Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hiking with an attractive woman for weeks is tough, especially if she's not interested in you. Then you're just begging for some occasional privacy so you can let the poison out, otherwise you'll be too distracted by blue balls to enjoy nature.

I have a headache and should be getting some more sleep in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner a few hours from now, and I'll be damned if that's not a run-on sentence. But hey, pointing out a run-on sentence in this blog is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500, right Willard?

Anyway, for whatever reason, I'm not gonna get a few extra hours of hangover-killing rest, I'm gonna ramble about The Way, which is one of those low-budget labor-of-love deals -- this time it's Emilio Estevez doing things his own damn self -- but unlike other joints of its ilk, this one looks a hell of a lot more expensive because it was shot in the countrysides of France and Spain, and when you're dealing with God as a production designer, chances are that you're gonna get some quality settings. I've seen other flicks over the past couple days, but this was the first, and I only have time to ramble about one joint, so yeah, here you go.

Martin Sheen plays an ophthalmologist from Los Angeles, and one day he gets a phone call regarding his son (played by Emiliooooooo), and let's just say that Sheen's gonna have one less person to leave shit to in his will. Yeah, turns out his boy died in an accident over in the Pyrenees. What was he doing there? Oh, you know, pilgrimage and all that. He was walking the Camino de Santiago, and the route chosen for this film is a long hike from the land of rude people and great coffee, all the way over to the place where people speak Spanish with a lisp that is cute on women and odd on men. People go on this pilgrimage for various reasons (spiritual, travel, bragging); Emilio's was mostly good ol' There Are So Many Places Out There I Haven't Seen wanderlust.

So off goes Mr. Sheen, off to pick up his dead son -- and after a good night's sleep (or at least as good a night's sleep one can get while mourning the recent death of a loved one), he decides that he's gonna finish the Camino trek in his boy's place, while spreading recently-cremated Emilio ashes along the way -- I mean, The Way -- because if Emilio Estevez is gonna walk five hundred miles, then goddammit, Martin Sheen will walk five hundred more.

It's a road movie, but instead of burning rubber, the characters are beating feet; Sheen eventually groups up with 3 fellow travelers played by Deborah Kara Unger, some fat Dutchman, and the dad from Millions. The fat Dutchman is pulling a Dewey Oxburger, thinking this walk (which can take weeks to complete) will make him a lean, mean, pot-smoking machine in time for his brother's wedding; Dad-from-Millions is just some douchebag writer who thinks he can jot down his observations and make a book from it (unlike me, who just puts it in a blog), and Unger's character proves that even Canadians can be surly, sarcastic assholes. Surprisingly, they never run into Gwyneth Paltrow or the Harry Knowles of television chefs during this journey, which is weird, because I thought Paltrow was like Queen White Girl of Spain or something. 

This is seriously, to me, one of Martin Sheen's best performances, bar fuckin' none. The Academy most likely won't recognize it because they pay more attention to higher-profile fare featuring lots of drama queening and hamming up, which is too bad, because homeboy's performance is one of those awesomely understated deals that still manages to pack a punch. Whatever. I'm sure he'll get a Lifetime Achievement award. He better.

There's a scene about halfway through the film where his character has a bit too much to drink, and he fucks up by choosing that particular time to air his grievances regarding his Camino crew; it's a slow burn that eventually turns into a goddamn blaze, and the way Sheen plays it feels way too fuckin' real, as opposed to just some actor using the moment to turn it into an excuse for overacting. Considering Sheen's past with alcohol use (hell, just watch Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse to see it in real-life effect), his acting in that scene has more than a ring of truth to it -- it's a fuckin' gong of truth. The manner in which the Camino crew handle his outburst also felt realistic; with both body language and minimal dialogue they manage to tell this dude "You know, we understand that you're hurting, and you don't mean what you said, but for the next few hours, go fuck yourself, asshole."

The film itself is also surprisingly subtle as well, for the most part; Estevez's last couple of joints, The War at Home and Bobby were more Sirk-sian in how they were more than happy to tell you how you were supposed to feel during any particular scene, thanks to things like slow-motion montages set to classic tunes/dramatic compositions. The Way, on the other hand, is told in more of an objective -- rather than subjective -- style; I don't recall any dolly shots or tracking setups, and I'm pretty sure it was all handheld, even the static shots. The lighting is all natural (from either the sun or candlelight) and that, combined with the Super 16mm format, gives this joint more of a raw, documentary feel. I think half of the cast is comprised of non-actors who really live in the areas our heroes visit, which adds to the docu-feel of the proceedings.

The music score feels less emotional and more psychological, serving more to put you in the mindset of any particular character, and leaving how to feel about it up to your lazy ass. The songs are OK; I was never the biggest fan of Alanis Morissette's "Thank U", but considering that she did play God in a movie, maybe she's God in this movie too and the song is kinda like her narrating this shit -- a God who once sucked Dave Coulier's cock in a movie theater. I wonder what movie they were watching. Something Canadian, I bet.

It's a nice movie that gets its point across about spirituality and our inherent need to strengthen our virtues (while eliminating our flaws), without getting emotionally overwrought about it all. (For the record, I'm all for sappy shit, but only when it's done right.) Sure, there is drama, but it's never some overly done Movie kind of drama; like I mentioned before, it's that matter-of-fact style that still manages to keep a motherfucker very interested. I mean, shit man, it's about how a dude chooses to handle the death of his only son -- you really don't need to ladle extra syrup on these pancakes, you dig? You're watching a group of people walking this long journey, they meet some interesting people along the way, get to their destination, and that's it. Whether or not their lives turn for the better, well, that's not what the movie is interested in telling you.

In movies, people come out of these experiences with their worlds completely rocked, and it changes the way they live their lives. In real life, that's not always the case -- shit, it's rarely the case -- sometimes we just go back to living the way we've always lived. But hopefully, we've come out of it a little wiser about something -- anything -- maybe that's what the movie is saying. The ending kinda annoyed me at first, it felt a little movie-fake, but then a few hours later I managed to pull my head out of my ass, and on second thought, it makes plenty of sense for the character to uh, go that way.

Anyway, I dug this flick, it's a nice and thoughtful way to spend two hours, and it's definitely got me considering going on one of these pilgrimages. Backpacking's the shit, and I'd like to go once more into the European breach, where I can once again take in some nice sights, meet interesting people, and learn just how precious a hot shower and bed can become to a motherfucker. The only thing that would've made this movie better is maybe an appearance by Keith David and Dean Cameron, with their rent-a-cop hating, pizza delivering, french fry-protecting tomfooleries.

But, hey man -- Tcheky Karyo is in this mutha! That guy's awesome. That's how I'll close these thoughts on The Way, talking about Tcheky Muthafuckin' Karyo; so, this guy? Like I said, he's awesome. Took notice of him in La Femme Nikita, and have been taking notice of him since. One of my closest friends became even closer when I found out we shared a fondness for that French mofo; and nothing gets us happier than being given the opportunity to do our Tcheky Karyo impressions, well, aside from a pair of titties. But if you're ever hanging with us, be warned, folks: Never mention anything regarding the roasting of foods, lest we end up freaking you out by suddenly going "You know, the Chinese have the best roasting methods in the world -- BUT I PREFER THE FRENCH ONE!"

OK, I'm off. Happy Thanksgiving, lady and gentleman. Hug your loved ones. Eat. Watch movies. Enjoy life. And don't be a dick -- besides, that's my gig.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A fifth of that Black Jack, a 16 oz Coke

"What movie is this line for?" asked the older lady who had just walked up to me, and I told her it was for The Muppets, to which she responded "Huh?", and not in that I Didn't Hear You sort-of-way, but in that "Aren't you an adult?" kind of way. That's OK, though; I was not the only adult, in fact, the majority of this particular queue was old enough to buy alcohol legally. We were here because of a love for Jim Henson's creations -- and because we managed to get on the guest list.

You see, Jeremy Smith (aka Mr Beaks of AICN and Internet fame) set this screening up at The Grove in Los Angeles -- a nice place where you can look at people who most likely make more money than you -- and once inside the Pacific Theatres auditorium, Mr. Smith-Beaks asked us to indulge him as he led us in a Mahna-Mahna singalong, which reminded me of what I saw 20 minutes earlier: 3 men in the restroom singing a couple verses from Wham's "Last Christmas" while taking a piss (1 at the urinal, the other 2 in separate stalls). Because singing was involved in both instances, obviously. I didn't notice any dudes in the audience holding their dicks while singing Mahna-Mahna (and it wasn't for lack of looking, either).

Preceding the feature was a Toy Story Toon titled "Small Fry" and I don't know why I had the stones to doubt Pixar about this one, but I did; I figured this would be a cute time-filler and they probably got Tom Hanks' brother from Acts of Violence to do Woody's voice, as well as the relatives of all the other famous actors who worked on the trilogy to take over. But no, they got the whole fuckin' cast back together, they got Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, and even the guy who played Patricia Richardson's douchebag husband from that Tool Time show.

Because this was a Pixar joint, the motherfuckers behind-the-scenes put their usual 220% into telling this brief tale about Buzz Lightyear's visit to a fast-food joint. It's good stuff, and considering how goddamn perfect the last film ended, I'd prefer that the Toy Story adventures continue like this, rather than with another film; in addition to giving us a few minutes of Good Times, these shorts also serve as postcards informing the rest of us about how our guys are doing. They're doing well, by the way, thanks for asking.

So then The Muppets started, and in the opening scene we're introduced to a new Muppet named Walter. I once worked with a guy named Walter and he always felt a need to tell me stories of his many sexual conquests, each disgusting verbal image punctuated with "I was piping her, dawg! Piping her!" Anyway, the non-piping Walter is the younger brother of Jason Segel's character, and I guess Segel is a real mensch, because he doesn't give a shit that his mother obviously slept around one drunken night with a Muppet behind her husband's back, instead he treats Walter with the kind of love and respect that only a kind-hearted sibling can give. They do way too much stuff together, though, and if you disagree with me, then you're disagreeing with The Adorable Amy Adams.

Yeah man, she's in this movie too, and I think she may have gone a tad Method in going for the Miss Piggy parallels because she appears a tad bit heavier here, or maybe she was channeling her inner Cookie Monster before someone told her this was a Muppet movie, not Sesame Street. The extra weight is most likely a result of having given birth before production, and besides, this is The Adorable Amy Adams we're talking about, this only means that there's even more of her adorable self to find adorable. C'mon, this is Amy Adams, people. She's been in Leap Year and that Ben Stiller museum bullshit and I still haven't found her doing anything I'd put in the neighborhood of Wrong. She looks wonderfully fine, whether that's baby weight or nachos weight.

So yeah, Adams' character is also Segel's love interest and she's been incredibly accommodating, patient and gracious about his brother tagging along with them on every goddamn thing they do. Most recently, she's given the OK to Walter going with them on a 10-year-anniversary trip to Los Angeles, even though privately she wishes the fuckin' guy can take a solo trip while she and the Segs can have some two-way fun times. Well, she's in luck because shortly after they arrive in the city of shitty traffic and shittier parking, Walter does take a breather in Kermit the Frog's old office at the now rundown Muppet Studios -- where he fortunately overhears that bad Chris Cooper's plan to demolish the old Muppet Theater (because he's an evil oil magnate named Tex Richman and the location happens to be located on top of some prime vehicular go-juice).

What to do? I'll tell you what to do -- you go Electric Boogaloo on the motherfuckers and try to raise enough money (ten million dollars) to buy the theater back. So off they go -- Walter, The Adorable Amy Adams, and that Segal guy -- to convince Kermit to get the ol' Muppet gang together and stage a telethon with the singing and the dancing and the twisting and the kung-fu fiiiiiiighting. Deedle-deedle-dee-dee-do.

Let me talk about this Segel dude (who also co-wrote the screenplay); I've never seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall or that TV show where Neil Patrick Harris bangs women, so I'm not that up on the guy and his business and his talent or lack thereof. But I've seen him on Craig Ferguson and I've also seen him on Craig Ferguson's show, and he came off as very likable and funny. He seemed like a good dude, and fuck it, I'm saying he is a good dude, because in the end, he shepherded this project out of the Good Idea Barn and into the Pasture of Motherfuckin' Fruition -- and I apologize for writing such a stupid sentence in a blog already full of them.

When Segel and the Muppets try pitching the telethon to a high-powered TV exec (ah, Rashida Jones, the things you do to me), she counters back with charts showing them how irrelevant they are nowadays, telling them how Cynicism sells, not some fruity Muppets who are all about good feelings (one of the hit shows is something called "Punch Teacher", and that clip ends with a hilariously fucked-up off-screen line of dialogue).

That made me wonder how much of the studio exec dialogue came out of Segel's real-life pitch meetings, as he tried to get a new Muppet movie off the ground. The exec tells them that they need a big star to headline the telethon, and I'm sure that was the same shit Segel was told when it came to making The Muppets; in the film's case they got Amy Adams and some celebrity cameos (I was particularly fond of seeing Alan Arkin and Emily Blunt -- it's a Sunshine Cleaning reunion!), but for the telethon, I was less impressed and more amused by who they managed to get -- especially when you consider that there's someone in the Muppet Theater audience who can arguably be considered a bigger star at this particular point in time.

Some of the original Muppet crew (including that contentious muthafucka Frank Oz) have been vocal about not digging on this movie, and I guess the "fart shoes" gag might be part of the problem. Perhaps that kind of humor never made it to the Muppets back in the day, but I can't be too sure. Listen man, I haven't seen any of the other Muppet movies since I was in elementary school, so I can't compare this joint with The Muppet Movie or The Muppets Take Manhattan, because I honestly don't remember them all too well plot-wise.

But I must have part Robocop in me though, because while I can't really remember them, I can still *feel* them and this new one left me feeling just as happy -- if not more -- as the previous Muppet flicks made me feel, so that sounds like a class-A success to me. Even Walter felt like an old friend, even though this is his first barbecue. Also, the fart shoes gag is the only bathroom joke I can recall from the film, and it's not even that bad, it's really just an old-fashioned whoopie cushion gag, not twenty-seven Eddie Murphys in various stages of latex make-up and fat suits, unable to control themselves (to diminishing returns).

Anyway, the end result -- directed by some dude from Flight of the Conchords and featuring songs written by another dude from Flight of the Conchords -- is both a highly-entertaining family film (a family film that sneakily manages to feature a certain hit song by Cee Lo Green -- yes, I know they credit the clean version in the soundtrack, but you Just Fucking Know that Segel and company meant the other one) and a love letter to these goddamn Muppets, and it's absolutely brimming with Neo-Sincerity (while still having a sense-of-humor about certain accepted cliches, getting all meta on us). This is a film that wears its heart on its sleeve, one that embraces the ever-fading ideals of Kindness and Compassion, while insisting to the audience that the most important thing is to just fuckin' Try.

Man, to take that proud stance in a time where cynicism runs rampant and mean-spiritedness is disguised as being "cool", well that makes The Muppets pretty goddamn punk, if you ask me.

That tea & crumpet-eating mofo Martin Amis once wrote about the first time he saw E.T. The Extra Terrestrial; he said he was fuckin' bawling his British-novelist eyes out by the end of it. Then he noticed that the conveniently well-rounded group of people sitting to the left and right of him (Japanese businessman, black guy, punk rocker, mother -- they were only a construction worker away from singing YMCA) were also crying. He said that they weren't so much crying for the on-screen characters, as they were crying for their "lost selves". I was thinking of that while pulling an Amis by glancing for tears in the audience (there were a few). Me, I didn't cry; I was feeling the film, but not that deeply. Besides, I don't cry at movies, I'm a man -- I wait until I'm alone in the privacy of my own home to let that shit flow.

But yeah man, those E.T. tears, I believe, are the same kind of tears that also rolled down many a moviegoers' chubby cheeks during the first 15 minutes of Up and the last 15 minutes of Toy Story 3 -- the dreaded Growing Up Sucks A Dick But We Have To tears (aka Pixar Tears). An old man wakes up in bed without his wife, a teenager sighs as he sits alone in his car, a boy says goodbye to his alien father/brother surrogate -- sure, we know these are fictional characters in a fictional setting in a goddamn movie, but while the on-screen events are not real, the fuckin' brutal emotions they stir up in us (not to mention related past memories) are way too fuckin' real. Fuck you, Wistfulness! Goddamn you to Hell, Nostalgia! That's why we cry at fuckin' "cartoons", asshole hack comedian whose name I can't remember but will probably be famous someday on a sitcom that will last 10 years. That's why.

All right, fine -- that's why *I* cry at the fuckin' things.

So on that tip, you have The Muppets: a bunch of these cloth-skinned creatures philosophizing in song about the lovers and dreamers (and me!) who believe in dreams and illusions, despite the general factual consensus proving otherwise -- But you know what, man? Perhaps you're not alone in having these thoughts. Maybe we ALL have 'em! -- which is the kind of thing some of us want to hear in our old age, long after we reached the end of our formative years and had the curtain lifted, introducing us to the ugly, horrifying, crippling machine of despair, anguish, and hatred that is commonly referred to as The Real World (not to be confused with that MTV show featuring some nasty dude who shot snot rockets out of his nose and grossed out some raza dude with HIV by eating peanut butter with his nasty booger hands. Man, if I was Pedro, I'd have spit in that peanut butter and say "Try eating that shit now, ya fuckin' disgusting no-shower-taking, nose-picking, bike-riding, born insecure, rat-soup-eating MUTHAFUCKA!" ).

So on the tip of *that* tip, I will be very surprised if I find out that I was the only one in that theater who knew that men & women were really controlling and voicing the Muppets, and yet still chose to believe Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie, Kristen Schaal, Animal, Rowlf, Swedish Chef, non-piping Walter, etc., were real. Because they sure as fuck were real when I was a kid. It's still real to me, dammit! I STILL BELIEVE!

It's a sweet film, and a very funny one at that; maybe not Pixar-quality, but fuck man, nobody's perfect. Besides, I'd have to see it again to make that judgment. As it is, it's definitely one of the better examples of the kind of family film that both the kids and adults will enjoy, and no one will feel like a complete schmo for buying a ticket to -- unless you are in fact, a schmo who refuses to enjoy awesome shit. Me, I couldn't stop smiling during it.

In conclusion, Amy Adams gets to eat a Pink's chili dog in the movie and that to me, is oceans of awesome to watch, and not in some sexual way, either. Don't get it twisted, peeps. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have another Me Party.


Hey man, let me tell you something that happens in the movie, and how fucked up it was to me. So the Muppets find Gonzo and try to convince him to do the show. He (it?) says no, because he has a successful business distributing bathroom fixtures and he's on his way to 1% Land, so off they go, disappointed. Because this is a movie, he changes his mind by the next scene, and to show his commitment, he blows up the warehouse containing his entire business. Which is fine for him, but what about the hundreds of loyal workers he just fucked out of a job? In this economy, no less. What a fuckin' asshole. WHAT A FUCKIN' ASSHOLE. That piece of shit, I never liked him, I never trusted him. For all I know, he had me set up and had my friend Angel Fernandez killed. But that's history. I'm here, he's not.

Oh, and they sing Starship's "We Built This City", which made me really uncomfortable because it reminded me of a rather unfortunate (and NSFW) soundalike I once caught on Sirius/XM. You've been warned.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chances of me not embarrassing myself yet again are...remote.

Click here for the first part of this badly-written bullshit.

People gathered in the lobby and were told once again by Aero volunteers about the present situation; the Aero people were told this street work was supposed to happen last weekend, so they complied and made sure to have everything done at the theater by the proper time. Except it wasn't supposed to be for last weekend, it's supposed to be this weekend -- and apparently while we were enjoying the first two films, things got pretty heated between The City & SoCal Edison and Grant & the Aeronauts, as each side fought, one to close the Aero down for the night, the other to keep it running; the police were contacted and even legal action (like, lawsuits & lawyers) was brought up. But unfortunately, nothing could be done because the Aero people were dealing with "cocksuckers". Someone in the crowd yelled "Occupy Aero!" and we laughed. Oh, how we laughed.

We were then told that we could return the following Saturday at 11pm (following their Verbinski'd screening of Rango) with our ticket stubs and catch the rest of the movies -- and perhaps because of Daylight Savings Time ending, we might even get an extra movie out of the deal. Just then, a man entered with a stack of pizzas, like he was delivering for the McCallisters or something; Feel free to help yourself to the rest of the snacks and coffee before leaving, they told us. The pizza was gone in a couple of minutes, and even those who scored had to survive a Japanese subway crush of people to get to it.

I went to my car and just as I was about to turn the ignition, I was hit with yet another pre-Beetis urge to take a piss, so I went back to the Aero to use their facilities. That move saved me some gas money and a follow-up trip to the Aero, because it turns out that the Horrorthon was going to continue as planned. I don't know what happened, but in the end, They were gonna let us have our movie marathon. One of the volunteers ran out into the sidewalk to try to get people back in and tell them everything was all good again.

I decided to grab a snack before going back to my seat, so I went to the lobby, and it was there that I spotted Phoebe the Dog's human, Ms. Lauren P. Henderson (of "New Adventures of Wonder Woman" fame). She's one of the 2 or 3 people who read this blog, and I foolishly decided to go up and give her my thanks -- because I'm genuinely appreciative of that kind of thing, and because I needed to remind myself why I shouldn't talk to new people. Sometimes you have to show people that you are indeed a badass motherfucker who is not to be trifled with, you gotta show these muthas that you are indeed Hard and a tough guy, and that is why I made sure to hold my chocolate chip mini-muffin in her direct sight as we talked (speaking of mini-muffins...). Because that's how gangstas roll -- clutching a chocolate chip mini-muffin like a fuckin' BOSS.

Considering how I handled myself during our brief chat, it was only fitting that the third movie of the night was The Pit, about a douchebag creepy creep creep who creeps out everyone else with his creepy douchebaggery and probably smells bad too. It was projected from a DVD, and at first, the movie's soundtrack consisted of some depressed Russian guy doing the dialogue for all the characters, but then someone switched it back to the original English audio.

Our main character, Creepy McCreeperson, has just entered puberty, adding to the fresh Clearasil, dirty socks, and sticky jism vibe. I'm perfectly fine judging him because we see enough of this dude to know he's off in a bad way; I'm usually sympathetic to characters with no friends, but not this one. He's just a fuckin' weirdo who stares at librarians through windows, doing some pre-Photoshop picture work by putting pictures of women he knows on top of photos of naked women, and various other pre-jerkoff-session shenanigans, and his parents are just putting up blinders to it all, probably because they're drunks (at least the mother gave me that vibe, like she had a shot or two before every scene). That's probably why they make the dumb choice of hiring a young shapely college student to babysit him, rather than some old bag he can't get all stiff in the pants over (and even then, who knows). You'd think they would know better.

The only friend Creepy has is a stuffed teddy bear (as opposed to an empty one), and fuck, I guess I can't fault him for that. Back when I was about 6 or 7, I was such a little girl that I asked my parents for a Teddy Ruxpin doll, because I saw some fuckin' commercial where a boy took it to school and all the kids were like OH WOW THIS GUY'S THE FUCKIN' MAN. Because my father is such a good person, rather than beat the fuck out of me until I started liking football (LIKE A MAN), he actually bought the doll for me and then I took the Teddy Ruxpin doll to school. God must've been giving half-a-shit that day, because in a gracious moment of mercy, He did not damn me to a long, sadistic day of mocking and alienation from my fellow classmates. Believe it or not, they were tripping out on the fuckin' thing.

But Creepy isn't so lucky; he gets shit on by the cool kid in his class and some Lucy from Peanuts/Harriet from Small Wonder type in his neighborhood. Even an old lady in a wheelchair is like Fuck You, Creepy, Outta My Face. They want nothing to do with him and whenever he gets too close, they either yell at him for being his creepy-ass self or punch him in his greasy face. Then he goes home and talks to his doll and writes loving messages on the bathroom mirror while his babysitter is trying to take a shower. Oh, and he also heads out to this fuckin' scary pit in the middle of the woods and talks to whatever is in there. He says they're "trolologs" or something, and every time he mentions them, a couple people in the audience would start to sing that Trololo song, and that was certainly a lot funnier than the fart sounds coming from the back corner of the theater during every film AND THEY ALWAYS GOT A LAUGH. ALWAYS. Evidently, you'll never go wrong with making haphazardly-placed fart sounds with your mouth during a film, never. I bet you that the guy responsible for those comic nuggets of gold went home content and satisfied with himself. Then he shat himself. Because I believe in happy endings.

Anyway, half of this movie would've made a good psycho-mystery about whether or not those creatures living in the pit are real, and not just a figment of his lonely, sexually-frustrated imagination -- except the filmmakers kinda give up their tell with the opening scene. I'm guessing it wasn't meant to open that way, with a scene we're gonna watch pretty much in its entirety later on anyway: Creepy shoving a bully into the pit to get promptly eaten by the Trololololololols. Oh yeah, didn't I tell you? They eat meat; at least that's what Creepy finds out after noticing how fussy they are with the chocolates he's been feeding them. Yup, homecreep eventually finds out that these creatures aren't godless vegan liberals, they love some good ol' red meat, and after trying to satisfy them with stew cuts from the local butcher shop, he's out of cash. Lucky for him, he does have a steady line of Bad People in the neighborhood, and if he can somehow get them to follow him to the woods....

This was such a weird and creepy movie, even the sense of humor is creepy. It's as if the movie was written and directed by the main character himself, like maybe he's telling his life story, and that's why we have such an askew sense of humor and a point-of-view that appears to favor the unsympathetic lead. In that way, it's very much like a Victor Salva film, only, you know, the director of this movie merely fed people to man-eating monsters, while Salva did...that other thing.

Having said that, The Pit was very entertaining; you just can't help but laugh at it all -- and the fucked up thing is that sometimes I found myself laughing with it. Also, I was very unnerved by the fact that not only did I not see the victims get eaten after falling in the pit with the Trolologs, I didn't hear them screaming either -- but you certainly heard some OM NOM NOM-ing going on. It's different from hearing people scream bloody murder as they're bloodily murdered and chomped on in other movies; perhaps the victims were in complete shock during that, and that's why they didn't make any noise. It certainly wasn't because the director didn't give a shit, he knew what he was pulling.

Later on in the film, after a particular character gets The Pit treatment, the film treats us to shock-cut inserts of jagged teeth clamping down on twitchy, bloody flesh and limbs. It's already bad enough that we're shocked by this sudden R-rated shit happening in what previously felt like a PG-rated joint -- it's even worse because it was happening to someone I certainly didn't want to see get treated like one of my daily Wendy's double combos. And to think, all of this shit could've been avoided if the fuckin' Internet was easily available back then -- Creepy would've been too busy spanking it to his Photoshopped porn, rambling in his movie blog, or chatting with like-minded creeps online to be fuckin' with some Trolologs.

The fourth film of the evening was Videodrome, directed by David Cronenberg (definitely on my list of Filmmakers Who Own The Fuck Out Of The Cinematic Arts). Man, what can I say about this film that hasn't already been said many times over! Goddamn, what a fuckin' movie. I'd like to think that the lack of asshole fart noises by the Panama Hat Group in the back corner was a sign of how much they were getting straight up Owned by this 87-minute exercise in 35mm Awesome. Or maybe they were too bored to bother and thought it sucked. Well, they're wrong -- it is they who are the sucky ones. 

James Woods is too badass to play a Canadian, but whatever, there he is, playing Toronto-residing motherfucker Max Renn; he runs a small-time television station that specializes in big-time titties. I guess those Canadians are too hardcore to be fazed by the programming, so Renn's out looking for some harder-core softcore. Well, he finds it in the form of a pirated broadcast called "Videodrome" that consists of people getting whipped, beaten and killed. Soon, Renn finds himself really getting into all this staged snuff that is obviously fake -- or is it? DUN DUN DUN.

Deborah Harry plays this chick who hosts a radio show, and after appearing on a talk show with Renn, they hit it off and BAM -- she's cutting herself and putting out cigarettes on her tit in front of him. She didn't even wait until the third date to introduce that shit. She's into the rough stuff, and after watching Videodrome, she decides that she has to be on that fuckin' show. She knows what she wants, this one; if she wants to get on a television show where people get whipped to shit and strangled to death, fine. If she wants to have James Woods stick needles through her earlobes, okay. But I draw the line at her only using one side of her headphones while working the radio show -- it's a call-in show, not some fuckin' DJ turntable-spinner hour. Use both of the motherfuckers.

There's this other character named Brian O'Blivion, and I'm assuming he's kinda based on that Canuck fuck from Annie Hall who told that asshole in the movie theater to stop acting like he knows him. Because some of the stuff they talk about in Videodrome is similar to the stuff he wrote about in real life. Anyway, it's kinda cool to watch this guy (and that McLuhan motherfucker) talk all this mad shit about television being the retina to the mind's eye, like it's part of our fuckin' being. Because it's not so far off from what ended up happening in real life -- only it wasn't the television screen that we fuckin' melded with, it's computers. We're practically 24/7 hooked into our laptops, iPads, and iPhones. It's gotten to the point that we get all fucked up and discombobulated if we leave home without any of that shit. You'd think we left the house without our pants on -- no motherfucker, it's just a phone, you'll get by.

We've created avatars and new identities online ("O'Blivion was not the name I was born with...soon all of us will have special names"); and some poor bastards even find themselves pulling a total fuckin' O'Blivion by only communicating through the Interwebs -- where it really matters, as opposed to human interaction. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook. OK fine, some of them create blogs too.

The shit's Criterion status, so like I said, EVERYONE has written/spoken about this tight flick. I feel I can't add anything to this, I can't continue beating a dead horse in honor of this fuckin' awesome movie. Plus, part of the fun is in just watching this story unfold and boggle your shit up something awful while you pretty much experience the same mindfuckery that Woods' character is going through. Cronenberg's relentless and downright cruel in the way he Just Doesn't Give A Fuck about how you're taking this all in, because you're taking it, bitch -- all of it.

It would be interesting to see how you'd update this film in remake-happy Hollywood nowadays (please don't, though); VHS and Betamax would have to be replaced by...DVD and Blu-rays? Shit, those are physical mediums, even those motherfuckers are halfway out the fuckin' door in 2011. It'd be tough to go digital with Videodrome. Would it even work out without the twisted sight of a slimy, fleshy, pulsating cassette being jammed into a dude's chest vagina? Yeah, you heard me: Chest Vagina. And that shit pales in comparison to the fuckin' skin-covered bionic gun that fires CANCER BULLETS at people. Just typing those words gives me the shivers. I'd rather get shot by Wildey any fuckin' day of the week.

I take it back; Canadians are too hardcore sometimes -- Cronenberg, specifically. I guess when you live in a country where basic health care is free, you don't worry as much about how you're gonna pay for that shit. So, as a result of having nothing to worry about, you find yourself with plenty of time to entertain crazy thoughts of guns that fire bullets that create instant tumors in your body. Goddamn, Canada. Fuck you and your poutine. 

Oh, and that Jamaican eye doctor is, like, one of the best movie characters ever -- and he's only in the movie for ten seconds. He's got that strange foreign-tinged way of speaking that leaves a motherfucker confused whether this guy is being laid-back & funny or straight-up passive-aggressive towards your ass.

Film number five was Alice Sweet Alice (originally titled Communion, but the Aero's print was titled Holy Terror), starring Brooke Shields, or at least that's how they've always sold it, when in reality she's only in the first 15 minutes or so. Our Brooke plays a sweet girl named Karen, and life isn't so easy for her because she has a terrible sister played by that rhythm box chick from Liquid Sky. So it's Karen's First Communion, or at least that was the idea, because instead Karen ends up getting murdered by someone in a raincoat and mask, and since Rhythm Box Chick also happens to enjoy wearing a raincoat and mask while being a douche, well, I guess that narrows it down for us, suspect-wise.

God, there are so many punchable faces in this flick -- or maybe it's not so much the faces as it's the extreme angles used when framing the faces. It's probably a little of both; I mean, they cast this painfully obese gentleman in the role of a disgusting piece-of-shit kid-toucher type. Motherfucker is plopped down on his bed or couch, eating what is either tuna or cat food from the can, and he has huge stains on the crotch of his pants. Such is his grossness, that piss stains would the best case scenario as to what's going on down there. But it's not just that, it's also the voices and whining and screaming all throughout. They don't necessarily do anything particularly annoying, they just fuckin' are -- they have the Annoying aura about them.

Which is too bad, because this is, for the most part, a well-made film (albeit a little too slow at times) with some definite Hitchcock influences in the camera work; My favorite scene takes place in an abandoned building, it's suspenseful and all that, and it ends with an inventive angle that makes me wonder if Sam Raimi ever caught this flick back in the day. The overall giallo-ish feel reminded me of something like Don't Torture A Duckling, only this distant cousin of a film would be titled Don't Act Like A Whore or something, only with way too much dumb crying by yentas and ineffectual men who might as well toss their balls into the collection plate next Sunday.

Because of shit like that, I couldn't help but laugh most of the time. Or who knows, maybe it was just the early morning hour and free M&M-induced sugar crash getting to me. Perhaps I'll give it another day in court sometime in the future, I don't know. All I know is that a scene where someone gets stabbed a bunch of times -- with scary Stabby Stab Stab music -- probably shouldn't be as hilarious as it came off here. Hey, maybe that's why the director went on to make the slasher spoof Pandemonium; some executive watched bits & pieces of this movie and figured Alfred Sole was the guy for the job, having already made a pretty funny murder joint. 

As the sun began to rise, we watched our final film of this year's horrorthon: Just Before Dawn (the extended U.K. cut), directed by Jeff Lieberman, the guy behind Blue Sunshine (which I really dug) and Squirm (one of the rare MST3K'd movies that was actually pretty good). Here you have that bad Gregg Henry driving into the mountains with his bud Jack Lemmon's Son, a couple of special lady-friends, and a fifth wheel dork (the kind of guy the other ladies probably call "harmless"). Henry's character owns some land up there and they're gonna go camping, which again makes me bring up the fifth wheel guy; WHY would you go on a camping trip with two couples, and WHY would two couples want to invite a single dude? Sounds pretty sadistic, if you ask me. They just want to torture the poor guy while they get hot & heavy in front of him. Man, I thought you were his friends.

It's cool though, because in comes Chattanooga Choo Choo's own George Kennedy with his burly borderline-albino ass. He's the park ranger in these here parts, and he pretty much tells them to go back to fuckin' Starbucks -- oh wait, they didn't have Starbucks back in 1981 -- I mean, go back to fuckin' Chock Full o'Nuts and forget all about camping out here, because the wilderness is an arena for Men, not a group of high-school characters with post-collegiate haircuts. They don't listen.

See, maybe if Gregg Henry and Jack Lemmon's Son watched the first five minutes of this film, they'd understand. But they didn't, so they have no image of some poor hunter getting a machete through the dick to use as a frame of reference for what they're dealing with. And what are they dealing with? Some guy who looks like an evil, mutated version of Damon Packard's character from Reflections of Evil and acts like a crazed, inbred mountain man with a thirst for blood. Probably because he *is* a crazed, inbred mountain man with a thirst for blood.

You know, I just realized that of all the films to pick from George Kennedy's wide body of work a couple paragraphs ago, the first one that popped into my head was fuckin' Chattanooga Choo Choo. What the fuck.

Anyway, I liked this one. It's considered a slasher movie, but it felt a lot more like Deliverance or Southern Comfort to me, making this joint a solid entry in the Stay Away From The Green Ghetto sub-genre. It's got a couple of good scares mixed in with all the tense shit going on, and I liked how Brad Fiedel's score was hardly used; instead the filmmakers went with the psychological approach by having the majority of the soundtrack taken up by the sounds of nature, rather than the expected emotion-manipulating Run Run Run Kill Kill Kill music. It's been almost a week, so my memory is hazy, but I don't remember there being much blood in the entire film, with the obvious exception of the opening scene crotch-stab. I also dug how even though the characters are the usual slasher movie types -- Alpha Male, Party Guy, Easy Chick, Demure Final Girl, Nerd -- they're not as paper-thin as their labels might suggest.

You have these city kids showing up with their RV and their loud music, and one of them thinks it's all good because he has a piece of paper that says he owns the land, but that doesn't mean a goddamn thing. Ownership or not, this place ain't their backyard; they're just visitors, and they're not only dealing with Crazy Inbred Mountain Man, but with your usual nutty backwoods family as well -- I'm talking a family comprised of cousin/wives and daughter/cousins -- and they don't give a shit what that document says. Probably because they can't even read what the fuck it says. But I bet that even if they could read it, they still wouldn't give a fuck.

And so, the 6th Annual Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon came to a close. We got up, stretched, and stuffed our pockets with what remained of the mini-muffins and Worx Energy shots on the table in the lobby -- and by We, I mean Me, of course. Then I went home and talked to my Teddy Ruxpin had sex with a bunch of chicks. Yeah, that's it.

By the way, the Aero went on to re-schedule the last 3 films of the Horrorthon, along with Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Those with ticket stubs from last Saturday can return on 11/5 (that's today!) and enjoy the flicks they missed out on (or re-watch them); those who don't have stubs will only need to pony up $10 to attend the 4-movie event. Me, I'm too busy with the aforementioned Teddy Ruxpin chicks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

People don't say "Excuse me" anymore, they just squeeze past you and maybe just maybe, they'll give a passing glance loaded with a kingly disdain that only the truly assholish deserve to receive. And that's you: the asshole who committed the crime of being in their way and not having the decency to read their minds and curtsy the cunts.

"Provisions!" said the lady with the packed knapsack, to her friends in line in front of the Aero Theater for the American Cinematheque's 6th Annual Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon. She wasn't the only one; as usual with these all-nighters, people came loaded for bear -- blankets, pillows, backpacks full of snacks, coolers packed with drinks -- even though the fine folks at the Aero would supply free snacks and beverages, leaving me to feel like Sgt. Elias in Platoon, wanting to tell these groups of Chris Taylors that they're humping too much stuff, but I guess it's fun to do that kind of thing, so what do I know? Absolutely nothing, dear reader, absolutely nothing.

Some arrived in costume; I spotted 3 vampires, a young couple in old couple drag (and a wheelchair), a Bride of Frankenstein, and a group of dudes in full Droog wear -- they walked in whistling "Singin' in the Rain", which amused me for the same reason I was amused watching the departing patrons of the New Beverly Cinema whistle "Singin' in the Rain" following a screening of A Clockwork Orange: they're referencing a scene in the film where A WOMAN IS RAPED AND HER HUSBAND IS FORCED TO WATCH WHILE GETTING BEATEN HALF TO DEATH. There was also a chick dressed like Richie Tenenbaum, there was a devil (or The Devil, if you're not into the whole brevity thing), and even a couple of the concession stand peeps got into the spirit of things; one guy was wearing what I want to say is that mask Max from Where the Wild Things Are had on (but I'm probably very wrong about; Totoro, maybe?), and one girl in an all-black outfit was going as a hot chick. Either that, or she was just simply a hot chick.

Inside, there was music playing on the sound system, but unlike last year's Horrorthon, it didn't make me want to jump out of a building, punching birds and windows on the way down. Instead, I remember hearing "Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)" from that sleeping-on-live-tv motherfucker, and the theme to The Munsters television show, among others. There's eavesdropping and can't help but hear: A girl passed by me with her date; she excitedly told him "My God! We have so much in common!" and then they discussed college majors as they sat down. Then I overheard one dude telling his bud that he needed to sit on the aisle seat because he was on a low-carb diet, and that plus his heavy H20 intake guaranteed quite a few trips upstairs to R. Kelly the porcelain. I have that same problem too, but I'm not on some diet, that's for fuckin' sure. I probably just have The Beetis.

A particular group of people sat in the back corner of the auditorium, and I bet these award-winners sit there every year, because that back corner has always been the noisiest one in past Horrorthons -- the dreamers who fantasize themselves as The Second Coming Of MST3K. They gave out some warning shots before the film by starting with the Alan Alan Alan shouts. One of them was an older gentleman wearing a Panama hat and I bet he was the leader. I don't know when I became such a fuckin' no-fun-having grouch, but there you have it. I decided to do something about it though; I left my coat on my seat and went back outside to my car, where I proceeded to pack my portable vaporizer with soul-saving sativa and then placed it on my person, in case the shit just got too fun for my no-fun-having ass during the night. As I walked back, I noticed some newly-posted signs on the sidewalk near the Aero, something about Temporary No Parking on Saturday Oct. 29th from 10pm to 10am.

Mr. Grant Moninger then came down to the stage and began the evening with his usual Horrorthon routine; screaming and doing damage to his vocal cords in an effort to set the crazy mood of the event. I used to be absolutely fuckin' flabbergasted (and a wee bit scared) by Grant's extreme delivery, but now I'm more prepared for it, and plus reading this article kinda helped me get more in tune with what Mr. Grant was going for. At least I now know that his is just a performance, not a frightening cry for help. Even his rocket-speed launching of candy and movies wasn't so bad this time -- ending up with 3 bags of M&M's didn't hurt either. Also, you know, the weed.

The lights went down and we watched the latest Horrorthon intro by Mr. Damon Packard; this time it was "Galactica '80" and "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman", and as usual, the on-screen cast credits consisted of a mix of Horrorthon attendees with various other names. I might as well list the other clips, videos and shorts that were shown between features -- the ones I can remember, anyway, since I waited about five days to write about this and my memory of the evening is dissipating like so much vaped bud. Old faves from previous Horrorthons were also included, but I already wrote about those last time, so go here if you want to read about 'em:

-- 2 old Brit ladies trying out reclining chairs on some BBC show

-- A clip from the TV-movie Where Have All The People Gone, featuring James Arness' brother, Kurt Russell's wife from Breakdown, and some other dude eating the fuck out of an abandoned kitchen.

-- Clip from one of Charles Manson's parole hearings. Christ Almighty. Those guys must show up with popcorn if his rants are always this entertainingly bonkers. Anyway, fuck that Steve Railsback-looking motherfucker, watch this clip instead.

-- A clip of some movie where some chick asks this dude if he wants to stick around and watch some motherfucker in a crazy monkey mask dance some crazy tribal dance. The gentleman declines.

-- A bunch of kids in Halloween costumes singing that Mulberry Bush song, led by a kid in a dragon costume, and he's apparently a child actor in his Fat Jim Morrison phase because he's all fucked-up & confused, and the song itself is a slow, dark, drugged-out cover. Dragon Kid is obviously tripping balls, discovering new things about his inner self during this vision quest he's taking while leading his friends on this sing-along jaunt through the woods. Soon, he will Tame The Snake and Become The Dragon.

-- After what feels like five minutes of a computer-animated castle (graphics highly reminiscent of something out of Video Toaster or Amiga) intercut with those evil Wiccans, New Agers and general various Non-Christians, we finally discover that we're watching an intro to a program called Pagan Invasion and today's episode is about Halloween and how evil that fun shit is. This must've been before these guys tried beating those evil heathens at their own game with that "Trunk Or Treat" idea.

-- Creating Rem Lezar. Some blue superhero in NYC is walking with two kids he probably snatched from unsuspecting parents, and along the way one of the kids claims to have seen the Twin Towers while the other kid is like Bullshit, and somehow that leads to this.

-- A clip from a series written/directed by Grant Moninger (edited/sound designed by Damon Packard) titled Olympic Blvd.

-- Action sequence from some foreign flick; a gas station in the country is hit by a group of professional assassins, the kind of professionals who shoot everything and everyone willy-nilly, so it's hard to gauge if they are in fact, professionals. They are effective, though -- they kill EVERYONE, even the kids get it (in fact, they get it the worst, since it appears the child actors were outfitted with adult-sized blood squibs).

-- Another foreign joint. Cops catch some punk-ass rapist and his victim is there to HAHAHA his ass. Then the narrator cuts in and tells us that the rapist still went to jail despite his bigshot father's connections, and the rape victim is, like, a banker or something in New York City and I think the narrator misses the Big Apple, I don't fuckin' know. The End.

-- The first minute of an old Horrorthon favorite, the Homework Hotline show. Pay attention to the dude sitting next to the host; he's about as awkward as I am whenever I'm sober, or when I'm talking to one of the preciously few readers of this here blog (more on that later).

-- A Dog's Love. Holy shit, I thought this was an expertly-made fake joint recreating a silent film, but this is an actual silent short from 1914. Goddamn. Even back then, they were putting out some harsh flicks. The Aero only showed about a couple minutes, but trust me, I've since watched the whole thing and without a snickering crowd all pepped up on WOO! and HAHAHA!, it's kinda tough to watch, in the way that NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF DOG MOVIES ARE HARD TO WATCH. Here it is, if you dare. I'm a pussy, and I'm even more of one when you involve a dog. Thank God for that final shot. By the way, you know they probably beat the fuck outta that dog to get a performance out of him, that's how they rolled back in the 10's. And yet that dog probably got to eat great food in the Whites Only section. Ain't that a motherfucker.

-- "Dracula Live From Transylvania". George Hamilton collects a paycheck hosting a special on these bloodsucking bastards. He interviews some lady who claims to be a vampire expert and ol' Georgie's keeping his best straight-face during that bullshit, like he has been for most of his career.

-- That anti-drug all-star music video Robert Evans produced, as a way to superficially atone for getting caught smuggling Scarface-sized amounts of co-fuckin-caine while making Popeye, because Evans' spinach was that muthafuckin' yeyo. I remember in that documentary of his, Evans refers to this event as "a happening". Yeah, something's happening, all right -- sure as fuck ain't *this* shit.

Anyway, the movies!

First off was Pet Sematary, starring Time Trax, Tasha Yar, and Herman Munster. I'm sure you know what this shit's about; family moves to a new house, which is located right next to a busy road frequented by many a semi -- in other words, the perfect place to live if you have young children who tend to wander off and cats who think they can control automobiles with their minds or something. Guess how that shit works out? Oh well, at least there's that old Indian burial ground (this was made in 1989, you could still call 'em Indians back then) that brings dead motherfuckers to life. I'm sure that's gonna work out well for everybody.

But there's this recently dead dude named Pascow, and because Time Trax tried to save him (he's a doctor) while everyone else was like Fuck That Guy, Pascow figures he's gonna do this dude a solid before moving on to the next world by warning him about that bad Indian burial ground. Man, Pascow has some extra time on Earth and he's gonna spend it trying to help out a stranger? Maybe he doesn't have any higher priority peeps on his list, like family or friends, or maybe he's like Fuck Those Guys because he's an asshole. Good thing they don't know about this shit he's pulling; what wasted unconditional love, on somebody who doesn't believe in the stuff (or a helmet). Oh well.

Unfortunately for Pascow, he's dealing with a man who is now past being rational about anything because, well, because shit happens that I'm not sure I should get into, even though this is a 22-year-old film and I don't want to spoil something so recent. Haha, just kidding -- both the cat and kid get smushed by the semis. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

No, seriously -- NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

You know, that scene kinda fucked me up as a kid when I first saw this flick; that was also the only time I had seen it. I didn't like Pet Sematary back then, and I'm sorry to say I didn't care for it last Saturday either. The NOOOOO scene, perhaps it is a strong scene, following up Time Trax's anguished scream with snapshots of the young boy he just lost but when you're in a room full of laughing audience members, well, you know, when in Rome (starring Kristen Bell)....

Even with my fellow Horrorthon-ers laughing, Pet Sematary was still a surprisingly morose & depressing experience for me (for the most part), and since the movie kinda sucks, well, that means it's not the good kind of morose & depressing. I don't know, that's how I reacted both times with this flick. People go on about how scary that whole deal with the Zelda character is, but I was more saddened by it because it made me think of real-life versions of that shit. Mary Lambert directed this; she also directed an episode of Tales from the Crypt ("Collection Completed") that also depressed the shit out of me. I know she recently directed a SyFy movie, and while I haven't seen it, I bet that shit's depressing too. But then again, her Sega CD game Double Switch was all right and I wasn't too depressed with that one. It's no Sonic CD, though, that's for goddamn sure.

The cool thing is that Herman Munster's character is fun to watch with his New England way of saying words like "road", and Tasha Yar is nice to look at in that Androgynous Cabin Boy/Girl way (she also plays tense & confused pretty well), and there's also that hilarious painting in Tasha Yar's parents' crib to look at. Occasionally, they really overdo it with the melodrama, to the point that you can't help but laugh, giggling audience or not. I mean, that scene between the grandfather and Dr. Time Trax during the kid's funeral, they pretty much did that same scene in Scary Movie 3, only that movie was a comedy and this one is a dead serious horror joint -- but they are both damn near the same in idea and execution (albeit one goes like a minute longer, but still, yo). In other words, when I wasn't too busy wallowing in a Pet Sematary funk, I was flying high on Pet Sematary's shitty goofiness. Fuck, now that I think about it, either this movie is bipolar or I am. 

Stephen King wrote both the book and the screenplay, and because of that, he has no right to ever complain about Kubrick fucking up The Shining. Also, he made Maximum Overdrive so he really needs to simmer down now. But I can see what he was going for with the depressing shit, I think he wanted to do what George A. Romero did with the O.G. Night of the Living Dead; King has brought up that movie many times as something that genuinely scared the shit out of him, in particular the scene where the girl does that thing to that character (trying not to spoil a 42-year-old movie for you). I think he was going for that here, with the little boy and fat English cat dying and Tasha Yar's sister getting all fucked up with spinal meningitis, maybe that was supposed to make the audience go all Oh Shit He Went There or something, I don't know, I'm tired. In any case, this movie deserves to have its Achilles tendon slashed open and its throat adorably chomped by a zombie toddler, because it's not that scary and not that entertaining, but I'm obviously the asshole in this equation because the fuckin' thing was a hit at the box office.

The second film was Tourist Trap, and unlike Pet Sematary, this movie was pretty fuckin' tight. That bad muthafuckin' rifleman, Chuck Connors, plays this lonely dude out in the country slash desert, living in his out-of-business museum (nobody comes by these parts anymore, on account of that new highway detouring potential customers). But here comes a group of teens or college students -- whatever they are, it's one dude and three chicks and you Just Fucking Know the guy has at least had 14 passing thoughts of becoming the Mack with these honeys in, like, the past 5 minutes. Anyway, they're on the kind of road trip that these future body-bagees usually take in these flicks, and they have a flat tire. One of their friends has already gone out to find a garage or something, but he hasn't come back yet, so now they're here, looking for this asshole.

Well, they found Chuck Connors instead, checking out the three lovelies swimming in one of them there waterin' holes they have in these country/deserts, carrying his huge phallic-symbol of a shotgun. Like his 6'6 stature wasn't enough. They're understandably creeped out a tad by him, but he appears to mean well, and he's invited them to his little museum, so why not?

I'll tell you why not; way-too-lifelike animatronic dolls, like the kind they have at Disneyland, all over the place. Yeah, it's one of those joints -- and that, coupled with Connors' being way too friendly and helping (and being Chuck Connors), you can pretty much guess this is going somewhere that these characters don't wanna go, but we in the audience wanna see. Specifically, a house located next door to the museum that Connors is very clear about them staying away from; that's because there's a scary dude in a freaky mannequin mask living there. Because it's a scary dude in a freaky mannequin mask, and because this is a movie, you know his deal isn't that he's freakishly private or something (besides, that's my deal), there's something else going on, and it ain't good.

Chuck Connors is great in this, he's Chuck-o-riffic, he really brought some Connors to the table. When I was a kid, I only knew him as the dude from Soylent Green and as the guy Bob Costas had a hetero crush on. But then I caught The Muthafuckin' Rifleman reruns on KDOC-TV a couple years later, and while I still didn't want to be his boyfriend, like fuckin' Costas over here, I gladly had another person to add to my badass file. I'm sure Mr. Connors would've been elated to hear that news, that some little kid added him to a non-existent file that the "writer" of a blog 20 years in the future would make up for a paragraph that had no point, let alone a punchline. But hey, you know what other show Connors was in? Fuckin' Branded. I didn't even know until recently that fuckin' Larry Cohen created that show. Larry Cohen! And Sam Peckinpah created The Rifleman! Back to the movie!

The other cool part of his performance is that on occasion, I swear, he morphs into latter-day Rutger Hauer in both looks and mannerisms. It's uncanny. The chicks are great too, but to be honest, I really wasn't paying attention to what the fuck they were saying, I was just checking them out. It was just BLAHBLAHBLAHWAHWAHWAH coming out of nice lips. Whenever all three stood together in the same shot, I felt like I was at Rekall, picking out my preferred type of woman for my memory implant; Slim, athletic, voluptuous? Demure, aggressive, sleazy? (Be honest.) Tanya Roberts is one of the girls and this is the first time I've seen her with dark hair, and she rocks that look just as well as her blonde look. I don't know who the other two chicks are but they wear the uniform representing their character types very well. The guy with them? He's a douche, exposing his flabby arms like that's gonna get him all the 70's pussy or something. It's almost as bad as Vernon Wells' showing-off-my-lack-of-definition outfit in Commando.

Pino Donaggio composed the score, and it reminded me of his work on the DePalma joints; I know I've heard those breathy female vocals before in at least one of those movies, or at least it felt that way while watching it. David Schmoeller directed this, and based on his other flicks, this is easily his best. But I'm not grading-on-a-curve, this movie is Good Times all the way.. The whole mannequin deal is creepy, making Tourist Trap something like a preemptive antithesis on Mannequin with Kim Cattrall. Hear me out; the latter's gonna leave lonely losers lusting after those dolls in real life, praying to whatever god they pray to in hopes that somehow that fake chick's gonna turn into a real chick. (I'm not speaking for myself, obviously. No way. No way Jose.) But Tourist Trap is gonna leave people kind of wary of those fuckin' things, next time they find themselves at a Macy's or something.

The killer in this particular horror flick is a trip, man. He speaks in one of those old fashioned Evil voices and wears that fucked up mask, while delighting in the harsh shit he does to his victims; my favorite scene involves him slowly plastering up this poor girl, and he's describing to her how she's going to die, the stages and everything (he's obviously done this enough to know). He tells her how the plaster will feel like it's burning her face; that means it's hardening up. Then he says that she won't be able to breathe, but it won't be the suffocation that'll kill her, it's the fear-induced heart explosion that will end her. Tensed me up something awful, that scene. By the way, my band Fear-Induced Heart Explosion is playing the Arby's on Sunset next Sunday night. (Free with a two Beef & Cheddar minimum.)

I'm gonna say this (write, actually) right now: Tourist Trap is a PG-rated slasher flick with no actual slashing and a minimal body count (for a joint like this, at least). And yet, I'd sooner watch this movie than the unrated cut of Friday the 13th (the real one, not that Marcus Nispel bullshit) again. It's creepy, tense, and never boring -- which I hate to admit all the F13 flicks suffer from at one point or another. Also, PG titties.

Directly following the film, either Grant or another volunteer (can't remember) came out and told us that based on a miscommunication from The City of Santa Monica, and Southern California Edison to the Aero Theater -- that was what the Temporary No Parking Signs were about -- it looks like the Horrorthon would be cut short after only two films, because what these SoCal Edison guys have to do involves shutting down all the power in the immediate area, including the Aero. For the rest of the night. This would be a good place to stop.

Click here for the second half of this stupid, badly-written waste-of-time.