The Corman-Poe Cycle

vincent-price-in-the-raven-film-still-feature-640x340No, it’s not some stupid new band. Or even some stupid old band. To be honest it does kind of sound like the name of some 70’s super group. But, no. The Corman-Poe cycle refers to a series of films in the 60’s by Roger Corman and based on works of Edgar Allan Poe. There’s a very good reason that I’m talking about it today though. Other than it being Halloween today, of course.

The other week Dave had me thinking about what got me into horror. Not just the things that I love now, but stuff from when I was a kid. I’ve spoken before about my ultra-permissive parents. I was pretty much allowed to watch whatever I wanted because I wasn’t easy to scare. Thinking back on it this might have come from the fact that by the time I was 10 (or however old I was when I started picking out scary stuff to watch) I had already read a lot of creepy books. My father always had tons of books around. While he wasn’t into horror novels he did have things like Lovecraft, Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe. I read all of them, but the Poe stories stuck with me. So much so that some of the first horror movies I ever saw were the Roger Corman films based on Poe’s stories.

Now most people think of Roger Corman in relation to schlock B-movies of the 50’s or the SyFy schlock of the 2000’s-the nows. There was this lovely time in the 60’s though where he produced and directed some really good schlock featuring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone, and many other notable actors of the time. I was drawn in by the stories, but I stayed for the acting. I’m sure you can understand why. If you haven’t seen them I highly recommend you give at least one of them a shot. Clearly Corman and Price worked well together as they went on to do 7 films based (sometimes VERY loosely)on the works of Poe. They aren’t scary, but they are creepy and fun.
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Crawl – Movie Review

lm4xH0YwFbVvTgdtau1thNK5S6JYou know how sometimes your friends suck? Oh wait, some of my friends might be reading this. In that case: you guys suck sometimes. Like when I want them to go see a stupid movie with me. I couldn’t interest a single person in the movie Crawl. We can get a whole group together to see The Meg, but not one person for Crawl? Maybe I love creature features too much. Maybe I’m just more into seeing crappy b-movies on the big screen than everyone else. Whatever it is I’m glad I finally got to see Crawl, but maybe my friends were right after all.

When it was released I didn’t even know that this movie was produced by Sam Raimi, and directed by Alexandre Aja. If you don’t know him that’s the guy who did The Hills Have Eyes remake, Piranha 3D, and High Tension. So maybe the first two on that list aren’t the greatest, but High Tension was genuinely good. The ending was a little wacky, but if you haven’t seen it you definitely should. Anyway, if I’d known all this when Crawl came out I’d have paid one of my friends to go with me. I don’t have a problem seeing a movie alone, but I like company for horror movies. 
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Horror Movies of 1999

I normally like to talk about 30 year old horror movies every October. This year is going to be different for two very good reasons. First: I’ve been doing the yearly old-nerd podcasts with Dave for several years now, and anything truly outstanding (or abysmal) can be discussed there. Second: there just aren’t any horror movies from 1989 that are worth talking about to me. There’s a lot of crap for sure, but I don’t want to spend 1000 words talking about terrible things. Most of them don’t even fall into the “so bad they’re good” category. The best thing about Pet Sematary was song The Ramones did for it. Well Fred Gwynne was great, but that’s about it. Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween had some pretty bad sequels that year too, but I don’t really have anything besides that to say about them.

So this year I’ll be looking at the much more fun horror year of 1999. And while there are no Oscar winners in here, there are certainly several that are fun even if they aren’t great films. There aren’t even any that came out that year I hated. Maybe some that I’m indifferent to or never got around to seeing, but nothing that I just want to trash. It’s always tough for me to judge if horror movies are well known or not because I have so many friends that are into scary stuff too. To me most of these should be fairly well known, but if you haven’t seen any of these then please do so. Everything here has my spooky seal of approval.
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Movie Review – The Dead Don’t Die

hero_dead-dont-die-image.jpgThe town of Centerville used to be “A Real Nice Place” according to the sign that welcomes you to this sleepy farmland. The kind of town where a white farmer wears a hat that says “Keep America White Again” while talking to a black farmer in the local diner. The gas station doubles as a horror themed comic shop, but it’s not so out of the way that it can’t get regular deliveries from WU-PS (because RZA is the delivery man. Get it?). The three local cops are going about their quiet lives on the day that the dead decide to rise from the grave. Nobody seems very surprised though since Adam Driver’s junior cop immediately pegs this disturbance as zombies. What follows is the dead-est of deadpan comedies as the characters all try to survive this outbreak. It isn’t quite a “zomedy”, but it also isn’t too gory for you to watch with the squeamish types. I don’t know a ton of people who have seen this yet so I’ll go easy on spoiling anything. I want everyone to see this movie, and there’s a better chance of that if I don’t tell you how it ends. But, as Adam Driver’s character repeatedly tells us, “this is going to end badly”. Continue reading “Movie Review – The Dead Don’t Die”

Beth’s Dragon Con Recap – Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 are linked here if you need to catch up.

After another crappy nap I was trying to rouse myself for a big night. I was finally going to get to see MC Chris and Cybertronic Spree. I’d missed them both in past years due to game shows (not that I’m complaining), and was happy for the chance to see them this year. Sharron and I made our way back to the Classic track room to meet the gang before the premiere of Troublemaker. I had been around for the Dragon Con portion of the filming two years ago, and spent several hours with filmmaker Jason C. Wilson chasing Dave around the convention area. Dave was pretty booked that weekend so what should have been nice strolls between locations was a mad dash from one hotel to the next – often with Wilson and I left behind. While I wasn’t there for his near-death experience; I saw things that weekend man, and was looking forward to the fruits of that labor. I have to admit that when Dave told me I was on a Q&A panel after the movie I was a little intimidated. I don’t have anything to do with anything (see my profile in “Who’s Nobody”). Jason and Dave did all the work here, and I didn’t do anything but run around like a jerk at Dragon Con. It was, in fact, quite a good movie. Not that I’d thought it would be bad, but it was seriously good and funny and heartwarming. Dave told me to be prepared to sign autographs after the panel, but I kind of thought he was kidding. If I was weird when I signed your movie poster I apologize. I’m just not as cool as I pretend to be. Maybe someday…
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Beth’s Dragon Con Recap – Part 2

If you’re late to the party you should check out part 1 of my recap.

With the main panel I wanted to see out of my reach I instead took advantage off my room, and lounged around getting ready to face the day. As well as prepared to face the public. On to my first panel of the day: Geek Year 1989 on the American Sci-Fi Classics track. It was a Needless Things presents panel so Dave, Nicole, Rebeccah Wood, and I were on with special guest Gary Mitchell. Dave records everything so I’m sure you’ll get some audio on both of our panels from Friday. You can also hear Nicole and I get publicly shamed for not following through with the costumes Dave requested we bring for a “bit” he wanted to do. Dave just loves his bits. This one was tough for me since I had just done the 1989 podcast a few months ago. Two of my top picks were Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and UHF. Not only could I not reuse my podcast picks, but I was doing individual panels on both of them for the Classic track later in the weekend. So I had come up with all new things. It was a real head scratcher, and a good way to start off my panel filled con though.
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Beth’s Dragon Con Recap – Part 1

Ah Dragon Con. There really isn’t anything else like it. Granted I’ve never been to Comic Con or anything else that big, but I have been to some smaller cons. I guess most cons are smaller compared to Dragon Con. This was my 6th year getting a media badge, but my first year getting a hotel in the convention area so I was extremely excited. Showers and naps on demand are the most wonderful thing in the world. I didn’t stay in a host hotel so it was quiet(er), but that also meant we didn’t have raves happening below us at five in the morning. I had such a great hotel experience that I’m already on their list for a room for next year. If I had a first born child I might consider parting with it to stay in a hotel at Dragon Con again. It was that great. I’m not going to tell you which hotel because I want it to stay quiet as long as possible, but with over a 6% growth in attendance this year I don’t think any hotel will be quiet for too much longer. Continue reading “Beth’s Dragon Con Recap – Part 1”