Movie Poster Madness: A Decade's Worth of Great Horror / Fantasy Films edition

2000's American Psycho (German Poster)

2001's Donnie Darko - sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion!

2001's other dark masterpiece, Mulholland Drive (French poster).

2002's The Mothman Prophecies was one of those films that really got under my skin.

2003's Dreamcatcher featured bowel dwelling extraterrestrial parasites.  Nonetheless, it was an entertaining sci fi/horror flick...from the mind of one, Mr. Stephen King.

2004's Shaun of the Dead pretty much brought the zombie film back to life.  Not only was this a funny, scary romp, it also had a heart as big as all outdoors - bloody brilliant!

In 2005, Uncle Georgie came back and brought the zombie's with him.  Land of the Dead was a bloody exercise that took a few swipes at America's political climate at the time.

Also from 2005, The Exorcism of Emily Rose was a real curio ... one part fright flick and one part court room drama.  Yeah, I know "based on a true blah blah blah"; in spite of that, it still was a very well made and effective movie.

2006's Pan's Labyrinth a dark fantasy, beautifully executed.  Another one of those movies that got under my skin.

In 2007, Cloverfield ruled!

2008's The Mist, another Stephen King joint.  An unrelenting, entertaining, gloomy piece ... and where was Marcia Gay Harden's Oscar?

And as for 2009: I think I've raved enough about both of these films -


Movie Poster Madness: 2009's Suck Fest Edition

"Based on True Events" means, "A germ of truth bastardized to the nth degree and loaded with crappy CGI effects to appeal to the lowest common denominator".   Actually, I enjoyed a small portion of this film, but in the end, it really just degenerated into a ridiculous haunted house story.

What I found so beguiling about this remake, is that it made the original Friday the 13th look like Citizen Kane in comparison.  Damn you Jared Padalecki for drawing me in to this mess, damn you to hell!

I know that a lot of people enjoyed this film.  I was not one of them.  What was this, a zombie film with out zombies?  A cautionary tale about swine flu?  Frankly Carriers had all the thrills of a made-for-tv-flick (one you might see on SyFy).  Damn you, Chris Meloni for drawing me into  this mess, damn you to hell!

Oh FUCK YOU, Rob Zombie.  And that's all I am going to say about this piece of shit remake/reboot/rewhatever.  And for the record, I watched a bootleg of this piece of tripe, so there!

So you say your movie is a piece of crap?  No prob, just put your leading lady's perky butt on the movie poster and you've got a hit!

By now, you all should know that I was on the set of this film a couple years ago when in L.A. - even then I sensed that Obsessed sounded a lot like Fatal Attraction.  When I finally got around to watching it, I realized that no matter what source material the film makers were ripping off, they'd pretty much created one the worst films ever.  Beyonce' you are a very pretty woman, no doubt, but your acting in this was...it was...well it was dreadful.  Add to that a ludicrous script and an ending that is telegraphed in the first five minutes of the film and you've got something so inept, so crappy, so moronic, I for one was shocked that it did not become the biggest money making movie of the year!


Two Movies that Rang in the Decade

OK, I am going to move away from the horror aspect of things for a bit and take a look at two films, that, in my humble opinion, ushered in this odd little decade that is just now coming to an end.  While neither of these films can rightly be called "horror" , they do contain some horrific, as well as, fantastic elements ; but most importantly they seemed to be omens of things to come - not just on the screen, but in real life as well.

Just before the dawn of the 2000's a little movie called Fight Club came on the scene.  With its nihilistic vibe all dressed up in homoerotic overtones (buff  boys beating each other into a bloody mess because what they really wanted to do is fuck each other), imaginary alter egos, acts of  terrorism that occur in hopes of crippling the economy; Fight Club spat in the face of polite society and seemingly aimed a clenched fist at a sleeping populace lulled into complacency via Ikea, Martha Stewart and the overall lack of anything meaningful in the life of a consumer driven Idiocracy.

When The Narrator (Edward Norton)  chooses to beat up Angel Face (Jared Leto) because he felt like "destroying something beautiful", it spoke volumes about where we were as humans.  With nothing left to fear, it was time to attack what we loved or admired or even desired.  Obviously The Narrator wanted to remove all sorts of comfort and beauty from his life (as he did by blowing up his condo earlier, as well as leaving his job), - what he desired and what disgusted him seemed to be the same thing - and when he opts to fight Angel Face, he is also attacking someone (something) he probably lusts after.  And in those Metro-sexual years of the late 90's it was hard to tell what guy was playing for what team, so it seems that the line between desire and disgust really was blurred.

Consider then, the final scene of the film when The Narrator and Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) stand holding hands while watching two office buildings come crumbling down.  It's as if we were given a view into the not too distant future when we'd all be sitting passively watching office buildings crumble into a cloud of dust in mid-town Manhattan.  

But were we finally shaken out of our complacency?


Early in 2001, David Lynch released his nightmarish attack on Hollywood in the guise of Mulholland Dr.

What starts as a twisted Nancy Drew-like tale of a bright eyed ingenue trying to solve a mystery while she attempts to break into films, soon degenerates into a Wizard of Oz-on-acid trip populated by tortured souls in brightly lit diners, monsters living behind dumpsters, movie studio mobsters, hit-men who are not particularly good at their chosen profession, and an old couple who become miniature cackling daemons.

Like Fight Club, Mulholland Dr. gave us a world where the main character creates an imaginary other she can hold responsible for her misfortune.  While The Narrator in Fight Club could accuse Tyler Durden for everything,  Diane (Naomi Watts) cooked up an alter ego (Betty) as well as a dream world where she could place blame at the feet of everyone except herself for what was wrong in her life (namely that she paid someone to kill the woman she was in love with).

For my money, Diane was the perfect character to usher in a decade that would give us eight years of George Bush and his ilk.  She was the Jane Q. Public who pulled the lever that brought the Village Idiot into power,  twice!  And then sat at night,  nodding her head while watching Fox News, sure that a grand conspiracy was in place -sure that the monster was indeed not only behind the dumpster, but waiting to strike again.



Nothing Says Christmas like Krampus

The Ying to Santa's Yang, Krampus is the demon who accompanies Saint Nick in some cultures to dole out punishments to  bad boys and girls...

...I think I have found my ultimate Xmas icon!  I mean who needs baby Jebus when we can have this guy!

Here he is riding on the back of Saint Nick...

...and here he is terrifying a mother and daughter - wow, what a guy!

Well, no matter who you let down your chimney - be he a jolly old elf with a glandular problem or a well dressed cloven hoofed daemon, I wish you the best of the season.


Grande Dame Guignol: Gremlins

Name: Ruby Deagle

Location: Kingston Falls (somewhere in New England, or maybe the mid-west).

Modus Operandi: Mean spirited harpy ... skin flint... probably the love child of Mr. Potter and Miss Gulch as she's wealthy and greedy, as well as prone to threatening to kill dogs...though Scrooge-like in her relationship with Christmas, she does own an "imported Bavarian Snowman"... enjoys taunting the less fortunate and mocking their requests for a little more time to pay the rent or mortgage...something of a drama queen when confronted, she claims she has a "weak heart" and will feign chest pains or fainting...probably owns most of  downtown  Kingston Falls...only seems to like money and cats (both of which she seemingly has a lot of)...smells like mothballs and expensive perfume.

Camp Factor:
Delighfully wicked! A combination of several on-screen villains rolled into one nasty old hag, Mrs. Deagle was the kind of woman you loved to hate.  And when she's done in by a group of Christmas caroler gremlins by way of a jet propelled stair lift, it was pure over-the-top-camp-heaven!

mrs deagle about to meet her reward...

...thanks to these guys...

...we've got lift off!

Played by: Polly Holiday


Did You Ever Notice: THE RING

Did you ever notice in that scene in The Ring;  The one where Naomi Watts' character is standing on the deck of her high-rise...

...she glances around at her neighbor's across the way.  First she notices the woman and her daughter...

...then the man on the phone...

...as well as a few others...

...until, finally, she see a man with a broken leg, confined to a wheel chair, a pair of binoculars parked on his window ledge...

...here's a closer look...

...now, where have I seen this guy before?


Those Dickensian Spirits

SCROOGE: But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

MARLEY'S GHOST: At this the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge held on tight to his chair, to save himself from falling in a swoon. But how much greater was his horror, when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head, as if it were too warm to wear in-doors, its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast!

SCROOGE'S VISION: The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.

THE FIRST SPIRIT - THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: It was a strange figure -- like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child's proportions.

 THE SECOND SPIRIT - THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: It was clothed in one simple green robe, or mantle, bordered with white fur. This garment hung so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. Its feet, observable beneath the ample folds of the garment, were also bare; and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath, set here and there with shining icicles. Its dark brown curls were long and free: free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard; but no sword was in it, and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust. 
THE CHILDREN AT THE FEET OF THE SPIRIT: "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!'' cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. ``Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And bide the end!'' 

THE LAST OF THE SPIRITS: THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME:It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

 SCROOGE REDEEMED: He dressed himself all in his best, and at last got out into the streets. The people were by this time pouring forth, as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present; and walking with his hands behind him, Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile. He looked so irresistibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four good-humoured fellows said, ``Good morning, sir! A merry Christmas to you!'' And Scrooge said often afterwards, that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard, those were the blithest in his ears.