Sunday, November 27, 2016

No one ever uses the turn signal

For as many years as this country has left, November 2016 will forever be known as the month that our very own The Adorable Amy Adams had two films released in which she had a starring role, and both of them have had Oscar buzz. Also this was the month where that other thing happened.

I finally made time to catch them both the other day at the Arclight Cinemas in Pasadena, where I tortured myself with the lovely scent of freshly made popcorn that I can't eat yet because of some recent dental work. I was able to eat an overly salted soft pretzel, though, which I'm sure gave me about a week's worth of sodium in one bite.

First, there was Nocturnal Animals, written and directed by (I Don't Pop Molly, I Rock) Tom Ford, adapted from a novel called "Tony and Susan" (which has now been retitled after the film because, well, money). The Triple A plays Susan, a well-off art gallery owner who is married to The Lone Ranger from The Social Network and has a daughter in college, but clearly she's not happy, despite living in an awesome house that's clearly populated by the damning evidence that the person occupying it has nothing but Good News in her bank account. But at least she's aware. Susan tells her friend that she feels bad about feeling bad, because she knows she has it good.

The scene where Susan confides in her friend? They're having a dinner party in that scene, and one of the guests is this young woman who is being cheerfully vulgar to the crowd, and we find out she's a famous actress. I'm going right ahead and assuming that character was a kind of swipe at Jennifer Lawrence, at least because she appears to be the Hot Actress Who Is Such A Regular Joe Like The Rest Of Us du jour, that's who I was reminded of. There is the occasional moment like that in this film -- all of them during the Susan art-world scenes -- that made me want to laugh out loud and e-mail Mr. Ford the Catty Motherfucker award.

Anyway, Susan receives a package in the mail from her ex-husband, containing the proof for his new novel. The name of the book is "Nocturnal Animals" and what's better than having the title of the movie said by someone in the movie? I'll tell you: having the title of the movie show up during the movie.

You mean, like in the credits?

Bitch, you know what the fuck I mean.

So she's reading the book, right, and luckily we don't follow each word she reads but instead we see it played out. The story begins with Donnie Darko from Nightcrawler taking his family on a road trip through West Texas. His wife is played by Isla Fisher aka The Australian Amy Adams, and that right there is why Tom Ford is my dude: he knows what's up. There's also a daughter played by quite possibly someone who was created in a machine using both Adams' and Fisher's DNA. He and his two Amys end up in a horrifying situation that took me off guard. I hadn't seen any trailers or ads for this on purpose, I just knew it was a Tom Ford joint and The Adorable Amy Adams was in it, all I expected was that it would probably look good.

Darko's family end pissing off a group of the kind of angry/cruel/irrational rednecks that would probably feel more at home angrily F-wording up the proceedings in a Rob Zombie film and you can tell these assholes are just looking for an excuse. It's possibly the most worked up (in a negative sense) I've gotten watching a film this year, I was feeling both tensed up and enraged. I swear a couple times I wanted to scream at the fucking movie screen. Plus, I was thinking, what the fuck, this is Texas and nobody has a gun? Isn't that the whole point of that fucking place -- that they're like their own little country that plays by its own rules and shit?

Ford's almost as sadistic as those characters, because right when you're all worked up and ready to see what's about to happen, the film cuts back to Susan taking a break from reading because the events in the book are working her up in a negative way too. (Also, she's seeing a lot of parallels between the characters in the book and Susan & Ex-Husband.) The novel then turns into something that feels like some Cormac McCarthy shit written in between chapters of "No Country for Old Men", and that's when Michael Shannon shows up and he is, to nobody's surprise, great in this.

Everybody is great in this, like Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal; this poor guy has been really putting himself out there every year to good notices and nothing else. The Academy finally gave an Oscar to DiCaprio, now they need to give it to Jakey G. here before he does something rash like cine-torture himself for Alejandro G. Innaritu. I don't know if it's going to happen for him this year, but Jesus, at least give him a Supporting nod because I think the dude deserves it for his work here.

I would be surprised if Amy Adams gets any kind of award recognition here. Because her character is more internal, that means all her beats have to be subtle, so hers is not a particularly showy performance and you know Oscar is kinda deaf and vision-impaired; they'll probably be able to make out Gyllenhaal but they'll be squinting their eyes and cupping their hands to their ears going "Whaaa?" at poor Amy. Whatever, she's always been bringing the quality goods to these proceedings, which is all that matters.

(Until she eventually wins, of course. Then it will be all that matters. Suddenly Oscars will mean everything.)

The film cuts between the novel, Susan reading it and doing her art gallery/unhappy-well-off-woman-in-her-40s thing, and flashbacks to when Susan and her ex-husband (also played by Gyllenhaal) were in their early 20s. That last part, the early 20s stuff, really tripped me out because there is some kind of movie magic being used here to make them look like they just finished promoting Junebug and Jarhead in '05. If there's CGI de-aging being used, then it's not as heavy as when they young'd up Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War -- either that or the technology has improved that much over these past few months, because it looks a lot more natural.

I'm thinking it's a combination of aging up Adams (black clothes and caked on makeup) and Gyllenhall (thick ass beard) in the beginning, and then cleaning them up in the flashbacks with some light CGI work. Whatever the case, it's not just the wow factor of that shit that got me, but it worked because it really hit me how much happier and fresher the characters look because Life hadn't bent them over yet.

This is Ford's second film, following 2009's A Single Man (which I rambled about somewhere here) and like that film, this one is pretty goddamn good. (Like that one, this one isn't the feel good movie of the year either.) He wrote the screenplay adaptation and knocked that out, he gets good performances from his actors, he is clearly a big part of the visual look for this film -- a film so beautifully set designed and shot-composed, one could freeze-frame a random moment and frame it on a wall.

And man oh man, you can tell a Tom Ford joint from the others just on the fact that everybody here is so impeccably dressed and groomed. (Even the West Texas stuff gives everyone an artfully disheveled kind of look.) They all look like they stepped out of ads from a fashion magazine; as soon as I saw Armie Hammer step in for a giant glass of iced coffee in this movie, I'm thinking Fuck I Need That Suit I Need That Haircut.

LATE BREAKING UPDATE: EFC believes Tom Ford would make a stylish-as-fuck James Bond movie if they're cool with an American/Texan directing a 007 movie.

Also, there's two instances of Girls Wearing Glasses here, and in case you didn't know, that's like a thing I have. It's not a fetish, no sir, I don't need glasses to get hard or achieve orgasm, it's not that kind of party. I'm just saying it ups every lady's attractiveness quotient by like 10 percent for me. I can't explain it, it just is, dude. Like, if I had directed She's All That, it would've been about Laney putting those glasses back on after her makeover. Anyway, Susan puts on glasses sometimes to read the novel and then later on Jena Malone shows up in a pair of thick frames and that put a smile on my penis -- FACE! I MEAN IT PUT A SMILE ON MY FACE!

(The rest of you Gyllenhaals and Hammers can stick to contacts and laser eye surgery. No glasses for you. Nobody wants to see that shit. My eyes are Exit Only, bro.)

I hate this motherfucker Tom Ford, this man who already won at life long ago but then decided to become a filmmaker -- and he's great at it! At least so far he's great at it. Maybe next time he'll fall on his face and get to feel what it's like to be loser for once HAHAHAHAHAHA SUCK IT FORD

If you're into seeing naked obese women jumping around with firecrackers but you're not really interested in this film, then show Amy your support by buying a ticket for this movie, and then sit down and watch the first five minutes of this, then get up and walk over to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and watch that shit. I mean why not? They don't need your money, they're gonna make like 20 years worth of sequels for that shit. But I want to see more movies directed by Tom Ford and starring The Triple A, and that shit ain't happening unless some fuckin' cash is flowed into their current projects.

I then flowed some more money Ms. Adams' way while dealing out ducats in Denis Villeneuve's direction; the second half of my Triple A Double Feature was the aliens-are-here movie Arrival. Look, I get it -- there was no disrespect intended towards David Twohy and Charlie Sheen by giving their film the same title as theirs, they shot this as Story of Your Life which is the title of the Ted Chiang's short story it was based on. But I'm sure the studio suits were like Nah, Bro, Nah and so now we have these dueling Arrivals.

Except I think some respect was paid here, because the original film is titled The Arrival while this one eliminates the The. The filmmakers are saying "It's cool, we're Arrival but you guys are THE Arrival and no one will forget that." It's kind of like what they did with the Evil Dead remake a few years ago; they were Evil Dead but Sam Raimi's will always be THE Evil Dead.

Had I not known that this was from the director of Sicario and Prisoners, I would've thought this was a Terrence Malick joint early on. It has that same handheld shallow-focus personally close/personally distant look thing going on with narration over it, and I'm thinking, wow, has his style become like a thing now? Like I see even dudes like Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan taking this style, and I'm afraid I'll get sick of it, the way I'm sick of zombies now. Meanwhile, much like George A. Romero, it seems like Malick is getting props as the originator while everybody else makes bank off of it. It's not fair, but whoever said this shit was?

So yeah, it opens with our Amy as Dr. Louise Banks, she's a linguist but she works for a living as a professor at a college, she's probably too busy to correct your grammar and all that shit online or at least I don't think she does. Or maybe that's just an English major thing, I don't know what Dr. Banks majored in, so who knows if she would correct your tweets and e-mails if she knew you.

Come to think of it, I don't even know if she has any friends, she just has a nice house by the lake -- oh shit, that reminds me, both her character in this film and her character in Nocturnal Animals share similarities in that they both hang their hats in nice pads and both have trouble sleeping. So there you go, it's the Amy Adams Lives In A Nice House And Can't Sleep double bill, ya'll,

Anyway, she lives alone in this nice lake house -- well, she lives alone *now* because in the beginning we watch her raise a kid until the kid becomes a pre-teen who then dies of some disease, so we're dealing with that heavy shit too.

But yeah, she lives alone, and she's so into her bubble that one day she's walking through the university while people around her are looking all weirded and freaked, but she doesn't notice this. She then walks into her class and wonders why there's like five people in this big room, then everybody's phones start to ring and she's like "Huh?" until she turns on the giant flat screen television behind the dry-erase board and that's when I went HUH?!

Bro, I missed all this good shit. In schools primary, secondary, and post-secondary, if we were gonna watch television for something in class, that shit had to be carted in on some big metal tv-stand shelf cart-thingy. And it was the square tube tv, too. Man, these kids today now have giant flat-screens to watch the world go ape-shit on? Lucky motherfuckers.

Or maybe not, because I was talking to my niece and nephew and they told me that at their schools they got rid of soda machines and sugary snacks and all that shit. The food is all health conscious stuff, and part of me is thinking that's a very good thing because we need to wean the future generations off of garbage that does nothing for you other than give you a brief moment of joy in this overcrowded sinking ship of a planet. And the other part of me is like, damn, so you kids missed out on insane lunches like Rice Krispies Treats washed down with a Dr. Pepper, which was one of my go-tos in high school. I'm really surprised I still have all ten fingers and toes, to be honest with you.

Anyway, so she finds out on the tv that giant spacecrafts have materialized out of nowhere, 12 in all, and they're hovering over different spots in the world. There's one chilling out over a field in Montana, USA and that's why Colonel Ghost Dog shows up to recruit her to join the Devil's Tower-meets-Tent City festivities out in that field to help them figure out how to communicate with the things inside and figure out what they want. She's joined by Marvel's Hawkeye, playing a scientist who's all about the math, so fuck that guy -- because math is the fastest way to remind me how stupid I am.

What your usual sci-fi action-adventure would spend about a couple minutes on, Arrival devotes its entire running time; the movie is all about trying to figure out how to figure out what these aliens are saying. They just want to be able to ask these things what is the purpose of their visit, business or pleasure? Of course, you have different ideas from different kinds of people; a couple of educated libtards like Dr. Banks and Hawkeye think it's more of a peaceful let's-help-each-other type of visit, while shadowy creepy CIA types like the dude from A Serious Man (not to be confused with Tom Ford's A Single Man) think these aliens are on some Independence Day type shit. Then you have Colonel Ghost Dog who is more of a I Don't Question Orders, I Just Follow Them type who just wants good enough answers from Banks and Hawkeye to give to his superiors. (He's also from a part of the country I haven't figured out yet; based on his accent here, he's either from Boston or Texas.)

Upon finding out that I was going to see this film, a buddy of mine who had already seen Arrival told me that he liked it and then we had the following text exchange:

See, my Good Friend here has my Amy Adams admiration figured out incorrectly, but I indulge him by responding in kind because that's what Good Friends do. You talk to me about Amy Adams like that and I'll indulge you too, you son-of-a-bitch bastard.

(To be honest, I felt like Ms. Adams needed to cover herself up during the bathtub scene in the Batman/Superman movie because there were plenty of men in the audience who were going to get the wrong idea about her. And we most certainly couldn't have that. She's a nice girl! Plus, I didn't want her to catch cold.)

I'm a sucker for scenes of Smart People Figuring Shit Out, like, my favorite scene in Apollo 13 was when all those nerds are gathered around a table and they're told they have to find a way to get one device to connect another device using only the various tools and junk on the table and Arrival is kinda like that scene. It's a slow-moving film but not boring, it's just they're taking baby steps in this one; the funny thing is even with a deliberate pace the film takes more than its share of shortcuts.

Like early on, when Banks and Hawkeye are taken on-board the ship to talk to the aliens, they go through this whole process of getting on a scissor lift that elevates them to the ship's entrance, then they hop off and let the ship's anti-gravity thingy carry them the rest of the way, where they then begin walking the rest of the vertical path like it ain't no thing. Then they get to this glass wall where the aliens are on the other side -- by the way, kudos for finding a way to give us aliens that don't follow the usual humanoid shape with big eyes and all that. They're kinda spider-y, kinda octopus-y, and they're both cool and scary at the same time.

By the time our scientists are boarding the ship for the first time, Ghost Dog and company have already gone through all of this, to the point that Ghost Dog shows no signs of excitement or tension or anything. He seems kinda bored by it. And I'm thinking, holy shit, that's a whole movie right there! Imagine what these guys went through at the very beginning of this -- and how long! -- how long did it take them to figure all that shit out about how to board the ship and deal with the anti-gravity and all that shit, before being all nonchalant about it by the time Banks and Hawkeye arrived? If I remember it right, it was about two days before Team Banks arrived. Two days! These boys had to have been working around the clock. And who was the lucky son-of-a-gun who took that first step onto that ship?

(They do carry a bird with them in a cage with every visit, placing it a few feet ahead of them. So maybe they should give that bird a medal of some kind. Or some quality newspaper for its cage.)

Anyway, that's what I mean by shortcuts. We'll never know that or how even in the brief period of time they are able to make the advances that they make and then I remind myself that it's a movie and that they only have so much time to tell this story before losing us all in the minutiae. Besides, that Cleveland Show-looking motherfucker Neil Degrasse-Tyson would shit all over it on Twitter (if he hasn't already) on how much they got wrong while never understanding that all the degrees and smarts in the fucking galaxy will not help him reach the self-awareness required to step back for a couple seconds and say to himself "Neil, you are doing a lot of good for humanity by stressing the importance of knowledge -- in particular in the fields of science and reason. We need a lot more of that in a world drowning in superstition. But dude, you are a thin-skinned asshole who thinks he's fucking hilarious, and that, sir, is not a good combo."

No sir, a good combo is Amy Adams and Denis Villeneuve. Arrival is a heavy-on-the-science sci-fi joint with some surprising emotion popping up here and there. It features a great performance by The Triple A, but, oh Amy, I'm sorry but you're probably not getting any Oscar gold with this one either. I'm thinking about it, and I'm realizing that she ends up doing a lot of acting by herself, which has to be one of the hardest things for an actor. I think I mentioned this on the blog a while back, but there is what I call the Robert Forster school of acting, named after one of my favorite actors who will never win an award because his stuff is so subtle and within and I already told you how the Academy gets down with performances like that. And I think for these two back-to-back performances, she took a brush-up course at that school.

Also, it does that movie thing that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang made fun of, where if a shot lingers on a nameless character a little too long after the fact, like the cook in The Hunt for Red October, you can bet the fuckin' Brinks truck that Chekov's Extra is going to pop up in some plot-changing shit later, you just fucking know, bro!

As for the ending, I liked it but I can see how it would piss off others. It's not a twist, by the way, at least not in my book (pre-orders available now!), just a revelation that some people have issues with, either for logical reasons or whatever else they have a bug up their asses about. I dug it. It kinda reminded me of the ending to -- well, shit, it reminds me of the endings to a lot of things, to be real with you.

OK, I'll mention one of them -- Runaway Train, and I feel comfortable saying that one without feeling that I spoiled something because you will not be able to figure out the connection. You would need to invite me to an expensive dinner that you will pay for, and it would have to be after I've had at least half of that meal before I explain to you how I feel that both this film and Runaway Train have similar endings. They all have to do with Free Will, I'll give you that much/little.

(Also, they are both similar in that this film also features a scene where Amy Adams is shouting out of a runaway train screaming at an evil warden in a helicopter above her while sticking her middle finger at him, in between taking slugs out of Eric Roberts' flask, saying "sucka" in every other sentence.)

It was a morning/afternoon well spent at the Arclight Pasadena. I don't know if they do this for all the movies at the Arclight, but for both Arrival and Nocturnal Animals there was a clip before each film telling us that after the credits there would be some extra behind-the-scenes stuff. They were each about five minutes or so; the Nocturnal Animals one featured Gyllenhaal and Ford and it focused on how the ending could be interpreted, while the Arrival one featured Ms. Adams doing her impersonation of her French-Canadian director -- which I of course found delightful. I appreciated these little extras, called "Arclight Stories" because they allow you to stick around after the credits for other reasons aside from finding out if there are any hints about what the next Marvel film is going to be about.

Nocturnal Animals or Arrival? You can't go wrong with either one, whether you're an Amy Adams fan or a fan of good movies. But I get it. You have kids, or just like Dwayne Johnson so much, you just have to see Moana, right? It's cool. I mean, you can go fuck your mother, but it's cool.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Hi lady and gentleman! How are you doing? Me, I'm very tired. You see, I went to Vegas the previous weekend and I paid good money to go on a tour via a time machine to go back to the past. It got kinda boring, once the initial surprise of being in the past wore off, so I passed the time (haha) by sneaking away from the tour group and then I got chased by a T-Rex! It was totes kewl, you guys! Anyway, I'm back now and I've noticed things are different. It appears that everybody except the assholes are so down about something. Sad!

Usually I don't bother rambling about something once it's been a week after the fact but I can't go outside because there's people blocking the streets protesting something so here I go about last month -- October 29th, to be exact -- when my buddy and I attended the 11th Annual Dusk-till-Dawn Horrorthon held at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

Among the people in line waiting for a good time -- and among those waiting to be let into the Aero Theatre for the Horrorthon -- were the usual pajama wearers and the provisioned and the ones already tucking into said provisions, all of them guaranteeing a more difficult time getting through this all night marathon scheduled to begin at 7:30pm and end sometime around ???

But as the wizened ol' prostitute was wont to declare, different strokes for different folks. Personally what helps is to try to have an at-home movie marathon the night before in order to acclimate my sleeper to the demanding overnight schedule. (This used to be easier when I was unemployed and each day and night blended together in a nightmarish amorphous d'night or n'ay impossible to distinguish from each other.) That way I can sleep all day and get up a couple hours before the festivities all refreshed and ready to take these flicks on.

Also, I keep it light in the sustenance department, if possible I only have a cup of coffee (in the big time) and nothing else until the marathon, where even then I'd tread lightly -- maybe some popcorn -- until they bring out the pizza (this usually happens after the second film) and not treading at all on sugar and/or caffeine and/or energy drinks until the last couple of films where the eventual crash won't set in until the end.

It was a packed house, as always. Many people wearing costumes or maybe those were just regular everyday wear because I'm old and un-hip and can't tell the difference. Official Horrorthon trading cards were being sold in the lobby and I bought three packs. The cards featured many of the characters that have popped up on stage in past Horrorthons, like the Corn Gorn, Wizard Policeman, and Frost Nixon, among many others. The back of the cards had stats and a "credit score"; the credit score was used throughout the night during raffles for stuff like Horrorthon action figures. They're pretty cool, these cards, and I have already started putting them away and I guess I have to thank the Horrorthon peeps for turning me into a card collector. Looking forward for next year's set, if they continue with it. In the meantime, I'm gonna slam these cards on a table in front of all those Magic the Gathering nerds and be all like "WHAT! MAKE A MOVE, SON!"

So, as per usual the host Grant Moninger came down and got us all riled up and hyped up and brought on said characters -- usually turning around with his back to the crowd in order to do the voices for some of them -- and it's funny how throughout the years I slowly stopped being a fuddy duddy about it and have grown to enjoy these inter-movie segments of All Out Fuckery. (Or maybe not, considering I just used the word "fuddy duddy" which feels like something only fuddy duddies would say.) I still wear earbuds during these high-volume moments, though. I like my shout-fests slightly muffled, unless I'm the one shouting.

(Little pre-show digression: So I went to the bathroom before the show started and I saw Grant walking out into the lobby. One of the volunteers called out to him "Grant" and then he called him again and Grant then turned around and said a kind of too-loud "WHAT?" in a tone that I have chosen to interpret in two ways:

1) It's a loud raucous room and he is only trying to make himself heard.

2) Throwing a Horrorthon -- or any event, really -- is some stressful shit. It's tough enough to throw a party, knowing that even if you're throwing it and it's at your house and it's in your honor, you will be the one most likely NOT to have a good time. Because you really shouldn't. You should be too busy making sure everybody is comfortable, the food and drink is steadily flowing, making sure nobody is fucking in the bathroom, making sure nobody is putting out their Kools on your floor, etc. Now imagine *that* on an all-nighter like at the New Beverly or here at the Aero. What do we, the guests, know what is going on behind-the-scenes? It could all be on the verge of falling the fuck apart at any moment for all we know. And that could be some stressful shit, man. Anyway, I'm just saying for all the shit I talk, I appreciate what guys like Grant and company at the Aero -- and everybody at the New Beverly -- have to go through in order to give us a good time. Unless they're not having a difficult time and are actually enjoying themselves -- which in that case, I take it back, go pound sand, ya bastids.)

And so we were shown the "T.J. Hooker" clips where the opening credits would include names of people in the Horrorthon audience along with the names of the characters they supposedly play on the show, and the credits would continue on into the events of the episode itself. Too much time passed between that night and today, and I don't take notes for these things, and for some reason my head begins to throb with pain and my eyes begin tearing up blood if I try to remember anything past last Tuesday, so I couldn't tell you some of the character names given to various people in the audience. I only remember some of the events on-screen where I think a donut shop was robbed and T.J. and his partner chase after the suspect and I think the suspect was really young and he gave up because he had his whole life ahead of him or whatever. If that even happened at all, I might just be making this up because I think that's what happened.


Whew! Sorry about that guys. Something happened there, my head started throbbing again and blood was coming out of my mouth, ears, nose, eyes and...let me check....nope, that's it for orifices. I have a spot of grey hair on one side of my scalp now. Weird. Anyway, where was I?

I would be far beyond remiss to not mention the two different music videos for "Like an Eagle" by Dennis Parker that always gets the crowd worked up. I'm gonna say it, I legitimately dig the fuck out of this song. It makes me want to go on that time machine again and take it to the late 70s where I would do all the cocaine while rocking out to this song.

They also showed this all night.

We were given a nice serving of nostalgia before each film; it was the old KTLA 5 intro for "Movies til Dawn", which I remember from way back in the day. You see, kids, before informercials some of your local television stations would air movies in the middle of the night. You watched and you discovered stuff this way, rather than spending 45 minutes going through Netflix's ever-dwindling library before deciding on one and then only watching two minutes of it before going back to the library for another one.

The first film was the 1988 remake of The Blob, directed by Chuck Russell and co-written by Russell with muthafuckin' Frank Darabont. So I guess it's no surprise to tell you that this is much better than you'd think. The movie stars Shawnee Smith from the Saw movies and Kevin Dillon from that HBO show about Hollywood douchebags and like the original it takes place in a Small Town U.S.A. where a meteorite lands and out of it comes this gelatinous mass -- a Blob, if you will -- and one unfortunate hobo later, this thing is on a rampage, getting larger and larger with each human it engulfs.

I've seen this three times while I've only seen the original once, and that was a long time ago, so until I watch the 1958 version again it's unfair to say that clearly the remake is better. But it certainly feels like it's better. Unlike the original you spend time with some of these characters and you're not sure who's getting blobbed and who isn't, and sometimes it'll surprise you with its choices. For example -- fuck it, I'm spoiling everything here -- the movie introduces Donovan Leitch's character before anyone else and spends enough time with him that it's a shock -- at least it was to me, the first time -- that he ends up #2 on the Blob list.

Then you have the kind waitress and the tough-but-kinda-fair-except-to-Dillon's-character sheriff and they clearly have a thing for each other; they're barely making that shift from Friendly to See Me After My Shift is over. Their final moment together is a giddily fucked-up one; she's trapped in a phone booth outside the diner which is getting all Blobbed up, calling for the sheriff. The operator tells her that he's unavailable because he left for the diner. The waitress looks to the side and there's the sheriff's body floating by her in the Blob -- right before the Blob enters the booth to make sure she and the sheriff go on their first and final corrosive date together.

I liked those characters -- shit, I liked all the characters, save for a couple -- and that's one of the things that makes this remake of The Blob at least feel like it's better to me at the moment. It does not fuck around. Anybody can get Blobbed -- even little kids get it -- and when they do it won't be pretty. Or fast. It's definitely gorier and more disturbing, where it didn't go more detailed than just seeing someone get jelly all over himself and fall out of frame. This one, you see these poor people try to scream but they got Blob all over them, you see faces melt or stretch out, you get the sense that the victims do not go quick.

And that right there I find fucking terrifying. If you are chased by Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers and you are caught, the horror ends one sudden machete swing or knife stab later. You don't have to worry about a Jason or a Michael anymore. However they kill you, sure it'll be painful but it'll be quick. (At least in the originals, because I know they're more sadistic in the remakes.)

But the Blob? Shit, man, the horror begins when it gets you. How fucking long does it take to be digested by that thing? Too long, whatever the answer is. OK fine, I'm sure the Sarlaac has it beat in that department, but at least the Sarlaac is stationary and as long as you stay away from it you'll probably be fine. But the Blob is coming for you, bro.

Of the two people I was glad to see blobbed, one was a sleazy dude up at some make-out point with a girl. He's trying to Cosby her shit up something awful with booze he mixed up from his portable bar in the trunk of his car. He had given her a ring, I guess to prove that she's the one -- but back in the trunk we see he has a box full of them. A lady in the audience then yelled "Get him, Blob!" and we all laughed. Then after he finally got blobbed, the same lady then yelled "Let that be a lesson to you boys!" and we all laughed and applauded.

The other was the head scientist from some shady government agency; whereas the Blob in the original was from outer space, this one was a bio-weapon to use against our enemies, like the Commies. This movie was made in the 80s when that was some real shit, being all Rocky vs. Drago with Russia. I'm sure that bit then got dated in the 90s when we were all right with the Reds. But now here we are in 2016 and we're back at sub-zero Cold War levels with Putin Country and so the shit is back to being timely again. Haha.

The second film was Devil Fetus, a Hong Kong joint from 1983. I don't know who was responsible for this film, but this dude or chick must be the Chinese Larry Cohen, because it shares the similarity with his work in that it feels like the screenplay wasn't written with a beginning/middle/end plot outline but just made up as it goes along. Only this Chinese Larry Cohen dials it up to 11.

The movie begins with a lady purchasing a small sculpture of a cock & balls at an auction and she takes it home and while her hubby is out of town, she starts fondling it and somewhere along the way the Creature from the Black Lagoon with a white wig is fucking her and Blade Runner music is playing during it. The husband then comes home and freaks out, taking the sculpture and smashes it, which immediately results in his face falling apart and so he throws himself out the window.

They have a funeral, she comes home, her husband's voice scares her, a cat jumps out and she falls over the stair rail and now there's another funeral. At the funeral, a priest uses his x-ray vision to look through the coffin and sees that the dead lady's belly is growing and growing and growing until a small demonic baby -- a Devil Fetus, if you will -- bursts out but the priest puts the kibosh on that shit and everything is OK again at the funeral.

He tells the dead girl's sister that in order to help the dead lady and her dead husband move on to reincarnation, she has to keep some seals (the good luck kind, not the sea creatures, or Heidi Klum's ex-husband squared) over the pictures of the deceased or the ashes or whatever for ten years and DO NOT DISTURB THEM don't mess with the seals whatever you do.

Almost ten years later, guess what in the fuck ends up happening to those seals?

OK, you probably guessed that, but you won't guess anything else that happens in this fucking nut-pourri of a motion picture. Some girl who is either a cousin or something in the family ends up fucking with the seals and then it all goes down, man. The family dog goes nuts and has to get samurai sword'd, then the evil inside the dog inhabits one of the other family members and then, oh I don't know how I'm gonna do this. I'd be telling you the whole movie.

What I'll do is just give away elements like possessed cars, party guests eating maggot cake, one dude goes full trans for one scene and jerking off until the film suddenly cuts to a can of Coke being popped open with full foamy discharge, old wise priests with their special effects laden wizardry, a room that closes in and crushes some dude like a watermelon, keeping dead dogs under beds (then eating them), keeping dead girls under beds (then eating them), music taken from John Carpenter, Brian Eno, and Vangelis, Evil Dead style shenanigans, all of that shit.

It's a wacky movie, and I will acknowledge that my lack of knowledge when it comes to ghostly spiritual myths that are part of Chinese culture could be part of what makes Devil Fetus so WTF and off-putting. But if I had to guess, maybe Hong Kong audiences were probably kind of like Whaaaa? about the events in this film too, this film that doesn't even care to really explain things or even give us a legitimate way to end it (the movie pretty much just stops). This print came from the American Genre Film Archive, and it had those ultra-dodgy subtitles in both English and Mandarin that you see in films like these, so maybe the movie would make more sense had the dialogue not been handed off to someone with a vague handling of the language.

Of course they gave us free pizza after the gross-out we just witnessed. An Aero volunteer in a Mike Love costume kept announcing to everybody as we stepped out into the lobby, "soylent pizza, get your soylent pizza". My friend and I went outside to eat our slices (and our pizza) and when we came back ten or so minutes later, Mike Love was still doing the "soylent pizza" call -- only now his voice was damn near gone. This guy, you could never doubt his commitment to Sparkle Motion, that's for sure. During the first five minutes of the following film, Mike Love stepped into the theater and silently offered the rest of the leftover pizza to people in the aisles and you bet your ass me and my buddy grabbed a couple more.

Between films, we had more Moninger madness with him bringing out the various Horrorthon characters, kind of like live-action stage interstitials before the video interstitials. He (and Randy and Corn Gorn and everybody else) was giving away so much candy and movies, it was beautiful. He'd even give away stuff on his way out the auditorium before the film would start, handing stuff over to people on the aisles. This might be the best all-nighter I ever attended, for the most selfish reasons of all -- 5 of them, to be exact. By the end of the night, I ended up with Blu-rays of Gravity (3D), American Sniper, Walk the Line, Enemy of the State, and Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau. We all wanted those movies and candy (from Randy!) so much, but Grant noticed it was a lot harder to give away copies of Dallas Buyer's Club, which is an excellent film with an excellent performance but c'mon, it's not exactly anybody's idea of a fun time, unless that somebody is Mr. AIDS.

The third film of the night was 1982's The Entity, directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Barbara Hershey. The film begins with a typical day in the life of single mom Carla Moran, as she works by day, goes to night school by, uh, night, and then comes home to see that neither one of her three kids took the time to wash the goddamn dishes. It's tough enough to deal with that shit but on this particular night things go from typical to Jesus Christ Please Let This Be A One Time Thing when she is violated by an unseen force -- an Entity, if you will.

Unfortunately this does not turn out to be a one time thing as Moran is repeatedly attacked by this thing, anywhere and anytime, at home, in a car, at a friend's place, even in front of her family. They're rough, these scenes, as they should be. Up front, I'm telling you this was the toughest film of the night for me to watch. For one thing, I've always been squeamish about rape scenes in films -- unless it's happening to a guy.

I'm kidding, of course. That shit is just too real for me, I mean, you grow up playing cops and robbers and being killed and shit like that but who the fuck plays at getting raped? Does that make sense? I'm not desensitized to stuff like that, I guess. It might as well be the real thing to me. I don't know, I can't really explain it. Maybe I need a psychiatrist to help me out here.

Speaking of which, that's what Carla does by going to see the late great Ron Silver's character, Dr. Ron Silver (can't remember his character's name). No, she doesn't go to see why I'll fast-forward a rape scene in a movie, she goes to see if what is happening to her some kind of psychological issue or what. In between the horror of the rape scenes is a lot of talk, but the talk -- at least for me -- had my full attention. What also had me at full attention was the way Ron Silver spoke in the film; if you've ever seen Silver speak in a film, he has what I guess is best described by Jamie Foxx as "juicy mouth" or actually you know what? It's the opposite of that. Silver always seems to have a dry mouth in need of moisture, that's what it sounds like after every sentence. He needs a glass of water or a nice wet kiss to fix that dryness, so how about it, Ron I'M YOUR BOYFRIEND NOW WRRRRRAAAAAA

The writing by Frank De Felitta (based on his book) is of course top notch, but I have to say that it's the acting that really takes this to the next level beyond mere exploitation (a murky water which the movie does occasionally dip its toes into). Hershey, above all, is fucking phenomenal. She totally sells it as an ordinary woman (albeit one who looks like Barbara Hershey) being forced into an extraordinary situation, and having to maintain her sanity while fearing the possibility that she is losing it, or worse, already lost it or even worse than that -- this unexplained phenomena is actually happening to her. Because at least if she's crazy, she knows she can go get professional help. But how do you explain fucking ghost rape?! There are Oscar-worthy clips throughout her performance, but my favorite is probably after her friend witnesses one of the attacks, telling her she saw it, and the way Hershey keeps responding with "You saw it" and she is so exhausted in every way possible it kinda broke my heart while feeling hope for her situation.

It was like watching a really good play at times, but Furie and cinematographer Stephen H. Burum cinema the shit out of it with their chosen anamorphic 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I'm talking split-diopters and lots of canted angles; I bet this movie was the canted angle champion until Battlefield Earth came in and man-animal'd the title away. And there are scenes that are shot in a manner that I fear is becoming more and more rare; there's a post-coital conversation between Carla and her boyfriend (played by the late great Alex Rocco, who had worked previously with Hershey on The Stunt Man) and the whole conversation is covered from one angle favoring Carla, slightly behind the boyfriend to where we only see his side profile at most (and even then slightly out-of-focus). Nowadays most movies are shot for the edit; just cover it from every angle and figure it out in post. But this looks like one of those flicks that actually had every angle figured out before hand for maximum effect. In the case of this scene, our attention should be on what Carla is saying and her reactions as well.

I remember reading somewhere that Hershey felt that movie would've been better if it focused more on the stuff between Carla and her family and her doctor, which I kinda get. I mean, the last third of the film basically turns into the second half of Poltergeist, which is weird because this movie came out the same year as Poltergeist despite being shot two years before Poltergeist. Poltergeist poltergeist poltergeist ULTRAAA COMBOOOOOOO!!!!! But yeah, as much as I dug the last third, I actually found myself more interested in the more everyday less fantastical stuff (or as 'less fantastical' as fucking ghost rape can be considered).

The film plays the "based on a true story" card at the very end, which I'll have to look up to see how true they kept things, or if it's like many films based on a true story, in that in both the film and the real events one of the characters had a cup of coffee once. But who knows, it could be all true. And if so, that's some frightening shit. As is the fact that in one scene in a meeting room full of doctors, they had them all smoking the fuck out of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars as if it were Good Night, and Good Luck. in that motherfucker.

Aside from the applause, I think the ultimate compliment this movie got from the audience was early on when someone in the audience tried to be Mr. Funny Riffer -- twice! -- and got shushed the fuck up. That shit didn't happen with any of the other films that night, in fact, it was kinda encouraged, but this was something else and it certainly wasn't the kind of film to make "funny" comments at the screen.

The fourth film of the night was 1988's Phantasm II, the sequel to the waking nightmare that was Phantasm, a film about who the fuck knows what except there was a scary tall old man, jawas, and a flying sphere that would bore into its prey's skull and drain all the blood out. I had seen it before at a midnight show at the New Beverly Cinema and rambled about it on this here blog. My thoughts on it remain the same, so you can just go to this link to read them in full or you can read this here excerpt and get the gist:

The first film felt and looked like a bad dream, an atmosphere that is kinda missing in this one (which feels more like a straight horror flick), but in exchange we have bigger set-pieces, gooier special effects, and most importantly, nudity. I don't remember anything particularly new added to this film aside from a new type of Flying Killer Ball and some explosions; it's like Coscarelli was loathe to answer any questions in the first place, if anything, the ratio of Questions Answered to Questions Raised is probably like 1 to 10. He's more interested in adding more to the characters of Mike and Reggie than he is in explaining to you why the Tall Man is doing what he's doing.

But I guess that's part of the fun with this movie; it still manages to entertain you with some pretty awesome shit while remaining coy about What The Fuck Is Going On in this motherfucker. While I missed the nightmare logic of the first film, I still think this sequel is an improvement in overall Good Times. In addition to the creepy and unnerving settings, it's got some cool action moments and it's a genuinely scary film at times. I can see re-watching this one anytime I felt like it, while the first one you gotta be in the proper mood to watch (I watched part one around 4 or 5 in the morning and it felt perfect for that time period).

The fifth film of the night was 1981's college slasher Hell Night, and whaddya know? I saw this one at the New Beverly Cinema (for their all-nighter) and rambled about it as well! Here's the link and here's an excerpt:

Anyway, this was one of the better 80's slasher films, with some creepy moments that I'd rather not spoil...the first half was better than the second half, because it was tighter (there are some scenes involving characters walking through the dark estate that crosses the line from Deliberately Paced to All Right Already, Get To The Fuckin' Point) and because the characters start pulling stupid Because It Was Written That Way In The Script bullshit during the second half.
And I still feel that way; the second half made me very impatient with how draggy it felt. I figured the filmmakers were padding it out to make a decent running time but the shit's already 101 minutes. That's more than enough time.

So on to the sixth film, Frank Henenlotter's Brain Damage from 1988, a film about a dude who hooks up with a talking creature that will inject him with a most euphoric liquid in exchange for human brains, and whoa, you'll never guess in a million years what I'm about to tell you -- I saw this at another all-nighter -- the same one featuring Hell Night! just like this all-nighter -- AND I rambled about it too! Link and excerpt:

Keep in mind that I haven't seen Henenlotter's latest, Bad Biology, when I say this: Brain Damage is his fuckin' masterpiece...this flick is pretty awesome in that it's both gleefully nasty/trashy exploitation and About Something, kinda like old-school Romero; this is really a story about a man throwing his life away on drugs, because the results are the same: he misses out on work, alienates his loved ones, commits serious crime -- all in the name of getting another hit from his supplier. Except the drug isn't heroin or crack being pushed by Superfly, it's some Windex-looking shit that you inject through back of your neck and the supplier is a talking slimy phallus.

This flick is like a Henenlotter best-of; gross-out gags, gore, comedy, drama, way-too-real seedy New York locations. But it also has a couple things that represent some of his not-so-best qualities, like wide-eyed motherfuckers screaming in only the worst, most shrill manner possible; the first five minutes or so were very tough to take, since they feature some old lady screaming and screaming and screaming in that horrific combo of anguish & annoying. So I'd probably watch the first five minutes on Mute, next time. Otherwise, damn good flick.

I actually took the opportunity at the beginning of this film to go move my car closer to the theater, sparing me all that old-people-screaming in the first five minutes or so. This time I wasn't as, uh, high on this movie this time; maybe it just doesn't hold up to repeat viewing but compared to how I felt about it last time, I found it to be good but not *that* good, and I've noticed that Henenlotter's films (still haven't seen Bad Biology) can be kinda depressing for me, even when they're funny. Your mileage will most likely vary. I think I'd call Frankenhooker his masterpiece nowadays, if only because I don't feel so down at the end of that one.

Before the last film, Grant came up on stage one last time to give out the remainder of the loot and to give away another action figure. He asked for people in the audience who had a credit score higher than 1000 in their Horrorthon trading card (I forgot which particular one) to come up on stage. I went up along with a bunch of others but I didn't make the cut, instead it came down to a little boy who cut in front of me in line. I shouldn't have let that slide, because he was a White kid and is probably going to be used to that privilege times 100, now that we have President Elect Trrrruuuuuuuussoij0f394jpowierjfpwe9fj5poiwerjfow[eijrgpowierWEARETHETHINGSTHATWEREANDSHALLBEAGAINDEADBYDAWNDEADBYDAWNDEADBYDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWNNNNNNNNNNN.............................................



Whoa, hold up. I got it. I'm good. Don't know what happened there, I saw my eyes starting to roll up in the reflection of this monitor and then my vision went profundo rosso all of a sudden. Almost caught slipping there, sorry. Anyway, he was just a little kid and it's not like I could pick a fight with him, he'd fucked my shit up big time. But yeah, it came down to a kid and this other dude, and they were tied, but Grant gave it to the dude because the kid already won before and the dude had so many packs of cards, so many! 3 packs cost 10 bucks and I think he had somewhere close to 100 bucks in cards, by the look of that fat stack. Even Grant was kind of flabbergasted by this and knew that he just had to give it to this guy, and so he did.

The seventh and final film of the night/morning was actually supposed to be played earlier but they were having problems setting up the projection, which I think was a DCP or Blu-ray for this one: the 1980 film Humanoids from the Deep, or as it was called on this print, Monster. It stars Doug McClure (who was part of the inspiration for the Troy McClure character on the "The Simpsons" but who I know best as the Mayor from the sitcom "Out of this World") and Vic Morrow (who was part of the inspiration for irresponsible directors who are into decapitation) and it takes place in a small fishing burg somewhere off the coast of Northern California.

The salmon population is dwindling and that's making the fishermen get even more upset and drunk, and it might have to do with Big Salmon having moved into town. "Nay nay!" says the Big Corporation, because they are going to open a new cannery that is going to help with business for everybody, they're gonna have more salmon than you can shake a broken thermometer at! Most of these ol' beer-drinking salts are super jazzed for this while the Native American community (which apparently is comprised of one Latino actor) is not at all down for it. The success rate for the Natives in stopping this cannery is about par with the success rate of the Natives trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Which is to say: Beat it, woo woo feathers. Manifest destiny all day, every day. We took it, it's ours. #MAGA

When you let Big Salmon do their thing unencumbered by the laws of science or human decency, you end up with these motherfuckers going beyond GMO-ing the salmon and straight into some Tampering In God's Lo Mein territory. Now there be Mutant Fishmen here, roaming the shore, killing all the dogs (NOOO!), killing the men (eh...) and raping the women (here we go with this shit again). Between this film, The Entity, Devil Fetus, and White Cosby in The Blob, the theme of this year's Horrorthon appeared to be RAPEITY RAPE RAPE. But I guess, horror and rape go together like peanut butter and jelly, or Polanski and youth.

The story goes that the director of this film, Barbara Peeters, turned in her cut of the film to producer Roger Corman, who thought it needed to be jazzed up. She did not agree, so he got another director to film new moments with gore and forced sex without the original cast & crew's knowledge, so that must've been a very interesting premiere for them.

At 80 minutes including closing credits, it's not a long film but I kinda wanted it to end the whole time I was watching it. Maybe I prefer the older-school versions of these fuckin' things, like Horror of Party Beach, or maybe I like the good versions of these things, like Creature from the Black Lagoon. Or maybe I just didn't care for the whiplash storytelling going back and forth between Rapefish and No Blood for Salmon, where I actually was more into the drama between the pro-cannery fishermen and the anti-cannery fishermen.

Like, that shit was really interesting, how the asshole fishermen don't like the Injun 'cause he's getting in the way of their money but You Just Fucking Know there's also some racial waters boiling in the kettle of their actions. But then we cut away from that and I'd have to see two stupid young people canoodling before some slimy fuck comes in and paws the stupid young man's face off before inseminating the stupid young lady with stupid mutant fishman jism and I guess I'm supposed to be like FUCK YEAH AWESOME OH BRO MY DICK IS SO FUCKING HARD BRO I don't know. Kind of the point of the movie, right? Watching sea creatures kill and rape? But try convincing me of that back while I was watching it.

Or maybe I'm just *done* with these kind of movies.

Or maybe I was just tired. I mean, I *was* chowing down my free M&M's and downing my free Monster Energy Drink at this point.

I know I'm in the minority with this movie (you'll always be the minority, beaner), which appears to be well-reviewed and received (Leonard Maltin gave it three stars in his book and even appears in the DVD/Blu-ray supplements interviewing Corman, yet he'll give a dismissive snarky two-sentence BOMB review to David Cronenberg's faaaaaaaaaarrrrr superior The Brood, the schmuck) I'll admit that sometimes I'll get in these temporary moods where I become an Angry Old Man and even reason can't enter this dojo, and for all I know one day I'll catch this again at another all-nighter or somewhere else and I'll be happily chomping on my popcorn open-mouthed like Michael Jackson in the "Thriller" video while digging the ever-lasting fuck out of this movie. Who knows when that will be, if that will ever be.

But as of now, all I'll think about -- if I think about this film -- is that around 8:45 - 9:15am that Sunday morning, during the climax where the fishmen attack the village salmon festival, ripping dude's heads off and grabbing pussy celebrity-style while the biggest asshole of the film (Vic Morrow's character) actually gets fuckin' redeemed while other characters I liked got Humanoid'd or exploded and the whole time the same fucking female scream keeps going on in the background on a fucking loop -- all that was going through my mind was I Don't Care.

At least the score by a young James Horner (RIP) was pretty good in that James Horner way. I think I even heard a Blaster Beam here and there.

It was about 9:30am when it was all over. There seemed to be more people sticking around compared to previous Horrorthons, and yet it didn't seem as messy in the aisles or between seat rows -- at least around our area. Some of the people leaving got free vinyl albums of something, but the rest of us ran out towards our vehicles because it was starting to rain and you know how deadly *that* stuff is. But yeah, man, this year's Horrorthon was Good Times, just like the other Horrorthons. I look forward to number 12 in 2017 -- and now I've jinxed it, I'm sure. Here's an album of pics of that night on the Aero Facebook page.

My friend and I went then decided to try out a place called Bru's Wiffle for breakfast and we both got the fried chicken and waffles. They were OK. You know what else is OK? My phone. In order to finance my Vegas jaunts and Hollywood Bowl visits, something had to get the fuzzy end of the financial lollipop stick and that ended up being my cell phone. So, enjoy this subpar mid-00s quality video of selected Horrorthon giveaway madness. And may God have mercy on us all non-rich/non-white/non-straight people because now we have to deal with Presidennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnttttttttttttttttowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwjfffffffffffffff,laksfj;aljf;oiajs;oigheroi;jjjjjjjjjjjaklsaaaareferj;askldfjalksjd;lakmcas;lka;sdjfasd





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faith in people