thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
The general consensus on The Walking Dead--the Darabont-helmed AMC show based on the great comics by Robert Kirkman--seems to boil down to two reactions:

1.) People who've read the comic loved the pilot.

2.) People who haven't read the comic thought the pilot felt like pretty much every zombie movie ever.

I definitely fit into the first category. I wasn't thinking, "What's gonna happen next? Oh, so they're hitting the same zombie movie beats we've seen a million times before," because... well, that's what happened in the comic. I was expecting exactly that. What I wasn't expecting was for the show to do it better.

Because look, I love the comic, but like much of Kirkman's work, it takes six or so issues before it finally kicks in and takes off. Kirkman likes to set up ways that feel like going through the motions, so that he can then tear it all down with what the story's really about. Walking Dead, in particular, had a rather standard start that worked at the time because it felt refreshingly back-to-basics and old school in the sudden Fast Zombies boom with the Dawn of the Dead remake and 28 Days Later*. It was so refreshing to see someone doing classic Romero slow zombies again as an ongoing series that I cut Kirkman some slack.

But since then, zombies have over-saturated the market to the point that such an opening episode feels like "classic" and more "cliched." Should Darabont have rewritten Kirkman's opening to make it fresher and more distinct? Only if it could mean the people in Category #2 could be as excited as those of us in Category #1.

The reason I loved it so much was because, even though I knew what the story was going to be, and what was going to happen next, I was awestruck by the storytelling. Darabont understands the essential, oh-so-basic rule that no one seems to frickin' understand: nothing is scarier than silence. Almost any other show/movie (especially modern zombie ones) would fill those spaces with creeeeeeeepy music, and uh oh, it's getting creepier and more suspensful, so you know something's about to happen, whoooaaaa!

No. Fuck that. For true horror, silence is golden. Silence doesn't give you the safety net of clues to tell you what to feel. Silence lets your imagination run wild. When Rick was walking through that hospital, the casual background images of the bullet holes in the walls was all you needed to know. Even when we saw the zombies, there was no music. The horror speaks for itself in this dead world.

BUT... it's only when Rick went back to his house, desperately searched for his wife and son, found nobody, and broke down crying... that's when the dramatic soundtrack swept in. And I just wanted to kiss the air, like a compliment to a fine chef. Because the music was humanity. The music was only for the living, and the feeling. And it was only when the very living sorrow broke through that the silence was itself broken, if only for a moment. Fucking beautiful.

The rest of the show carried on magnificently, I thought. After soundtracks, the second greatest reason why most horror movies suck today is "BOO!" scares. Ughhhh, there's nothing so lazy in horror as the "BOO!" scare. True horror comes from letting your imagination fill in the gaps, as your dread mounts. That's what TWD show did so wonderfully. For now, there were no big action sequences, so Savini Showcase gore effects, just character-focused moments, interaction, and dread.

The pacing just made me extremely happy. Henchgirl (who fell into Category #2) said it felt like a 70's film. For me, I think that's a fantastic thing, and I hope it's maintained throughout the series. I also hope the show does start getting more original and distinct, as the comics themselves have, now that the familiar groundwork has been so expertly laid.

Until then, I hope it rises above the over-saturation of today's market (I think it's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that really killed the trend) and catches on with more people, especially those from category #2. Because damn it, I want to geek out about this with more people. Especially once Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) joins the cast.

For now, I just have one thing to say to those of you in category #2: if the show is anything like the comic, then don't get too attached to any of the characters. Even the ones you assume are safe. Even the lead. There was a point when I seriously thought Kirkman was going to kill off the entire cast and continue the series focusing on the father-son team of Morgan and Duane. It wouldn't have been surprising.

Man. I hope they bring in the Governor. *shudder*

*In fact, with 28 Days Later evoked, let's look at TWD's opening. Both the comic and the show featured the main character waking up in the hospital, having been in a coma while the zombie outbreak started.

Most people accuse Kirkman (and now the show here) for ripping off 28DL, but what few realize (so few that it's not even mentioned on Wikipedia) is that 28DL itself ripped off a New Zealand film called The Quiet Earth. In it, a man wakes up (in the same full-frontal nude shot that was replicated in 28DL with Cillian Murphy) to discover that everybody else on Earth has vanished.

So, yeah, give ripping off credit where it's due.
thehefner: (Me: White Background)
The first bald cap split. The second was too tight. The spirit gum was too old. As was the silver hair color. The claws' glue had dried in the bottle, and even though we bought nail fixative from CVS, there was no time before we went to take in the 10:00 screening of Nosterfatu at the AFI.

Nonetheless, people seemed rather pleased with how I turned out.

With the hair, I think I turned out more rat-like than vampire-like, but based on the fact that three different strangers wanted photos with me after the film, I'm guessing it was good enough. They said that I looked perfect, which--considering how much more makeup and prosthetics I wanted to use and had to go without--is the best kind of dubious compliment.

I wish I'd gotten a photo with Henchgirl as Snow White. She said that the pairing doesn't work at all, but I liked to think we met on "The PaleBook." I'm going to keep saying it until it's funny, damn it.
thehefner: (Scott and Barda are US SO SCHMOOPY)
We haven't had convenient internet since we left Hamilton for Kansas City, so while this is a week and a day late, let me give you a little visualization of our reaction to leaving Hamilton.

This? This was Hamilton:

And this was Henchgirl:

"GO! GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" *incoherent terror mingled with maniacal laughter*

As I was typing this, she overheard me checking out a video clip of that ending, and said, "Oh god, you're finally writing it!" (listens) "Hey, now, I wasn't that bad."

"Ohhhh, yes you were."

"No, I wasn't. I really wasn't."

"Okay, fine. So, you wanna go back to Hamilton?"


"Hee hee hee!"

"... You fucker, you said that just so you could have something for the transcription, didn't you?"


"You'd better write that one down too."

Of course, the town that tried to crush us on all Fringe Festivals had one last meathook to hang us upon, and that was it kept us from arriving in time for our next gig, the Kansas City Fringe Festival. The KC people were appraised of this months ago, so it was cool, they made certain I wouldn't have to do any shows until I arrived, and indeed, we got there in time. With the KC Festival already half-over.

So we weren't all that surprised when our first show opened and no one showed up. First time that's happened to me in three years, but eh, not surprising. The festival's well underway, and we have no buzz, we hadn't been promoting, and our venue was ass-hot. Hell, we still weren't surprised when we had just four people the next performance.

But you know what? Those four people were better than all the audience members we had over our six performances in Hamilton combined.

God, between this and Indianapolis Fringe last year, I'm really starting to love Midwestern audiences. Maybe in a couple years, I'll come up with a show more attuned to Canadian sensibilities (the kind of show where their reserved and/or polite silences won't crush our souls throughout the show), but for right now, with THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES, we've learned our lesson. We're touring the fuck outta the Midwest Fringes with this show.

I really wanna brave the insanity that was Winnipeg Fringe, though. That's the only Canadian Fringe I seriously wanna rock, someday. I'm hungry to make it in Winnipeg. I would have done it last year, too, if I hadn't gotten a mediocre review by a Winnipeg reviewer who already saw me perform in Montreal to dead-silent and snobbish audiences (with a few notable exceptions, namely you awesome Montreal peeps right here, who actually get my humor).

Yeah, Montreal was the festival where the main theatre critic essentially called my show the Worst In The Fringe. I don't feel like I'm quite at a point in my career where I can look back on that and hold it up as a badge of honor.

But when one of my audience members at KC Fringe--a rather important and influential figure in the festival, I think--was telling a bunch of people that he'd seen about thirty shows and mine was the best of them all... not to mention getting my first-ever five-star review and having a reviewer call my show, "one of the funniest shows I've ever seen,"...

Yeah. That helps. :)

Well, it helps my ego, anyway. It didn't help our sales. Alas, the damage was already done with us being so late. But hopefully that's enough built-in buzz for next year, because we definitely wanna bring it back to KC and do it right this time. Until then, we put THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES back in its box for a well-deserved rest. Well, unless we get into the Chicago Fringe Festival at the start of September. Still #4 on the waiting list!

But while we dearly want to do nothing more than get wasted, watch movies, and read comics, we're not of the woods just yet. Not only do we still have to get back to DC, but we have two weeks to prepare the new show, THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, for Indy Fringe.

Frankly, I've never been this nervous. It's going to be a clusterfuck, and a goddamn miracle if the shows at Indy will be as good as we'd like them to be, first time out. If I'd have known from the start, I would have skipped Hamilton and KC altogether, and devoted all that time to ROAD, which is exactly where it needed to be.

But this situation is what it is. Over the next couple weeks, we shall be entering nervous-breakdown-mode as we scramble to cobble this Frankenstein's monster together and bring it to life in time for Indy Fringe. It'll be hell, but we'll pull it off. Not just because we want this new show to be great. But because if we don't... then Hamilton wins.

To which Henchgirl says, "If that's the motivation you need, honey."

... Keep driving. I hear chainsaws.
thehefner: (Harrumph)
You can tell a lot about a movie if enough of the right people call it "stupid."

Take the recent sci-fi film SPLICE. There was a film that had a very silly trailer, yet the presence of Guillermo Del Toro as producer made geeks like me interested that maybe SPLICE would be worth looking into.

What really clinched that feeling was an essay from Devin at, "How You Can Save Good Movies This Weekend," wherein he implored all lovers of genre cinema to support SPLICE, because "even if you find that you don't like it, I guarantee you're going to at least be able to admit that it's interesting and it's unique and it's pretty incredible that a studio like Warner Bros gave it a major release."

On the very same day, I discovered that D-List celebrity Joe Rogan had tweeted the following: "SPLICE may very well be the dumbest fucking movie in the history of dumb movies. The whole theater was laughing at how stupid it was."

"Dumbest fucking movie." "Stupid."

I had flashbacks to seeing a showing of William Friedkin's BUG, a smart, daring, powerful psychological drama smugged into multiplexes under the guise that it was a creepy crawly insect-themed horror movie. The audience was pissed off throughout. Someone even yelled out, "What the fuck is this shit?!" by the end.

It did not fit their expectations, so they furiously, willfully missed the point. And as I suspected from Rogan's tweet, what happened to BUG was doomed to happen with SPLICE all over again. Now, last I checked, it holds a 75% "fresh" rating on, so the critics appreciated the film enough.

But no one ever said that the critics speak for the mentality of your average moviegoer. At least, the moviegoers who express their opinions online at LJ, twitter, facebook, etc. Twitter and Facebook have made it easier than ever for any lazy, impulsive idiot to broadcast their ill-formed knee-jerk opinion for others to take to heart.

Here on LJ, most people were railing against SPLICE not due to seeing the film themselves, but rather due to this ranting, all-caps "review" that hated the film for the sheer fact that it included shocking, disturbing, provocative, and transgressive themes.

In response to one of the few comments that actually dares to question the "reviewer" by bringing up that the fucked-up parts served the narrative purpose, the OP responded:

"I can't deal with the fucked up parts! Those are what made this a bad movie for me."

Look, I can understand someone not wanting to see a film because certain subject matter is upsetting to them, for whatever reason. I, personally, have absolutely zero interest in ever seeing IRREVERSIBLE. But just because the film included a ridiculously-extended and graphic rape sequence, I'm guessing the filmmaker probably had a reason for including that in the film. It would be horrifying, disgusting, infuriating, yes, but that alone wouldn't make IRREVERSIBLE a bad movie.

But IRREVERSIBLE is an art film, and most mainstream audiences wouldn't go for art films any more than they'd go for your average David Cronenberg flick. In fact, watching SPLICE, I was most reminded of Cronenberg's THE BROOD. But unlike THE BROOD and IRREVERSIBLE (and like BUG), SPLICE was released to multiplexes nationwide, seen by the kinds of audiences who made hits out of the SAW series and all those watered-down PG-13 remakes of classic horror.

Usually, I'd just see this as a typical case of a film being marketed to the wrong audience, as has often happened. Twenty-five years ago, SPLICE would have gone on to gain appreciation and popularity from the movie geeks who would scour the horror and sci-fi sections of your local video store, "discovering" awesome gems, and sharing them through word of mouth.

But that was before the internet. Now, even at, a site for the types of geeks who should at least appreciate SPLICE, those same geeks tear it apart with little more thought than to just call it "stupid."

But one commenter, a guy named Dhelix, wrote:

I can't help but wonder if film geeks born after the mid-80s just have different tastes, or if there's just more mainstream filmgoers on sites like AICN and Chud due to all the popular novel and comic book adaptations that have been coming out since the early 00s but film geeks lately have been pissing me off. It feels like an entire generation of kids has been raised to think that films have to behave a certain way and anything that's a little campy, weird, different gets shat on and ridiculed by the types of people I would have thought would have appreciated it.

It's a shame that so many fans on a site like Chud or AICN are shitting on this movie with the kinds of mainstream criticisms normally reserved for Holllywood blockbusters. There used to be a time where film geeks bought magazines, went to conventions and spoke lovingly about makeup gore, special effects, and just about any movie that pushed the boundaries of good taste. Guys like John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi, etc could pack thousands into convention halls for their autographs. These guys seemed rebellious. They were making movies on their terms and putting up images of dark humor, violence, gore, sex, etc in ways the rest of us could only imagine in our dreams or nightmares.

There was this cool little underground aspect to it all and the midnight showings were the best because people didn't walk out complaining and bitching about how unrealistic things were, or acting, or whatever... The bad became good. Poorly delivered lines became classic quotes. Tree rape scenes became legendary. People were appreciative and willing to suspend disbelief because they felt privileged to be able to see the kinds of sights, sounds and ideas that the studios wouldn't dare show us because 7 out 10 average, everyday citizens wouldn't approve of those images.

"Fans" these days feel so entitled and haters look up criticisms from professional critics and feel validated to spread that hate anywhere that will let them. In the past, those voices weren't heard so fandom was more positive and appreciative.

Dhelix's comment was quoted by Devin to kick-start his essay, "The Nature of the Modern Movie Geek," in which he raised a sobering question for movie geeks like me:

I wonder what it would be like if EVIL DEAD 2 were released today. Would it get relentlessly run down on the internet for being too silly and for the performances and production value? Have we become a world of film fans who can only accept movies that look like they cost a hundred million dollars, that have no tonal variances, and that adhere to Robert McKee**-style rules of structure? I wonder how Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi would have fared if there had been an internet when they were making their first films...

... We're in a weird place where the geeks won, and maybe it wasn't as good as we hoped it would be.

What a thought. In a time where the geek genres have become mainstream, where everyone can have their own little hive communities to inform and reinforce their opinions without challenge, where do we go for the new cult culture?

I don't think anyone really considers Cronenberg's THE BROOD to be a brilliant film, but it's a seminal classic in the 80's oeuvre of a great filmmaker. It's not my favorite film of his, but it's so distinctly Cronenbergian that I totally respect it for existing. But can you imagine how it'd be received today? There would be whole communities online ranting complaints like, "EWWW, she licked it off the baby? That's so disgusting! This movie sucks!" "Deformed murderous dwarf kids? That's stupid."

That's the thing about SPLICE. It's not a perfect film. In fact, I think it's a mess, but I respect the hell of it for what it tried to say about gene splicing, parenthood, science gone mad, "man is the real monster," etc. For all its shocking, gooey elements, it hearkened back to a time before STAR WARS turned sci-fi, the genre of ideas, into the genre of spectacle.

There are many ways one can criticize SPLICE, particularly in how they failed to deliver on the themes they'd established throughout by ultimately turning it into just another monster movie. But most people--geeks or otherwise--aren't talking about that. Their short, derisive, insubstantial dismissals show no indications that they even bothered to give the film some thought, nothing beyond a visceral knee-jerk reaction. They don't think, they only feel.

If they can't actually back up why they think a film is stupid with actual criticism and thought, then chances are it's not the film itself that's stupid.

*Sometimes I feel like every third link I post is by Devin Faraci from Yeah, he's often an asshat when he talks about pop culture and anything not related to movies. He's worse than Roger Ebert, who seems to keep harping on all the ways that video games are not and can never be great art. Even when Ebert makes some interesting points, all I can think of is all those snobs throughout the 20th century who said that comic books could never be art. But like Ebert, when Devin sticks to talking about movies, he's often brilliantly dead-on.

**I always wince whenever critical-types deride Robert McKee's screenwriting techniques, because I think they always assume that he just teaches cookie-cutter storytelling formula, and is thus churning out an industry of hacks. No, what he really does is teach classical story structure with the idea that one has to master the classic structure FIRST before they can deconstruct it. No one ever seems to catch that subtle distinction. I'd love to hear a dissenting opinion on McKee by someone who actually *understands* what the hell he actually teaches.
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
The news of FRIGHT NIGHT's remake doesn't offend me as much as, say, the thought of remarking Romero's MARTIN. It seems fairly inevitable, from the concept alone, not to mention that vampires are so hot right now.

Many people seem excited about the fact that BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER's Marti Noxon has written the remake. I know I'm prejudiced by the fact that I dislike Whedonese, but ugh. It's bad enough that we live in a post-BUFFY world of horror, but do we really have to take one of the greatest vampire movies of all time and redo it through a BUFFY filter? It doesn't need it.

What makes the original great was that it's a film for a post-Hammer generation, where Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, and TV horror hosts--representatives of classic horror--were already considered passe in the time of Freddy and Jason. It was a tribute to a genre that was pretty well loved exclusively by geeks, and it's even more of a niche today.

So I can grudgingly understand then recasting horror host Peter Vincent as a Criss Angel type showman, as that's more "relevant." And yeah, David Tennant, everybody loves David Tennant. I haven't watched DOCTOR WHO, and even I love David Tennant. But Peter Vincent not being a Hammer-style horror host just kind of hurts because of what it represents that we've lost in the horror genre and fans.

Also, he's Roddy Fucking McDowell. Not even the greatest Doctor can replace Jervis Cornelius Timmy (actually, his character in LASSIE COME HOME was named Joe, but whatever).

Now, Anton Yelchin as Brewster? Okay, that works. Colin Farrell as Jerry? A lot of people give Colin Farrell shit, but I've liked him since MINORITY REPORT, and he continues to be interesting in films like IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS and IN BRUGES, so maybe he'll do well with the role. He's just not Chris Sarandon.

Normally, I loathe vampires*, but Jerry Dandridge's more a vampire in the Dracula mold. The key to being an awesome Dracula is that Dracula doesn't fucking angst. He swoops in, seduces ladies (and men; tell me that scene with Evil Ed isn't a seduction), and just generally gets to be awesomely, stylishly evil. Dandridge has that, while still being able to come off as a very ordinary guy. I still love the way he sells, "Velcome to Frrrright Night!... For real." Whatever Farrell will bring to the role, he won't have that quality, I bet.

Then, there's Evil Ed. When we heard that Christopher Mintz-Plasse was cast, Henchgirl and I both went, "Oh fuck, that's brilliant." Red Mist was the only thing about KICK-ASS that I actively loved (I'll give it another chance in a theater without douchebags), and we thought it was casting genius.
CHUD's Devin Faraci hugely disagrees for reasons that further remind me why the original FRIGHT NIGHT was great:

Stephen Geoffreys didn't play Evil Ed as just another geek; there's something weirder and darker and maybe more pervy to him. And that's not taking his gay porn future into account; I think that there's a connection between Evil Ed and the chronic masturbator that Geoffreys played in the underseen classic Heaven Help Us (also a 1985 film, like Fright Night). Geoffreys brings the same sweaty, twisted sexuality to Evil Ed.

Mintz-Plasse doesn't have that. There's no danger to him; even at the end of Kick-Ass he's sort of goofy. What made Evil Ed an iconic character is that he didn't conform to standard nerd tropes, and that he's edgier and more manic than what has become the nerd stereotype these days. His casting in this film makes me think they're leaning more towards making Evil Ed harmless (and that's only aided by the PG-13 they're going for), while the original Evil Ed felt like maybe getting bit by Jerry was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. And not just because it was a nerd power fantasy but because it allowed him to open up something darker inside of himself.

Again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe writer Marti Noxon has a firm grasp on Evil Ed. It's just hard to see one of the more unique characters in horror history getting on the path for what is essentially gentrification - they're softening him up to make him more lovable to the norms.

... he's right. He's absolutely right. That's what made Evil Ed stand apart from a horror movies version of Anthony Michael Hall in THE BREAKFAST CLUB or Ducky.

But maybe Marti Noxon--someone I'm unfairly judging based on a series for which she wrote, not her actual abilities--has a great story up her sleeve. Maybe it will actually bring something new and interesting up her sleeve, and the cast will knock it out of the park. Maybe they'll even use McLovin to play up the subversiveness of Evil Ed as a "nerd" character. Maybe they'll pull it off.

Oh wait. It'll be PG-13?

Yeah, fuck the FRIGHT NIGHT remake.
thehefner: (LOL spaghetti western)
When I showed the Henchgirl the original STEPFATHER, she had three reactions that stood out:

1.) Wow, really fuck the remake.

2.) He's so utterly delightfully crazy! I just wanna give him a hug and a cookie! Oh can I, can I?

and 3.) Y'know, John, I actually *do* wanna see this remade. With you in the role. Seriously.

... y'know, much as I'm against remakes, I'd love a crack at that. Not just playing that role, but working on the script as well, reworking the movie as more of a character study.

In fact... hmm... I wonder if that could work as a play...?

We then started to watch STEPFATHER 2, but decided to stop halfway through. We decided to let the story stop right there, so that he could finally have a happy ending. Also, it wasn't very good--which is to say it was still better than the remake--but mainly because we wanted to believe that he finally found the perfect family.

Of course, not long after that, we started imagining what would happen if THE STEPFATHER hooked up with SERIAL MOM. It was generally agreed that they would fall madly in love, but any child they'd have would turn out crazy, so they'd have to kill it and start again. Really, as [ profile] darkestnova pointed out, they'd essentially become the PARENTS. And maybe they could even have weekly dinners with their neighbors, the couple from THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS!

... Good gravy, but I miss that girl. I'm excited to finally be alone again so I can hermit it up and get loads of writing done, but still... el sigho.
thehefner: (Starro w/ Cupcakes)
HENCHGIRL: That. Was. Shit.

ME: Yeah, when we get back, I'm totally showing you the original.

HENCHGIRL: You didn't even hear it. Those teenagers. Those kids, ten years our junior, they liked it. They fucking liked it! Fucking teenagers!

ME: Who? Which kids? Where?

HENCHGIRL: No, no, it's not worth it...

ME: No, seriously. Where are they? Point me in their direction. I wanna talk with...

HENCHGIRL: No, no, come on...

ME: Just a little talk! Just for a second, I swear!

HENCHGIRL: It's not worth it. It's not... sighhh, it's just not.

ME: Y'know, I just wish I'd stood in front of that screen when the credits rolled and announced, "HEY! THIS FILM SUCKED ASS! WATCH THE ORIGINAL! IT'S ON DVD NOW!"

HENCHGIRL: ... you smeghead, they...


HENCHGIRL: They don't care.

ME: What? Of course they do! It's LOST! They know LOST!

HENCHGIRL: No. They don't.

ME: Of course they do! It's one of the hottest things on TV!

HENCHGIRL: They don't watch LOST.

ME: But it's a hit, it's totally huge, it's like X-FILES but... wait. Hold on. ... So... we were the only kids our age to watch X-FILES when it came out, weren't we?


ME: We were the only ones.


ME: ... Sigh. Fucking teenagers.

The moral of the story, kids: don't watch the STEPFATHER remake. Rent the original instead. It has John Locke from LOST. Which you'd know if you were cool. Which you guys are. Because you're not teenagers.

Shit, I'm just glad the Stepfather didn't sparkle.
thehefner: (OMG SCREAM)
Drove from Winnipeg to Chicago in one day, and from Chicago to DC in another. All while still nursing the injuries I alluded to in the last post. Give me some kind of goddamn prize now, hopefully one involving steak and/or blowjobs.

A couple full posts to come in the next few days. For now, here: something courtesy of [ profile] mirthical, who decided to be completely and totally cruel by invoking one of my oldest, deep-seated terrors of the Earth, THE BLOB IS REAL AND HAS BEEN RELEASED BY GLOBAL WARMING FUCK FUCK NOT EVEN THE ARCTIC IS SAFE WE'RE ALL DOOMED GAHHHH.

Okay, so the fact that the goo isn't eating the guy as he points to it is a good sign. But seriously, much as I adore the great flesh!horror films of the 80's such as Cronenberg's THE FLY and especially Carpenter's THE THING (the former's in my top thirty, the latter in my top ten), I still refuse to watch the goddamned BLOB remake. Shit scarred me for life as a kid when I watched even the edited version on Fox 5 Saturday movies, and to this day, I'm still wary of drains expressly because of crap like this:

Not even the awesome fact that Frank Darabont of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION co-wrote the script can ever get me to watch this film again. So the nine-year-old me can still be unnerved by news stories like this, especially as the eleven-year-old in me realizes, oh fuck me, it actually the shit from Stephen King's "The Raft," featured in CREEPSHOW 2:

Welp, we're boned. Gonna hide in the freezer now.
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)




ha ha ha.


Ahoo. Ahoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo.


No, no, seriously, I love it. The pale skin. The gold eyes. All that's missing are the sparkles and it's perfect. I just hope to hell it tricks TWILIGHT fans into checking it out and inadvertently seeing one of the best vampire movies ever made. If you've never seen it, well here's the most famous part:

I'm telling you, evil trashy redneck vampire Bishop, Vasquez, and Hudson could kick Pattison's ass any day.

Seriously. Dying here. That's one of the most hilarious shameless cash-in redo of a DVD box I've ever seen. Well done! Now, if we can just get the TWILIGHT fans to see LET THE RIGHT ONE IN as well, we'll be solid...
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
The AV Club asks their staff, "What movies/TV episodes scared the holy living crap out of you as a child?"

For me, the BLOB remake still causes me to be very, very wary of sink and shower drains (IT had/has the same effect on one of the AV viewers, and that was a much cheesier movie with crappier special effects), and it's awesome to hear about all the people still freaked out by RETURN TO OZ. But the most gratifying part of this article is that it starts with one person confessing to what freaked her out as a child:


Yes, as Jim Varney's Ernest. His Halloween movie from 1991.

Thank god, I thought I was the only one terrified of that fucking movie as a kid. Specifically, this scene at the 8:00 mark.

Okay, so it doesn't really hold up today unlike THE BLOB, which I watch today with a mixture of adult Heffie loving the awesome 80's horror film and li'l Heffie cringing in horror of the thought of being suffocated AND FUCKING DISSOLVED AND EATEN ALIVE but when you're eight years old, holy god, WTF. And look, look! I'm not the only one! In the article's comments, one person pinpoints the exact scene I was thinking of:

"I still refuse to watch that goddamn movie. The scene where the girl is convinced the troll is under her bed, and she finally works up the courage to look under her bed, and the troll isn't there, and she rolls over AND THE GODDAMN TROLL IS RIGHT NEXT TO HER scared me into never ever turning around in bed for about five years after watching the movie. And the idea of being trapped in a statue, paralyzed without thought, for centuries and centuries, utterly terrified me. Still does."


In other news of personal gratification, it's so wonderful to know that a Rhodes* scholar can still have a twelve-year-old boy's sense of humor.

I must have Rachel Maddow's babies.

Damn it, if anyone could find a way, it'd be ME!

*Damn it, I need to do a better version of this icon someday.
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
Over at [ profile] scans_daily, the great [ profile] foxhack posted all three parts of the epic JASON VS. LEATHERFACE crossover love story. You think I'm joking? Read that first part alone. Read it. Now. Even from over here in Rehoboth Beach, I very much expect to hear the popcorn-like sounds of your heads exploding when you witness the tender love of Messrs. Voorhees and Sawyer (none of this "Hewitt" bullshit!).

After seeing that, [ profile] themadhatter26 and I started rambling about how much we loved our JASON VS. ALIENS idea, and it got me thinking how I'd love to see a whole series of JASON VS. _______. It'd be like BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, only it'd be "Who will be this week's special guest star, and how will Jason slaughter them?" Here are just some of the ideas we came up with:

Jason vs. Aliens
Jason vs. Predator
Jason vs. Ripley
Jason vs. The Punisher
Jason vs. Bill the Butcher
Jason vs. Mordor
Jason vs. Buffy
Jason vs. Teddy Roosevelt
Jason vs. Zombie Teddy Roosevelt
Jason vs. the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD zombies
Jason vs. Jaws
Jason vs. Orca
Jason vs. Quint
Jason vs. Steve Irwin
Jason vs. Zombie Steve Irwin
Jason vs. Mecha Steve Irwin
Jason vs. the Roman Empire
Jason vs. Olympus

Now, I know with some of these, you'll be thinking, "Even Jason Voorhees couldn't stand a chance in that fight!" But you forget, while he doesn't even have a healing factor, his true superpower is shitty continuity. Like, didn't Part 3 end with him getting an axe to the face? In Part 4, whoop, he's back on his feet and good again! In Part 8, he was splashed with toxic waste and turned into a crying Asian boy, and in Part 9, he was a body-jumping demon slug thing. Why the hell not!

And oh, I'm not done yet:

Jason vs. the Harlem Globetrotters
Jason vs. Danzig
Jason vs. China
Jason vs. Lincoln
Jason vs. EVIL Lincoln
Jason vs. Muhammad Ali
Jason vs. Jesus
Jason vs. the Cold War
Jason vs. Scott Pilgrim
Jason vs. Rex the Wonder Dog
Jason vs. Godzilla
Jason vs. the Doctor
Jason vs. the Daleks
Jason vs. Dracula
Jason vs. Galactus
Jason vs. John Locke
Jason vs. Benjamin Linus
Jason vs. the Economy
Jason vs. Rorschach
Jason vs. Anton Chigurh
Jason vs. The Thing
Jason vs. BEES!

The possibilities are endless. Although my personal favorite has to still be this drawing done for a "Jason Vs." contest on Ain't It Cool News:

"Jason vs. His Own Personal Demons."

I'd buy that for a dollar.

Okay, I probably should be getting back to actual work now.

thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
Thank god someone loaded this today, so I was able to post this just under the wire:

Don't it just warm the cockles of your heart? I mean, before Jason stabs you through said cockles?

I was considering giving a full, thoughtful review for the new FRIDAY THE 13TH, but frankly, I don't think anyone else really cares, much less gets all warm and fuzzy at the thought of this unstoppable special-ed zombie.*

Suffice it to say, the new FRIDAY pleased me. The people giving it bad reviews are the ones who completely miss the point. They might as well try reviewing porn movies. It's not a real movie, it's FRIDAY THE GODDAMNED 13TH! And as a Jason movie, it absolutely succeeded.

Also, it features a character who really could join the ranks of the all-time great assholes. Not quite at Walter Peck from GHOSTBUSTERS levels, but definitely somewhere around Paul Reiser in ALIENS, and Anthony Michael Hall in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. Even though the film failed to deliver a truly satisfying death for him ala Rhodes in DAY OF THE DEAD, let's just say that Travis Van Winkle may just be the Scream Queen of 2009.

*Dang it, I just want Jason displaced and put in other situations. Like, fighting Uruk-Hai. Or Aliens! Imagine Jason getting attacked by a facehugger: before the alien baby can burst out, he just does the practical thing and stabs himself in the gut repeatedly. Dead alien baby bleeds acid, burns its way out, plops to the ground, and Jason moves on to battle the Queen with a machete.

Come on, I can't be the ONLY one who's in a happy place with this visual!
thehefner: (Harvey Dent: Bandagaes)
When angst strikes (in this case, as is so often the case, when everybody else is asleep or otherwise away from the computer) it's always good to have distractions. Such as:

The season premiere of ROBOT CHICKEN. The fact that it features both Joss Whedon and Tila Tequila and that I love them both in it is a testament either to the show's skill or my desperation at this moment. Let's go with "skill!"

The new FRIDAY THE 13TH trailer. Also, the new poster. One one hand, Jason's neck looks way too thick. On the other hand, I don't care holy crap that is badass. Jason looks equally prepared to slaughter campers or Uruk-Hai, it doesn't matter, he'll take them on. Oh Jason Voorhees, you're an undead Mama's Boy and your movies almost all suck (except for Parts 4, 6, and X for pure crack factor), why do I love you so?

And finally, in "why John Hefner is going to Hell this week," I cannot wait for the latest installments in's list of the greatest child deaths in film. I knew the folks at Troma were messed up, but the last three minutes of BEWARE! CHILDREN AT PLAY takes the cake. Good lord, Lloyd Kaufman. Good lord. What kinds of lives do those child actors have now, I wonder? Me, though, I'm always going to favor the ice cream girl in ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13TH.

Oh god, wait, the kid from THE BLOB... great, now I'm definitely not getting to sleep tonight. If the angst doesn't get me, the Blob will. Or maybe Jason. Or Joss Whedon! Augh, this was a terrible plan!
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
My top ten favorite horror movie moments... )
thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
I wanna be this guy when I grow up:

Just bike into town, go up to random people, and say, "Doomed! You're all doomed! Just, y'know. FYI. ... DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!"

I'm told there may be a party or two tonight. Keep me appraised, folks. I'm tempted to be a hermit, but avoiding children will be a fine excuse to make me social.

In the meantime, maybe I'll compile my favorite horror movie moments. Or not. If nothing else, have a bit of this:

Hey, at least I didn't post the last minute of SLEEPAWAY CAMP. I watched it on a whim and now I can't goddamn sleep.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
And in comics this week, Harvey Dent fights a werewolf.

... huh.

And not for the first time in my years of reading superhero comics, I can't quite decide if this is ridiculous or badass.

So as I understandably missed Spike TV's awards show last night, I subsequently missed out on the WURLD PRU-MEER of not one but two teaser trailers. First, for the new FRIDAY THE 13TH remake/reboot (fast forward through the annoying pretty people at the awards show to the annoying pretty people in the actual movie):

Friday the 13th: Exclusive First Look

Gotta say, the 80's fanboy in me is excited. And while I loathe fast zombies, I think I'm digging fast Jason based on that two-second clip. The speed of Leatherface, the precision of Michael Myers, the ferocity of Jason Voorhees. Jason's a character I've always loved for some reason, way more than any of his actual movies.

While I wince at the knowledge that this film is by the same asshats who remade TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, one of the most horrible remakes I have ever seen... I, for one, welcome our new Camp Crystal Lake overlords.

Oh, and of far more interest to most of you, the new WATCHMEN trailer:

I still love the music on a purely subversive level. The fast-slow-fast effects scream "style over substance," but all critics who attended a 25-minute screening of footage have universally raved about the film, and how the speed changes actually work beautifully to convey the shifts in speed of actual comic panels, translated to film.

I know the fandom world is aflame with reports that OMG THEY CHANGED THE ENDING WTF but I'm reserving judgment until we hear more. As I understand, those reports come from a small handful of dubious sources at a rough cut screening. And besides, some things are just gonna have to be cut to later be reinserted into the 5-hour long final DVD cut down the line. I recommend a philosophical and patient perspective for the time being.

By the way, is this tagline an actual line in the book? If so, it's awesome. If not, it's cheesy. Yes, that's my geek double-standard and I'm sticking by it.

thehefner: (We Don't Need... Rhodes)
Y'know, considering that it's both BLITEOTW and Friday the 13th, I would be utterly remiss if I did not seize this unique opportunity to celebrate one of my favorite zombies of all time: the great, wonderful, and misunderstood Jason "Mama's Boy" Voorhees!

Thankfully, has me covered with their list of Jason's Ten Best Kills and even a hilarious tribute to FRIDAY THE 13TH PARK 8: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN.

Plus, as a bonus, here is that immortal (and bloodless!) scene from FRIDAY THE 13TH in which man-god Crispin Glover shows us that he is the greatest dancer in the history of the world. Don't worry, it's safe for work! Although your head may explode from the awesomeness.

As RoG on i-mockery says, "It's still absolutely incredible to this day."

The "requel" of FRIDAY THE 13TH is currently underway, and word is it's totally going to be faithful in spirit to the originals. Apparently Jason himself is pre-zombie, looking like Part IV Jason but with Part II hillbilly Jason's hair, and the mask is goddamn perfect. I've always loved the character (more than any of the actual movies, mind you), so here's hoping the film kicks ass.

In the meantime, I'm gonna have a beer. Or maybe smoke some pot. Or have pre-marital sex. I loooooooove pre-marital sex!

(THIS one is NSFW, mind you. But it's also the funniest Jason moment ever.)

thehefner: (Batman: Freeze's Lament)
A reminder, I am performing THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES at Washington College tomorrow in Norman James Theater. I'm trying out new material which, if it works, might just give the whole thing a vital shot in the arm.

So I saw NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN a second time yesterday on a sorta-kinda-I'm-doubtful date, and I realized that while I still think it's an excellent movie and one of the Coen's greatest works to date, I didn't really enjoy it. I mean, not in the same way that I enjoyed THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Now, I'm the kind of guy who honestly has a great evil fun time watching A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, and I feel moved at the exquisite heartbreaking tragedy of KING LEAR, yet the ultimate bleak nihilism (is that what it is? Nihilism? Or is it something else?) at the heart and surrounding the whole of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is just too much for me to want to revisit.

Shit, I'm the guy who's totally up for re-watching UNITED 93, and I adore the Coen's first film, BLOOD SIMPLE, which is the closest to NCFOM in terms of tone, spirit, setting, and western/noir. Maybe this has to do with how I still hate hate hate the (way the) book (ended), whereas the 98% faithful film adaptation tweaked it just a teeny but vital 2%, which brought the story to damn well perfection, in my mind.

Near perfection. Yeah, that sums up the film pretty damn well. It's a masterpiece for the Coens. And I have no burning desire to see it again.

That said, I am so ready to watch THERE WILL BE BLOOD for a third time. My sorta-kinda-I'm-doubtful date is very up for seeing it. I just need to figure out a way to smuggle some whiskey into the theatre. Or a milkshake. WHISKEY MILKSHAKE!

An idea occurred to me, though.

The whole reason I read NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN in the first place was, in the trailer, I saw Chigurh was a coin-flipping killer. And obviously, I had to see what that entailed. I discussed this with Bloo to see what she'd make of it. Should I incorporate more Chigurh into Two-Face when I'm revising the novel?

Just having seen the trailer, she could already tell that Chigurh is a very different character than Harvey. What makes Harvey interesting is his humanity, his passion, and whereas Chigurh is not a human character (well, until the very end, in my opinion, but thats a different discussion). Chigurh is the unstoppable stalker. He's in better company with the Terminator, Yul Brenner's Gunslinger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Lefors (from both BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and MALLRATS).

So trying back to Batman's world, it gave me a new story idea. If I ever write for DC Comics, I'd love to do a Batman story with Mr. Freeze as the unstoppable stalker character, hunting down people one by one. I can't think off-hand of a truly great Mr. Freeze story since the animated series brilliantly reinvented the character.

If someone doesn't rectify this soon, then I will just have to do it myself.

Speaking of unstoppable stalker characters, talking about Jason with [ profile] the_mithril_man, I came up with a potentially awesome idea for a Jason Voorhees story. Welp, throw that one on the pile of projects. If I can't sell it as a screenplay to New Line Cinema, I could try DC Comics/Wildstorm, as they're currently doing decent franchise horror comics of late.

Jason's my favorite of those characters, but I can never quite explain to people why. When I maintain that Jason has personality, for one thing, I'm met with dumbfounded looks. Well, in true supervillain fashion, I'll show you. I'll show you all!

Moo hoo ah ha.

September 2012

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