1 hour ago
With the yearly food abundance ritual approaching this week, we are heavily immersed in as many Turkey Day-centric films as humanly possible. Even the briefest of presences of said meal, constitutes a viewing. To me, this embodies the holiday; a reason for a themed film festival, coupled with my second favorite thing: gluttony. I tell that inner voice inside, the one that nags me out of growing an extra thigh and ass size, to take its own holiday. And then, I just keep forcing it in. But I never worry. It all comes out in the end. And that, my friends, is truly something to be grateful for. So cheers to you all on this mighty occasion. May you eat plenty and have merriment galore. And please, go watch some movies. Preferably with some gravy and mashed potatoes.
1. "Fumblin' With the Blues" by Tom Waits
2. "The Carny" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
3. "We Are the Dead" by David Bowie
4. "So Long, Marianne" by Leonard Cohen
5. "Songbirg" by Fleetwood Mac
6. "Memo From Turner" by Mick Jagger
7. "If I Only Had the Words (to Tell You)" by Billy Joel
8. "Autumn Almanac" by The Kinks
9. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by The Hollies
10. "Call Me Back Again" by Wings
I'm back on my "sequels" bullshit again. But this is a very specific assortment: followups that trembled under the weight of their more competent and/or popular precursors. And yeah, in some cases, the quality dips, and for others, it's a remarkable improvement. Either way, these are all plucked from "franchises" that we typically don't think of as such for one reason or another (no central villain, varying formats, not enough sequels, etc.), but however they hold up against their respective "Part Ones," I dig 'em enough. Sometimes a lot.
Snappy. Engrossing. PG-13 Action disguised as a monster movie. All of these describe the original 1990 Tremors, and it's all present in its first sequel (maybe even to better effect). The setup feels entirely like a Michael Crichton premise (particularly Jurassic Park), though coincidentally, it's actually just The Lost World before that even got a film adaptation: a reluctant Fred Ward is coaxed back into Graboid hunting and all goes wrong. Apart from being legitimately entertaining, for a Direct-to-Video creature feature, the effects (both practical and CGI) are pretty great - and when they're not, they're still fascinating.
It's the best Ghoulies there is - and while that's like falling off a log, don't let that fact undersell the value of this installment. As far as the Ghoulies themselves go: I always liked that they came in a variety and that no two Ghoulies are alike - but other than that they're completely uninteresting. What sells this one are the humans; competent actors playing somewhat likable characters. Add in a few genuine laughs and it gets a more-than-passing grade. And if you're new here, you don't need to see the others for this one to work.
It's taken me most of my life to realize that I don't really care for "college humor" - as in comedy specifically relating to the educational institution itself. But when you add stuff like demonic possession or some T&A then it's fine. For as shamelessly silly as the first one is, it still has worthy moments of surprise and terror. This one is just straight silly; it's still endlessly inventive and never boring, but if your favorite bits from Part One were the funny bits, well they've gone & made a flick for you.
There's a cult around this series that I'm not part of. What that means for me is that I can enjoy these movies more as a friend than as a lover. You can really only go so many places with Zombie Comedies (Zombedies? Zom Coms?), but this one's unique because it's a kids' movie; there's no cursing or sexuality or even gore really. There also aren't really any scares, shocks, or laughs. I've seen it 3 times and each time is like the first time; it doesn't leave any deep marks, but it's pleasant while it's happening.
Swap out the standard 'teen angst' setting of high school and home life for the standard 'teen angst' setting of an unscrupulous rehab clinic, and there you have it. But still with werewolves. Lycanthropy has always had a big overlap in the Body Horror Venn diagram, and these movies are the least shy about it. The first film had a lotta subtext - this one is just about the ickiness of becoming a carnivorous wild dog (and going to grotesque lengths to stop it). And while the previous one was all about Katherine Isabelle, this one belongs to Emily Perkins (in screen time, but also bravura performance).
The question is, "What's the difference between an artist who chooses to paint like a child and a child's paining?" From Dusk Till Dawn may've been a 'Drive-In' homage, but the more contemporary parallel was Direct-to-Video. And so, apart from the smaller budget (and the absence of one of the greatest screenwriters of all time), this was a natural and seamless continuation. What is it about crime & vampires that makes 'em go so well together? Add a cast of character actor cameos (and leads) and you've got one solid Action/Horror/Crime/Vampire whatever.
Barring recent attempts at a tonal reboot, the common thread in this 8-film(!) series has been its 'self-awareness.' Too bad - he's kind of a great character, but even the crazier sequels in this franchise are boring as all fuck. Though I can't say that about this one; I like this one most - not because it's any less of a Comedy, but because it's portioned out with some finesse. It's totally a standalone story, but because it is a sequel, there's none of that pesky exposition for the dullards in the back; nothing but highbrow hijinks here!
How was your Halloween season? Did you eat all the foods and watch all the shows? Did you pig out on Paydays to People Under the Stairs? Did you binge The Purge? Did you Transylvania Twist at 20,000 feet? Cuz we sure as heckfire did and we're having a tough time shakin' it off; we still got the Heebie Jeebies runnin' all through us, and tryna exorcise has been like a wet pumpkin seed on a linoleum floor.
So we thought, "Hey, we're adults kinda. Who says we have to lay this vibe to rest on a certain date? Let's keep it going!" So, let's keep a-goin'!
Welcome back to the Spooky Season as we give you CHRISTMAS KILLS - some refashioned reindeer games to help ease the good suffering of post-holiday blues. I mean, sure, there's plenty of "Holiday Horror" stuff to blur the lines for the casual dabbler, but our plans are to shoot you in the foot and let it bleed. We're pressing on with the guts and the gory like Santa's not watching - a mistletoe massacre so creepy that Tim Burton may be forced to take legal action.
We're not entirely sure what this means in terms of output, but this is the frame of mind we're comfortable in for the foreseeable future. We've obviously retired all the clear-cut October institutions (pumpkins, candy corn, Michael Myers) but apparently there's a whole bloody mess of new material out there that, if timed correctly, could become regular Yuletide practice.
Trust us, there's plenty of room this season between the leg lamps and Lou Whos for a decapitation or two.
Do you even like scary movies bro?
The boys from Between the Reels busted out 2/3s of correct answers on this year's Horror Movie set. No easy task -- so as a reward, we're gonna cut you a break - today: for the following lineup, we're gonna give you a hint...
And that's it - that's the hint. You really don't need any more than that; once you figure it out you're gonna suck these down like egg noodles & ketchup. You're welcome.
Labels: NAME THAT MOVIE!
Well here we are in this weird limbo again - not fully desensitized to the Heebie Jeebies, not pious enough to prematurely fall on our knees. So we'll dick around some in the meantime while we pull together our next holiday celebration series (which we've tailored to your current mood fer sure).
During the interval there will be some snacks and refreshments, but we encourage you to visit all of our other outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Additionally we still have some lingering Tumblrs: TIME LIFE presents, It's Your Birthday!, and Return of Ganon.
Original art is always available for purchase at Yellow Lemon Collages.
There's also a new & improved Joker product! CHEESEBURGLAR - lo-fi picto-blog featuring hundreds of groove approved eye-poppers that you can use to decorate your locker, trade with your friends, listen to in your car, stick 'em up your ass, whatever.
As the moon sets, a fresh darkness is upon us of which we will make merry as though the midday sun warms us.