this is happening, and afraid for his father's life, his son tells them where the silver dollars are.

rolling12 Unfortunately, when the thieves get the money, they kill his wife, his son and shoot Rane, but he doesn't die. Rane, who essentially had nothing, did at least have one thing, a chance to become the father to his son. Now that chance is gone, and while they left Rane for dead, he isn't, and now this is his opportunity to get out all the rage that is built up inside of him. Rane can exorcise all of his demons, and these demons are on a collision course with a group of men that made the biggest mistake of their lives, wronging the devil.

It's incredibly bleak with how Rane gets this almost meaningless payment for his time served, or, for his pain served - I should say. Sadly, it is this payment for pain that would only serve to cost him even more heartache. The only way to get this heartache out is to go after the men who did this to him, to take out all of his suffering that he has endured for the past seven plus years, and all of it is going to come down on them.

He now has a purpose again and a reason to live, which is to kill those that took the very last thing he had. All of that emptiness, all of that anger and all of the pain will be projected onto taking revenge on these men. He's a dead man with a goal, and at one point, he even says to a female that he befriends: "My eyes are open, I'm looking at you, but I'm dead." That line alone is very telling of this character and where he is in his life, or lack thereof.

rolling9Directed by John Flynn, with a screenplay by Paul Schrader and Heywood Gould, Rolling Thunder is a revenge film, yes, but not one that is exploitative like many of it's time. It is more a deep character study, one rolling10that has been seen in plenty of movies involving characters coming home from war, only to be something other than what they left as. It's well made, rough around the edges and gritty but avoids the over rolling7the top aspect of many films of the genre, until the films climax where shit hits the fan, and the payoff is given with an amazing little whore house set gun battle that is sure to pump up even the lamest of viewers.

Rolling Thunder's performances are great from all, especially Devane, who has a lot of shit laying on his character shoulders, and he carries it well. I also found Linda Haynes (who plays his love interest and possible path back to some form of happiness) to be really good and a character that developed quite well as the film went along. Of course, I have to touch on Tommy Lee Jones, who has the coldest look in his eyes and is simply great in his small but important role. You can really see why he became the star he did, and it is awesome seeing him play a character like this…I only wish he had done it more.

Rolling Thunder is a very subtle but powerful film that works as a window into what many have gone through but few can truly understand. Sometimes what you see when you look through such a window is devastating, but it is something we all should see from time to time as a reminder of other's suffering.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Horror Hangover

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It's time to rise from that hard earned slumber, so you can enjoy your day the way you were meant to…drooling, covered in sweat (or at least I hope that's sweat) and unable to move the necessary limbs to lift you from where you lay. This is better known as a hangover, but don't fret my dear reader, I have the remedy to make this sad state you're in just a little more tolerable.

We'll start our day off with Monster Ark, playing on good ol' SyFy at 11:00. In what is a ridiculous but kind of good idea, this one asks - what if Noah's Ark wasn't the only ark that sailed the seas? What if there were another ark, one that housed a monster?! It's really not a bad idea, but what is most appealing about this one is it stars Tommy "Tiny" Lister, better known as Zeus! I wonder if it is he that plays the titular monster?

We can keep the dial set to SyFy since Reign of the Gargoyles is set to rain some badass gargoyle action all over yo ass at 1:00. Of course there is no trailer for this one, but based off this fantastic photo, you just know that Reign of the Gargoyles is the real deal Holyfield.

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And if you still aren't of the belief that goreguyales aren't completely frightening, then just ask the god warrior.

Taking a step back from the gold that SyFy has already brought us, our hangover continues at 1:00 with Disturbia, on TNT. I guess this is supposed to be okay, or at least that's what I've heard. I always have been, and always will be, skeptical until I have seen it for myself I suppose. I have issues getting past the moronic name…Disturbia? Really? How about Scaretopia? Or Frightville? Maybe even Horriblefield?     

Oh, here's a good one…if you have IFC, a TV, taste, and love something great, 3:00 brings us the Martial Arts epic, Hero. There was that small amount of time where a handful of pretty amazing Martial Arts flicks were getting into theaters after the success of Crouching Tiger, and Hero was one of them. From top to bottom this one is just so beautiful, and I cannot recommend it anymore, especially if you have not seen it for yourself. Even if you aren't much for the Asian action, this is well worth it, and it should look more than proper on IFC too. Pick of the week. 

Our day comes to an end at 4:00 with Final Destination 3 on TBS. I didn't really enjoy this one the first time I saw it (especially after how great the second one was), but I have really grown to like this third entry in the FD franchise. More of the same, fun deaths and…you know…some other stuff. And I just love the tanning bed death for some reason. It's so completely off the wall, and seeing the death of some stuck-up bitches is always a joy to watch, especially when they're naked with very nice and tan milk providers.   

Friday, July 9, 2010

Freddy's Friday Night Dance Party! KISS My Grits Edition!

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Legendary rock band KISS was massive in the mid to late 70's, in fact, they were bigger than John Holmes they were so popular. While KISS was (and somewhat still are) popular for their music, their live performances and their stage makeup, they are also known as one of the most marketed bands of all time, with toys, board games, wine and even the now legendary Kiss Kasket. If a band has that much marketing appeal, you just know they are going to have some sort of celluloid love at some point (come on boys and girls, Spice up your life, for example). Thankfully, that time came way back on October 28th of 1978 (right before Halloween!), when NBC aired KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.

Because all of the musical performance scenes are disabled by assholes, I had to go with something a little different from what I would normally do. I have two clips, with the first one being an NBC bumper for the film, which is fun just for the old style ad alone but made even better by the Phantom of the Park stuff itself. You'll see what I mean when you get to the "We've got to get out of here" line, which should be more than enough to win you over. I also threw in a lengthy promo, which has many moments from the film, including a portion of the awesome opening where the band is introduced to the KISS Klassic, Rock and Roll All Nite. Check 'em out, yo.

Obviously the film was not received well by critics, nor was the band all that fond of how it turned out either, however, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park has become somewhat of a cult classic over the years, which gives it more staying power than anyone would have ever have imagined at the time. I remember seeing this on TV when I was pretty young…I can't remember exactly how young, but I would guess it was sometime in the early 80's. Even though I was well aware of just how cheesy it was, I absolutely loved it, but I also absolutely loved KISS too. Plus, as a budding young horror fan, the amusement park setting and G rated horror elements were certainly appealing to me.

I would love to see the film again, and seeing all the clips I did while getting this post ready only made me want to see it even more. Seriously, I can't imagine anything like this being made now, or at least made, then aired on a channel such as NBC. I mean, each of the members had superpowers! It just doesn't get any hokier than KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park but really, what could anyone have expected?! I call for a DVD release immediately!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Totally Tubular Trailers

Oh snap, it's time for trailers! I know I'm excited, are you excited? No? Ugh, you are so rude, but that's why I love you…it's like a game of cat and mouse trying to win your affection. I was going to post the Paranormal Activity 2 teaser and the Let Me In trailer, both of which are pretty good, especially the PA one, but that shit is all over the net of inter, so I'll stick to the lesser known films. They deserve the love more, and I shall give it to them. Unless you want to talk Scream 4 rumors? That's always interesting.

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First up is the full trailer for Bitter Feast, a film that has a celebrity chef kidnap and take revenge on the (blogger!) food critic that deals the final 'bad review' blow to his already waning career. I've been following this one for a while, as the idea behind it is pretty funny, and I can imagine that a chef will be able to deal out some interesting ways to create pain for his victim. Directed by Joe (Di?) Maggio, Bitter Feast is also produced by Larry Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix, which has been a solid independent horror company, putting out quality cinema offerings for some time now, so that certainly bodes well for this film. Check out the trailer, but don't do so on an empty stomach. Unless you're going swimming in the next hour or something, then do watch it with an empty stomach. I don't want you to drown.

 

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agnosia

Next trailer up to bat is Eugenio Mira's Agnosia, a Spanish film that focuses on a women who suffers from agnosia, a neurological illness that keeps the brain from correctly processing senses like hearing and sight. After her father passes away, she becomes the victim of some 'less than stellar' folk that would try and use her illness against her, to learn the industrial secret that her father shared with her before his death. This is a film that Todd Brown from over at Twitch has been jizzing about recently, and I certainly trust his opinion. It's an interesting idea, and I am sure the use of sensory confusion will play out in a nice way visually (kinda-sorta like The Cell, maybe? Kinda?). The teaser is brief and doesn't really give off very much, but it does look quite nice.  

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valhallarising

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Last, but certainly not least, here is the newest trailer for, Nicolas Winding Refn's, Valhalla Rising. Set in 1000 AD, the film follows a one-eyed Norse warrior named One Eye, naturally, and his young companion (not named young companion) as they travel with a group of Vikings who come face to face with a bloody fate as they discover a new land and One Eye discovers himself. It's like a coming of age tale - but with a one-eyed adult that hangs with Vikings and has a knack for jacking dudes up.

This trailer is as manly as it gets, and to top it off, there are a few brief shots of wicked violence, which is more than enough to catch the eye of most genre fans. While some might see his films as somewhat pretentious in their artistic endeavor, Refn is an amazing director, and his films will stick with you well after you see them. Oh, and one of the genre tags for Valhalla Rising is Science Fiction, which really makes things a whole lot more interesting. Grab a stein, a massive turkey leg, kick up your fur skin boots, and check out the trailer for yourself.   

Monday, July 5, 2010

Salvage

salvage9 We have seen the world face extinction in plenty of big budget movies, with national monuments blowing up, zombie swarms spreading faster than your dirty little secret itch, Earth shattering quakes…you get the picture. When it comes to apocalyptic happenings in movies with a lower budget, challenges are greater, namely, there is not the money in place for huge action set pieces. Instead, the filmmakers must use there lack of budget to be creative, to make the viewer feel the end is near without the help of major CGI effects. 

2009's Salvage is a British film that is without the benefits of money (working on a budget just above thsalvage1ree hundred thousand US dollars), so there is a need to work around these restraints. There are often common elements when it comes to very low budget films that focus on some sort of apocalyptic salvage3occurrence, one being seclusion and the other being character development. You set up the conflict happening outside and somehow trap the characters inside, where the viewer is actually alsalvage6ong for the ride that the characters are on, as they are on it in real time. It is something we have seen before, most recently with 2006's Right at Your Door and of course, it goes way back to Romero's Night of the Living Dead.

Salvage follows minimal characters, namely Beth (Neve McIntosh, who gives a powerful performance) and her one 'day' stand, Kieran (Shaun Dooley), as their lives are thrown into chaos when a group of heavily armed military men take over their upper-class neighborhood on Christmas Eve. Forced at gunpoint to stay in their homes, they are left to speculate as to what could be happening in the world outside of their front door. Thoughts immediately go to terrorism, but there seems to be something far more threatening as they may have more to fear than just the armed military personnel, or a foreign attack.

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Playing off of characters instead of big explosions, Salvage makes perfect use of its antagonists. The film has characters with complexity, characters with problems and major flaws, but the relatability of those flaws make the characters easy to access on a human level. When the viewer first meets Beth, it is when she is catching a couple of inches from Kieran, only to be caught by her daughter Jodie (Linzey Cocker) after being dropped off by her father a few hours early to spend the Christmas holiday. There is already major strain in their relationship, which is something that plays into the film nicely as a plot point, and pushes the character development. Kieran also holds some qualities that are less than respectable, and this gives a great dynamic to his relationship with Beth, whom he only met that same day.

salvage8 With little money on his side, director Lawrence Gough has constructed a solid film with an intimate setting, strong characters, and a capable style. Even more so, Salvage plays its tension tightly and the pressure stays on for much of the film's first two acts. There is little to no music as things move quietly at times, adding to the bpm for the characters, as well as the viewer. The runtime is short, and with such a minimal film, that works to its advantage, keeping things very brisk and nicely paced. There are never any moments where things lull, and if they do, it is for the purpose of the fantastic character development.

I do have a few issues with the film, and for the sake of spoilers, I will move very carefully as not to reveal anything. Now, there is a reason why "something" is happening and the reason itself is a bit of a lame duck. However, it is  less about the reason and more about the happening itself that matters, but it is clichéd and hokey. And being as vague as one can possibly be, I thought the movie's threat was almost completely ridiculous when the screen presence was known, but that presence is very minimal, as well as being more towards the film's end, so it isn't too disruptive to an otherwise taut little horror movie.     

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Neither of those issues take anything away from the film as a whole, as Salvage succeeds where many big budgeted FX laden apocalyptic films fail, it uses pieces of the cinematic puzzle that equate to skill and creativity. The possibility that the world is coming to complete catastrophe is made valuable with characters, not with special effects. Salvage is seeing its US release in just a few days from the folks over at Revolver Entertainment, and I highly suggest checking this one out.

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