Monday, May 31, 2010

The Monster of Twister

With thunderstorm season upon us, and considering that it was a light show of lighting here in Chicago last night, I figured that I would pop in Twister for some good tornado fun. Those who know me on a personal level will know that as a kid, I was severely afraid of tornadoes because of a certain incident that will be told a later time. Yes, tornadoes made me so afraid that at one point in my life I hear the sirens and I ran out of my bathtub, naked, to go hide in the cold cellar. Well, I revisited Twister… a movie that only added to my fear of tornadoes and I realized that there were two scenes in that film that play out like a horror movie. When it comes to real life horror, many people dismiss natural weather phenomena and specifically tornadoes. Tornadoes are probably one of the scariest things that Mother Nature can conjure up and they are the true monsters of the world.

In the prologue of the movie we are introduced to the young character Jo Harding. In these scenes she is scarred for life after she witnesses her father get sucked into the funnel of an F5, while she is powerless to do anything. What’s scary about this scene are the effects, the sound (especially the sound) and the fact that you don’t see anything. Once the report comes onto the TV telling people to get into the cellars, lighting flashes and strikes down all around the home; sparks fly and the wind is destroying everything. However, the most frightening part out of all of this is the scene where Jo’s father is trying to hold down the storm cellar door, as the F5 is right over it. You don’t see what’s atop the door; all you see is this fantastic bright light, wind tearing off the boards of the door and this awful screeching sound like a train derailing. When Jo’s father gets sucked into the vortex, it’s a shocker and you don’t expect it. Visually and sound-wise, this is a very powerful film and it bares several similarities in horror films where you don’t see the monster, but you see it kill the person. The art of not showing anything.

However, the most creepiest scenes in the whole movie has to be the drive-in sequence… and not just because they played The Shining. The sequence shows us that the tornado’s presents in there as the wind blows through the window, rustling up the drapes; almost as though death is upon them. The wind typifies the tornado as a monster that’s about to ravage the land in a blind heat of anger. I’d go even further to say that it’s almost poetic. When Jo, Bill and Melissa walk out into the open area of the drive-in looking beyond the camera, it’s haunting because you don’t see what they are seeing, you only have the wind blowing towards them. It’s as if they are staring into the eye of a monster but they don’t see the entire body. When we finally do see the F4 behind the screen, it’s dark and we only see flashes of the whole funnel because of the lightning. The sound is key in this scene because as tornado survivors will tell you, the sounds of the funnel are similar to that of a giant train running over your head. The sound alone gives the tornado this monstrous and gargantuan feel.

People will debate whether or not Twister is a good movie, and although I think it is a good thrill ride you can’t help but agree that those scenes in the movie are pretty intense if not scary. This is a Hollywoodized version of what a tornado can do but it’s pretty close as to how a tornado can sound and the damage that it can do.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Thoughts on Never Sleep Again: The Extras

Now that you know my thoughts on the Elm Street Legacy feature I think it would also be great to touch base with the special features because the second disc is full of them. What I first want to get into is list of extra interviews that they didn’t use for each of the sections and I loved every minute of them. They were more trivial and added more information to some of the segments that only diehard fans would ever want to hear like: this is what the ‘soul chest’ was made out of. However, one extra in particular made me get all teary again and that’s when Kim Myers (who played Lisa) was reunited with Mark Patton (who played Jesse) for the first time in 20 plus years. They hugged for about 5 minutes and both of them were so emotional. It’s stuff like this that makes Nightmare On Elm Street differ from some of the horror movies. In a way, I too was reunited with the cast and crew from the films.

On a deep personal level, one of my favorite extras was the interview with James Rolfe, creator of Cinemassacre and the Angry Video Game Nerd. To us AVGN fans he made one of the best video game reviews of the NOES game. He shared with us his personal experience with the Nightmare movies and he brought up a really good point about Freddy; a point that I always bring up to my friends. He stated that what made Freddy so unique was that he had a face when all the other killers wore a mask, and that Robert Englund stuck with the films all the way until Freddy vs. Jason whereas most of the masked killers were played by various people. I had what some would call a ‘geekgasm’ when the AVGN was interviewed with one of the best documentaries about one of the best horror film series.

They included an entire segment dedicated to the soundtrack for the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and if anybody that knows me… you’ll know that I am a huge soundtrack geek. They got into the gory details as to what was going on in Charles Bernstein’s head and how he came up with the original score. They talked to other composers and they even brought in Dokken to talk about how they came up with the idea for ‘Dream Warriors.’ Bernstein brought up some points about the score that I never even thought about so in a way I was learning a little something about soundtrack composition.

One person on the special features collected Nightmare on Elm Street props and he had a massive collection of wardrobes, props, Freddy masks and the infamous ‘lost glove’ from the first movie. There was a science to figuring out whether or not it was real and it peaked my interest. One of the best segments was dedicated to the glove of Freddy Krueger and how it became a cultural icon both in the horror realm and in general. They talked about how it has always been associated with evil and the metaphoric symbol it stands for. They tapped into Robert’s take on the glove and had a special segment that showcased people and websites that make real Freddy gloves from K4 Gloves to Boiler Room Creations all the way down to KrueGear.

Probably one of the most captivating and entertaining segments of all was the locations featurette. They took us on a tour of all the locations from the first movie throughout California and told what scene it was from and how it was executed. They showed us the interior of the high school and the host told us how Wes tricked and faked the scene to make it look like the corridors were structured in a fluid way when the reality of it was geographically incorrect. What made this segment even more memorable was that they brought back some of the cast members to the locations and to see them, now, act out the scenes was really fun. However, when they brought Heather back to her ‘home’ it struck a cord and you can see her eyes light up as she stared at it. It was truly awe-inspiring.

There is so much more that I didn’t tackle from the costuming, to the poster work all the way down to the video games and the stuff that they slapped the Freddy Krueger name to. Most documentaries will only have a few leftover interviews but The Elm Street Legacy goes beyond that and pampers us Fred Heads with mini features for us to indulge in. It tells you everything and if you can’t find it on the feature, I’m sure you’ll find it on the extras. As I stated with the review of the feature, this is a must buy DVD for any horror or film fan… it’s documentary filmmaking at it’s best.

Hats off to everybody that worked on it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Thoughts on Never Sleep Again: The Feature

I’m going to start off by stating that this is going to be a two-part post. The first part will be about the feature documentary The Elm Street Legacy and the second half will be about the extra features. So, without further adieu… let’s get started.

Nightmare on Elm Street has been very close to me and ranks number 3 on my favorite horror films of all time. I would always remember my thought process into checking out from the library since it was right after I saw The Thing and The Blob, I figured nothing could scare me like those movies… and I was wrong. Nightmare On Elm Street is probably the most watched horror film that I ever saw and even as a kid there was some kind of numinous connection that I had with the movie. I guess it’s because I had insomnia as a kid so this film was sort of how I felt and it kept me entertained all those sleepless nights. I grew attached to the movie. Well, finally, after all these years I was brought back to Elm Street to relive my childhood memories.

Directed by Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch, The Elm Street Legacy is “a love letter to Nightmare on Elm Street,” says Blood Type Online and that’s the best way to describe this movie. I want to first state that I really enjoyed the claymation just because I’m such a fan of that art and I think it’s an underrated special effect. Seeing a Freddy doll reenact all his famous scenes on a model while the credits rolled really hit a home-run with my inner geek. It made the documentary even more fun.

Lets get right to the meat of the documentary. The film is broken up into parts and is told in segments, each segment pertaining to one of the Nightmare on Elm Street films. They tackled all the films including Freddy vs. Jason and the bookends are how the Nightmare concept started and the legacy it left behind. They brought everybody back and interviewed them from Wes Craven, to the hall monitor from the first movie, to the composers all the way down to puppeteers. For me, it was so nice to see all these people brought back and united because of a movie that wasn’t even supposed to be as big as it became. It was so nice to see how they looked, what there lives are and what their opinions of the movie were after its success.

What was such a breath of fresh air was how honest this documentary was because everybody told why they hated the last two Freddy movies, how pissed Bob Shaye got when he couldn’t get this song, how sexist things got on set, how hair-pulling it was to work with this person band the stress it was to keep everything under control. It was brutally honest and I was shocked how they really felt about certain parts of the films. As one person told me, it also sort of shows how Wes thought of the other sequels and he wasn’t as thrilled or as happy as I thought he would be. It taps into the humorous aspects of the chemistry between the actors the crew and it felt like a family gather of sorts. There were problems, but in the end… everybody loved each other.

The documentary also answered several questions that I had in mind as I watched these films over and over again such as: how did they do the Freddy soul pizza? How was the fountain of blood in the first movie accomplished? How did Charles Bernstein come up with the score? How was this special effect pulled off? What inspired the production designer to make the creature or Dreamworld look like this? There were so many stories of how things malfunctioned and how things worked out when they were expected to have a certain outcome; it was like listening to your grandpa enlighten you his old war stories or his childhood memories. Each scene and each film had a particular memory and it was so nice to hear the cast and crew share that with us.

Personally for me, the best and most tear-inducing part of the whole documentary was the segment entitled The House That Freddy Built because it told of the legacy that Nightmare on Elm Street left behind and the impact it had on it’s cast and crew. I knew that New Line took a gamble with this but I never knew the back-story of the producers or Wes and to see them get so emotional over the film because of what it did for them made me act the same way. To see Renny Harlin, the guy who directed Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, attribute Nightmare on Elm Street 4 as being is breakthrough movie and helping him pay off money sent shivers down my spine. I knew that Nightmare on Elm Street had such a following but I never thought that it had such a huge impact on the people that worked on the series. It was heart wrenching to see these men and women talk about how much this movie, this small, little, independent movie had such meaning to them and I think that’s where this film hits gold. It’s a personal documentary that these people shared with us.

The cast and the crew of the Elm Street movies are like one big close knit family and I feel, as one of the people they appeal to, as though I am a family member as well so it was very personal for me to watch this movie. It brought me back to the first time I laid my eyes on the VHS and how I felt when I popped the tape in to the player. As a amateur filmmaker and a student of the film business, I can relate to many of these problems the crew had and I could see the passion that they had and it just spoke to me. If they could take a film and mold it into a work of art, I can do the same thing. After the movie was done, I sat in my chair and pondered for a while… taking in everything that I heard and smiling. This is a movie made for the fans, it’s a love letter to the films, it’s sincere, it’s awe-inspiring and it’s 4 hours of spine-tingling fun. If you love horror, especially the Nightmare on Elm Street films, or any type of movie for that matter… do yourself a favor and buy it. It’s one of the best documentaries out there.

Official Website
Official Twitter

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Possible Inspirations for Poultrygeist

While watching and reviewing one of the most bat-shit insane movies out there, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, I realized something about the film. There are so many scenes and qualities this film shares with other notable horror movies and I don’t look at it as stealing but rather ‘homaging.’ In fact, a diehard horror fan will spot these similarities quite easily but figured that I would take the liberty into pointing them out since it’s an interesting topic of discussion. I’ll also state that I am not going to state the obvious tributes like Night of the Living Dead but rather the obscure ones that I found. Whether or not these are just coincidence or on purpose, I’ll never know unless Lloyd himself speaks up.

So here are the films that (probably) influenced Poultrygeist:

Night of the Creeps
The characters throughout this film are all named after respectable horror directors in the field such as Raimi, Cronenberg, Hooper, Carptenter and Landis. Considering this movie was almost like an all-in-one horror movie it would make sense to name the characters after the director.

Poultrygeist does the same since it’s mocking the fast-food industry and the controversy, so it names it’s characters after notable fast-food establishments like Arbie’s, Denny’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s all done in a satricial way.


In this Stephen King adaptation, Jonesy and Beaver pick up a lost tourist in the woods and while housing him in their cabin he runs to the bathroom and shit out an alien. The two friends break into the bathroom after suspecting something is wrong only to find the fat tourist dead, on the floor, and blood and shit all over the bathroom and an alien in the toilet.

However, in Poultrygeist, an obese customer rushes to the bathroom with his meal to take a shit. While doing so he unwillingly craps out a giant egg and lands on the floor of the bathroom, spewing out liquid shit from his ass. Later, Arbie and Denny break into the bathroom only to find the walls covered in feces and a mutant dead bird in the toilet.

The Blob (1988)

In this classic remake, a grill cook decides to help out his fellow waitress by taking care of the clog that’s preventing the water from draining while she serves the food. Suddenly the Blob shoots out a tendril, grabs his face, and in a steam messy of blood spray it pulls his body down through the drain. The waitress then sees the cook’s foot jolt back and forth in the drain as blood sprays everywhere.

Here, Paco Bell is pissing in the meat shredder out of an act of revenge but then a mutant dead chicken pushes him into the shredder. The Muslim cook, Humice, sees Paco Bell’s feet jolting up and down as the blades are shredding him; blood is spraying everywhere of course.

From Dusk Till Dawn

In the Rodriguez/QT movie the character Frost, after killing a few vampires, stops to tell the group of survivors how he managed to pull himself through Vietnam while Sex Machine slowly turns into a vampire off to the side. Before Frost has a chance to finish Sex Machine attacks and bites him turning him into one of the vampires.

In Poultrygeist, Denny regains is story of chicken trauma to the group while General Lee Roy, after being bit, slowly turns into a mutant zombie chicken. Before Denny could have a chance to finish, Lee Roy bites his head off and turns him into a zombie chicken. The group even gathers around Denny in a semi-circle for the story.

Little Shop of Horrors

During the last few scenes of this move, Audrey II decides to take matter into her own hands and turns against Seymour and while doing so he sings a musical number entitled ‘Mean Green Mother From Outer Space.’

Aside from resembling this in the sense that it’s a horror-comedy musical, in the ends scenes the zombified-mutant-chickenized-older Arbie takes matters into his own hands and sings a song called ‘Murderous General.’

These are all the influences that I have found just based on my first viewing and I am sure there are the obvious ones and some that I have overlooked. ‘Coarse, I still enjoyed the movie I think these little horror movie nods made it worth the watch… if not the greasy fried chicken.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random Thought on Night of the Living Dead

This was something that came to mind as I watched Night of the Living Dead for the 30-something-time and it’s just me thinking out loud. Also, I want to remind everybody that I love Night of the Living Dead and in no way am I bashing it but if you watch a movie, especially one that you love, you begin to notice things and you sometimes begin to have a little fun at the films expense. I love The Blob ’88 but if you pay attention to one of the ending scenes when the blog is attacking the town, somebody in the crowd ties their shoes before they run away.

Well, as I watched Night I understand that Barbara is severely traumatized but after a while in the movie it seemed as though she went from trauma to just being really stoned or tripping. Specifically, I am talking about the scene in which Barbara starts to lay down on the couch and caress the lace on the couch arm. I never really thought about it until now but it does seem as though she is drugged out of her mind, and I am sure there is a reason for this but to the casual viewer… she looks hopped up on happy pills.

Come to think of it, I should really vent out my random thoughts more often. Also this post was inspired by a post that was originally on The Horror Digest.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

One of the Best Zombie Rises

Tonight’s post is more of a reflection than anything analytical, although I am sure that it will inevitably go that route but still. As many of you know I saw Zombie (aka Zombi 2) at the Music Box during a zombie film festival and I really enjoyed it. There were two aspects of the film that I enjoyed and they were the way things were executed and shot, and the brilliant score by Fabio Frizzi. Personally I think there is one scene, or sequences, that takes these two elements and throws them together flawlessly… and that scene was the rise of the zombies. It was so haunting and yet so epic, for lack of a better term.

Please watch the clip:

I guess what I love about these scenes is that the zombies rise out of the ground in the typical zombie nature: stiff, eyes closed, slow and drone-like but what I also like is the POV of the zombie rising out of the ground. I feel that it adds to the mysteriousness I guess. The close ups also a well done since it puts your right there and exposes you to the dirty grittiness of the film. The shot where the zombies are walking through the abandoned town gave me chills because it was so reminiscent of Night of the Living Dead but it had a touch of Western to it. It just felt right.

I don’t know, I think I am just rambling about nothing but I would argue that this is one of the best ‘zombies coming out of the ground’ scenes ever. I’m also sure that Carpenter was inspired by this when he filmed Vampires, when Valek and his minions rise from the ground.

Note: The clip was taken from YouTube so that's why the quality is so bad.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Terror in the Aisles 4: Undead By Dawn

This past Friday, Portage Theater hosted another Terror in the Aisles but this time it was aimed towards the zombie subculture, so naturally I had to tag along. This time around they were going to show Night of the Living Dead and Fulci’s Zombie on 35mm print and then they presented to us REC 2, the Midwest premiere. In between each break there would be ‘trailer trash’ and independent short zombie films. It’s also good to note that I finally realized who actually started the Terror in the Aisles film festival and it was none other than Chicago’s own… Rusty Nails.

The evening started off with 20 minutes of trailer trash that was somehow consolidated into 3 trailers. The first trailer was for the brilliant film Mean Streets. The second trailer was for the gorefest that is Dead Alive and the last trailer was for Gobstopper, which I have to talk about.


I’ll admit, when I saw the trailer for this I let out an expression of slight disgust because I thought the concept for it was really tacky and stupid. However, I warmed up to the idea of a Willie Wonka going bat-shit insane and using real people to make his candy. I found it hysterical that Christopher Lloyd agreed to play the part of the crazed chocolatier. Slugworth is racked up in chains and on the verge of death, the Oompa Loompas have bloody handprints on their shirts; it all looks like great fun and I would love to see it.

Official site

Afterwards the showed us a brief 20 minute clip for One for the Fire: The Legacy of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and I was a little bored by the clip, but than again… it was only half of the movie so I would want to see the full film eventually.

And now for the films:

Night of the Living Dead

This was shown on a 35mm print and it was nice to see this in the theater as opposed to watching it late night on TV. I forgot how character driven the film was and how the arcs molded out throughout the film. I also forgot how Barbra looked completely stoned out of her mind the whole time, specifically when she is touching the lace on the couch. It’s also nice to note that the zombies in these films are significantly more brutal than the latter Romero zombies because they pick up rocks and bash in windows.

There was a Q&A with Bill Heinzman afterwards and he was the man who started it all, the very first zombie to ever appear in Night of the Living Dead and the first modern zombie. He was a fun guy and he did his zombie walk for all of us.

Bill recalling his time working for George.

Bill doing his zombie walk for the audience.
And the crowd goes wild!

Me and Bill.
I know, I’m a fan boy.


I did not see REC but I did see Quarantine and from what I know, Quarantine is a direct, almost word-for-word remake of REC so I did understand what was going on in REC 2. All I can say is that I really enjoyed this film and I enjoyed the perspective of having 3 different cameras. Even the twist, which is in the beginning, is great and why these people are suddenly going crazy. I’ve come to the conclusion that these found-footage films are always creepy because they really utilized the silence in the movie.

They also held a zombie contest for who is the most sexy looking zombie, who is the funniest zombie and how is the most disgusting looking zombie. Needless to say, it was no Zombie Pageant

Zombie (aka Zombie 2)

Where can I begin with this movie; it’s campy, it’s corny, it’s really good, it’s epic and the score is hypnotic. This was the first time I saw this film and I have to say… after the zombie vs. shark scene I knew it would get better. I love the idea of having zombies, as part of some voodoo, terrorize an island and it was executed perfectly. The gore was fantastic but sadly that can’t be said for the acting.

I’ll have a full review of Zombie on Buy Zombie.

The sexy zombies.

Shockingly, I did not see Kitty Zombie at all during this event. Overall, it was a fun time at the Portage and as I always like to state during these event treatments, it was really nice to see all these films on the big screen.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Personal Horror: Alien Abduction

This post is inspired by Dod March’s post entitled Roots of Personal Horror, Volume 1. I figure this would be a great exercise in expression one reason why I am attracted to certain types of horror; in this case, that horror comes from beyond the stars. Here is my experience with extra terrestrial life.

NOTE: I am not making this up, nor was it a dream like how I previously thought.

June 1998
I remember this night quite fondly because I thought it was a dream but as I remember it more and more, I never really woke up from it… so therefore it must have been real life. It was one of those really nice nights the summer had and I was out of school. I remember watching cartoons before I went off to bed, brushing my teeth and having my mom check in on me to make sure I was okay and that night was no exception. The only thing that was different was the wind was blowing hard that night.

It was around midnight or maybe a little after when I woke and I couldn’t move. My hands were as if they were glued to my side and I couldn’t movie them. I kept looking around myself to see if I was tied down or to see if I can break free… that was until I looked outside my window. Standing outside of my window in my backyard were 4 things staring up at me; these things looked human only they were shorter and they had oversized heads. I noticed that the wind had stopped blowing, and not that it calmed down, it literally was dead outside. In the loudest of voice I yelled, “MOM!” but nothing came out of my mouth. I yelled and yelled but nothing came out. I looked back down at the backyard and saw those 4 things run into my house. I yelled again but still nothing came out.

I looked over to my room door and saw a bright white light and shadows of those thing’s feet. They were trying to figure out how to work the door or something. The door began to shake and I tried wiggling out of my restraint but I couldn’t free myself. My heart began to race and I could feel my muscles tightening and it one desperate attempt I screamed louder than I ever did, “MOMMY!” The light suddenly disappeared and the figures vanished. The hallway lights went on and my mom came running into my room. I looked outside and saw that the wind was blowing again and when my mom asked what happened I felt compelled to tell her the truth but instead I told her I had a bad dream.

Afterwards, I began to do research on what happened. You see, I was an X-Files fan then but I hated the alien episodes ‘cause I never understood them… so I never watched them. After that experience I began to watch them and they mentioned the stages of alien abduction. I went to the library and found out that the abduction claim that The X-Files made was true.

There are 8 stages of abduction and I only experienced half of one and that was the narrative known as ‘Capture.’ In the beginning, the abductee will under go a shift into an altered state of consciousness. This state makes the person usually calm and relaxed before the incident. I experienced this as I allowed myself to drift off into sleep; the wind made me unusually calm that night. The state of calmness then transitions to a state known as ‘limited self-willed mobility,’ which is temporary paralysis. Here, the paralysis prevents the abductee to movie or yell. Afterwards, there is usually a very bright light that appears (presumably a UFO) either inside our outside of the house. Humanoid figures often accompany the bright light as the abductee rises to the craft. Some have claimed that they were abducted prior to sleep. I can safely assume that I wasn’t abducted but as far as I am considered, I experience and encounter of the Fourth Kind.

I will never forget that incident and still to this day I believe it really happened and is one of the reasons why I love to study about aliens and UFOs, and why I love movies that deal with it. It’s scary, especially if you personally went through it.

P.S. Thank you Dod for inspiring me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review - The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2010)

After hearing about the film so many times I finally got a chance to see The Human Centipede (First Sequence) at the Music Box Theater. The film is exactly what the title says; it’s about a lunatic surgeon who decides to create a human centipede by conjoining the first person’s intestines with second’s person’s mouth all the way down to the third person. This, in turn, creates a conjoined triplet via ass-to-mouth. With how much exposure this film has gotten I was expecting something creepy, scary and bizarre and it delivered… but the rest of the movie isn’t that good. The only thing that it has going for is the actual human centipede and that’s pretty much it. I felt the film was very overrated.

One of the biggest problems that the film suffers from is the direction and this encompasses a lot of things. There are scenes (especially when the girls are arguing in the car or when the perverted old man talks to them) that carry on way too long and after a while you begin to get bored. Even after the human centipede is completed, some of the scenes where it tries to escape from the doctor drag and I understand the reasoning behind it; it’s for suspense but unfortunately it falls short of it. The lighting is also really weird and surrealistic, which is fine for some movies but in a case like this… an almost all-pink tone or a stale-tone scene just seems so unfitting for the film. The scene in which the mad doctor presents his human centipede is washed out in pink lighting and it just doesn’t fit. The outside scenes are so stale of color that it almost felt like a mistake rather than intentional.

Awkwardness is another problem, not that seeing somebody eat another person’s feces is awkward but some of the performances, actions and shots are so awkward that I had to think about it for a while. Case in point: when the two girls drink the water the doctor gives them, he just sits down on the couch, looking like he just shot up heroin, staring at them and they don’t think that’s weird. Or, when the doctor would just randomly stop what he’s doing, close his eyes, shakes and almost has an orgasm. The camera would follow the doctor swimming naked in the pool but would pay no attention to the human centipede as it tries to escapes… all of this just seems so random and awkward that it took me out of the film.

However, I do want to state that out of all the performances Dieter Laser is fantastic because he’s such a creep in the movie. He’s like a cross between Christopher Walken and Michael Shannon and I mean that in the best of ways and is in no way an insult. My buddy and I joked saying, “I’ve got a fever… and the only way to cure it is by making a human centipede.” I think Dieter really created a character out of this surgeon because he’s so insane and goofy, and his physical actions are over-the-top. He’s also the kind of character that you root for in the movie because none of the other character in the movie are that developed, even though they try to be. Dr. Heiter really cares for his human centipede and it’s almost touching in a disturbing kind of way and I think that’s one of the best things the film has. I only wished they dug into his back-story a little because they created such a great character, I wanted to know more about him.

If you followed the rumors, you’ll know the film is very disturbing in some scenes and I think despite some bad acting, randomness, awkwardness, plot holes, run-on scenes and questionable actions there is a silver lining to the movie. The surgery scenes is very unnerving and it will make you cringe because you get to see him cut open people’s ass cheeks and mouths. But, the most disturbing scene in the movie is the unveiling of the human centipede. Heiter gets sexually high as he photographs his work, dances around in a demonic childish manner, shows the people what he has done to them via mirror, then licks the mirror, manically laughs at himself and screams. It’s one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve seen.

I guess if you want to see a human centipede than you are in luck because this movie has one and it’s not CGI and there is no puppetry, which makes this centipede all the more lethal. I guarantee that if you go into the movie looking for anything besides a human centipede than you are not in luck because aside from that element this movie is bad. As I stated before, the only thing this film has going for it is a very disturbing medical procedure and that’s it. What I found myself doing after the film was trying to grasp how a human centipede would work and awful it must be to take a shit in somebody’s mouth or to swallow another person’s shit. That thought alone will stick with you the entire movie and it will make you think about that every time you use the bathroom. I guess if that’s what The Human Centipede wants to accomplish, it has succeeded. Personally, I still think that actual centipedes are creepier than this film; they are so small and they have too many damn legs. Lets see how the sequel to this film turns out.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Best Painting Ever Created

Bestow your eyes on this...

This lovely piece of work was sent over to me by Stu "Stubert" Conover from Buy Zombie, who also pointed out the appearance of the Necronomicon. It's just so freaky and random. Major props to the artist.

Friday, May 14, 2010

From the Boiler Room to the Asylum: Freddy's Dreamworld

I’ve always been amused at the scenery and the set design of the Nightmare on Elm Street films as far back as I can remember. Specifically the way the dreams play out and how they fool you into think it’s reality. It’s a great way to mind-fuck the audience and keep them on their toes, as shown by the scene where Nancy runs up the stairs and the rug turns into goop. Well, that’s a story for another day but tonight I want to talk about how the Elm Street series moved from the boiler room setting to the asylum setting. Although I do not like the movie, I find that it is necessary to keep the franchise building. I will provide my thoughts on each Freddy lair and why they worked or didn’t work for me.

The Boiler Room

To us Nightmare on Elm Street fans the boiler room is a trademark of the films as well as Fred Krueger. It’s where he lived, it’s where he slept and it’s where he brought his victims to kill. The scenery is a twisted framework of pipes, metal, heating units and large clunky machinery and hardly any light and I think that’s why it was scary to me. It was so easy to get lost and Fred could be lurking around any corner, and given the camera work you felt disoriented much like the victim. Boiler rooms are a naturally scary place because of how dark it is… not to mention the sounds of steam. The boiler room just seemed so surreal and never-ending, a maze in which you can never get out of and you know a madman is chasing you; I would almost go as far to say that it’s very reminiscent of Kubrick’s The Shining in that sense.

The Dollhouse

About midway into the series we were introduced to the dollhouse and in the films Freddy would take us into the realm of the dollhouse. Here, the downstairs is blue, dead, cold and rotting whereas the upstairs is more vibrant and alive. What I liked about the dollhouse wasn’t just the giant Freddy Worm or the fact that a lot of it took place during Dream Warriors but rather because all the scenes inside played out like a haunted house. Each film that brought us back to that house felt like a ghost story where a demented killer ghost was roaming around. Even the scene in which the pig on the plat came alive (in Dream Warriors) freaked me out. I guess, next to zombies, I was a born haunted house lover. They were bringing us back to where it all started… and that’s what I love.

The Chapel

Now we jump forward to the chapel. I felt like this was one of the better dream sets only because of the way it looks. Visually it’s beautiful, it’s dark, it’s haunting and it’s very ominous but that’s the only thing that it has going for it. The way the light shined through the windows and the way the entire interior of the chapel was decaying was beautifully shot. However, for me it wasn’t nearly as haunting as the house or the boiler room and I guess it makes sense because it does go hand in hand with Freddy’s back-story but I just don’t think it fits with the previous films. Still, it’s very nice to look at and I find that even though it’s a little ridiculous they did a great job with the design.

The Asylum

I do not have a visual image for the asylum but what I can sort of describe it to you. The asylum had three main sections to it: you had the atrium area with two large sets of stairs and giant pillars scattered around, than you had the tub area where there was a long waterfall area that would lead into a giant tub of water, and than there was the actual the asylum area where hundreds of mental patients gathered and a small staircase that climbed up the wall to a door. I did not like this because there wasn’t anything unique about this edition to the Dreamworld and I know it makes sense that they would come to the asylum but there wasn’t anything creepy or haunting about it. It wasn’t even nice to look at. I guess that the Dreamworld declined as the films declined… I mean, where else can you go in the Dreamworld if Freddy takes the form of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Of course I understand that the Dreamworld has several different areas but these are the more prominent ones. The Dreamworld went a long ways since the boiler room as did the series and I guess, as the series got more and more ridiculous so did the dream settings. On a personal note, I will always love the boiler room and I always love taking a trip back down Memory Lane and revisit the boiler room and the doll house because I will never forget the impact those two settings had on me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Story of Perversion

I want to tell you a story; a story about pain, stress, pigs, sex, actors and of course… perversion. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the story of Perversion.

It all started with our class project known as the exchange film, where we wrote a script and we were assigned partners. These partners would hand their scripts off to one another so that they could direct them. I got handed a very crazy and almost impossible script to direct because of its budget and its unnecessary sex scene. Well, I sat down with the writer to talk about his script and I asked several simple questions like “what’s the story about?” “What tone is this story?” “What is happening in this scene?” “What are the goals of the character?” “Why does the character do this?” and so on. He answered every question that I answer with this simple yet cryptic answer, “it’s open to interpretation.” I was left dumbfounded and I had no idea how to direct a film that even the writer doesn’t have a clue of what it’s about. So let me tell you the basics of his story:

Michael is a young man who purposely gets hit by a car and gets thrown to the side of the street. He then calls a girl who picks him up in a truck. While in the truck he lightly grabs the girl’s face and makes her look at him as he smiles. Once the two enter the girl’s apartment they start to have wild, crazy, kinky, masochistic sex. The girl, out of some perverted thrill, digs into Michael’s back wounds. After sex, Michael gets out of the bed and walks into the living room and he sees a naked man with a pig head sitting on the couch. He offers Mike a seat and Mike sits down. The two then smoke together. END

Issue #1: The Equipment
Now the rough cut for the exchange film was due in about 2 weeks and I still couldn’t get actors and equipment because we needed to film this on Bolex and it was a rat race to get to a Bolex and lighting equipment. Here is the ratio: you have 300 kids trying to reserve 30 Bolex’s in about 3 weeks frame. Impossible. So I was left in the dust. I missed the rough cut so I had a week until the fine cut was due and I finally booked the Bolex, the lighting equipment and a nagra a week after the fine cut of the film was supposed to be due but I had no actors.

Issue #2: The Script
Since I had no idea what the script was about I had to come to my own conclusions and the way I saw it seemed really stupid and nonsensical. You see, I see it as Michael sees himself as his sexual pig of a guy and he is okay with that and this sexual deviant personality of his somehow manifested into an naked pig headed man. Well, the script went through several changes. I got rid of the truck because I couldn’t get one. I took out the car hitting him because it was unrealistic. I eliminated the naked man because nobody would do it. I had to change the setting because an all-white apartment with glass chairs was impossible for me to get. This movie went through 6 script changes.

Issue #3: The Location
I contacted several people that might have an apartment that I could use for the film. My buddy would lend me his but he felt uncomfortable letting me use his bed, which I understand. I asked the writer of the movie to lend me his place but he lives with his mom and that would feel weird. Well, at the last minute I contacted Z (that’s his codename to protect his identity). Z gave me so much trouble because it was all through Facebook and I was about 3 days from filming and he responded to my messages in 30-minute intervals. He said it was okay for me to use his apartment on Friday but not Saturday or Sunday because he wanted to party then. I needed those days in case of reshoots.

Issue #4: The Cast
I contacted 3 actors and 4 actresses and one actor was Stephen Holliger (who stayed with me till the end). Needless to say 2 actresses dropped out because of personal issues with family and 1 actor dropped out because he never returned my calls. 3 days before filming and 1 actress dropped out because she got mono and the other actor dropped out because he was a substitute teacher and he got on call.

Well, it was the day before filming and guess what happened? Everything fell apart. My one actress called me and told me that she forgot that she was in a big Broadway play that was going to be in Second City. Z messaged me and told me that I’ll have about 2 hours to shoot at his place and after that I couldn’t shoot anymore. My camera guy dropped out because he had to go to the dentist and my sound guy ditched me. I was in class multitasking and bouncing back and forth between messages. The night before filming I was up all night (literally) messing around with the lights and writing a whole new script. Stephen was still on board because he was dedicated. I left my apartment at 9am so that I could meet up with him at 11am.

I walked from Clinton and Madison to State and Madison carrying a Bolex, a nagra, a lighting kit and a tripod. I took the bus to the subway. Once I got up North we switched locations. Stephen brought his friend Kyle and we filmed at his place and he helped me with the lighting and the sound.

When the writer presented to the class the film that I wrote he turned it into a bunch of jumbled images, confusing sounds and basically he turned it into a really bad experimental film… even though my story was the simplest story you could ever direct. I was so pissed what he did that I decided that I would ruin his film and after 6 script changes, I did. I turned his film into unwatchable garbage. I presented my film to the class knowing that it sucked, knowing that I spent no time on it, knowing that I lazily edited it and knowing that it didn’t make any sense and guess what? THEY. LOVED. IT! Yes, they loved it.

So I want you to tell me what you think of my film. BE HONEST!

Note: I changed the film’s original title from Two Teeth Under A Rabbit’s Moon to Perversion because I needed to find some way to keep with the story’s original theme.

Note: The audio on the feature film is off synch. It's a problem with Blip TV and not the actual video because it plays normally on my computer. Try not to mind it.

The Film


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

to all you mothers out there!!

“He can’t hurt you, honey, because mommy killed him.”

- Marge Thompson

And kids, if you think your mother is bad or too strict, at least she didn’t set fire to an alleged pedophile’s house and covered it up by burning the evidence.

And don't forget to share some quality time with mothers, folks.

“Or maybe I should grab that bottle and veg out with you. Avoid everything happening to me by just getting good and loaded.”
- Nancy Thompson

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Eerie Similarities Between H.R. Giger and Freddy Krueger

During my little Nightmare On Elm Street marathon that I had a few days ago I realized just how angry I was with Dream Child. I hated it. Even as a kid I found the movie really dumb and really bad but it was better than Freddy’s Dead. Well, we all know about the famous line that comes from Dream Child, “Don’t dream and drive,” and I saw that scene where Freddy turns into a motorcycle. I am shocked to say this but… I really liked that scene because I felt it was a tribute to the work of H.R. Giger. Perhaps I am reading too much into it but it looked so much like his paintings. I have decided to compare some screenshots with some of Giger’s work and I know some of the artwork that I chose is from the film Dune so bare with me.

Note: A Nightmare On Elm Street: The Dream Child was released in 1989 where as Dune was released in 1984.

In this scene, long, mechanical tendrils shoot out from the Freddy Cycle and puncture the kid’s hand. I want to compare this brief little scene to this extravagant piece by Giger. Notice how the tendrils bare the same physical resemblance: long, gray, ridged and very mechanical and flexible. They originate from a larger, more complex machine. You should also notice how the tendrils attach themselves to the body by puncturing through the skin and fusing both the human and the machine together. Only difference is, in Giger’s painting it’s done in a very sexual way.

Here we have the mechanical tendrils pierce through the skin on the cheeks towards the brain and can even see a large mechanical-looking apparatus form within the throat of the victim. The piece that is next to it is what I want to compare it to. Here we have the same tendrils weaving in and out of the facial skin, which will eventually envelop the entire skull. I find it interesting that both the movie and the artwork show the body being turned into a machine in the darkest of ways.

I really like the similarities that these two images have. Of course, the Giger piece is concept art that was used for Dune but they still bare a striking resemblance. They both have a skull like exterior that looks hard yet soft, however, you’ll notice that in both of them, they have tendrils and wires forming out of it. They both show this emotion of pain and depression.

The one thing that I could not grab a shot of is the final Freddy Cycle because I had to screen grab it from YouTube and the quality is bad. In the end, Freddy takes over Dan completely and he becomes a part of the motorcycle and this is something that Giger’s work really reflects on. In most of his pieces, the body (be in human or inhuman) becomes part of this vast network of machines and twisted mechanical appendages and the final Freddy Cycle really reflects that theme.

Perhaps I might be looking too deep into this shitty movie and maybe I am trying to like it because it is a Freddy movie and the only way I can like it is if there is some Giger in it. The short answer is no, I’m not. I just noticed this because I had to study Giger as an artist for one of my classes. He is a brilliant artist whose work is very awe-inspiring, whereas Dream Child is not. Still, it’s pretty nice to see a tribute to him in Dream Child whether it was intentional or not.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Super 8 (My Speculation)

Okay, so the news Abrams buzz around the blogosphere is this new trailer entitled Super 8, which was supposed to have played during the previews for Iron Man 2. I saw Iron Man 2 last night and saw no trailer at all. People have speculated that it is a Cloverfield prequel and although I do not want to see a prequel, if Abrams is behind it… I will. BUT, now that I found out that Abrams is collaborated with Spielberg and that is has something to do with Area 51, I have an idea of what it might be.


A while ago Oren Peli said that he was working on another ‘found footage’ movie that has to deal with Area 51 and whatnot. Personally, I think that this is what the movie is. Spielberg produced Paranormal Activity and it would make sense that they would hire a viral genius like JJ Abrams to market it after Cloverfield. I don’t know if this is all true because I am just assuming. I did not see the trailer and I know a blog surfaced that is dedicated to the new Super 8 project. They recently posted a ‘script’ for the Super 8 trailer but I did not read it.

Some people have stated that it can’t be a Cloverfield prequel because… well, how do you make a movie about how the monster came to New York? If this was a prequel then there is much to talk about before the events that happened in New York, for example: The Chuai Station disaster, Jamie and Teddy, T.I.D.O. Wave and Tagruato’s position. The point is, nobody knows what this movie is but I am willing to bet that it is that Area 51 movie.

Note: This is all pure speculation based on what I allowed myself to read.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Breaking Down A Nightmare

Because I didn’t have time to do it yesterday I want to take the opportunity to talk about one of the most famous scenes out of the entire Nightmare On Elm Street series and my personal favorite scene from the original movie. The picture about is the scene that I am talking about and I am sure most of you will agree that it truly is a memorable part of the film. In this scene, Nancy is fast asleep while Freddy peers down at her from ceiling and she is unaware that he is watching over her as she blissfully slumbers away. Knowing what I know about the aesthetics of filmmaking I want to break down this scene or photo and explain why I love it.

First off, let’s look at the action of what’s going on here. Nancy is peacefully asleep in her bed and she looks cozy and completely innocent. In fact, her posture, her facial expression and the way she is positioned in bed give it this sweet and harmonious look to it. This is the kind of look that we normally think of when we think of sleep and I always told my friends and classmates that she looks like she could be the poster child for Lunesta because it’s true.

Above Nancy we see Freddy. What frightened about this scene was the way the he makes his appearance; rather than coming in from the side or just appearing out of the blue, he slowly and quietly pushes his face and hands out from the ceiling and peers over her. As a kid I always hat the creepy feeling that if I looked up on my ceiling that I would see somebody looking down at me and this was like my nightmare come true. The way that he is looking down at her gives us that feeling that he is now in her head, that he know has her where he wants her and it sets up for the rest of the movie. He doesn’t do anything; he just says there and waits for her first move. Even the fact that the ceiling is forming around him gives the audience this feeling that he is part of her world now… the he can come out of anything and attack her.

This is my favorite part of the scene because it brings everything together and that’s the lighting. We already established that Nancy (at the bottom) is sleeping rather comfortably and that Freddy (at the top) is watching over her as though he is getting to know her better for an attack. The lightening focuses on these two subjects whereas everything else in the room is darkened, and you can still see what’s in the room but it’s barely visible. I like this because it brings a surreal quality to the scene and heightens the dream-like world that is surrounding them. It’s almost as though Freddy has infiltrated her dreams and she is unaware of it.

As you can tell by my ramblings that this scene is very close to my heart but funnily enough, it didn’t have the strength for me to remember what time of the day it was when I saw it or a vivid memory of me being terrified from it. No, this scene scared me but it was more of a silent reaction; I just sat their watching in awe as the scene carried out rather than closing my eyes and screaming. As far as I am concerned, it’s one of the most famous scenes in the slasher genre if not the Nightmare on Elm Street series.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Women in Horror 2

It has been a long time since I have seen my Chicago horror buddies and in fact, I don’t think I have ever seen all of them in one setting… well, almost all of them. Well that changed this Saturday when Horror Society decided to present Women in Horror 2. Yes, a horror film festival that honors the women of horror and the money went to Kreepy Lady Kristen who had an accident just recently and as a horror community we wanted to help her out. I tagged this one alone and I had a very good time.

Before the show I got to talk to the man behind Kitty Zombie and I had no idea that he was a special effects artist but I guess it makes sense because he created such a convincing character. We pretty much talked about remakes and how there are good remakes out there but there are a lot of ones that sucked and we discussed why they sucked. I also got into a long conversation between G. Edwin Taylor (who I finally got to meet) and Shu from Shu-izmz radio. There we pretty much talked about random stuff and G Taylor showed me the painting he drew of BJ-C of Day of the Woman. Which, was another thing we were waiting for… the arrival of BJ-C who got delayed because of a rally.

Prelude to the grand unveiling for BJ-C

I went into the theater where Nicki Nix from Hey Look Behind You, director Richard Diaz (Distortion) and I sat together behind the controls for the lights (She was the light girl) and that’s where I watched all the films form. So, here are my little micro-reviews for each of the films that I saw.

NOTE: I’m not going to tell the plot of each movie because the post will be too long.

- This was a nice little thriller of a movie. I really enjoyed the fact that it was told in first person and that it did build up some suspense. The ending, however, I did not expect and I thought it was really well done.

Alice Jacobs is Dead
- I’ll be writing a review for this on Buy Zombie but I didn’t get a chance to watch it because the DVD wouldn’t play in my computer and my player but I really enjoyed it. Adrienne Barbeau really carried the story and her performance was great and I didn’t even know she was in the movie.

The Tickle Monster
- Production wise, this was a great indie sci-fi comedy flick. It’s literally an actual tickle monster and the prosthetics and the makeup was great. The lighting have the movie this surreal dream like world but the rest of the movie is just entertainment.

Q&A with Laura Szymber of Tickle Monster

Body of Work
- I enjoyed this one. It was nothing too special but I liked the concept and it really reminded me of Bucket of Blood for some reason. I thought the mood was good and I enjoyed the story but the characters were a little bland. Overall, it was decent.

I Spit on Eli Roth
- As a funny little jab at director Eli Roth this movie succeeded but I don’t think it really had anything going for it. It was funny to an extent but after I just wanted it to end.

- Oh boy, I need to write out a review for this one but all I can say was that the first half was so boring that I fell asleep and the other half didn’t keep my attention enough to keep me awake. In other words, it sucked.

Q&A with Devi Snively and the cast of Trippin

Near Dark (35mm)
- If anyone knows me than you already know that I love this movie. However, my experience with this print was this: 10 minutes in the picture became shaky and the audio was way off. 20 minutes in the picture became out of focus and the shaking intensified. 30 minutes in, the picture cuts out and it’s black for about 5 or 6 minutes. Richard Diaz played The Gonk for us to rock out to till the movie started again. Then, the movie started up again.

The Fog (35mm)

Well, BJ-C did come after all during Trippin’ with her boyfriend Billy and we had a blast catching up and talking about random things. She got to see the artwork that G. Taylor did for her and her expression was priceless. We talked with Shu for a while and took a picture of us to rub it in Stu’s (who runs Buy Zombie) face.

"the mighty bloggers of the Chicagoland area:
Day of the Woman- BJ-C
Paradise of Horror- Rick Romanowski"
Photo courtesy of Bryan Schuessler.

BJ-C next to her necro counterpart.

Billy, BJ-C, me and Kristen

I also got to see Jay Hawkinson again and I finally met Scott Finn and we talked about random things, mostly why it’s important to make contacts and meet the people you exchange conversations with online. Kreepy Lady was also there and we briefly talked about how she was a ‘cyborg’ after her surgery. She then received the Goose of Honor by Svengirlie.

Svengirlie presenting the Goose to Kristen

After that, I left. Overall, it was nice to see so many people and it was a great night… even though I went this one alone.