The Corman-Poe Cycle

 

No, 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.

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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”

Dragon Con 2019 – There’s an App for That

As of this writing the app came out yesterday afternoon. I haven’t even gone through it all with a fine tooth comb yet, but I’ve already got myself scheduled for more things than I can do. I’m actually on seven panels this year, and there are many others that I want to see. I haven’t even included time for things like Gnoll and I breaking out our Team Rocket costumes or just generally hanging around “the spot” with friends in a non-panel setting. For the first time ever I’ve given in and gotten a hotel room. It’s going to be pricey, but when I take a nap or get to sleep late it’ll all be worth it. Just remembering the trials and tribulations of taking MARTA last year makes it cheap at (almost) any price. Since this is my last post until after Dragon Con I’m going to fill it up with everything I’m going to do, would like to do, and just think sounds cool even if I know I probably won’t make it to. Please remember to update your app frequently for any important time or location changes. And just to make it extra easy for you to find me – the panels I’m on are highlighted in a fancy color. I mean, if you think blue is fancy I guess. Continue reading “Dragon Con 2019 – There’s an App for That”

Movie Review – 10 Thoughts About Pet Sematary (2019)

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PARAMOUNT PICTURES’ NEW FILM PET SEMATARY

Stephen King is pretty hot stuff right now.

Or at least, adaptations of his work are hot stuff.

Heck, even re-adaptations of his work generate a lot of buzz, as was the case with this new Pet Sematary.

I think that it’s generally agreed upon by Stephen King fans that Pet Sematary is his darkest, most unsettling novel. I read it when I was too young to read it and no matter how effective any on-screen portrayal of Zelda is, it will never equal the horror of King’s written words. Nor will any actor ever be able to sufficiently capture the torture that Louis Creed feels, if only because we’ll never experience the character’s thoughts the same way in a film.

1989 saw the release of the first film adaptation of Pet Sematary. It was a blockbuster. Back then I loved it and so did pretty much everybody else. I think we all sort of knew that the acting wasn’t great, but something about it seemed very mature and cool – it was a kind of darkness that we weren’t seeing too often. I also seem to remember it being everywhere. Paramount might have put a little extra push into the marketing, possibly because we were entering into the Summer of the Bat, a phenomenon that would conquer movie theaters and public consciousness for basically the rest of the year.

I was disappointed a few years ago when I realized that the 1989 Pet Sematary isn’t very good. It’s fine by 80s-era mid-grade horror standards and is even a standout among King adaptations, but the acting is bad almost across the board and the direction is clunky.

This made me excited for a new adaptation made to today’s standards.

People often parrot the terms “Is this necessary?” and “Who asked for this?” as an empty-headed way of dismissing remakes, prequels, sequels, and basically anything that they think they can get internet credibility out of criticizing. These are simple-minded, myopic queries that require more thought to answer than to pose (as is the intent), but in the case of 2019’s Pet Sematary the easy answers are “Yes” and “People who love that book and recognize the failure of the 1989 movie”.

Did directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and their cast and crew succeed in delivering a worthy horror experience or will we be waiting thirty more years for a satisfying adaptation of the Creed family tragedy? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 10 Thoughts About Pet Sematary (2019)”

Movie Review – 11 Thoughts About Us

SPOILER WARNING – THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR UNIVERSAL PICTURES’ NEW FILM US

This is much later than I like to post written movie reviews. My original intent was to record a conversation with our friend Chad J. Shonk because this movie deserves not only a deep conversation but the insight of a professional. It made me think and feel a lot of things and I knew Chad would be the perfect guy to hash it out with.

Unfortunately I just found out that I have to work on the day that I had scheduled to talk to Chad. So now I’m writing my thoughts and hoping to record at a later date. Unfortunately the further I get from the movie, the less clarity I’ll have regarding it and the more other things will crowd in to take my attention, so that conversation may never happen.

Thanks, day job. You ruin my dreams but pay for my Ser Davos costume.

Jordan Peele is a badass. He’s brilliant, he’s funny, he’s a pop culture/genre sponge; but most importantly, he can focus those qualities into creating things that are unique, yet wear their influences proudly on their sleeves. His sleeves. Whatever.

I’m a huge fan of Key & Peele, less so a fan of Get Out. I thought the movie was extremely well done and had a fantastic cast, but had some story and pacing issues that kept me from becoming as engaged as I wanted. Jordan Peele’s work still impressed and excited me, though, and I couldn’t wait to see what he would do next. All signs seemed to be pointing to the fact that he was becoming a powerful force in Hollywood and one of the few that  might have the potential to enact sweeping changes in not only the processes but the entire mentality of the movie industry.

Does Us continue Peele’s upward trajectory or does it represent a stalling point in the creator’s career? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Movie Review – 11 Thoughts About Us”