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.

vincent-price-in-the-raven-film-still-feature-640x340

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.
Continue reading “The Corman-Poe Cycle”

Needless Things Podcast 288 – 2019 Halloween Special

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Welcome to the final episode of the spooky season on the Needless Things Podcast!

On this week’s episode, Dave hosts a nonstop cavalcade of Halloween goodness! Featuring Toy Stories, spooky songs, nightmarish news, and all manner of pop culture creepiness!
Listen in as Dave turns the Needless Things Podcast into a Halloween radio show!
Be sure to join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and get in on the conversation for this week’s episode! Let us know what you think!

“Procrastibate” by LeSexoflex.com

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Hungry for more movies, music, and pop culture? Visit the Needless Things Archives for a decade of dorkery!

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. 
Continue reading “Crawl – Movie Review”

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.
Continue reading “Horror Movies of 1999”

Needless Things Podcast 285 – Star Wars Halloween Special

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Welcome to the spooky season on the Needless Things Podcast!

On today’s episode the Irregulars discuss an oft-overlooked aspect of the galaxy far, far away – the horror of Star Wars!
From bizarre aliens to scary swamps to the indescribable horrors of blue milk, the beloved Star Wars franchise has provided more than its fair share of chills. Horror comes in many forms and this week’s special episode of the Needless Things Podcast will take a look at some of the ways George Lucas’ unstoppable pop culture juggernaut has explored the genre.
Listen in as Dave, Beth, Ryan, and Chad share the things that spooked them the most a long time ago (or perhaps even now)!
PLUS – Dave announces the winner of the first 2019 Needless Things Halloween Prize Pack and the prize for next week! So follow @needlessthingspodcast on Instagram for your chance to win!
Be sure to join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and get in on the conversation for this week’s episode! Let us know what you think!

“Procrastibate” by LeSexoflex.com

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You can follow Phantom Troublemaker on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest on pop culture!

Hungry for more movies, music, and pop culture? Visit the Needless Things Archives for a decade of dorkery!

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”

Toy Review – Halloween II Ultimate Michael Myers from NECA

What better way to kick off the spooky season than with the godfather of slash himself, Michael Myers?

Slashers as action figures are a funny proposition.

Due to their iconic nature, their looks typically do not change a whole heck of a lot from movie to movie. Back in the olden days toy manufacturers could get away with releasing a sort of generic amalgamation of a character’s appearances across several films. Take McFarlane’s early efforts, which are ostensibly based on specific entries in their respective franchises but do not precisely represent any versions of Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, or whomever.

We ate it up because it was the best we had at the time. And while those figures still have their charms, in this day and age of intense detail and strict screen-accuracy, we as consumers demand more. And have sort of shot ourselves in the foot as a result.

Thanks to our demand for accuracy, we now have approximately fifty-eight Freddy Kruegers that are barely different.

Michael Myers might seem to be the least changing of the slashers, but of course we insane-o fans know that there are more variations to his mask than there are actual movies in the franchise. So while his blue coveralls barely change from film to film, there are plenty of changes to be made to that iconic, but eminently variable, mask.

Fortunately for us a few years ago NECA saw fit to launch their “Ultimate” line of action figures. Each release in this range includes basically all of the parts needed to represent multiple looks from a single film. Today’s review subject includes three different heads, whereas previously we would have had to buy three separate figures to represent these looks.

Of course, the clever part is that NECA charges between twenty-five and thirty bucks for these, so if you want to display all three looks you’re actually paying more per figure than you used to. Granted, you’re getting tons of accessories, but I feel pretty sure NECA is reaping some benefits here. Which is fine by me. They’re a pretty great toy company.

As far as this Michael Myers figure goes, it represents various scenes from 1981’s Halloween II.

I’m a huge fan of this sequel and will almost always watch it immediately following the original. They’re inseparable to me. This isn’t the place to get into how the most recent Halloween affects the legacy of that film, but to me it doesn’t change things.

Back when NECA revealed this figure I was most excited for the Ben Tramer mask that’s included. It’s only in the movie for a couple of minutes, but to me it’s a crucial piece of Halloween lore. Tramer is a victim of Loomis’ obsession. It’s important to remember that Halloween II takes place on the same night as the prior movie, so it’s not like Tramer is knowingly wearing a costume that is lethally similar to a serial killer’s. He’s simply a victim of tragic circumstance, which is something I would love to see explored in the forthcoming films.

Michael’s mask from the finale of Halloween II is also included in this set, complete with the striking “bloody tears”. It’s a look that is absolutely essential, though I honestly hadn’t planned to display the figure that way; this was going to be Tramer on my shelf.

Is this figure an essential addition or an extravagance? And who won out for my shelf space – Myers or Tramer? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Toy Review – Halloween II Ultimate Michael Myers from NECA”