FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Sep 30, 2006

it's here! sorta.

Damn right! Even as a wee bonny lass, it's obvious that my thoughts went something like "Fuck friendly ghosts...ghosts are scary, bitches! Gimme candy or I swear...I will cut you!"

As you may know, October begins tomorrow, wherein the general public accepts that it's ok to watch horror movies (well, really only on Halloween, of course) and some folks in the horror Blog-o-Sphere-o-Universe decide to pull some wacky stunts to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

I am not one to stoop to such stunts simply to--aw, I can't even pretend. I've been looking forward to October 1, 2006 since November 1, 2005! Yes, October means SHOCKtober, wherein I'll be watching and reviewing a movie I've never seen before per day for the 31 day span. And just like last year's all the Friday the 13th flicks in one day and all the Halloween flicks in one day marathons, I've got some more ridiculous, masochistic tricks up my sleeve. Stay tuned to watch the last precious flakes of my sanity fall away!

Who else out there has got October/Halloween festivities planned? Give us links in the comments and I'll post 'em up here for all to see.

In the meantime, I think the best way to get myself ready and psyched up for tomorrow is to play Edgar Winter Group's Frankenstein 10,000 times on my fake guitar. Then again, playing Edgar Winter Group's Frankenstein on my fake guitar seems to be my answer for everything. Now then...where's my blacklight and day-glo Silver Surfer poster?

Sep 28, 2006

I like those odds!

Here's a handy chart that will make you paranoid or will set your mind at ease: your odds of dying in various ways! Hooray! Click to enlarge! Hooray again!

I read that chart and thought two things:

1) My chances of dying by legal execution are much higher than I ever thought they were. See, I'd been living my life in a way that I thought would ensure that my chances of dying by legal execution were...well, zero. Having discovered that in actuality my chances are 1 in 62,648, I guess I'd might as well throw caution to the wind and do whatever I want. This means I'll finally be able to settle the score against Rue McClanahan once and for all.

2) The chart is missing some very important data, such as...what exactly are my chances of dying in a zombie holocaust? I must know! I voiced my concern on The Internet and my pal and Fenton & Fenton, Boy Detectives co-conspirator Kevin Melrose suggested I re-do the chart with more pertinent information...the odds of dying various horror movie deaths. I always do what Kevin tells me to do, and so I present to you people...the odds of dying various horror movie deaths:

I'm not sure how I feel right now. Sure, chances of dying like Ally did in Sleepaway Camp II are pretty low, but geez...given the odds, there could be crazy inbred cannibals living right on my block!

Sep 27, 2006

tasty tidbits

Let me get this out right up front: The Descent is scheduled for DVD release on December 26.

There. I feel much better knowing when I can clutch my Very Own Copy in my greasy little paws, even if it's still months away. I can't wait to see it again. Now then, in other DVD news...

The 2-disc Infinifilm Special Awesome Edition of A Nightmare on Elm Street hit shelves this week. There's lots of goodies packed in with that edition, so it seems like that's the version to own. For now. However, everytime I think they've come out with the 'Best Ever edition, as in no edition will EVER beat this edition Edition ' of a movie and I cave and buy it, sure enough a 'wicked Best Ever edition, as in no edition will EVER beat this edition Edition ' shows up in stores, mocking me. Laughing at me. Pointing at me. Mooning me! Laughing and pointing and mooning and...and...and then tiny little ghostly Piper Laurie heads begin floating in front of my face, reminding me that she told me that they were all gonna laugh at me and the next thing I know she's locked me in the Jesus closet to repent for getting my period and I'm punching myself in my dirtypillows and I swear one of these days I'll throw tampons at them and see how much they like it except I'll throw the tampons so frickin hard that they go right through---

Perhaps I've said too much.

My point is, the 2-disc Ultimate Edition of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre also appeared on store shelves this week and is flashing its metaphorical bare ass at the Special Edition Texas Chainsaw Massacre sitting over on my shelf. I think I'll pay some extra attention to my DVD to let it know that while "Special" isn't quite "Ultimate", it's still...well, special. And I don't even mean Welcome to the Dollhouse special, either. I won't hold its lack of documentaries and bloopers and Marilyn Burns commentary against it, I promise.

Speaking of TCM, the release of The Texas Chainsaw Masssacre: The Beginning is fast approaching: look for it, or don't, on Friday, October 6. Now, I realize that I've expressed my...displeasure at the prospect of the movie in an earlier post. However, I've come to the conclusion, as recently as 10 minutes ago, that I will be going to see this flick. What on earth would drag me to a theatre to see a Jessica Biel-less modern-day Leatherface tale, you ask? My answer, friends, is two-fold.

First, notice that release date. It's in October. OCTOBER. Do you know what happens in October? SHOCKTOBER HAPPENS IN OCTOBER. Yarr, mateys, can ye smell that sweet sweet Shocktober aroma? It's comin' on fast and it's comin' on strong! It's about to begin, and I can't wait. For those of you not in the know, as a special Halloween-style exercise in masochism treat last year, I spent the month of October watching and reviewing a movie per day, every day. And not just anymovie, mind you- the catch was, I had to watch and review a movie I've never seen before. I'll be pulling this stunt again for Shocktober '06 starting in a few days, and I figure with a horror movie hitting theatres during the festivities, I need to take advantage of the opportunity to get off my fucking couch.

Secondly, I read the advance review of TCMTB (as the cool kids are calling it) at Bloody-Disgusting, and it was...glowing. Well, I think it was glowing, anyway. I don't get the second part of this sentence, so I could be wrong:

"...what separates TCMTB from the rest is not only how emotionally effective it is, but how virtues it is in its terror."

Does he mean 'virtuous', maybe? Interesting. Perhaps there's hope for us all. There's still no accounting for the ad campaign, however. I thought things couldn't get any worse after this touching "one lonely man and his chainsaw" approach:

...but WOW. Things got alot worse, my friends, and this poster adds a whole new meaning to the phrase "one lonely man and his chainsaw":

What the fuck? Is that a joke? That has to be a joke. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TELL ME THAT'S A JOKE. Is that Leatherface's high school senior portrait? It feels so...seedy. Not in a horror movie horrifying kind of seedy, but in a "I Googled some innocuous term and somehow now I've stumbled across a site full of amateur photos of stuffed animals and the men who love them...whilst said men are loving their stuffed animals!" kind of seedy...not that, you know, that's ever happened to me. Although, I must say, a friend once told me to Google Image the word 'love' and check out the first picture. The picture was a mustachioed man in lingerie shoving his wang up a car's tailpipe. No, I'm not lying...and sweet mother of all that is good and kind in the world a poster for a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie should NOT bring back such painful memories for me!

Excuse me, please...I think I need some time in the Jesus closet.

Sep 26, 2006

Oh, Freddy.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to catch one of the very limited, very unpublicized screenings of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I never had a chance to see it on the big screen during its original run, so I was duly excited about the whole concept. I was so excited, in fact, that I had these ridiculous images in my head about what the experience would be like. I was imagining that whatever theatre at the Regal 16 showing the film would be filled with a raucous, unruly audience, whooping and hollering and having a blast. The room would be absolutely filled to capacity- a big phew! for me for reserving tickets! Apparently, I was picturing Freddy Krueger playing to a crowd of chubby 40-something women having "girls night out!" at a Chippendales show, dollar bills waving in the air to the strains of Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me".

Aside: I have no idea where this concept of strip clubs has come from. TV, maybe? Shall I blame the media? I've been to exactly one strip club. It was a rather sad affair. I went in (with friends, silly!) thinking it would be as I described above, you know...the whooping and hollaring and dollar bill waving. All I really remember is that it wasn't like that whatsoever. It was quiet in there, and when the girl was finished doing her thing, the music ended and she had to pick up her clothes and walk off the stage in silence. It was eerie, odd, and very, very sad. And yet, my idea of strip clubs as pits of loud excitement perpetuates.

In reality, the theatre had maybe 25 people in the seats. It was sedate and deathly quiet throughout the movie...even when Nancy righteously loudwhispered "Screw your pass!", there was nary a snicker but for mine. None of this has anything to do with the movie itself, I know...I'm simply adding "local color", which I learned about in 7th grade English class.

Now then. How does A Nightmare on Elm Street hold up after more than 20 years?

For me, NoES is akin to...I don't know, a Bananarama record or something. When I was 12, it was the greatest. Fucking. Thing. EVER. I still have fond memories of it, but I honestly can't remember why I made such a damn fuss over the thing back in the day. I still enjoy it, in its way, but I know in my heart of hearts that it's not that great anymore.

Oh no, she di'n't! Did she just write that about A Nightmare on Elm Street? Girl, please! Where's my tar and feathers?

Yeah, I said it. It's only my opinion, it's not fact, most horror fans probably disagree with me, perhaps vehemently. Freddy Krueger has never come close to topping my list of horror movie boogeymen, despite his popularity. I've simply never found him to be scary...and so while I still enjoy NoES, it looks even more tame today than when I was an impressionable youngster. As you can see, he fails to even arouse much of a response from my awesome cat, Hot Cocoa:

There's no denying the mind-bending, gory terror in the sequences depicting the deaths of Tina (Amanda Wyss) and Glenn (Johnny Depp). Director Wes Craven knocked those out of the park- an unseen killer tossing bodies around the room like dolls and WOW that's alot of blood...

But there's so much UNscary in Nightmare that any genuine scares Craven elicits in those scenes vanishes quickly. First, let us discuss the soundtrack. On one hand, the sound effect of Freddy's knives scraping along metal is jarring, grating, terrifying, and perfect. But honey...the music. Whenever Freddy gives chase to Nancy, the boinking synthesizer kicks in and we're treated to something you might hear on a Nu Shooz album. I realize the movie was made in the mid-80s. One might forgive the synthesizer, but more than that it's the wrong tempo. The music doesn't evoke evokes...action movies. This soundtrack belongs to a Lorenzo Lamas movie about someone who breaks the law to bring down the bad guys...a vigilante...a Renegade, baby. It doesn't belong in a horror film. It's glaring in its wrongness.

Then there's Nancy's mom's charred body waving as it sinks into the glowing, fog-emitting disco bed and Freddy disappearing into a shower of sparkles when Nancy turns her back on him and tells him off. Quaint, maybe, but not scary.

The idea of a killer stalking your dreams is fantastic. People having to "think" killers into reality is great as well (and was much better handled in Candyman, I think). I simply don't think A Nightmare on Elm Street is a terribly horrifying horror movie. I like it, but...not in that way anymore, you know? Now hold on, because I'm going to say something awfully brash. Are you ready?

I think this movie deserves a remake.

Sep 17, 2006

I cracked.

Allow me to set the scene.

The other day, I received an email newsletter from the video game outfit GameStop. There was the usual info about upcoming releases and deals- including one wherein you get extra credit for every so many games you trade in. "Hmm," thought I, "Surely I can cull my herd of unused games and get something new. Yes, this sounds like just the thing!"

The wheels in my head spun for a bit.

Later that day I walked into my local GameStop with an armful of dusty games and an Xbox. I walked out with brand-spankin' new Xbox 360 and a copy of Dead Rising.

I held out as long as I could, I swear. I read trusted reviews proclaiming its close-to-heavenness. I drooled over info and screenshots. I stared at the game wantonly through the protective glass barrier at Target, sending Dead Rising thoughts of love and promises of "Soon! Soon we will be couch and my snacks will join us, my pet, and you will help me complete my transformation into a full-blown Urban Hermit!" But I'm only human, dammit, and the game is like a big wet dream of everything you could ever want in a zombie video game. How long did I really think I could resist?

In Dead Rising, you play freelance photojournalist Frank West, a brash fella who's on his way to Willamette, Colorado to check out the...somethings that are going on there. Frank instructs the pilot of his chartered helicopter to land in the center of town, at the mall. Frank soon discovers that a good portion of the town's 53,594 citizens are now flesh-eating zombies- and the helicopter won't be back to pick him up for 72 hours.

And so begins some of the most fun I've ever had playing a videogame. The storyline is open enough that you can...err, choose your own adventure. If you want to figure out the story behind the zombie outbreak- a story steeped in government coverups and condemnations of consumer culture, then go for it. If you want to play humanitarian and spend 72 hours rescuing as many stranded survivors throughout the mall as you can, then good luck to you. You could always spend three days hunting zombies 'til your heart's content- it's all up to you.

Anything and everything in the mall is at your disposal to use as a weapon against the hordes of the undead. There are guns and knives and your more conventional weapons, of course, but running them over with a lawn mower is much more fun. Flinging CDs at their heads will only drive the zombies back, but swinging a large sheet of plywood will cut them in half. There's one weapon in particular (some sort of construction device called an 'excavator') that had me doubled over with maniacal cackling upon its discovery and use. The excavator is like a giant drill, one you've got to carry with two hands. Turn it on and stab a zombie...the zombie gets caught on it and will spin around and around, taking down any zombies in your path. Eventually limbs and blood and goo will be flying everywhere as the excavator spins and the zombie breaks apart. It's gory, disgusting, and absolutely hysterical. My current zombie body count- the game keeps track- stands at 5,219. I'll let that number sink in for a moment, as it gives you some idea of the scope of this game.

Ten minutes playing Dead Rising should be enough to quiet the people who lament that "zombies aren't scary because they're so damn slow". I've heard that argument countless times when talking about zombie movies (yes, I do things like talk about zombie movies. That's...wicked cool, right? Right?), and I've always countered that the sheer number of zombies ensures that the zombies will always win. I gotta tell ya, I feel vindicated by Dead Rising. Sure, I'm using a videogame to back up my argument, but hey, I'll take support wherever I can get it.

The zombies wandering around Willamette Parkview Mall are pure George A. Romero-style zombies; they shuffle. Some of them shuffle faster than others, but they all shuffle. Should be easy to survive, right? They're slow! They're slow...but take at look at those screenshots above (yeah, those are screenshots- I love this game!!) and tell me whether or not it matters if the zombies are slow. You can be having a grand old time, smashing zombies with toolboxes and bowling balls and cash registers, watching the body count rise...and it simply doesn't make a dent. They just...keep...coming. And the fuckers are grabby. Get yourself cornered and you've had it.

Dead Rising reinforces a surprising number of my personal beliefs, such as:

-zombies are scary
-the government is mostly evil and engages in cover-ups all the time
-the current consumer culture and flavor-of-the-minute news media are helping to rocket American society to certain doom
-I have negligible willpower when it comes to horror-based videogames
-having negligible willpower when it comes to horror-based videogames isn't necessarily a bad thing
-it may be weeks before I leave the house again

Next-generation zombie there anything they can't do?

Sep 10, 2006

Extra Crispy!

In honor of the horribly disfiguring burns I got on my vacation (OK, I'm peeling a little), I thought I'd share this nugget of AWESOME.

Obviously, a photo of Freddy Krueger holding a press conference is awesome...but it gets better. To celebrate the release of the Nightmare on Elm Street Special Edition, New Line Cinema is putting NOES back in theatres for two nights! Yup, that's so bitchin' it deserves an exclamation mark.

8pm on September 20 and 21, baby, the franchise-launching film will hit select theatres around the country. Here's the Fandango page where you can check for tickets...I got my tickets and I'm oddly really excited about this. I want to see Nancy's big, big hair on the big, big screen! They're also touting something called "Freddy's best kills" which will only be seen at these screenings. I know it'll just be a montage from all the movies, but still- sa-weet.

I want more classic horror films- hell, even bad old horror films- re-released in theatres. Can't one of us make this happen?

Sep 4, 2006

Jet Lag

...or, What I Did on My Summer Vacation by Stacie Ponder.

Well, look at me, all returned and whatnot from my big wild west adventure. I tells ya, I feel all ten kinds of Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball! It's going to take some time for me to give up my Nell-like wilderness ramblings (though I'll try to remain pure and childlike, of course), to hack off my ZZ Top-length metaphorical vacation beard, and to simply try to comprehend everything I've done and seen in the last 17 days. Let it suffice to say for now that I am humbled and really, really fricking tired.

I've uploaded a few snappy snaps for your boredom enjoyment. These are some of the 300+ digital pictures, but the 35mm junk will have to wait. Since I'm now unemployed, I'm going to have to apply for a grant to fund the developing of the 25 or so rolls I've got sitting here. They're the good stuff, though, baby...worth the wait- I'm all about the analog.

Incidentally, I've gotten used to this so-called "unemployment". In fact, I like it so much that I've decided to say fuck getting a job. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this idea, but I've been ruminating on my options:

1. Become a 1930s-style sad clown vagabond hobo, a la Roger Miller's "King of the Road". I'll spend my time riding the rails and singing American folk songs such as "Jimmy Crack Corn" (see: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure).

2. Become a 1970s-style alcoholic, sort of like Ava Gardner in Earthquake. This will entail the wearing of flowy slacks, the maintaining of an all-day buzz that could at any moment turn into screeching hysteria, and the listening to of many Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass LPs.

3. Become a jedi.

I'll let you know how things go.

In the meantime, on with the vacation wrap-up quickstyle!

*States visited: 6
*Miles driven: 5270
*National Parks seen/hiked/conquered: 15
*Pizzas consumed: 9
*Highest temperature: 115 (Zion National Park, UT)
*Lowest temperature: 43 (Alamosa, CO)
*Highest elevation: 10,856 (Wolf's Creek Pass, CO)
*Lowest elevation: -280 (Death Valley National Park, CA)
*Most awesome wildlife seen: Black Bear (Mesa Verde National Park, CO)...YES, WE SAW A FUCKING BEAR. Runner-up: California Condors (Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ)
*Least awesome wildlife seen: (TIE) the killer bees of Joshua Tree, CA; the gnats of Tombstone, AZ
*Wildlife Stacie may or may not have seen: Tarantula (x2); dead kangaroo ( I SWEAR! It was in the road near a wildlife "park". We passed by and went on to Bryce Canyon for the day. Later, when leaving, I was going to stop and investigate- but the body was gone!)
*Movies watched in LA: 6.2 (the damn DVD of The Mutilator crapped out on us)
*Total # of Matlock movies watched: 1 (...and it was fucking terrible. You see, our house doesn't have cable- thus, when we go to a hotel and there IS cable, it's exciting and exotic. The wires in my head must be crossed or something, because whenever I see there's a Matlock movie on in a hotel, I get psyched. I think maybe I think it's something cool like Columbo or The Rockford Files or Perry Mason or something so I always put it on. And it always sucks! I hate Matlock! Andy Griffith acts like a retarded 2-year-old in a seersucker suit with his mugging and his fucking banjo shit and his ludicrous courtroom antics and I get so irritated...yet I leave it on. And guaranteed, the lesson of the suckiness of Matlock just doesn't stick with me. Were there to be another Matlock movie on the following night, I'd probably turn it on and then I'd end up wanting to punch myself in the face repeatedly. Hard.)

Did I walk the mile-and-a-half down into the natural entrance to Carlsbad Cavern (New Mexico)? Yes, I did. There were gobs of cave swallows circling around the entrance. Every night around sunset, this is where all the Mexican Free-Tail bats fly out in search of yummy mosquitoes. Between the birds and the bats, the entrance was pretty stinky with poop. It was still wicked cool, though.

Here we have Groom Lake Road, the 15-mile dirt road that leads to Area 51 (Nevada). We drove as far as we could, to the signs telling us that if we went any further...well, use of deadly force was authorized. I got out and approached the signs to take pictures of them, at which point the security dudes on the hillside lurched their unmarked truck forward to let me know they weren't fucking around. It was awesome!

The "dark cell"- solitary confinement at Yuma Territorial Prison (Arizona):

Did I put on a hardhat and simulate launching a Titan II nuclear missle (Arizona)? Yes, I did. It's the last remaining Titan II in the US, the rest of the silos having been destroyed at the end of the cold war. It's not a big red button that initiates the launch, no matter what Martin Sheen may have done in the Dead Zone; it's the key in the center of the top row. After entering a bunch of security codes, there's a synchronized key turn to launch. The three buttons on the top left were for the 3 target locations- locations that are still classified today.

Crusty alien autopsy at the UFO Museum in Roswell, NM:

Ghost towns in the desert = happy Stacie. This is Rhyolite in Beatty, NV- very close to the California border:

Here's the...err, dunes at Great Sand Dunes, Colorado. We hiked almost all the way to the top, which is about 750 feet. Sand hiking is kinda cool, kinda way too difficult:

Kanab, Utah:

All right, I won't bore you any longer (until I get my film back, that is)- this is supposed to be about horror movies, right?

Ah, civilization.