Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Fest: Recap

Well folks, sorry I've been a bit slackadasical in getting this post up in a timely manner, but the weekend of sleeplessness finally caught up with me about an hour into work today. Not to say I regret the "from dusk til dawn" aspect of Summer Fest, but as cool as it is to have people willing to watch movies with you from sundown to sunrise, the lack of sleep can be taxing.

Tomorrow night I'll have some pictures up so that you can get a sense of what it was like to be here. For anyone who missed out on the coverage, we watched the following movies from Thursday to Sunday:

The Happening
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Blood Car
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Dead Heat
Night of the Lepus
Friday the 13th Part 2
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
The Giant Claw

along with sprinkles of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors, the Twilight Zone on sci-fi, and Tales from the Crypt. There's, uh, something else, but even if I could identify it by name, I won't. Somehow it seems very appropriate that we ended up watching thirteen feature films during Horror Fest.

Not to be disrespectful of a guest blogger in any way but I do feel I need to correct Neil's post just a smidge: Ray Harryhausen didn't actually work on King Kong in any capacity. Willis O'Brien was chief stop motion for Kong, although Harryhausen's no slouch. He's just not of King Kong fame; more like 20 Million Miles to Earth or Earth vs the Flying Saucers or Jason and the Argonauts fame.

But speaking of guest bloggers, I'd like to thank all who attended Horror Fest and spread the word, and a special thanks to Neil and the Cranpire who were present for every single movie of the fest proper (if not always awake). Kudos also go to those brave souls that paid good money to see The Happening. At least you know what the rest of the world doesn't. Yeah, that's the ticket.

There's no picture for it, so I'd just like to thank the twenty or so people who crammed into my "not large enough for all of you" living room for Night of the Lepus. That was incredicool and everyone chimed in on the myriad of logistical problems, bizarre plot points, or instances of DeForrest Kelley being pedophillic. Truly a sight to behold, which is why I didn't take a photo.

After tomorrow I guess you won't have to read about Horror Fest again until October. This breaks your dried up little hearts, I'm sure. Somehow we'll push on together, dear reader. Somehow...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Fest Day Three: The Final Film!!!!!

Or, Turkeys Aren't Scary, No Matter What They're Made Of

Guest blogger Neil is here to unveil the FINAL FILM OF Summer Fest. Take it away, sir...

Trying to decide on a closing film for horror fest is serious business, so Nathan and I knew we were in for an experience when all of a sudden Josh says, "alright sit down, we're watching Giant Claw." It's from the 50's, stars no one you've ever heard of, and it's called Giant Claw. Sounds incredi-awesome, right?

Ladies and gentlemen, by my count, I watched 13 movies, and all of them lived up to any preconceived expectations, but this one exceeded my wildest imaginations. For the first half hour, you never see the mysterious, out of focus threat plaguing the skies. (Whether out of suspense of lack of money is anyone's guess.) But nothing, and I mean nothing can prepare you for when it's finally revealed. Not even me spoiling it for you right now and telling you it's a giant antimatter space turkey.

Yes, that's right, an giant antimatter space turkey, who boldly ignores the basic laws of particle physics and declares war on humanity, presumably out of boredom or the need to procreate light years away from whatever galaxy it flew from. (According to the trailer, it's also 17 million years old.)

It also has googly-eyes.

Legend has it, they didn't have the money to hire Ray Harryhausen (of King Kong fame) to do stop motion, so instead the producer hired some Mexican puppeteers to make it. (I can't make this stuff up, people.) Also, all shots of the monster were added after principal photography was finished, so the actors never saw the threat until the premier, after which they all hanged themselves. (Ok, that part is made up.)

And really, what would any "good" 50's-era "horror" film be without a criminal misunderstanding of nuclear theory? Well, this film doesn't disappoint in that regard either. See, the monster is destroyed by a gun that shoots masic atoms. (I'm not really sure how to spell masic because I'm 99.9% sure there has never been such a thing ever.) Whatever these atoms are, they seem to do the trick (reacting much like gunpowder, curiously), and the day is saved. My guess here is that the creators heard the word "antimatter" at a party and thought it sounded vaguely threatening enough to make their villain out of it. Now, I applaud this idea in theory, but the sad fact is that a giant emaciated puppet of a flying turkey with five points of articulation, tops, should never be a first, or even last choice for such a thing. Really, it's hilarious enough to make tomatoes seem pretty damn intimidating.

Summer Fest Day Three: Why Neil Needs a Blood Car!

We started earlier today for Horror Fest, but were still held up when Neil's car decided to slit its own radiator hose in a desperate cry for help. As a result, no amount of duct tape, electrical tape, nor Cranpire's blood could soothe its pain, and Neil is trapped in Greensboro... FOREVER!!!!!

Since he wasn't going anywhere, we watched The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VI, which boasts Attack of the 50ft Eyesores, A Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace, and Homer3, the legendary computer animated episode. Then the Tales from the Crypt episode with Morton Downey Jr. about the haunted house. Classy.

Since classy was our M.O., we watched Feast, the total assault on decency and good taste disguised as a horror movie. Imagine all of the sensible characters are removed from a horror movie, leaving only the idiots who usually get picked off to figure out what to do for 90 minutes, and you have some idea of the plot of Feast, if you can call it that.

After that, we simply had to watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, which seems suspiciously like a Meet the Spartans for the 1970's, although possibly better. (I couldn't say for sure, having not watched Meet the Spartans) It does have some of the worst musical numbers ever and a plot that just barely makes sense. Super classy.

Now I need to determine if I have enough energy left after two all-nighters to watch another movie, or if I should simply kill Neil and sleep inside of his gutted carcass... decisions, decisions.

Summer Fest Day Two: End of night Recap

We really did talk about more guest blogging, I promise. Once again it's actually 6:15 in the morning and the sun is coming up.

Tonight we had the highest turnout in Summer Fest history and were left with "standing room only" for the second Prime Time Movie. Saturday night's Summer Fest flicks were:

Dead Heat - reviewed by Tominator earlier, despite his not being here or ever having seen it. It's the kind of movie that takes the premise of Dead & Buried and marries it with Lethal Weapon. Except with Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams, and guest appearances by Darren McGavin, Robert Picardo, and Vincent Price. I can't make this shit up. It's silly except for any joke made by Piscopo, who seemed on the verge of saying "knock knock" almost all the time.

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror VIII - with The Homega Man, the "fly" segment, and Easy Bake Coven. It seemed fitting to include Treehouse of Horror, as they've played during every Horror Fest to date. This was particularly amusing because it ran simultaneously with Cranpire playing Grand Theft Auto 3 on the other tv and pretty much just destroying cars over and over again in police chases.

C.H.U.D. - someone actually was scared by a C.H.U.D. in this movie, which may be the first time in recorded history that's happened. If I have to say more, then you clearly need to dust off your copy and watch it again. The film became the target of our running gag involving Daniel Stern's inability to do anything useful at all during the story, mostly because someone would ask him to "prove it". I guess you had to be here.

Night of the Lepus - we simply did not have enough room for everybody during Lepus, but damned if it wasn't a blast and a half. Imagine, if you will, six sets of MST3K bots riffing nonstop on this "nature and science gone amok" monstrosity, with every possible rabbit joke or reference appearing, as well as the ability to build sets that look exactly like Lionel Train miniatures. Possibly as much fun as seeing The Happening on Thursday.

Fido - This strange slice of Romero meets Lassie was pretty popular with the folks who stuck around after Night of the Lepus. Not quite as campy as the films that preceded it, but definitely a good choice to follow killer rabbits.

Friday the 13th Part 2 - We started this around 4:45, after pretty much everyone left in some state of exhaustion. It was agreed that to stay up a film with "shock" scares or crazy action had to follow Fido, and it was between Friday the 13th part 2 and Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight. We chose wisely, although sleep deprivation takes its toll even when you're trying hard to focus on bag-headed Jason and Amy Steel.

At this point, I need to pass out. The sun is on its way up and there's still one day left of Horror Fest. We've got a lot of ground left to cover, so hope to see you on the other side...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer Fest Day Two: Dead Heat!!!!!

Dead Heat stars Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams. For all the other important information, we turn to Special Guest Blogger Tominator:

Dead Heat stars Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams, co-starring Vincent Price. It is 84 minutes long in total running time, was released, I think, in 1987, and, from the look of the DVD cover, Joe Piscopo swallowed a number of steroid-filled balloons coated with sriracha hot sauce. Apparently, one of them dies and they come back to life to find their own killer. Killarity I mean hilarity ensues and possibly ensnares people in a web of bored chuckling. At some point in the future, the movie ends, with a twist of some sort, and/or a reasonable, sound conclusion wherein the protagonist has found a modicum of closure. It is assumable that there are a few loopholes left open for a sequel which did not happen praise be to the will of Allah. All is well, the credits roll, and the DVD is replaced in its receptacle. Amen. Basmati. Cavalier. Srebenica. Codswallop. Manure. Ma. Nure. Great on their own.

We now watch CHUD. Yay!

Summer Fest Day One: Wrap Up featuring Teeth and Shark Attack 3: Megalodon!

Sorry, no Tominator again until at least tomorrow night. Despite what the Myspace clock says, it's very much a quarter to six here at the Apartment of Spooky Doom. Neil and Cranpire are passed out in the living room and I am off to sleep shortly.

Before I go, I do need to say a thing or two about the last half of our late night Quadruple Bill (consisting of Plan 9 from Outer Space, Blood Car, Teeth, and Shark Attack 3: Megalodon). Pretty much everyone stayed through Teeth, and Neil and I stuck it out for Megalodon, with occasional waking up from the Cranpire.

Teeth is pretty good, although it's not really a horror movie in any way. In my own sick way of seeing things, it's a Superhero origin story told in a comedic fashion, albeit one with social commentary that makes Blood Car seem subtle. There's plenty to enjoy in the film and every possible joke about someone with teeth in her lady business was made, so it's a definite check it out. Unless of course you have a serious aversion to seeing the end product of castration, however amusing it is.

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon was one of the two "surprise" movies of the fest, even more of a surprise to us since it stars John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood fame) many years before he became an immortal omnisexual Time Agent. The movie has some howler moments, but it really kicks into high gear in the third act when the shark attacks become MEGA-sized, and then it goes into truly amazing mode. It's not just the sleep deprivation talking either; check out Final Girl's write up. All of it is true, especially the most direct pick up line you're likely to hear outside of porn.

We'll be back tomorrow when it's time to watch Uncle Sam, The Orphanage, C.H.U.D., Night of the Lepus, Frogs, Fido, Black Sheep, Feast, Night of the Living Dead, and the other "surprise" movie. See you then...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Summer Fest Day One: Blood Car

Tarantulas...from vending machines
Tominator here.

What can I say? Blood Car. Or Blood Lawnmower. Or Blood Truck. Or Blood Barbecue Grill. Unless you're a charcoal man.

A fine, ribald, grotesque cautionary tale at once for both car-lovers, petroleum aficionados, and sexpot kindergarten teachers, Blood Car delivers by the gallon a number of laughs, splatter, and animal cruelty (not to be confused with either humor or unhumor) and is a fine paradoxical look at the American dependence upon the automobile, oil, and gender bifurcation. While the level of gratuitous blood rivals Feast, the social commentary is much more intact, and over the course of a brief 74 minutes or so we watch a happy bicycle-riding vegan turn into a meat-eating homicidal government pigeon taking a failed veggie-powered Honda and turning it into a growling, bloodthirsty fuckmobile. Finally he relents and gives his secret, that which he believed to be saving man, not destroying it, to the very people who have, assumably, been perpetuating the 36-dollar-per-gallon gas prices.

Entertaining, plenty bloody, awfully hilarious in places, but at places seemed too much like a Troma film. And as a kitten-loving vegetarian, I was alarmed at how loudly I was laughing at the slaughter of a disabled, triple-amputee vet for his luscious sanguinity.

Or maybe I've said too much.

Tominator out.

Summer Fest Day One: Plan 9 from Outer Space (and The Happening. Again)

We're in the midst of Summer Fest, about to start Blood Car and then Teeth. As we've just wrapped up Plan 9 from Outer Space, and a number of people here saw The Happening, it seems only fair to ask someone who didn't to give you a recap on the events of yesterday and today. I give you TOM!!!!

Rather, there is plenty that I have seen, plenty that I will see, a number of things I currently see, like a demon rhubarb phallus, Dick Tracy's divorce decree from Annette Benning, and the remnants of Tor Johnson (nee Johnassonn) encapsulated in a snoglobe of Washington, D.C. However, I will unregrettably never see The Crappening by M Night Shit-on-my-lawn. While I could piecemeal together the entirety of the film from what I have been told, and while I could tell you unequivocally that no amount of pressuring or convincing me that I should see it because it might be the worst thing ever made and I may never have that chance again, I will instead focus on the fact that Horrorfest Bienniale 2008 Independence Bastille Day is indeed happening. Plan 9 From Outer Space, the finest, most prophetic science fiction (no, fact! FACT!) film e'er made has been witnessed, mocked, scorned, mocked again, and enjoyed. I am always astounded by the combination of such a brutal lack of continuity, horrendous dialogue, the cheapest sets for a "financed" film ever, and at least one B-list actor and why an at least less-awful picture was not borne out of such diabolical movie-making misery. Whether it's day or night, figuring out exactly who the characters are, what they do, where they go, or what precisely the premise of the movie is can be a little taxing. We vent our stupid, idiotic human brains by poking fun at it, which is the only way it can be enjoyed or watched without incessantly asking "really? did that really happen? what the bloody duck fuck?"

Which, actually, is a lot like the Happening, which is why I can never see it, personally. I have room enough for only one Worst Movie Ever Made. ONce Plan 9 From Outer Space is wholly obliterated from the museum of human creation, I can safely see The Crappening. The two cannot feasibly or safely coexist in my existence, and to do so would be to unleash antimatter unto my soul, which would, of course, devastate the universe and create a black hole precisely where in the movie house (or Kinohaus) I sit.