A Small Package of Value will Come to you Shortly: The Box

If you can get past Cameron Diaz's peculiar accent, you might just find that Richard Kelly's The Box( a tantalizing, mind-fuck of a film),  well worth your time.

Based on Richard Matheson's short story, Button Button, The Box begins with us meeting a young couple in the suburbs of Virginia during Christmastime in 1976.  Norma and Arthur Lewis (Diaz and James Marsden) are struggling with a few woes (she's got a deformed foot that makes her limp, she's also about to lose her son's free tuition to the exclusive school that she teaches at; he's upset because he's been turned down for the NASA astronaut's program). Even though they appear to have it all, financially they are hurting.  Then, one day, a small package shows up at their front door.  Inside said small package is this odd little contraption that has a red button on top of it.  The doo-dad is locked, but a note claims that latter in the day a Mr. Steward (Frank Langella) will come to call and explain everything....
...and come to call he does, complete with the  bottom left part of his face missing, and soon an offer is made.  It seems that if one chooses, one can unlock the box, and press the red button.  Doing this will cause cause the person who has pressed the button to receive a million bucks (tax free), oh, and one other thing, someone the button presser does not know, will die.   I'll bet you know where this one is going...
...but you see, that's when things really start getting peculiar.  What should have been a straight ahead ironic tale of greed, becomes something much more oblique. Once the deed is done, director Kelly, takes us on a somewhat familiar ride through some of the same territory he covered in Donnie Darko and Southland Tales.  There are government cover-ups, conspiracies, time travel, alternate universes, religious overtones ... the only thing missing is a giant bunny named Frank. 
The Box is one of those films that demands the viewer watch with full interest, and let me tell you , it had me at the first nose bleed (you'll get that, once you've seen the movie).  While it's not as entertaining as Donnie Darko, at least it's more accessible than Southland Tales. And even though we tread into some insanely deranged themes, ultimately, The Box stays true to it's source material, ultimately it is a morality tale.   It just take a few hairpin turns on the way to its final destination.


Party Time at The Bramford

For LL
The question for today is:  

If given the chance which event would you rather have attended ...
The soiree that Rosemary had for all of her young friends - the one with all those trendy Warhol-crowd-like posers, or...
Minnie and Roman's New Year's Eve celebration where they partied like it was The Year One!  Or...
Little Adrian's Christening (for lack of a better term) party?


Move Poster Madness: Mary Woronov Edition

If you don't know who Mary Woronov is, you have no business claiming to love horror films, hell you have no business claiming to love films - period.  Mary Woronov has probably appeared in more movies and television programs than Michael Caine and Meredith Baxter Birney combined!  She's worked with everyone from Andy Warhol to Robin Williams; from Paul Bartel to Warren Beatty.  She played the iconic, Principal Togar in one of the greatest films of all time, Rock and Roll High School, as well as the lovable Mary Bland who lures sex fiends to her apartment and kills them, and later serves up a burglar for dinner to her real estate agent in Eating Raoul.  Most recently, she charmed America with her role as the diabolical Mrs. Ullman in The House of the Devil.

What follows are the posters to some of the horror/sci fi films, Mary has appeared in:
Silent Night Bloody Night - VHS cover
Silent Night Bloody Night VHS cover II
Played Calamity Jane.
Played Audrey, one of the scientists
Reprised her role as Mary Bland in the this one.
One of her better films, chances are you've never seen this one - seek it out, well worth your time!
Was killed off in the first ten minutes of Rob Zombie's gore fest.
Last, but certainly not least..


My Better Half has Bitten Me: Jennifer's Body

It took me some time to get around to watching Karyn Kusama's Jennifer's Body.  I admit that after I read a few less than stellar reviews about the film, I thought It really wasn't going to be worth it; color me wrong!

With a script by Juno scribe, Diablo Cody, Jennifer's Body sparkles with witty life - it's a slice of Grand Guignol layer cake served up at the senior prom - a warped view of teen angst and suppressed sexuality.  But more than anything, it's a romp on the wild side, and a hell of a lot of fun.

In the less than bucolic hamlet of Devil's Kettle ( a town noted for its water fall and strange whirlpool),  Needy (Amanda Seyfried), a nerdy high-school student makes the scene with the school's most desired co-ed, Jennifer (Megan Fox).  Like Felix Unger and Oscar Madison before them, this odd couple causes others to scratch their heads and wonder what the attraction is.  Early on, one of Needy's classmates makes a rather crude comment about the rather sapphic overtones of the girl's relationship.  Needy does not seem to care, in fact she seems thrilled to always be the apple of her gorgeous friend's eye.

From early on, it's obvious that Jennifer is the alpha dog amongst the twosome, and, like a love sick, slightly abused puppy, Needy puts up with Jennifer, her whims, and even her slightly contumelious outbursts.  Such things seem the price one would pay to have a BFF of Jennifer's stature.

One night, the girls go to a seedy bar to hear a local band, and a horrific fire breaks out killing quite a few of the patrons.  Luckily the girls escape harm, and while in the parking lot, Jennifer, inexplicably agrees to take a ride with the band (who have also escaped unscathed), and that's when the real fun begins.
Once Jennifer's Body starts the roller-coaster in motion, it does not stop until the damn thing has flown off the tracks and smashed into the merry-go-round - yes, it's that fucking good! 
Any film that can show a deer eating the guts of dead football player, explain why certain talentless bands become world famous, feature Amy Sedaris as someone's tough talking mom, and then dig a bit deeper to explore the way a toxic relationship can ruin the lives of those involved is aces in my book.
In spite of all of the witty dialogue, blood letting and tomfoolery that ensues, Jennifer's Body also manages to produce one particularly gut wrenching scene that features a favorite actress here at Billy Loves Stu, Gabrielle Rose.  Rose plays the mother of one of Jennifer's victims, and her reaction to the antic's of her son's poser friends at the funeral is absolutely heart breaking.  Once again, Ms. Rose proves herself to be one of the finest actresses out there today. 
If you are looking for a treat, then by all means, check out Jennifer's Body, I am confident you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was with what you  find when you take a deeper look.


Funny Games with George and Martha - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

You can sit around with the gin running out of your mouth; you can humiliate me; you can tear me to pieces all night, that's perfectly okay, that's all right.

So you think you've seen horror films, huh?  You think you've had your nerves shattered by Freddy, Norman, Michael and Jason?  You think you've been taken to the edge watching movies like Saw and Hostel?

Ha!  That's all kid stuff when you stack it up against one of the most gut wrenching, nerve racking, unapologetic kick to the balls that is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.   Go ahead, strap yourself in and see if you can really stand being dragged to hell.

Based on a play by Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.tells the tale of George and Martha; he's an alcoholic, impotent college professor - she's his  blowzy, boozy wife... and she's also the daughter of the college's Dean.

One night George and Martha invite a young couple (Nick and his wife, Honey) over to their home after a dinner party, and that's when the fun begins.  Mind games are on the menu tonight, and these games put anything  Jigsaw ever dreamed of to shame - oh sure, you won't see any blood or guts, but that's besides the point, these games go deeper and they rip open and trample the heart, the soul and the psyche.   You see, George and Martha are well versed in verbal and psychological abuse, and they'll make their way into the deepest recess of your being to where your  insecurities lie, and expose them to the booze soaked light of reality.

Worried about your man hood?  Martha's got your number.  Think your wife might have made sexual advances to your son?  George has got you covered.

But innocent bystanders fall by the wayside when the collegiate creeps turn the dark rays on each other...it's no holds bared when you can so fuck with each others heads that you can create and kill a child that has never really existed!

For the young folk out there, keep in mind that Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.is a long, talky, drama - these were the kind of movies people used to pay good money to see before our collective brains went all ADHD thanks to television and video games- also, most of the film is set in a cluttered living room, there are no special effects to speak of ...well except one:  Elizabeth Taylor (who plays Martha) was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time (Think Angelina Jolie,  but with talent) - in order for her to become believable as a hateful, gin soaked harpy, she gained 35 pounds, and went through a make over that went something like this:
The rest of the cast is equally phenomenal.  Richard Burton (Taylor's husband at the time) is a slimy, scary creation - he's so believable, you can almost smell him (I imagine cheap cologne, gin, cigarette smoke and something musty). 
As for the young couple:  George Segal is a handsome if innocuous young professor, but Sandy Dennis steals the show as his dippy, naive wife.
All in all, Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf separates the men from the boys.  You can talk a big game about how you might have watched Cannibal Holocaust, but if you really want to earn your merit badge in the world of cinematic mind fucks, try and sit through this one and see if you don't come away battered and beaten down.

I'd love for my fellow horror bloggers to give this one a chance, if you do watch the film, or if you've seen it, let me know what you think.  As for the rest of you: what are you waiting for?  George and Martha are waiting, bottles in hand, ice in glasses, and games ready to be played - dare you join them?


All of Them Bloggers : A round up of some great postings

So much craziness in the tiny universe that is the horror blogosphere - who gives a fuck?  Not me, no sir.  Just like Mary J said, no more drama...instead let's take a look at some of the better posts being served up out there, shall we?

Over at The Horror Digest, Andre has been serving up some truly interesting fare as she celebrates Black History Month. This is good stuff, kids.  Not enough has been written about African Americans in Horror - in fact, I can't think of anyone who has tackled this subject.  Go see for yourself!

The Moon is a Dead World has a great write up on the classic, The Haunting (the real one, not that godawful remake from a years back).  Read what Ryne has to say about Hill House - it's a real estate lesson for these trying times.

What do you get when you combine the snark and sass of  Ms. Stacie Ponder with the wit and wisdom of Arbogast?  You get one hell of a head scratcher of an "interview": not since Frost talked to Nixon...head on over to Final Girl and read it.

Zombies Don't Run finds Chuck checking into The House of the Devil - I love it when the young'uns "get it". Click here, and take Mr. Conroy's advice about being asked if you are the babysitter!

My "Daughter" BJ-C answers the age old question, "What if Jack Torrance had been a Jill?"  Head on over to Day of the Woman, and find out!

Matt is Puttin' on the Ritz at the Friday Night Dance Party at Chuck Norris Ate My Baby - Oh Sweet Mystery of Life, join him!

Speaking of Matt, what do you get when Mr. Suzaka joins the Grand Poobah of Horror Blogging?  You get a couple of swell guys bitching about famous horror directors who may have lost their way.  Check out B-Sol's latest Vault-cast HERE.

Over at Slasher Speak, Vince is working out some father issues as he takes on the remake of The Stepfather.  Did he love it?  Did he hate it?  Is Jamie Lee Curtis mentioned?  Take a look!

What? You bitches still craving some controversy, well, then head on over to Zombo's Closet of Horrors and let Iloz Zoc fill you in on why the Bloody Bloggers Award never saw the light of day

My main man, Te* has been running his terrific blog, Slasher Film Sanctuary for a while now, and recently he reported on The Dead Next Door - for some reason, I found this review hysterical...but not enough to ever rent the movie.

Dick Miller get's some long overdue love, and a poll of his own over at The Paradise of Horror.  About time, sez I!

And finally, if you want to clean your palate, and step away from the zombies, slashers, werewolves and vampires for a bit - by all means, go on over to A Touch of Tuesday WeldLaura Linger's little labor of retro love is a pleasant find, and a nice break from the darkness.  Tell her, Pax sent you!


Grande Dame Guignol: Sunset Boulevard

Name:  Norma Desmond

Location: An old mansion in Hollywood California that was described like this: "The whole place seemed to have been stricken with a kind of creeping paralysis - out of beat with the rest of the world, crumbling apart in slow motion. "

Occupation: Formerly, the greatest silent screen actress of all time - currently; wilted and faded.

Modus Operandi: Living a Miss Havisham-like existence in a crumbling palace ... prone to watching her own films over and over again ... angry, proud and delusional ... working on a script about Salome ... has attempted suicide several times ... does not understand rejection ... kept the corpse of a dead chimpanzee in her bedroom and then had the creature buried in her garden ... does a mean imitation of Charlie Chaplin ... the original "cougar", she likes hot, out work writers ... still waiting on that call from DeMille... oh, and she just bought herself a gun, she did.

Camp Factor:  You won't know whether to laugh, cry or scream when confronted by Norma Desmond - but you'll never forget her after you meet her.  Ever the star, when it comes time for the LA police department to arrest her, they have to pretend they are filming a scene in a movie to get her out of her bedroom and down the stairs of her house.


Played by Miss Gloria Swanson

A Bit of Twilight Merchandising I Can Really Get Behind!

Thanks Te*, my life is now complete. 

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