The 12 Other People You'll Meet at Camp Crystal Lake.

And now let us pause to recall those from the original Friday the 13th ... no, not Alice, or little Jason, or even Steve Christy, and certainly not, Mrs. Voorhees.

Instead, let us have a look at The 12 Other People You'll Meet at Camp Crystal Lake.

First: The dewy eyed lass strumming her guitar while singing, Michael Row the Boat Ashore ... a sort of low budget Karen Allen ... ah that smile, that peaches-and-cream complexion. What could cause this perky little pixie of a gal to be smiling so beatifically?

Second: Of course, her smile is meant for the young man sitting directly across from her, the fey looking guy with the same color hair as her own ... ah what beautiful children we might have, she thinks ...but look closer, it seems that blond boy is being eyed up by that other guy, the one with the marshmallow skewered suggestively on a stick next to him. I'm pretty sure that earlier in the evening, the boys were playing "hide the salami", be that as it may, blond boy and blond girl are going to hook up, and you know it's going to end rather nastily.

Third & Fourth: Whoa!

And you thought Mrs. Voorhees and her son were creepy. Check out these two!

The woman behind the counter of the coffee shop in Blairstown that Annie stops in while trying to get directions to Crystal Lake (she's the broad complaining about how many times she'd seen a certain episode of Kojack when we first see her). The scary guy behind her might be the cook or maybe the handyman . He looks like he might have some sort of genetic defect. I'm sure he went to special ed classes with Jason Voorhees back in the day.

Fifth: She might be the Anna Wintour of Blairstown, the woman reading the paper at the counter, the broad with the wild cat's eye glasses and the fashionable polyester blend striped dress.

What's more important, is that she is the first person to utter the line, "Camp Blood" as in, "Camp blood?" When asking Annie if that's where she's going. Clearly, she's up on the world news and local legends. Annie would have done well to listen to her despite her goofy glasses, missy is on to something!

Sixth: And then of course, there is Enos.

The guy who drives the oil truck, the one who agrees to drive Annie some of the way to Camp Crystal Lake.

Of course, Enos is something of a ladies man; when he walks Annie out to his truck he asks, "Are all the gals gonna be as good looking as you up at the camp?"

And then of course, he's all hands as he helps the plucky cook-to-be on to his rig ... I mean check out those paws and how he cops a feel of Annie's butt as she is climbing in.

Still, Enos does try to talk our gal from going to camp ... if only she'd listened.

Seventh: Crazy Ralph.

A veritable One Man Greek Chorus, who tries to warn Annie and anyone else who will listen that if they go to Crystal Lake, "You're doomed!"

Like the movie poster said, They Were Warned.

Eighth: And then there's Sandy, the waitress!

Played by the Edith Massey-like, Sally Anne Golden, Sandy is the sassy, brassy, bronze haired waitress at the Blairstown Diner who flirts with Steve Christy that rainy Friday the 13th night.

Oh if Steve had only taken Sandy up on her offer and taken the old broad out for a night on the town, things might have turned out better for him.

Ninth: That ineffective cop.

He didn't find any boy in the lake.

Tenth: That moronic motorcycle cop.

"Columbian gold, man ... grass, hash, the weed!"

Eleventh and Twelfth
: The doctor at the hospital who does not say anything and the nurse who gives Alice a shot in her ass ... I mean, hasn't that poor girl gone through enough? She had to give her the sedative injection in her butt?

13 13 13 13


Pondering The X Files Movie


Right then, first things first: Gillian Anderson is one fantastic actress. The scene in the movie when she confronts the pedophile, psychic defrocked priest (played by Billy Connolly) has got to be one of the most intense moments in the film, and Anderson played it to the nth degree. I so bought her as this conflicted Catholic, this women trying to reconcile her faith with science, trying to weasel out of granting forgiveness to this fallen holy man ... just an incredible piece of acting . Well done, Ms. Anderson, well done.

But I have some questions. If you've seen the film and have any answers or theories, feel free to let me know in the comments section.

Question 1:
The kidnapped women were all wearing Medic-Alert bracelets. Why was this? Did "Dr. Frankenstein" have a reason, was the medical condition of these women conducive to the mad-scientist work he was doing.

Question 2:
Why were women's bodies all used? They were trying to keep Father Joe's former victim alive, a man, with women's bodies. Why was that?

Question 3: I understand that the Russian man who works as an organ donor delivery person (or whatever they call people who do that) is the partner of the man that "Dr. Frankenstein" is trying to keep alive. So what happened to him? Did he have some kind of fatal disease, or was he injured somehow? I might have blinked and missed this.

Question 4: At the start of the film, Dana claims that she no longer works with Fox (David Duchovny). She then goes off to his house in the middle of nowhere to ask him to contact the FBI to assist on a case. It seems obvious that the former partners have not seen each other in some time ... and then a few scenes later, we find them in bed together and after that Dana mentions that she now lives with Fox. When did this happen?

Question 5: Does it really snow like that in West Virgina? ;)


Dancing in the Dark with Scully and Mulder

I just saw the new X Files film today: X Files: I Want to Believe.

This movie is going to strike folks one of two ways; they are either going to love it or hate it. I doubt their will be much in the way of a middle ground.

This is a film for those who like their suspense and plot lines somewhat subtle. Do not go in expecting explosions, and / or special effects. You won't find aliens, or ghosts, or even any of that funky black oil ... X Files I Want to Believe plays more like a moody crime drama with hints of supernatural overtones as well as a trace of Catholic mysticism thrown in for fun.

Of course the heart of the piece lies with Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), former FBI agents; she's now a doctor at a rather run-down Catholic hospital, and he's living in a farm house seemingly unemployed, surrounded by newspaper clippings of bizarre happenings from around the world.

It does not take long for the duo to be reunited when the FBI hunts them down to assist in finding a missing agent. What will be pleasing to long time fans is that the chemistry is still there between them, and it becomes evident early on that the couple are in relationship that is more than just professional.

No, I am not going to spoil things by giving away anything more of the plot. What I will say is that I found the movie to be a refreshing change of pace to the dreck that is usually served up during the summer months.

Finally, stay seated as the credits roll, as there is a sweet little coda that is offered up to the viewer who does not exit the theater quickly.


Town Without Pity

I just recently re-watched, George Romero's Martin.

It had been almost twenty years since last I saw this twisted tale of a lonely youth from a majorly dysfunctional family who believes that he is an 84 year old vampire. A lot was going on my in life back then, and while I recall enjoying the movie, I don't think I gave it much thought once the video tape was placed back in its holder and the television went dark.

Today, watching Martin from an entirely different perspective; it is clear to me that George A. Romero is much more than a one-trick-zombie of a filmmaker.

On the surface, Martin is an odd little horror film about a young man, who may, or may not, be an actual vampire (true, he lacks fangs - can not turn into a bat - walks in daylight - is unaffected by garlic and crosses); but once the viewer digs a bit deeper, he or she will discover a treasure trove of themes like the death of small cities, the generation gap, the women's movement (and how it seemed to stall in the mid-70's, leaving middle class women wondering "what's next?"), sexual desire, and religion.

Played by John Amplas, Martin is a somewhat fey young man who outwardly seems to be a social outcast with some possible mental health issues. Of course once we watch him stalk and kill a young woman by injecting her with a sedative and then slicing her arm with a razor so he can drink her blood, five minutes into the movie, we understand that he's one fucked up puppy.

For some reason, Martin has been sent from his home in Indiana to go stay with his (seemingly much older) cousin, Tada (Lincoln Maazel) in Braddock, Pennsylvania, a small city that seems to have had it's life blood drained years ago. Cousin Tada immediately lets Martin know, that he is not going to stand for any kind of vampire shenanigans. In fact when Martin gets to his cousin's house he finds garlic wreaths on bedroom doors, and crucifixes a-plenty awaiting him. However crazy Martin may be, he does know that garlic and crosses have no effect on him, and he proves this to his cousin by eating some of the garlic, and kissing the crucifix. Nonetheless, Cousin Tada is not swayed and calls him, "Nosferatu".

Luckily, Tada's daughter, Christina (played by the soon-to-be-real-life Mrs. Romero, Christine Forrest) shows honest sympathy for her second cousin, and tells him that he is a victim of the family's long history of mental illness. But Chris has problems of her own, stuck in a dead end relationship with Arthur, (make-up maestro, Tom Savini) It is only later on that we understand the reason Chris is staying with this ner-do-well is that he will eventually become her ticket out of the dying city of Braddock. (It must be noted that Forrest turns in one of the best performances in this movie - she is honestly a damn good actress, even if she reminds me of a younger version of the woman who plays Mrs. Foreman on That 70's Show).

As things progress, Tada puts Martin to work as a delivery boy for his small, but thriving, butcher shop. It is during his tenure that he meets Mrs. Santaini (Elyane Nadeau), a desperate housewife from Braddock's more affluent suburbs. Flush with money and creature comforts, Mrs. Santaini is a beautiful, sad creature who wastes no time coming on to Martin shortly after meeting him. It is clear that she has somehow met a kindred spirit in the doe eyed youth who barely speaks. Martin is reticent at first, fearful that his sexual urges may cause him to kill the woman he might in fact desire.

To quell his appetites, Martin starts calling a late-night radio talk show where he is known as "The Count". Here he has an outlet, and a sounding board where he can tell the truth about vampirism ... that "the magic" is not real, there are no coffins to sleep in, no harem of undead brides at his beck and call; there is only the compulsion to drink blood.

It is during one of these radio mid-night confessions that we discover that Martin's blood lust is tied up with his sexuality. He feels that if he could, just once, have sex with out killing, he might be "cured". It's an interesting premise, because to this viewer, it seemed that Martin's sexuality might be the issue, would that he have dabbled in homosexuality, would murder follow? Does this boyishly handsome little freak just need some mano-a-mano shag time to break him of his taste for plasma?

Be that as it may, there will be blood.

Martin, at his Cousin's instance, strays far from town to find victims, and most of them are women like Mrs. Santini. Unhappy, upper middle-class women who Martin methodically stalks until the time is right to strike.

Interestingly enough, whenever Martin goes out to feed, his mind travels to fantasy-like black and white visions of himself as a well dressed classic vampire who follows willing, and big breasted, maidens in flowing night gowns through candle lit Gothic castles. Sometimes he fancies that he is being chased by an angry mob with torches through fog shrouded cobblestone streets ... all a far cry from the rusted out hulk of Braddock and it's shuttered store fronts and abandoned factories.

Of course the reality is that Martin is drugging unsuspecting victims, slicing them open, lapping up their blood and leaving them for dead.

Meanwhile, Cousin Tada (can't get enough of that name) drags his charge along to church. And here we discover that Braddock's only Catholic church is merely a shell as most of it was destroyed in a fire. The congregants meet in a small room upstairs in the one section of the chapel that was not completely ruined. But the big news at the parish is the new young priest whose come to town, Father Howard (played by none other than the film's director). Later that same day, Tada invites the young priest to his house for a meal, and begins grilling him on matters of faith. Needless to say, the old man is outraged over the holy man's less than fundamental beliefs and realizes that he will be of no help in ridding his cousin of demons.

From here things go from bad to worse as an exorcism Tada sets up with an older priest goes horribly awry, Mrs. Santaini falls into a deep depression, Christina leaves home, and Martin realizes that his longing for blood is chronic.

What's a demon to do?

In that the film, Martin seems to be tackling so many questions at once, it can be a tad confusing. There are some scenes that could have been trimmed, and a few of the actors might have benefited from , well, maybe taking acting classes -- but heck, that's small potatoes as this movie is so damn entertaining, artistic and compelling.

One of my favorite scenes is this bizarre moment when Martin happens across a marching band in a parade, and joins in, high stepping with the high-school kids and smiling like a fool. It makes no sense whatsoever, and yet it works. Another brilliant moment occurs when Martin appears complete with fake fangs, a cape and white make-up and sets out to scare his cousin. The entire scene is shot silent, and it is wonderful!

All in all, Martin is a fantastic piece of independent film making that turns the vampire legend on it's ear and places the action away from the misty moors and in to a Town Without Pity during a time when everything seemed to be dying; the hopes of the 60s', the memories of an older generation, the beliefs of the faithful, the dreams of a younger generation ... all of it just seemed to be falling apart, rusting like an abandoned car in a junk yard or, maybe, just maybe, like the rotting mind of a beautiful young man who in reality is nothing more than a deranged psychopath.


It's not every day a man hits the half century mark...

In honor of that day:

Two classics that were released in the year of my birth:
The Blob starring a dewy eyed, Steve McQueen
The Fly starring a bug-eyed, Albert David Hedison, Jr


Resident Rip Off: Lessons Learned from Resident Evil Extinction

* Movie's based on video games stink.
* Fashion tip: A red cocktail dress and a pair of knee high boots is a perfect ass-kicking uniform.
* Steal some scenes from George Romero's Day of the Dead:
  • feature an underground bunker filled with scientists and military types
  • pretty much replicate the "Bub scene" (zombie domestication)
  • feature a chain link fence that keeps off the hordes of zombies from a helicopter landing pad
* Even though they've been living on the run, as a rag tag group of survivalists, the women will always have shaved legs, makeup and clean hair. The men will have perpetual five-o-clock-shadows and enough gel to keep their spiked hair looking great.
* Steal from Hitchcock and feature a crazed bird attack.
* Steal from The Ring and feature a creepy little girl with pale skin and long dark hair.
* Even though shampoo, make up, guns and ammo, food and grooming supplies seem abundant in the post apocalyptic world, cigarettes will be tough to find.