The Man of Your Dreams

So today is the day that Platinum Dunes releases their latest remake, yes kids, Fred's back and Michael Bay's got 'em.

Considering how lame the other remakes have been, I will be sitting this one out - but will give it a look-see when it's on DVD.

To tide everyone over, here's a round up of Elm Street related items that yours truly has posted over the years:

First up, I ponder the question we've all been asking about Nancy's boyfriend: Where Have You Gone, Glen Lantz?

No matter what, you know that Nancy's Mom had it Going on!

A gay boy on Elm Street needs a place of his own : In Jesse Walsh's Bedroom.

Speaking of Jesse here is Repressed Sexuality on Elm Street.

Enjoy the remake, I'll be watching Survival of the Dead on VOD tonight!


A Great Big Beautiful Mess: THE LOVELY BONES

Peter Jackson's adaption of The Lovely Bones, could have been a gut wrenching film that people might have talked about for years (considering that its source material is a terrific novel), but if you read the book, you might have thought that transferring this story to film would have been a difficult endeavor; and you would be right in that assertation.

Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is a bright eyed adolescent who lives with her loving family in a suburb of Philadelphia.  One afternoon, she is lured away by her nebbish neighbor, Mr. Harvey (Stanley Tucci), who kills her and hides her body.  Susie's spirit, however, stays trapped between this world and the next, and as such she spends time watching her family mourn and deal with their loss, as well as keeping an otherworldly eye on her killer.  While this premise works well in the novel, it does not satisfy on the screen.

Clearly, Jackson can't seem to make up his mind concerning the story he wants to tell.  Is this a revenge tale?  A ghost story?  A meditation on life after death?  Or maybe it's a comedy (and that might explain Susan Sarandon's over the top performance as Susie's boozing, chain smoking grandmother - what movie was she supposed to be in?) .

In spite of all of this, there are some downright gorgeous moments in the film - I was especially mesmerized by Susie's personal heaven.  Of course, considering that Jackson works so well in the fantasy genre, that was expected.

Most of the performances are pretty good, Tucci is perfect as the namby-pamby monster next door, Mark Wahlberg is (surprisingly) decent as the grieving, revenge obsessed father, and Rachel Weisz brings a quiet sense of longing to her role as the mother.  However, it is Ronan who owns this film, she is one fantastic young actress and manages to do that rare thing by bringing believability to a role that would be tough for most to tackle.

Despite the good acting, and the stunning visuals, The Lovely Bones really never catches fire, and that's too bad.  I would highly recommend that if you have not already, pick up a copy of the novel first, and then compare it to the film.  Like the heroine of this tale, they are worlds apart.


ADD Review: BLOODY REUNION (aka To Sir with Love aka Seuseung-ui eunhye)

A young Korean school teacher gives birth to a deformed child, her husband commits suicide after he sees the beastly baby...fifteen years go by in the blink of an eye, and now the teacher is sickly and wheelchair bound living in her seaside home above her long closed school.  She is cared for by one of her former students who understands that the woman is not long for this world, so she sends for some of her former classmates for a last weekend - a sort of Big Chill event.

Unfortunately, it seems that the teacher, Mrs. Park, might have been a less than stellar educator as each of the, now, young adults is carrying a grudge against her...to complicate matters more, it seems that someone wants to kill off the classmates.
A series of grisly murders occur...a weird stalker in a paper bunny mask is running amok ... several of the students are having hallucinations ... and what ever happened to Mrs. Park's deformed son?
All in all, Bloody Reunion is a nifty little slasher film with a clever twist ending.  It's nothing earth shattering, but it works as a stomach turning exercise in bad taste with a handful of creepy moments.


The Dark Days of Disco: LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR

There are a lot of misconceptions that younger generations have about the 1970's.  Many seem to believe that it was an almost Utopian era of free love, expanded minds and a twenty four hour, non stop night at Studio 54.  Well, believe it or not, it was a lot less of a joy ride than many would suspect.  I ought to know, I lived it.

Sure, we took drugs, we danced. Sex (gay and straight) was easily available (AIDS had not yet come on to the scene, so any little medical issue that might have come about due to a one night stand was easily rectified with a visit to a medical clinic)...but we were also dealing with the fallout of Watergate, oil embargos, a recession, the decay of both  the  Women's moment and the hippie ethic.  You see, there was a reason for all of that indiscriminate sex and wild partying; real life was a bitch in heat and one did whatever one could to buffer themselves from the ugly reality of the times.  1977's Looking for Mr. Goodbar captured all of this and served it up to the masses as a possible warning that the party could not go on forever with out some kind of dire consequences for all involved.

Based on a novel by Judith Rossener (which was based on the horrific real life story of New York City murder victim, Roseann Quinn), Looking for Mr. Goodbar tells the tale of Theresa Dunn (Diane Keaton), an Irish / Catholic woman living with her overbearing father (Richard Kiley), her long suffering but devout mother (Priscilla Pointer) and her sisters, Brigid (the good girl, played by Laurie Prange) and Katherine (the apple of her father's eye, who hides her wild lifestyle from her family - played by Tuesday Weld).  Frustrated by the hypocrisy she sees at home, Theresa starts to quietly explore her sexuality by carrying on an ill advised secret affair with one of her professors.  Before long, she falls in love with him, and is unceremoniously dumped by the lout (who told her earlier, "I can't stand the company of the woman I just fucked").  Depressed, she fantasizes suicide but ultimately decides against it.  One night, she pays a visit to her sister and discovers that her sibling and  husband are hosting a mini orgy.  Theresa, accepts a joint from one of the party guests, and while she does not participate in any sexual shenanigans, she watches everything until she dozes off in an easy chair.  The next morning, when she arrives home, her father accuses her of "whoring around", you can see the look on her face, how she'd love to tell him the truth about his other daughter, but instead she packs her bags and leaves home, taking a small basement apartment in the same building her sister lives at.

Unbound from the constraints of her father, Theresa is able to explore her sexuality on her own terms, she can now enjoy the "new freedoms" promised to women like her from women like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan...but there is also another side to this complex character; during the day, Theresa teaches deaf children - and she seems almost selfless in her devotion to them - it is during the daylight moments of this film, the moments when she is working with her young charges, that Theresa seems her most poised, relaxed and confident.

While her days are filled with teaching, her nights suddenly become a whirl of seedy bars, disco music, drugs and a compulsion to have sex with as many men as she possibly can.  Early on, when she goes to a doctor for birth control she tells him that she does not want any children - at first we might think that this is only so she will not have to worry about a pregancy, but then we find out that when she was a little girl she had scoliosis of the spine, a condition that left her in a cast for over a year as a child, as well as with a slight limp and a large scar on her back.  Later we discover that she had an aunt who was so disfigured by scoliosis, she took her own life - a dark family secret that is not spoke of.  Theresa does not want to chance bringing a child into the world with this condition.

Out one night at a bar, Theresa meets Tony (Richard Gere) a charismatic hustler who she finds equally attractive as well as repellent.  He notices that she is reading a book and strikes up a conversation with her (ironically she is reading The Godfather, several years earlier Keaton played Al Pacino's wife in the film of that book).  Eventually, she brings Tony home with her, and she discovers that the sex with him is incredible - so what if he carries around a glow in the dark switchblade and seems a few cents short of a dime?  However, she discovers that once they have had sex, Tony, like the college professor before him, wants nothing to do with her.  But that's OK now, as Theresa has her own rules: Leave before morning.  That's right, she can beat the men at their own game by using them as much as they might want to use her.  Unfortunately, Tony comes with a lot of luggage and after a few "dates" with him, Theresa understands that she's got to shake him as he's turned from a dangerous suitor to a psychopathic stalker who threatens her life.

Now with Tony stalking her in earnest, Theresa realizes that her worlds are colliding - Tony even threatens to report her drug taking and sexual escapades to the school.  Reality intrudes when after taking a Quaalude to come down from a night of snorting coke, she oversleeps and finds her classroom in disarray - the children are running rampant, and something odd is scrawled on the chalk board (note how high up the death's head is, how could a small child have done this?)...
...adding to her stress, she discovers that her father has been hospitalized and could possibly be dying.  Oddly, she fantasizes about him dead.  However, when she goes to kiss his corpse, he opens his eyes and begins laughing...
...amidst all of this mayhem another man finds his way into Theresa's life, James, (William Atherton), a seemingly decent guy who is a social worker - she met him while trying secure a hearing aide for one of her students.  James is quiet, educated, compassionate and kind, so of course, she want's nothing to do with him, in fact she does everything to drive him away; mocking him, inferring that he's gay, and even laughing when he tries to put on a condom when she finally gets him into bed with her.  Finally, it seems that she has worn him down, and we find that now James has replaced Tony as her new stalker.

As the story progress and turns even darker, Theresa has become so sexually charged that some of the men she takes home mistake her for  a hooker, leaving money on the bedside table.  She laughs at this as earlier in the film, she fantasized about being a prostitute.  It soon becomes obvious that the age or looks of the bed partners make no matter, and one night she brings home a chubby middle-aged man who earlier took her to a gay bar.  It's during this scene where she takes him back to her place that we first notice the strange picture on her wall of a woman seemingly screaming.  The middle aged man asks her who it is a picture of, and she replies, "Me, when I need a fix."  One can't help  but wonder if she's talking about narcotics or sex at this point.
By now, the viewer might be wondering what the point is to this story - will our heroine finally see the errors of her ways, or at least show some common sense?  The answer sadly is no.

It is in the last half hour of the movie when we think that Theresa is going to finally quit her wild ways.  On New Year's Eve she proclaims to the bartender that this is her last night of cruising the bars (earlier she flushed all of her stash down the toilet).  And yet, as she's saying this, she is sipping on a glass of wine and watching men come and go. And then she bumps into James again, and this time, he grabs her and threatens her...she manages to pull away from him, and sides up to a young man playing pinball (Tom Berenger).  She asks the man to pretend that they are talking so that James will leave her alone.  They talk and she mentions what a beautiful smile he has - he does - in fact the young stranger is almost angelic in his beauty...
...feeling confident that this sweet faced young man is harmless, they talk as James leaves the bar, and then they kiss...
...and now it seems that Theresa Dunn has finally found Mr. Goodbar in this unassuming, uncomplicated, golden haired Adonis; this beautiful boy that she will take back to her place, the one she will ring in the new year with, as uncomplicated as his easy going nature.

If you have never seen this film, you owe it to your self to do so NOW!  If you have seen it, then you know what comes next, and you understand why I am posting this review on a blog that purports to be about horror films.  I've often said that the final few minutes of Looking for Mr. Goodbar is probably some of the most difficult movie watching anyone can experience.

Misogyny, homophobia, sexism, racism, drug addiction are all part of this potent dark cocktail. I strongly suggest that you watch this film alone and undisturbed, and then, when it's over, I challenge you to come back here and tell me that you have not seen the most terrifying film ever made.   

And as for those of us who have seen the film: can you help but consider that Theresa Dunn's story was a cautionary tale of days to come?



First things first: I'd like to thank the makers of 1988's Spellbinder for providing me with several views of a young and leggy Tim Daly playing a sweaty game of basketball.

Thank you!

Furthermore,  I'd like to thank the film makers for providing me with several moments in which Mr. Daly is shirtless...
...Thank you!

thank you...
...and thank you!

Now that that's out of the way, on with the movie:  Spellbinder is your basic Satanic Love Story.  Boy meets witch, boy loses witch, boy has his heart torn out by witch's coven.

Kelly Preston plays the enchanting beauty who casts her spell on Daly, a yuppie lawyer living the fast life in Los Angeles.  The couple meet one evening when Daly discovers Preston being manhandled by a guy who is wearing a ton of mousse in his hair.  Faster than you can say, "Unhand that maiden, you brute!" our hero whisks the young lady away, and the couple have a whirlwind romance.  And then, one night, a strange fellow is seen stalking the couple...what's his deal?  Unfortunately, we will never know as the fellow is set upon by by some seedy characters who utter some kind of mumbo jumbo until the poor guy's head explodes in flame - don't you just hate when that happens?
One night,  Daly invites his friends over to meet the love of his life and everything is going aces, until Daly's secretary notices the hostess removing a turkey from the oven - barehanded...
...immediately, she realizes that this chick just aint right, and she calls her out on it and suddenly, Preston's character goes from Samantha Stevens to Endora and dismisses the portly clerical worker...
...but our gal Friday is not put off, "watch it, toots, I got my eye on you", she says (well she does not really say that, but she infers it).

The next day at work, Daly is paid a visit by an unstable woman (played by the fabulous Audrey Lindley - that's Mrs. Roper to you!) - and she warns him that they want his girl friend back!
Make no mistake, Lindley is the best thing in this movie...she does subtle crazy so well.

After the visit, Daly discovers that Preston has left and he starts searching for her.  Eventually he ends up at the police station where a detective seemingly spends an eternity checking out his ass (can you blame him)...oh you think I made that up, check out this picture:
...see! He's enamored by Daly's backside, I swear.  Anyway, turns out this gum shoe knows all about the  missing gal and her peeps.  He tells Daly that his sweetheart's clan are part of a huge, HUGE, Satanic cult, and are suspects in dozens of missing persons cases.   He just does not have any hard evidence.

Later on, Daly finds himself trapped in the parking garage at his office.  Remember that guy with the mousse in his hair?  Well he's back and he puts a spell on Daly's sport's car...
...cool, huh? and no CGI!

The next day, the episode with the floating car seemingly forgotten, Daly is shopping for Christmas trees with fellow yuppie, Rick Rossovich - and even though he's the office Lothario, he cant keep his hands off Daly...
...what a hot couple they would have made,  but I digress...

Finally, Preston reappears and tells Daly that she was raised by a coven of unstable witches who practice black magic.  She claims that if she can avoid them for the next 24 hours, everything will be fine, as long as she does not show up at their Winter Solstice observation...you see, they need a human sacrifice who will show up willingly at this event...get it?  The person must show up of his or her own volition.  That's important, don't forget that,  OK? 

Deciding that they should run away, they of course go back to Daly's to pack up (because the coven would never think to go by Daly's home, right?)...and guess what?  The evil witches are there!
YIKES!  Luckily, Preston knows a few spells of her own so she chant's something in Pig Latin and the evil doers are dispersed!
Temporarily safe, the couple fall asleep in a circle of salt (really) and when they wake up, they find that the witches have redecorated Daly's house...
...cool, Huh?

So blah, blah, blah, Preston hides out, Daly goes back to the office because he has this really big case he needs to work on, and once he's through, they will escape L.A. and fly far away to a witch free zone...well, not so fast, that crazy bitch is back!
This time, Lindley turns up the crazy to 100% and totally freaks out Daly, she even claims that her coven dug up his mother so that she could use the dead woman's bones in a spell!

Well, it does not look good for our boy - and once he finds the coven, and his beloved on the beach at Malibu, he senses that all is not well - especially when Preston starts dancing around like Stevie Nicks...
...now you do recall that the sacrificial victim would show up to the party of his own free will, right?
...at least we get to see Daly shirtless again.  Thank you!


ADD Film Review: 2012

Despite earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic catastrophes and a bloated script,  John Cusack will abide.
'nuff said.


Grande Dame Guignol: The Grandest Dame of Them All

While younger generations may only be vaguely aware of Divine as the original Edna Turnblad, the 60's hausfrau whose full figure daughter finds fame and social awareness thanks to a dance show in John Water's Hairspray (a role later bastardized by John Travolta in the musical version), many of us recall Divine's less family-friendly roles where she usually played unstable, homicidal, maniacal mother figures; the kind of woman who would stop at nothing to keep her twisted world in tact. 

1970's Multiple Maniacs finds Lady Divine, the ring leader of a traveling group of freaks who bring their "cavalcade of perversion sideshow" to the suburbs so that the well scrubbed can stare at homosexuals, drug addicts, foot fetishists and various other odd balls in a circus tent.  However, once the show is over, many of the audience members are kidnapped, robbed and murdered by Lady Divine's troupe.  What's even more disturbing is that Lady Divine and her gang have been taking credit for a series of murders that occurred a few years earlier in Los Angeles (That would be the Manson murders).  Once the word gets out that Lady Divine and crew were not the people who killed Sharon Tate and company, she begins a slow decent into madness that includes (among other things), getting a "Rosary job" in a Catholic Church on Good Friday (you just have to take my word, that this is one of the most appalling things ever put on film).  Later on, a crazed and delusional Lady Divine finds herself  being raped by a giant lobster...
...now, totally off her nut, our heroine is roaming the streets of Baltimore, foaming at the mouth, carrying an axe and threatening the public until she is set up on by an angry mob...

and gunned down by the National Guard (while Kate Smith warbles God Bless America on the soundtrack).
Several years later, John Water's brought back his leading lady in another epic, Pink Flamingos.  Here we find Divine playing Babs Johnson, a hefty beauty living a happy existence in a dilapidated trailer house somewhere in the woods of Maryland.  Babs lives with her mentally ill - egg-craving- mother (the inimitable Edith Massey), her psychotic son, Crackers (Danny Mills) and her blond bombshell "traveling companion", Cotton (Mary Vivian Pierce).  Pleased that she and her clan are known as "The Filthiest People Alive", Babs spends her time shoplifting steaks and hiding them in her panties, taking dumps on people's lawns, and faking out hitchhikers (slowing down as if she were going to give them a lift, and then leaving them in the dust once they approach the car door).  And then, one day, word gets out about a couple named Connie and Raymond Marble (Mink Stole and David Lochary); who kidnap women, chain them up in their basement, have their servant impregnate them, and then sell the babies to lesbian couples.  Babs is outraged that anyone might steal her title and war is declared!
Of course, there is still time for fun - so when Bab's celebrates her birthday and receives a bottle of RID, and a pig's head, and listens to a "singing asshole" (trust me, you don't want to know)  it's all fun and games ... until the Marbles call the police who raid the party - but Bab's and her guests overpower the cops...
...tear them limb from limb, and eat them!  Now it's on, and Babs will stop at nothing to bring down the marbles.  At one point, she breaks into their home, and she and her son start licking the house from top to bottom so that the Marble's home might "reject" them...
...this scene ends with Babs bestowing upon her son "the greatest gift a mother can give"; yup, she sucks him off - do you think I am making this up?  Be that as it may, Babs and her family set the women in the basement free, kidnap the Marbles and execute them before the press and then decide to beat a hasty retreat to Boise Idaho...However, while on their way to the bus station, Babs spies a dog doing it's thing on the sidewalk, and since she's craving a snack she, well, she helps herself to a taste of what fido has left behind.
Finally, if there were any justice in the world, Divine would have won an Oscar for her role as Dawn Davenport in 1974's Female Trouble.  The tragic and violent tale of a woman who goes from teenage hell-raiser to a deluded mass murder craving fame at any price, is probably Divine's finest performance.  After she runs away from home on Christmas morning (after knocking her mother out and tossing the Xmas tree on top of her) Dawn meets up with Earl Peterson (also played by Divine), a nasty brute in soiled underwear, who takes her to a dump, screws her, and leaves her pregnant and broke...
...after her baby is born (whom she dub's "Taffy") Dawn finds that she needs to earn money as she is now a single mother.  She works as a waitress and an exotic dancer for awhile, but finds that there is much more money to be made as cat burglar - so along with her pals, Chicklet and Concetta, (Cookie Muller and Susan Walsh), the threesome mug bums in the alley, and steal television sets to make ends meet.
Still, it's tough being a loving mother, so one day, after little Taffy has worked Dawn's last nerve, she ties the moppet to her bed (after beating her with a car antenna) , and upon the advice of her friends goes to get her hair done at The Lipstick Beauty Salon - once there, Dawn meets, and instantly falls in love with the only heterosexual hairdresser employed there, Gator (Michael Potter) - the two have a whirlwind romance, and marry much to the chagrin of Gator's aunt Ida (Edith Massey) who would be much happier if her nephew "was a queer".  Unfortunately, the marriage falls apart and Dawn and Gator divorce and somehow Dawn finds herself a pawn in the plans of the owners of the beauty salon, Donald and Donna Dasher (David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pierce) .  This oddball duo worm their way into Dawn's life and on one fateful evening they witness her smash a chair over her now adult daughter's head (Taffy now played by Mink Stole)...
...the Dasher's photograph this event and then later, when Aunt Ida shows up and throws battery acid in Dawn's face, they photograph that event as well...
...the Dashers convince Dawn that her disfigurement has made her more beautiful, and they want to photograph her new face while committing crimes ("crime is beauty" they claim).  Furthermore the Dasher's start a new beauty regiment with Dawn; liquid eyeliner, that they show Dawn how to mainline.  By now, whatever grasp on sanity she might have once had is out the window, and Dawn is stark raving mad - sure that she is the most gorgeous woman in the world!
When she gets home from the hospital, Dawn finds hat the Dasher's have imprisoned Ida in a bird cage at her house and talk her into chopping off the woman's hand.  Again, she is photographed while doing the deed...this only makes Dawn even more crazed, and between her addiction to liquid eyeliner, and her love of notoriety there is no turning back.
Finally, on the night of Dawn's big one woman show, she strangles her daughter (who has now become a Hare Krishna devote) and then proceeds to the stage doing trampoline jumps, and claiming that she "blew Richard Speck"...
...now totally, out of her mind, Dawn pulls out a pistol and screams, "Who want's to die for art?" and begins shooting into the crowd who have come to see her.  Panic ensues and the police are called - Dawn goes on the lam but is eventually caught and brought to court...
...where she discovers that the Dasher's have used the photographs as evidence of her crimes and turned against her.  Still, in her scrambled mind, she thinks that she is the top fashion model of the world, and when she is found guilty and given the electric chair, to her, it's the equivalent of an Academy Award...
 ...her final words :

I'd like to thank all the wonderful people...that made this great moment in my life come true. My daughter Taffy, who died..in order to further my career My friends Chicklette and Concetta..who should be here with me today. All the fans who died so fashionably...and gallantly at my nightclub act. And especially all those wonderful people...who were kind enough...to read about me in the newspapers...and watch me on the television news shows. Without all of you...my career could never have gotten this far. It was you that I burn for...and it is you that I will die for. Please remember...I love every fucking one of you.


Divine, of course, was a persona created and owned by the late, great Harris Glenn Milstead.