Consider this another one of those “brain dump” entries that throws out a few tidbits in the hopes of getting a few in return. I like to share my viewing and reading experiences with y’all, and would love to hear what you’ve found particularly remarkable in the various entertainment mediums.
Television has been stingy in its offerings lately, and I put that down to holiday schedules. I tend to watch only sports around these times, with the occasional reality show finale. Last night concluded the highly ridiculous “Rock of Love: Charm School” series for this season (and perhaps forever as they tend to mutate into spin–offs rather than pick up where they left off). For those of you who may have missed it, ex-porn star/stripper turned reality show D-list celebrity Brandie M. beat some chick named Destiney. Apparently it came down to her renouncing her old burping and farting ways and swearing to like herself a lot more now that she won the 100k. Sharon Osborne was reduced to tears trying to choose between them, but managed in the end. My cat sneezed. It was magical.
Earlier this week I picked up a passed over classic called The Unseen from a tip I received in the latest issue of Rue Morgue. I was enthralled by the early 80’s attempt to creep me out. Sidney Lassick (formerly known as the mugging and immature Charlie Cheswick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) overplays another role as an abusive museum curator who invites three female TV reporters into his home to bathe freely over the product-of-incest son he keeps hidden in the basement; himself played with fierce enthusiasism by character actor, Stephen Furst. You may recognize that name as he was the “zero…point…zero” fraternity brother “Flounder” in Animal House. In most publications where one reads of Lassick or Furst, their roles in this forgotten freak-show are rudely omitted. The Unseen was prophetically named, and that really is a shame. I honestly have a hard time remembering two better horror performances of that decade.
I didn’t stop my trip into horror cinema’s past at 1981, but continued another ten years over the ocean until I reached the first installment of Spanish director Armand De Ossorio’s classic undead quadrilogy Tombs of the Blind Dead. There are several things I loved about this film, not the least of which was learning that at one point when it was released in American drive-in theaters, it was retitled Revenge of the Planet Ape in order to take advantage of the successful monkey franchise of that time. Not a single frame was changed prior to doing this, either (one of which I’ve used as my entry photo above). How fucking awesome is that? Very, is the answer; very fucking awesome. To get a better understanding of the story, sometimes it’s best just to turn it over to a video. While you watch it, marvel at how the ghosts could have easily been any permutation of humanoid and truly understand the genius behind such a shameless marketing ploy. But the 70’s were all about shamelessness, weren’t they? How else would you get that relentlessly bleak tone, that announcer’s voice, those mustaches? If you don’t know the answer, I’ll give it to you: shamelessness and horror are a touchstone of modern storytelling. We’d be lost without it.
To be completely honest, the sets were extraordinary and the ghost effects surprisingly accomplished. What I really miss about horror films of this ilk that was so prevalent back then was the freedom the director had to lay waste to everyone and everything, and then follow it up with a “sequel”. There is no reprieve in TotBD. You’re fucked from the first reel. I’ve put an order in for the rest of the series, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and tight pants with you in the future.
Other than those two horror staples, I did manage to catch another horror flick on the Sci-fi Channel called Wind Chill. It wasn’t the worst movie I’ve seen on there, and I was actually rather impressed by the dialog––which was a good thing since the entire film plays out with two people trapped in a car in a blizzard. They’re bad luck continues when they begin to see strange things in the surrounded woods.
The best thing about the movie was the performance of the female lead. The actor’s name is Emily Blunt, and she’s starring with Bencio Del Toro in the upcoming The Wolf Man remake, directed by Joe Johnston. He’s behind a lot of the early Star Wars effects and most recently helmed Hildago and Jurassic Park III. It’s a somewhat strange resume for something like this, but the publicity photo I’ve seen is simply beautiful. There was a trailer floating about, but NBC Universal…ahh, found a bootleg.
Yeah, I know it’s probably not cool to post it, but “shameless”, remember? 🙂
Hey, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. I may post in the interim, but if I don’t, do try and be the kind of person that would lend a helping hand and an understanding ear. If you can’t, just scare the hell out of them. Sometimes it’s just as important to remind the world of how good they have it. Heh.
Now, off to shine up those queries for a mid-January mailing.