Friday, December 12, 2008

Rest in Peace, Bettie Page


2008 has certainly been a year for us to lose some of the greats, be it the genius of Arthur C.Clark, the talent of Heath Ledger, or the mysterious beauty of Vampira.

Sadly, we've lost another major icon: the beautiful Bettie Page. Even if you don't know the name, I can assure you that you know her face. She was queen of the pin-up models in the 1950's, until she left that business forever to pursue a quiet life. She lived in anonymity for the next several decades, not realizing the impact she had on the pop-culture and counter-culture alike. Artist Olivia frequently painted her, while her image also appeared on numerous rock albums and other media. She inspired the love interest in the Rocketeer comics, as well as Goth girls the world over.

In the early 90's, she was found by some intrepid journalists who tracked her down over the course of many years. She was living in poverty, completely oblivious to the fact that she was owed millions in royalties for the unliscensed use of her image. Fortunately, most of the artists and musicians who had used pics of her were more than happy to pony up the dough they owed her. She was that loved by her fans. She never allowed pictures of her to be taken in her old age, preferring for people to remember her when she was in her prime.

This past weekend, she slipped into a coma, from which she never awakened This morning, she passed away. Her image will forever stand as the ultimate pin-up. Her look will be forever imitated by models and rock stars alike. We'll miss you, Bettie, but you'll always be with us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankgiving

This little entry is Eli Roth's contribution to the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse film project. A fake trailer to a slasher film based on the upcoming holiday. Heck, I'd go see this if it were a real film! I hope everyone has a much better holiday than these folks:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hallowe'en 2008!

Here are a few pics from our Halloween night this year. We wound up with a whole lot fewer photos than previous years, probably due to the sheer chaos of having that many children in our home at one time! My wife, for the second year in a row, managed to completely avoid being photographed. Perhaps she no longer appears on film? She seems to reflect just fine in the mirror in the mornings, so I dunno. I digress.

Click on the images to see the whole picture. For some reason, I can't seem to get these to go smaller.

The Kids (as Obi-Wan and a Vampiress):




With their cousins (as a "Bling Fairy" and Don Corleone):


With friends:



Your's truly as Mr. Voorhees:


Witchy dog:



Inside the house (for some reason, we didn't get much in the way of exterior shots):








Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween


I know I'm posting this several hours before it is actually Halloween, but I know that I will be incredibly busy with all my All Hallow's Eve festivities tomorrow! So....I just wanted to wish all of my friends and fiends a most joyous, happy and ghastly Hallowe'en! May this Samhain be a wonderfully spooky night!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Trick 'r Treat



In my last blog, I briefly touched upon the ongoing saga of a little film called Trick 'r Treat. I first heard about this movie in early 2007, when the flick's teaser trailer first debuted (many saw it on the 300 DVD). The film is written and directed by Michael Dougherty (his directoral debut), a screenwriter best known for X-2 and Superman Returns. Upon seeing the trailer, I was instantly stoked...a new horror film centering around the folklore surrounding Halloween! Four stories are played out, each one intersecting with the other (think Pulp Fiction, but in horror movie form). At the center of it all is Sam, the Spirit of Halloween who first made his debut in Dougherty's animated short Season's Greetings (see my previous blog). Sam is a mischievous little spirit who ensures that the rules of Halloween are abided by. Break the rules, and you'll attract his attention!




Needless, to say, the very premise of this film was my cuppa hemlock! It had been ages since a real, original horror film had been set in the Halloween season, and this one looked to deliver the goods. September of 2007 rolled around, and word came down that the execs at Warner Bros. had decided to pull the film from their release schedule, as they were afraid it couldn't compete with horror films like Saw IV that were being issued in the same month. This would be the first sign that the WB suits were mentally challenged.



The second indication of just how incredibly brainless the WB Brass was came shortly thereafter, when they indicated that the movie might see a theatrical release sometime in the spring...possibly March or April! WTF??? Of course, this news was met on the net with about as much enthusiasm as a fart is in church. WB pushed the release date back to October, 2008.



In December of 2007, Dougherty brought the film to Butt-Numb-A-Thon, a marathon of films in Austin, Texas that is presented by Aint It Cool News' founder Harry Knowles. My niece and her husband attended this event, and got to see the finished film. Needless to say, they and everyone else in attendance seemed appropriately impressed. Word of mouth was that the film was one of the most refreshing, entertaining, funny, creepy flicks to hit the horror genre in years. The internet became all a'buzz with talk of how this flick would be THE horror movie of 2008! WB's reaction? They dropped the film from their release schedule altogether!!!



While talk of a DVD release was bandied about for a while, WB never committed to it. Many folks in the internet horror film community speculated that Warner's would release the film rights to be distributed by another company, but they never did. Instead, it sat in the can, with no official release of ANY kind on the horizon. Several special screenings of the film were set up, with Dougherty in attendance to do Q&A. Out of all of these, there has yet to be a negative review of any kind, a rarity for pretty much any film, period. Warner's reaction? Nothin'. Nada. Zip.



Dougherty is reluctant to discuss the reasons for the films delay, and this is probably because he hopes that the folks at WB eventually will release it. I'm sure he doesn't aim to piss any of them off. At one of the Q&A's, there was some discussion as to the reasons for Warner's hesitation to put this movie into the market. While Dougherty apparently didn't come right out and say anything concrete, he did somewhat confirm one person's speculation: Warner Bros. is afraid to release this movie for "marketing" reasons. See, this movie is a horror film, but it has lots of dark comedy infused in it. It also features kids being killed. Not teens, but actual children, and the studios are scared of pissing of those groups that try to police morality for all of us. Rumor has it that the WB execs continuously tried to get Dougherty to alter the film to be a more typical slasher flick with horny teens being hacked to death, but he refused.



Of course, there are plenty of horror films that feature children being killed or put into mortal danger. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few such as: The Exorcist, Poltergeist, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers, Aliens, Pet Sematary and The Ring. There certainly is a precedent for it, but I think the real problem these suits have with it is that films with this kind of angle tend to skew towards an older audience. A parent watching these films will feel more of a sense of terror at watching a child being placed in danger than a carefree teen would. Teens like to see people their own age being placed in horrifying situations, because it is scarier to them. In other words, it's all about who you relate to. From a marketing perspective, there is this idea in Hollywood that only teens and 20-somethings go see horror movies (a false assumption), and that they wouldn't want to see a movie that wasn't about other teens (also incorrect). Of course, they may miss the point that at least one of these stories centers around teens, but whatever.

The marketing department seems at a loss on how to market this movie. Do they go for the Saw crowd? Do they bill it as a comedy (even though it isn't really)? Do they just throw up their hands and send the thing direct to DVD? Well, I got news for them: This isn't rocket science! The flick is set AT HALLOWEEN and centers around the folklore and traditions of HALLOWEEN! Geez, when do ya think this movie might attract an audience???? Put it out in early October, when folks are just getting into the spirit, and let the flick ride throughout the season. Worried about a DVD release doing well? Save it for the following October! I realize that these marketing guys have gone to school for this and all, but I just don't see how they have trouble with a film that is getting rave reviews and internet buzz. Of course, these are probably the same folks who decided it would be a great idea to release Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow on Thanksgiving weekend, and then wondered why it didn't perform at the box office like they expected.

The only conclusion that I can come to is simply this: Warner Bros has retarded chimpanzees running their movie division. I say "retarded chimpanzees" since I'm pretty sure even a normal chimp could figure out that you should put this flick into theaters in October.

Here's the trailer that first captured my attention. I'm a fan of this film, and I've never even seen it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Season's Greetings

This lil' short is a Halloween fave of mine. It comes from writer/director Michael Dougherty, who is best known for his screenwriting on such films as X-2 and Superman Returns.

The character featured here, Sam, is actually to be the focal point of an unreleased Halloween anthology film called Trick 'r Treat. The film has been in the can for well over a year, but Warner Bros. Studios keeps pushing the release date back because they're idiots. More on that in another blog, but in the meantime...enjoy:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Bratz of Haddonfield

Back on Father's Day 2007, my step-daughter gave me an awesome present: the Neca Toy's Halloween: Evolution of Evil 2-pack, which features 2 figures of movie madman Michael Myers! One fig is of Mikey as a child, complete in his clown suit (the mask is removable!), while the other is the fully-grown "Shape". I was impressed with the level of detail on both of the figures, as well as the fact that they thought to include Judith Meyer's tombstone, as well as the jack-o-lantern from the opening credits (it lights up!).
My step-daughter has a hand-made, ultra-detailed doll house that a friend of the family built for her, and so we decided that it would be fun to take some pictures of my figures terrorizing her Bratz dolls! She hasn't seen any of the Halloween movies (she's only eleven), but she still had fun helping me re-create these scenes from the film. Personally, I thought they turned out pretty well, and they're great for a laugh. Yes, I know...I'm one sick puppy!








Monday, September 22, 2008

Rock You Like a Hurricane!!!

For those of you who don't watch the news, Hurricane Ike bitch-slapped the Houston area like his namesake used to do to Tina Turner. Well, much like her, we stood up to him and came out of the situation much stronger. Yesterday evening, power was finally restored to our area after nine days. We had no air-conditioning, which can be rather brutal in Houston. Fortunately, a cool front blew in, easing our burden for a few days. All of the family is fine, and looking forward to life returning to normal.
Many were not so lucky. One friend lost his apartment, along with most everything inside. He and his 8 & 1/2 month pregnant wife and two kids are now staying in a two bedroom apartment with his mother-in-law and brother-in-law. Another longtime friend lost her house, along with all of the contents. Yeah, it pretty well sucks. Overall, I cannot complain too much about being without my TV and AC for a few days when these folks lost so much. What amazed me about both of these individuals is their good attitude about their situation. Both seemed truly grateful to be alive and knowing that their loved-ones are safe. These kind of things bring perspective to our lives about what is truly important.
So, taking our cue from Tina, we may have been abused, but we don't just stay still and take it. Our city has pulled itself up by the bootstraps, and started putting the pieces together. Many still don't have power, and water is out in some regions, but I have to say that I've been impressed with how quickly the local utilities have taken action. I have seen, all over the area, a concerted effort to clean up and restore our infrastructure in a timely manner. Ike is gone, but we aren't letting his actions get us down!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Halloween!!!!

It's the time of year when I start thinking of Jack O'Lanterns, Ghosts, Goblins and all things frightful! Yes, 'tis the Halloween season once again! Now, I hear some of you saying "wait! It's only September! Isn't it a little early for Halloween?". To this, I can only reply with an entusiastic "HELL NO"!!!!

All Hallow's Eve has long been my favorite holiday. When else can folks dress up as any darned thing they want, no matter how outrageous or silly? What other time of year can children go door to door and receive candy for free? When I was a kid, I looked forward to Halloween for precisely these reasons. The spooky trappings of the season were also a huge appeal. Looking back, I now realize that Halloween played a major role in helping me overcome my fears as a child. During this time of year, all those things that go bump in the night became externalized, and you could even become the very thing that frightens you! As an adult, I still enjoy this aspect, and I think it becomes a way for all of us to have a laugh at the expense of evil, death and fear. Don't believe me? Statistics show that horror films are always more popular during wars or times of national crisis. Universal's The Wolf Man, for example, became a huge hit, even though it opened days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It would seem that people have a need to put a face to their fear so they can stare it down. By viewing horror films, or heading into "haunted house" attractions and the like, folks are able to feel they have survived their fear, and left it behind. (Of course, the good ol' adrenaline rush is a huge appeal as well).

For a few years as a kid, my parents attended an extremely Fundamentalist church, that declared Halloween as "Satanic", due to its pagan origins (I hate to inform them that the early Christians adopted Christmas and Easter from the pagans as well, and had no problem with any of them. These holidays were appropriated and Christianized in order to make former pagans feel more comfortable). Mom and Dad have since relaxed quite a bit when it comes to their beliefs, but back then they were pretty gung-ho. For a couple of years, I couldn't participate in any Halloween activities, since they were considered "evil". Now, I'm well aware that many neo-pagans consider Halloween (or "Samhain" as it was known in Celtic times) to be a sacred holiday, but those folks are fairly benign in their belief system. Modern-day Satanists (and by this I'm referring to the actual occultists who worship the entity of Satan) also observe it, but this doesn't mean that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater. These folks appropriated it from the Druids just like the Christians did, and have thus done their own thing with it. To me, all these holidays have whatever meaning you choose to give them. I can pretty well guarantee that my philosophy towards Halloween is the polar opposite of the Satanists.

As I grew into adulthood, I never lost my love for all things Halloween. In fact, I continued to dress up, go to parties, and what-not. In the mid-nineties I met my friend Michelle, and we instantly bonded over our love for this holiday. Like me, she looks forward to it all year, and plots out her costume and party plans months in advance. Around the first of September, when all the Halloween merchandise begins to creep into stores, we always call each other to share what goodies we've spied! She always plans a rockin' party, that is considered to be one of the highlights of the year amongst that social circle. I've made multiple-disc compilations of Halloween appropriate music for the parties, and every year I'm on the lookout for more ghoulishly groovy tunes.

Now that I have kids, I've re-discovered the joy of Trick-or-Treating through them. Both of my kids have already picked out their costumes, and are discussing what activities and parties we will be going to. It has become a fun time for us all to share, and I've noticed that my little girl, in particular, seems to be enjoying the "scary" aspect. She is, for the first time, embracing the concept of scaring and being scared, and wants to decorate the house in frightful images instead of cute ones.

Until October 31st, little else will be on my mind, so bear with me if all I talk about is Horror films, Halloween music, party plans or any of the other myriad topics that spring to mind around this wonderful time of year!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Greetings!

Welcome to my first post on this here blog!

Many of you know me from MySpace, and this blog won't differ dramatically from my content there, although this one will probably focus more on my favorite holiday: Halloween! I plan to revisit some of my more popular blogs from MySpace, for anyone who may have missed them the first time around. So, if you see something on here that seems familiar, you've probably read this crap before on my other blog. Hey, if rock bands can continuosly re-package their hits over and over, I can do the same with this silly blog (even if there is a much smaller demand).