Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Ghost of Manheim Manor

Ghosts can become very active this time of year.  The Ghost of Manheim Manor is known to be very active.  No one knows why.  Was it the date of her death?  Her birth?  Some other anniversary?  No one knows, just as no one knows who she is.  But when the autumn moon rides high, ectoplasm with swirl and worry through the hall.  Her steps will be clear and crisp sounding.  When she  touches you, you will know. You will know.

The Monk at Work

It was a treasure of an earlier age, kept deep in the vaults.  The brothers though cared for it with love.  Making sure it lost none of its luster.  They could not really appreciated, being from a heathen age and a subject they have foresworn.   But even monks can dream.

Happy Halloween

We can all hang together or we can all hang seperately

It was a glorious day yesterday, and oddly enough it was glorioius in Washington DC as well.  Generally it's not a town given to high spirits but yesterday Jon Stewart rocked it, and rocked it well.  More political rallies should have musical duels between Ozzy Osbourne and Yusef (aka Cat Stevens), and definitely more should have the Mythbuster guys as their warm up act.  One can see that everyone was having a good time, and was certainly infectious.  I found myself smiling a lot as I watched the live feed. 

For those who missed it, here is Jon's speech.  I think it bears remembering as we plow onward in this dour political season.  Love you all, and Happy Halloween my dear readers!!

Red Werewolf Hunter

Wow, something just above average on a SyFy saturday night.  They must have pulled out all the stops for this one.  I've been pretty hard on the SyFy folk in this formum and let me just say... they deserve it.  But because I've been so hard they should take any faint praise I give them as something hard won.  So I'll say again, this was above their normal bill of fare.

So first the bad news.  There's really nothing here linking this to the Red Riding Hood story except Felicity's tresses and a bit of background flashback.  Also, there is again CGI failure when the wolves are in full wolf out.

But, this story actually is interesting.  Red comes home bringing a potential husband.  She wants to gradually let him in on their secret that her and her family are Werewolf hunters.  Her plans are dashed by the evil Gabriel who is a werewolf who unlike all the others can change at will.  Gabriel immediately begins a series of attacks and he's obviously fixing to kill Red's family and increase his own tribe at the same time.  The story is supported by good writing and decent acting.  There's definitely a family feel between Felicity and her brothers even as they feud and fuss over killing werewolves and her choice in men.  I liked Felicity's mother who is definitely loving, but also has to distance herself emotionally to be the stable hub of what is more than a family but a para military order.

Remember what I said about the bad CGI?  Let me add to that.  Yes the full werewolves have the same trouble of most CGI in that they unnaturally pop off the screen in relation to the rest of the picture, but I have to say they handled some of the mid transformation sequences very nicely.  It's no "American Werewolf in London," but the mid transformations are suitably spooky and work in the story. 

So, to wrap up.  For once SyFy has given a movie more treat than trick. 

I had a dream..

Obviously too many horror films is catching up with me.  Last night I dreamed of zombies.  These zombies were slightly different.  Oh, they were the slow, lurching, rotting zombies we've come to love.  They certainly were into trying to eat people if there were people around.  The difference was what they would do when there were no people to eat.  When they were alone they still ate.  They ate everything.  They ate all the rest of the food.  They ate any plant.  They ate the trees and scraped the paint off the buildings with their teeth.  The city was alive with the sound of dead chewing.  When they were done with whatever they ate the residue they left was fit for nothing and cursed the ground so nothing would grow where they left their middens.  So even as we, in my dream, knew we were safe behind titanium walls we also knew it was the end. There would be nothing left by the time these eaters were through with the world.

I was thinking...

If I had a band I might call it:

Two Dimples in Leather
Telsa and the Blue Footed Boobies
Ten and Two
Amber Waves
Werewolves That Play
The Inquisitor's Hat Rack
The Kiwi Fax
The Doctor Spectacularly Wundaful Half Time Special and Midnight Show

Today's Secret Code for October 31, 2010

"Come and join the parade all you ghosts, and goblins, and superheroes, and princesses."  Again:  "Come and join the parade all you ghosts, and goblins, and superheroes, and princesses." Today's colours are brightly dark.  Today's author is boldly dreaming.  That is all, maho maho.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mexicani Grumpus

There are those old stories about not drinking the water when visiting our southern neighbors.  It's not as much an issue as it was in the past, but there are certain springs, places once held sacred and sacrificed to, that perhaps one should not sip from.  The Mexicani Grumpus is found there, a rather hateful parasite that will go out of your way to make life miserable.

Be sure to give good treats

"I can't breath" by Nick Criscuolo

My dearest readers,

I don't do this often, but sometimes I have to bring something to your attention.  Cartoon Brew, a wonderful website devoted to animation, put up this first time short.  I watched it, and it moved me both artistically and emotionally.  Please take the 4 minutes and watch it.  Also, tell the Brew people what a good job they are doing.

Thank you kindly,
Lazarus Lupin


Just the other day I was watching "The Locker" (and "The Locker II" on the same tape) and I was feeling old.  Old cause it felt like a certain golden period of Japanese cinema seems to have passed by.  Nothing wrong with the lockers, they were basic J-horror movies ala "The Grudge," template.  There was nothing really right with them either though.  They were bland, and the one thing I had never really associated with japanese cinema was blandness.

Which brings me to "House," or "Hausu," a japanese film that was made in 1977 and has been enjoying a bit of rediscovery this year.  Reviewers have been tongued tied after seeing it, generally saying to effect "Don't ask me about it, go see it.  Grab your loved ones, and strangers on the street and GO. SEE. IT!" 

It's understandable really.  Trying to describe the plot of this film would make it sound boring.  Try to describe any scene from this film and people might enquire upon your choices of drugs.  So let me try to walk this type of tightrope.  "House," is something of either a darkly funny or brightly dark fairy tale.  You have Gorgeous and her friends who share a similiar name scheme like "Fantasy" or "Prof," and they all go to Gorgeous strange spooky aunt's house in the middle of nowhere.  Bad things happen.  Trippy things happen.  Bad, trippy things happen.  The end.  Now shut up and go see the movie yourself!

Wait, that's not fair, let me give a little more.  On the DVD, one observer points out that the director, Nobuhiko Obayashi, literally uses every trick in the book.  It's true.  There is animation, there is painted sets, there is fast forwarding and rewinding of film, and there is every type of dissolve.  None of these would make any sense if you were to write down what happens in the film, but when taken as a whole... well it still doesn't make sense but it doesn't matter.  It overwhelmes, it breaks down your defenses.  It leaves you practically breathless and begging for more.

Ladies and gentlemen, my wonderful readers, this is what Japanese cinema is to me at its finest.  I may not understand it, but it enthralls me.

Now go watch this yourself!!

Today's secret code for October 30, 2010

"Never accept when a ghoul says, 'Come by for dinner.'" Again: "Never accept when a ghoul says, 'Come by for dinner.'" Today's colours are brightly dark. Today's author is darkly bright. That is all, maho maho.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Night Invites

It's a night for witch's good and bad, real and mythic.  A night of deep shadows and bright stars.  Will you go out that night boys and girls?  Will You?

The Mysteries of Mysticism

They are just old bones.  From a creature we shave for our clothes.  But the mind is a monkey and magic is the barrel.  The skull of a ram is a power thing.  Every proper mystic of the mysterious arts has at least one hanging around, along with a stuffed alligator.  The Mystic of Montpellior has old leather shoes on his wall, but even other mystics consider him rather odd.


A Nightmare on Elm Street

Well they've been remaking a lot of slasher films lately, good God they remade Prom Night.  Prom Night?!  Was there a crying need for that?  I think not.  So, it's not suprising they finally got around to doing a remake of Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elmstreet.  At least this was handled by the folks who did the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," so you are fairly assured that if they didn't make it better at least they'd remake it fairly competently.

So, we have dumb teenagers again.  They are having nightmares, and this time it is Jackie Earle Haley instead of Robert Englund doing the honors of putting most of them out their misery.  The main difference here plot wise is that they tie Nancy much closer to Freddy making it a more traumatic grudge match.

Well, in theory.

Look, this film has way better production values than the first.  It also has a more consistent tone.  What it is missing is craziness and fun.  The first film you really had no clue what was going to happen, not everything worked to be sure (the ending?  Really??), but it had a wonderful funhouse quality.  The new film is so dour.  Yes Freddy was a child molestor but in the first film that was just a reason for the parents to kill his ass to set the plot in motion.  The new film really dwells over it making Nancy a victim of Freddy before Freddy got hi s pizza face.  It's good, just not near as much fun.  Also, while the actors are on the whole way better, this film could have used an actor like John Saxon who may not have been good but was always John Saxon and don't you forget it.

Jackie Earle Haley does carry most of the film's water in his protrayal of Freddie.  In keeping with the new film it is a darker performance than Robert Englund but it is also a less punny, more purposeful performance.  Certainly, he channels his inner bad ass here for good effect.  The make up is different but good, it reminds me of the skinned baby in "Eraserhead." 

Overall, it wa not bad, but I'll always prefer the first film.


And here we are dear readers.  The final... two?  No, I cheat.  We have here a DOUBLE TIE.  Yes a tie for the number two and the number one spots.  You my dear readers can decide for yourself which really deserves the spot.  Be sure to span on it in the comments.  No dishonorable mentions this time, just pure goodness, so let's get it on and bang a gong...


So why these two?   Because both are not only very functional, but do exactly what a mask should do and that is disguise the wearer.  Look at that Iron Man face.  It's grim, determined, compentent.  It screams out, I will do the job and do it well.  Underneath the mask?  Tony Stark/Robert Downey Jr (A case where actor and role are really waaaaayyyy too close together), who at first blush doesn't fit that red and gold image.  Tony Stark is a boozy, egotistical smart ass which is generally not one's first choice for a hero.  The odd thing is that Tony Stark is also a mask (on a metaphorical level) and if you dig down deep you will find he is actually Iron man.

Now you take Robocop.  His head gear is pure machine.  It is sleek.  It is functional and dehumanizing.  It is the cop as a machine.  But take off that funky helmet and you see this...

Holy crap, I mean he looks like a cancer survivor who had a collision with  fax machine.  There is a very hurt human being under that Judge Dreddian skull cap and that is why it is such a good mask.  When robocop is full gear it is all fun superhero hijinks.  Then off comes that cap, and suddenly it's "OMG, he must really be hurting."  It is a breath taking transformation in the film.


The thing about a mask is that they tend to be a tad on the immobile side.  It is difficult to emote with one, yet somehow these two manage to do it well.  In the case of V we have a completely immobile mask.  A grinning Guy Fawke's mask in fact a lot like the ones you can buy nearly everywhere in britain.  Somehow, though that grin changes greatly just by how the actor Hugo Weaving tilts his head.  It can change to what seems to be a geniune smile to a mocking leer.  No doubt we the audience are projecting what we feel onto that mask, but it seems to be the perfect canvas for it.

Now on the other hand Rorschach from the movie "The Watchmen."  While the movie itself is something of a mix bag, nearly everyone took notice of Rorshcach.  His mask had the ability to convey something of what the character was feeling but never in a straight forward way.  It was an ever changing black and white pattern.  Like the test he was named after, Rorschach's mask has us projecting what we the audience are feeling for that scene.  Like the Ironman/Robocop masks what lies under that mask is not what we expect.  There is a very disturbed little man under that huge symbol.  A man who's power and madness is never to be able to compromise.

Because Games are Being Played...

"If the striker thinks he scores
 Or if the keeper cries in shame
 They understand not the crowd's applause
 I make, and hear and earn again
 For I am the crowd and I am the ball
 I am the triumph and the blame
 I am the turf, the pies, the All
 Always and ever, I am the Game.
 It Matters not who won or lost
 Nothing is the score you made
 Fame is a petal that curls in the frost
 But I will remember how you played."
                               Terry Pratchett
                               Unseen Academicals

Today's Secret Code For October 29, 2010

"We tend to treat our dogs better than our time, but then time doesn't have a waggity tail."  Again:  "We tend to treat our dogs better than our time, but then time doesn't have a waggity tail."  Today's colour is not faded yet.  Today's author asks what time is love?  That is all, maho maho.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Evil Watches

He sees you.  He knows everything that you've done.  He knows your sins and virtues.  Happy halloween.

Mutant cats want you to have a nice Halloween. Remember to wear bright colors when trick or treating.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Zombies

I don't know when exactly this became a trend, but there are now complete idiot guides to everything.  So I guess why not Zombies.  It's a harmless little book.  Sort of like a Wikipedia with you know.. those funny things that flap around.. oh yes PAGES.  Anyway, it provides a good springboard to further research and is a fun read in itself. 

However, they diss my favorite zombie movie "Return of the Living Dead," and that dear readers cannot stand.  They write:

"Most zombie fans have two main issues with these films.  Number one, this was the first movie to depict zombies eating the brains of the living.  This makes no sense, since without a brain, the whole idea of reanimation becomes a little hard to swallow.  Second, zombie fands did not like the idea that the "return" zombies could not be killed with a blow to the brain.. because they didn't have brains to being with."
Oh where to start, where to start.  Ok, 1)  "Most zombie fans?"  Most zombie fans I know love Return of the Living Dead, rest of the series not so much but that's another kettle of fish sticks.  2)  You don't want to think too deeply about reanimation anyway bucko, it's always hard to swallow.  2.5) For those who watched the film closely anything contaminating by the chemical trioxion got reanimated.  That included split dogs and even butterfies pinned to a wall.  3)  All the zombies did have most of their brains as they were infected by the trioxin and not by zombie bites.  Those zombies that rose later did suffer some brain damage but they still had a good deal of their brains intact as it only took a little brain for a zombie to feel good and by the time that feeling faded it was no longer a living brain.

Yes I am a nerd, a zombie nerd.

It's Thursday and we got Masks

Well here I go again.  I can tell this has been a popular series.  Thank you all coming around and see and be sure to leave a little feedback if you can.  Span us if you would.  Now without further adooing...


Ok, it might be unfair to pick on a kid's show.  Still, when your mask screams "PLASTIC," that there is a fail.  When the halloween costume knock offs from the 99 cent store look like the real thing, then it is time to hang your color coded head in shame. 

Total Recall had some Arnold and other great mutants and a pre-Inception mind blowing script.  But there are three things everyone remembers: three breasted hooker, Arnold's eyes popping out like snail eyes on a stalk, and this little number.  It doesn't even really make sense.  Is this the tardis of masks? Where does it have room for the big red fusion chamber shown above and a human head?  Where does a guy on the run buy a mask like this anyway?  Jolly Jakes Hellacious Cybernetic Monstrosities?  Luckily, we are happy not to think deeply about the hows and the wheres as this head peels off and then explodes, but not without a final appropriate Arnold line.


Dr. Phibes was horribly burned (they always say horribly burned, I don't think anyone is ever happily burned but never mind) and so goes around wearing a Vincent Price Mask.  Luckily Dr. Phibes is being played by Vincent Price.  However, the ever hammy (I love him but it's the truth) Mr. Price goes along with the gag and when wearing his own face keeps it as immobile as if it were really a mask.  Actually a very nice bit of acting and really rather creepy.  Extra points goes to the fact that Dr. Phibes can only talk by jabbing a cord from the back of his neck to a phonograph. 


Today's secret code for October 28, 2010

"Never fight on an empty stomach or love with an empty head."  Again:  "Never fight on an empty stomach or love with an empty head."  Today's colour is behind you.  Today's author is ahead of the curve.  That is all, maho maho.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday's Baby

Tuesday Baby won't stop crying.  Mother thinks she's broke.
Her hair is still aflame, and perhaps you should not have spoke

Hot Dog! It's almost halloween

Elephant of Suprise

I Shall Wear Midnight

Really there is no cooler author alive than Terry Pratchett.  He was just recently knighted.  Sure many people get knighted these days, but how many decide to make their own sword to mark the occasion?   How many dig their own ore for their own sword?  How many decide to add meteoric iron to the mix?  As I said, pure coolness.

Terry is best known for his Discworld series which is a sprawling batch of books that encompasses smaller series with reoccurring characters.  "I Shall Wear Midnight," is the latest in the adventure Tiffany Aching who is a young country witch.  She has already made some reputation for herself and now has her own steading to take care of.  But a reputation can be a bad thing and she and other witches are now in danger.  Can Tiffany take care this growing danger and still take care of her people at the same time?  Can she work out her own feelings about the new Baron?  Will the Nac Mac Feegle (Little blue people on drink and steroids) be a help, or a Lilliputian wrecking crew?  These questions will be answered in due time of course.

This book is a very strong book by Mr. Pratchett.  It is a fine balance of the heartfelt and humor.  It never slows down, but it never stops being thoughtful.  The characters are characters and not just punchlines.  Balance actually is a very important subtheme of the book.  Balance is how Tiffany manages much of what folks call magic.  You can take the pain from someone, but it has to go somewhere.  You can walk through fire, but the heat also has to go somewhere.  Being a witch is not only knowing how to shift things but where to shift them too. 

Another thing that a witch has to understand is what being a witch really means.  It doesn't mean using magic.  The most powerful magic a witch has is being a witch.  It is in the office of being a witch that witches gain much of their power, and it is the type of person who seeks that office where they gain the rest.  It is a theme that Terry has touched on before to good effect.

Look if I haven't been clear enough:  READ HIS BOOKS.  Really they are that good.  Don't worry that there are so many, most can be picked up and read as single books.  In fact, don't even worry about starting at the beginning, in all honestly the beginning books were hit or miss as he found his voice and this wonderful Discworld of his.  So don't be afraid, just go to the library and grab this book or any of his others and dig in. It will be a rich feast.

Masks Make the Man (or Monster)

So the list continues.  Some of these are of a more practical variety than earlier masks.  At least they provide a little protection from the elements. 


Right, you are known associate of Han Solo.  You are going to sneak into the Hutt's palace (as opposed to the Hutt's Hut) who is a gangster so probably has at least some clue as to who are players and who arent.  So you go in wearing a funky helmet with a toothy chin guard as your disguise?  Yeah, Lando you should work better on your disguise specially if you are going to be the only black man in three films.


Now I said that the make up that is needed to make the Predators didn't count, but then they put a mask on top of it.  What a mask it is too.  It clearly hints at the alien nature of the Predators without giving too much away.  Also, it has a lot of nifty functions.  It clearly has a computer in it or access to it, and it is processing all the predators see and hear.  Also, if it doesn't provide life support when on earth it at least provides some comfort.  Add that halo of alien dredlocks and its a nasty looking functional mask.


Probably one of the best things about the first three films (that was wrecked in the next three) was Darth Vader.  Who could not see that mask coming and not feel a sense of dread.  Part Storm trooper, part robot, pure evil.  That's our Darth.  It always came as a surprise when he let his guard down enough to expose that there was a living being under that seemingly impenetrable armor.  The mask also was very important in that it was part of the system that kept what was left of Vader alive.  So it was an image of fear and also something of his cage.

Of course, some people prefer Boba's more worn armor over Darth's shiny blackness.  But really, come on.  You think "Star Wars" your first thought is Darth, not some bounty hunter.

Today's Secret Code for October 27, 2010

"Sometimes we have to choose; Beatles or Elvis, Daffy or Donald?"  Again:  "Sometimes we have to choose; Beatles or Elvis, Daffy or Donald?"  Today's colour has not been polled.  Today's author hopes he is never polled as it sounds nasty and painful.  That is all, maho maho.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ambassador


Halloween gets the best treats

The Mask List continues

So here we are discussing more of the best (and worst of masks), if you have a thought feel free to join in.  So here we go again.


Yes I LOVED the movie, and yes I get the joke that our hero has a pitiful uncool costume.  But come on, this is sad.  This is less super hero and more "Kermit the Ninja."  Someone call 911 and Project Runway.


It's only fitting really.  Both mad serial killers with a habit of killing young teens and making sequels.  Both took their masks on the fly and made the look their own.  One the one hand, both look very scary.  On the other, they really didn't work hard.  I mean grabbing the nearest mask is sort of lame, think of what they might have scared up.  Jason in an easter bunny mask?  Actually that might be more probable than the chances of a HOCKEY MASK in a SUMMER CAMP!  So they get nicked points for not have a good concept, but I'll give a few bonus points for Michael's mask which was based on a mask of William Shatner.


You might think this would rate higher.  After all, put the mask on and suddenly you can do anything except make a decent sequel.  Well, the thing is once you put the mask on, it's all make up.  It's not really a mask at that point.  The real mask is shown below.  It's got a neat old timey feel, but isn't a knock out.  So it gets oodles of points for super magicalcalifragidoocious but loses points for splinters. 


Robotomy is another 15 minute cartoon show that has premiered on the Cartoon Network. It's about two robot "students" and their hijinks.  The animation is nicely old school and there was a nice little time travel gag.  Overall though, it was middling.  Maybe, I think that "facebook"/frenemy jokes have already jumped the shark.  But, I'll certainly look it over again and it was fun enough for 15 minutes.  It does make for a rather schizoid hour of tv when combined with adventure time, reality show, and Mad. 

I like schizoid.

Secret Code for October 26 2010

"Elections:  The beatings will continue until the morale improves."  Again:  "Elections:  The beatings will continue until the morale improves."  Today's colour is hopeful. Today's author has changed.  That is all, maho maho.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beast Ridden Beast, BRB, was another esoterrorist band from Sweden.  They also dead death metal, and their own odd version.... resurrection metal.  Not much else is known about them since all information was destroyed by court order after the trial.

It's only funny if it's not you

St. Stranger

He travels and is known by none
Pray for St. Stranger
Two is company but he's always one
Pray for St. Stranger
He travels backward roads in his own sweet time
Light a candle for St. Stranger
Be careful where you tread in darkness most subline
or be prey for St. Stranger

It's Coming! It's Coming

The Venture Brothers without the Venture Brothers (SPHINX!)

This episode doesn't even show the Venture Brothers or even Dr. Venture.  This is the story of Billy Quizboy being kidnapped ....again.  Billy is one of the more competent characters of the ventureverse, but often the most abused.  Here he is kidnapped by "The Investors" who look and act a lot like vampires.  Billy's pal Mr. White enlists the aid of S.P.H.I.N.X (Sphinx!) so at least we have Brock Samson.

Not much more to say.  This has mid season episode written all over it.  It's not a game changer nor was it top form.  For any other show this might have been a daring episode but we hold the Venture Brothers to a higher standard by jiggly. 


Blair but for the Grace of God...

I blame you blair witch people.  You couldn't even manage your own sequel and now every year a dozen films come out trying to be the "next blair witch."  Why not?  The blair witch was not only an artistic success but more lucrative than selling condoms at an orgy.  The key was that the blair witch had production values that would have embarrassed a second grade pageant and yet scored about a hundred million in the box office.  Generally, the blair clones have not done near as well, "Paranormal Activity" being the exception, but hope is always in the heart of the film maker.

"Monster Movie," is at least a little more light hearted than most.  The story of a group fishing when they encounter a monster and then run away, and run away, and run away.  There are about two stabs of originality here: first in the set up where they go into butt numbing detail about how one works in the film department so that's why they have different film stock and he has a twin brother manning the camera, and so on.  The creature itself is sort of original in that it isn't a guy in a hockey mask, but rather a good ol' fashion rubber dinosaur. 

I wouldn't sit through this again, but at least it was rather painless.  As Ford Perfect would say, "mostly harmless."

The Masks of halloween Part One

Masks are a very important part of halloween so why not a top ten of the best masks?  Why not indeed!  Now make up does not count.  It has to be  mask and a mask that the CHARACTER wears not the ACTOR to become the character.  So, here's the first part.

DISHONORABLE MENTION:  The Phantom of the Opera.

Now the Phantom used to have a fairly rocking mask, then he went all broadway then hollywood now he has something that would barely count as an eyepatch.  Not only is this not really a mask but it goes counter to what the Phantom was.  We are talking about a character that hid his scarred face away from others by living with a sewer.  That tiny mask there could barely cover a zit!

10.  Noodles from Melancholy Hill

I LOVE this mask for it's simplicity.  I mean it looks like something you could pick up at a fair.  But it is also not just pretty but can be read in several ways.  Is it a cat's face there or a butterfly? 

9.  The Martians from "The Martian Chronicles"

Here we have one of the better imaginings of an alien culture.  The mask looks like it used ceremoniously and certainly gives the wearer a certain gravitas.  It is both coldly mathematical in form yet there is something of the insect there.  Certainly if someone was wearing that mask I'd pay attention.

Today's secret code for October 25 2010

"The halloween breeze makes the jack o' lanterns hum happily."  Again:  "The halloween breeze makes the jack o' lanterns hum happily."  Today's colour is orange.  Today's author still can't find anything to rhyme with 'orange.'  That is all, maho maho.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fox Spirit

Fox spirits still abide in Japan.  Tricksters but not evil, they are as part of the landscape as an old shrine.  Still things do change, now many Fox Spirits have moved to Britain and America. Others now work for major Japanese Corporations.  Times change, even for the timeless.

Halloween is just around the corner

A "Splice" of Life

Splice now is a good little horror film.  Tightly plotted and well acted.  It's fairly smart, maybe even a little two smart.  Our two named characters are named after actors from "Bride of Frankenstein,"

Yeah cute.

Anyway these two are a dysfunctional couple of genius scientists.  I had the urge to add "evil" but they aren't evil, yet.  They are trying to produce some wacky protein for their boss so they get the neat idea of adding a little human DNA into the mix.  A definite no no.  What comes out sort of looks like a worm but don't be so judgemental, have you ever seen a new born baby?  Yech.  Anyway, what they get turns into "Dren" who looks like a bald ballerina with chicken feet and a monkey/scorpion tale.  Yeah.  Note to scientists:  Better check your brew better next time.

So now this dysfunctional pair are now parents.  They take Dren to their farm into the wood there to become MAJORLY dysfunctional.  Like "It's A Hillbilly Open Still Christmas Special," dysfunctional.  The original Frankenstein's sin was in abadoning his creation.  These idiot savants get way to close to theirs.  Well of course Dren isn't going to become a well adjusted mutant with all this abuse and she goes all killing rampage by the end. 

Is their a lesson learned?  Ain't tellin'.

I liked the film, it had some nice scares and was well acted.  The special effects/make up for Dren were mostly good (One dance scene being painfully not), and Dren was fairly sympathetic at the beginning.  Dren is an alien creature who eventually cannot control its own nature or its environment, the ultimate victim.  The scientists definitely are in the moral plane the bad guys here even if they are the ones ultimately terrorized by their own creation.  They are so self centered they have no sense of their own hubris.  At least the original Dr. Frankenstein by the end had some understanding of his crimes.  You don't get that from these people.

They can't all be treats

"Assault of the Sasquatch" is pretty bad.  Maybe if there were more people watching with me, or if I had the habit of drinking and viewing it might have been a "fun" bad movie.  But no, it's just a really bad movie.  It apes (sasquatches?) Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13," a bunch of crooks, cops, and others are trapped in an isolated police station by a very upset Sasquatch.  Add in a fat teen doing a very bad and over broad Chris Farley (Yes for YOU it is too soon.), and you have the recipe for a migraine.

"The Craving" didn't fair much better.  Add one desert, one shack, and a bunch of characters we wished would have died before the film began and you have a waste of time.  The bizarre creature who has the ability to turn other people into orange eyed crazy people, just isn't bizarre enough to save things.

Just goes to show, you can't have a treat every time you dip into the movie bag.  Some days it is all black jelly beans.  ewww..

The Five Of Us Pawns

An Early book by Kylie Poole.  She would later elucidate, expand, and illuminate the alchemical subtext into the whole of her work.  The book itself suffers from a lot of first time author errors.  It's badly paced and not all the characters work.  Some are more obviously puppets of the authorial voice, though critic Bernadette Bauldrere contends that was on purpose.

The plot of "the Five of Us Pawns," involvese the Murrhy Quints.  The five brothers are now adults leading very seperate lives.  They have grown up thinking they hate each other.  One morning they all wake up to a different world.  They find that they have all been leading secret lives unbeknowst to them.  Moreover, they have had a lot of contact with each other and seem to have been working on some unnamed overarching goal.  As the Quints gather again to piece it together they are subject to horrific dreams involving a demonic version of themselves named "Amon."  Only with the help of Carrolyn Creule, a psychologist and anthropologist from a Jungian school, do the Quints piece it together.

The novel is about self realization and transformation.  Only when they become aware that they are pawns to this Amon can they change things, but it is only when Carrolyn joins them that they can transform (alchemically?) from helpless pawns to deciders of their own fate.  While at the end they destroy first Amon and then the more powerful Crom Crolech, it is not as the book end a satisfying victory.  They have lived their whole lives as puppets.  Now they have to forge new identities.  As Michael Murrhy says at the very end: "I look into the five faces that mirror my own in form and dispassion and I know I should say something, but nothing comes."

Today's Secret Code for October 24, 2010

"The best thing to have in combat is the elephant of supplies."  Again:  "The best thing to have in combat is the elephant of supplies."  Today's colour is ready.  Today's author is willing.  Where is Abel?  That is all, maho maho.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Caught in the dead lights...

Ghosts haunt a lonely world.  Ghosts do not haunt each other.  Every ghost is alone.  Every Ghost is Alone.

Is it halloween yet????

"Hi I'm Johnny Jo, and we will Rock!"

Johnny Jo was the front man for several bands of the Esoterrorist movement.  He wasn't a thinker, he was never credited with writing any songs, but he was a dynamic stage presence.  Like everyone involved with the movement, however, his life was marked by darkness.  Many singers go through relationships like they were M&M's but generally the ex is still around.

Johnny Jo has been married six times.
The authorities have yet to find any of the ex Mrs. Jo.

Currently, it is said that Johnny Jo is residing somewhere in the sandy wilds of Nevada.  He cannot be reached for comment.

Cats Won't Say No

Bored to Death is sort of um.. boring?

Bored to Death is a pretty simple series.  Jason Schwartzman is a writer who isn't writing that much and is just out of relationship.  He drinks too much white wine and smokes too much weed.  So in the middle of a self made wasteland he puts up an ad in Craig's list as an "unlicensed Private Investigator."  Now his life is more interesting as he juggles the odd case as he deals with a mercurial Ted Danson and his comic book drawing pal Zach Galifianakis.

It is certainly a well written series, and Ted Danson is obviously having a swell time.  Still, there is always the danger that a series about bored people getting high on weed will sometimes result in a rather negative contact high.  That is, sometimes it is too slow.  Sometimes, I don't give a rat's patootie about the main character.  Also, not being a New York intellectual doesn't help my love for the series since it worships that subset of a subset of americana.  Still, there was enough to keep my interest.  I just wish HBO would do a series about the OTHER jewish detective/artist.  Come on HBO, I dare you, I double dog dares you to do a Kinky Freidman show.

Carry On Camping

I'm told the "Carry On" series was a very popular series of films from the UK.  One assumes they must have been popular with someone since there were so many made.  Generally they are smirkfests along the lines of Benny Hill. 

Carry On Camping was made in 1969 and I believe it was late in the series.  I would assume so many of the characters are on the oldish side for what amounts to a teen romp.  We got two fellows who are very keen on nudist movies.  Their girlfriends are understandably less keen.  They hatch the hare brained idea to arrange their camping holiday at a nudist resort without telling their girls.  Also at the same time a girl's school is going out on holiday as well being chaproned by helpless staff.  Both groups of course come together and presumed hilarity results.

It's a very interesting artifact, both of leering comedy that promises a lot heat without really delivering and of an older, quainter Britain.  As far as the actual comedy goes, it's rather hit or miss but there were points I had a little smile.  Some parts reminded me a bit both of the already named Benny Hill and Austin Powers, so you can sort of see a family tree of comedy being formed with this being somewhat like the wheezy Uncle who comes for Christmas.

Carry on...

"On the Keys to A Darker Kingdom."

An interesting book about author Kylie Poole who wrote the celebrated "Shadows from the Sun," the first of what critics called the Inconstance series.  Author Derrick Moone has done a lot of research and has come up with something interesting.

It seems that before being a published author Kylie worked the rare book room at the Library of Londonium.  These she was exposed to a singular book written by an 8th century alchemist who wrote under the name of Rey de Lun.  The book entitled merely "Six," was a very complete dissection of Rey de Lun's theory. 

Basically, everything in the universe is the result of the intersection of prime forces.  Imagine these prime forces are like sides of a geometic object, in this case a hexagon.  There are six hexagons representing each "family of forces," and each side represents a different force.  Now arrange the hexagons so there is a whole in the middle of the arrangement.  A side of each hexagon will define this hole and in fact it will look just like a hexagon. 

Rey de Lun's belief was that everything in the universe we interact with was one of these holes defined by different arrangements of the prime forces.  The book went on to describe these forces and their more esoteric interactions, but that's not important.  I'm sure anyone who has read "Shadows from the Sun," can see how Rey de Lun's idea infected the novel and the author.  Even her last letter before going missing, "I am nothing, and I dream still," gains meaning from this insight.

Truly a masterful work of forensic criticism.

Today's Secret Code for October 23, 2010

"They all float down here."  Again:  "They all float down here."  Today's Colour is not black because black is not a colour.  Today's author is not an author, nor is he a hellish clown thing.  That is all hopefully, maho maho.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My take on Wonder Woman

One thing I think about Wonder Woman is for the most part she has been very rarely given the representation she deserves.  I'm not talking about a new jacket or anything like that, but rather just the overall feel.  Here, I think I've made her a more distant, mythic figure.  I could imagine seeing this wonder woman on top of the building after an epic battle looking down at all the destruction that had been wrought because men won't stop fighting.

Is That Halloween coming?

She's One Bad ... SHUT YOUR MOUTH... I Was Just Talking About the Cat


You know you are in for a ride when the film starts with Adrien Brody waking up in the middle of the sky.  No back story, no set up.  Just wake up in free fall.  Saved only because of a pretimed parachute and falls into the middle of a jungle.  He gets up and there's Danny Trejo with guns.  By the way, "Danny Trejo with guns" is the answer to "Who I don't want to meet in the middle of the jungle," Alex for five hundred.

Before you know it there are others in that same jungle mostly armed to the teeth.  Well except for a Doctor, and Walton Goggins who's a crazed con.  These are trained professionals so it doesn't take long for them to realize that 1) they are on another planet, and 2) they are being hunted by cloaked, heavily armed, super strong aliens.  All this means one thing; GUN FU!  They go through so much lead that there must have been an onsite foundry.

First off, this film has an eclectic cast of fine actors and fine badasses.  Adrien Brody may not seem like one's first choice to take over from Ahnold, but he is believable smart, accurate with his guns, morally grey enough to survive with a team of killers, and most importantly very fast.  I have to give special nods to Lawrence Fishburne and Walton Goggins.  Lawrence Fishburne plays a fellow who has spent WAYYYYY TOOO MUCH TIME alone.  Walton Goggins who was great in "The Shield" is like a beefier, psychotic Don Knotts.  When his big ol' eyes go zing zanging you know it's crazy time.

This is an action packed and mostly intelligent action film.  The Predators are bigger and badder than ever but so are the humans so it's a suprisingly evenly matched hunt with some suprises for everyone.  Definitely, a must watch if you are a science fiction or action fan.


Banshee is about 15% better than the standard Syfy movie of the week.  That may not sound like a lot but it is enough.  As the old saying goes, "You don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than your friends."

Banshee is pretty simple when you get down to it.  Bunch of young people, old geezers, and cops inexplicably encounter a banshee here in America.  The Banshee is a case of CGI, and is less a creature of magic and myth than a seriously odd monster.  It can make itself look like anyone, even a little girl.  It can scream loud enough to blow heads off.  It has big big big BIG claws.  it's only weakness is that it doesn't like loud noises.

The plot is by the number.  The acting ranges from fair to not their.  The CGI is par for course.  Still, there are some very nice scenes.  Seeing a little girl holding an "I" beam over a soon to be dead character's head is visually interesting and thrilling.  There are enough scenes like that to make it of interest to the horror fan.

Secret Code for October 22, 2010

"Never walk under a ladder on Friday the 13th as you break a mirror over a  black cat, or  tell a woman that yes she does look fat in that."  Again:  "Never walk under a ladder on Friday the 13th as you break a mirror over a black cat, or tell a woman that yes she does look fat in that."  Today's colours are bright and smart.  Today's author is happier and wiser.  That is all, maho maho.