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!

Jul 30, 2008

the wednesday wipeout

Jabba works his bitches hard, y'all!

That's the last picture I took at Comic-Con- I only took about 15 altogether, despite going into it thinking I'd get all Jimmy Olsen up in that shit. Instead, I took about 3 pictures of my friends, 3 pictures of myself with friends, and 10 pictures of Star Wars statues because I am a NERD.

As if you didn't know that already.

It's weird, though- there's something about digital photography that makes me less likely to actually take pictures. I'm a luddite crone.

As if you didn't know that already.

(edited to add a decidedly NERDish photo of life-size BSG Centurion that had a red eye light that went back and forth)

The Powers That Be decided to run the newest Ghostella episode until Monday; sorry about that- I know you've all been wringing your hands and peeing your pants in anticipation!

The AMC train is running right on schedule, though, and they've posted my column lamenting the loss of the drive-in and coming up with some double features I'd like to see.

Omigod, I am a crone!

Shock Till You Drop has got a gallery of photos from Resident Evil: Degeneration, the forthcoming CGI feature based on the Konami video games. You know, the movie I'm salivating over (because I am a NERD) but learned nothing about at Comic-Con because I got shut out of the panel because of all the effing peoplekdjkdjdkjhkja;sASD;fCXCDJK...............

In other wow, I missed the panel but I'm not at all bitter about it- okay, who am I kidding, I'm totally fucking bitter about it news, has the whole hour long shebang up at their website. No, I have not watched it yet because I am a big lame currently embroiled in a...err, something something danger and intrigue.

Jul 29, 2008

SDCC 08: Friday the 13th

Oh Comic-Con, you've left me but a shell of the woman I once was. 5 days of walking, shouting, looking, and jostling is enough to break even the most enthusiastic geek. The show is so huge and so packed it's practically impossible to actually enjoy it at times. Sure, the film companies have sweet booth setups, but you can't check it out for all the people swarming around it. The panels are great, but if you can hit two popular panels in two different locations, you must be some sort of ninja. People queue up hours in advance like they're waiting for tickets to a Samantha Fox concert or something! I had too many obligations and couldn't spend time standing around in line, and therefore I ended up shut out of a few panels (a press pass, unfortunately, counts for total squat), including the only two I really wanted to see: Resident Evil: Degeneration and Battlestar Galactica. Douchey times! I still did some wicked (wicked as in squee!) cool stuff, though, and I'll have articles and the whatnot trickling in over the next week or two.

I caught the panel for the Platinum Dunes reimaginariumination of Friday the 13th- I know the footage shown was leaked online; maybe you snagged a peek before it was quickly pulled. If you didn't, I bet you wanna know what it was all about, huh? Don't you? And you want to know what producers Andrew Form and Brad Puller and stars Derek Mears, Jared Padalecki, and some chick who only spoke about three words had to say, don't you? Sigh, fine!

First off, here's the teaser poster, unveiled for the very first time, not at all unlike a virgin:

Me like! Simple, spooky, and iconic. Well played, Platinum Dunes...well played.

The footage shown featured a couple of supermodelesque teens wandering into Jason's deluxe shanty during a trip to Camp Crystal Lake; they come across a big pile of lit candles as well as...a wrinkled old head, presumably that of Mrs Voorhees. Eeeeyagggh! The guitars start to whale, supermodels start to scream, Jason finds the hockey mask, Jason busts through a window just like he did at the end of Part 2, Jason starts to make with the chop chop. And yes, there is some "ki ki ki ma ma ma"- if they'd done away with that, the fury of the legions of horror nerds (myself included) would burn with such intensity that the world would suddenly go supernova, then suck in the rest of the solar system as the supernova reversed direction and turned into a black hole.

What? It would. I know my science.

According to the producers, this film isn't going to be a strict remake of Friday the 13th, but rather an amalgamation of parts 2-4. Nowadays one seems to think a broad like Pamela Voorhees couldn't take down a hunky hunk like Jared Padalecki, and besides, no one cares about a broad like Pamela Voorhees anymore- horror fans want Jason. So what is Platinum Dunes doing with Jason?

Well, they ain't doing an origin movie. Apparently we'll briefly learn only a bit about his past, and he's going to be "rooted in reality" as they move away from super zombie Jason of the later Friday films. Derek Mears claims this Jason is smart, sympathetic, and "just a guy". I claim that a few shots in the teaser footage make me think Mears is going to kick ass.

Wait, "kick ass"? Yeah, I have to admit, I kinda liked the footage- a surprising reaction I attribute to the intensity displayed by Mears. The rest looked like your typical loud, brash horror movie fare (this is Platinum Dunes, after all)- ridiculously attractive "regular" teens covered in dirt, a soundtrack turned up to eleven, blah blah blah. But Jason's the star of this show, and he looked pretty fucking cool.

While the film apparently has a finite ending, the producers said they'd love to do a sequel. They also briefly mentioned the imminent retooling of The Birds and how there are so many horror properties out there they're simply itching to remake- one, in particular, is A Nightmare on Elm Street. This immediately made me wonder why the production company doesn't seem to be interested in making anything...well, new and original; it seems they're only going to plunder the past. I felt my righteous horror indignation flare up a bit, but then it quickly dissipated- I had to bolt to make it across the Comic-Con compound to catch something else, and I simply didn't have time to think.

Have no fear, I'm sure you'll be inundated with Friday the 13th news items all over The Internet in the months to come- the film won't be released until Friday, February 13, 2009. As for me, eh. I'll see it- in fact, it might even be pretty effing cool to see Jason on the big screen again.

Ack, what am I saying?? I can't be optimistic about this- damn, Comic-Con fried my fucking brain!

Jul 23, 2008

Nerd Prom!

Sorry I've been oh so quiet lately, but you see, I've been a-gearin' up for NERD PROM!

Yes, it's that time of the year again; in a couple of hours I'm heading on down to San Diego for five- count 'em, FIVE- days and nights of madness. I've got oodles and oodles of noodles cool stuff lined up and I'm so excited...I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control, my friends, and...why...I think I like it! Seriously, my extravaganza this year is going to make my extravaganza last year look like...uh, I don't know. A non-extravaganza? Something lame. Ooh, I got it- last year's trip tp SDCC was like a piece of Fruit Stripe gum- flavorful for a minute, but then it loses its flavor and you're chewing on a piece of latex, whereas this year will be like a piece of Freshen Up. You think it's just gum- gum that has a flavor which lasts and lasts!- but then, even better, there's a burst of goo which adds to the inherent excitement that comes along with chewing gum.

I just realized a few things:

1) I use gum chewing as a metaphor quite often
2) "there's a burst of goo which adds to the inherent excitement" is quite the double entendre
3) All this gum talk is weird as I don't even chew gum anymore- I vastly prefer a mint

At any rate! When I get back next week and start relaying my reports you'll undoubtedly be all "Holy crap, this IS just like Freshen Up!", I swear.

In the meantime, I've got a column up at AMC today, wherein I discuss various flavors of vampire. There's even a wee poll attached to the article, which reminds me that I should post another poll here at FG.

In even more meantime, be good and don't forget to water the plants whilst I'm away. And if you kill my cat and try to replace it with a copy, I'll know.

Jul 16, 2008

the wednesday bee bee dairy

Bee Bee Dairy was a small chain of those coffee shop type restaurants that was one of my haunting grounds when I was in junior high and high school. It was the kind of place where old people sit at the counter all day nursing a corn muffin and a cuppa, so obviously it would appeal to me. I couldn't find any pictures of it online, and it seems that it might not even exist anymore. Despite the fact that I (unfortunately) don't get home all that often and when I do Bee Bee's never figures into my plans, the fact that it might be gone still made me a bit sad. I'm getting old. Where's my corn muffin?

I love corn muffins.

In other news, Wednesday is AMC day! This week I talk about horror comedies I didn't know were horror comedies. Slap my face and call me Myrtle!

Whatever that means.

This week in Ghostella's Haunted Tomb news, I give you...outtakes. Who doesn't love an outtake? Jerks don't. Don't be a jerk.

Over at his rad blog*, author Vince Liaguno talks about and links to his enlightening interview with Todd Farmer, the screenwriter for the upcoming My Bloody Valentine remake...and The Messengers...and Jason X. Go read it- Farmer divulges some info on the reality of horror by committee. The genre has had that antiseptic boardroom feel for years now, but it doesn't make the notion of it any less depressing. We need a horror revolution NOW!

Attention mall shoppers Film Club Folks: I'm changing the due date on this month's pick, The Car. I'll be in San Diego for Comic-Con the weekend before the original due date and I'm freaking out about everything I have to get done. Freaking out, I say! So, let's talk about The Car on Monday, August 4, shall we? I know lots of you are excited about this one, and so am I. By Brolin's beard, it will rock our faces off- so say we all!

In lieu of a photograph of Bee Bee Dairy, here's a photograph of a big bee that accompanied my review of The Swarm. That's probably better than a picture of Bee Bee Dairy, anyway.

*"rad blog" makes me sound young and hip, don't you think?

Jul 11, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the 1983 edition!

Apparently grasping hands, either in terror or of terror, were a big theme in 1983.

Wow, Ian McKellan is in The Keep.

You know, a lot of these movies kinda stink and yet there's something lovable about them. Just like Oscar the Grouch!

Other notable 1983 movies include The Dead Zone, Videodrome (see ampf: David Cronenberg), and The Entity (see ampf: Stan Winston).

Jul 9, 2008

the wednesday weng weng

Do you know about Weng Weng and have you witnessed his cinematic oeuvre? Don't come back until you do and have!

As you can imagine, I've got another column up at AMC, and this week it's all about Batman. I loves me some Batman.

I don't know, maybe it's the time of the year, but the horror community seems pretty dead at the moment. I tried to find something interesting to post about today, some exciting piece of news or groundbreaking revelation, but I came up empty. Therefore, in lieu of fantastic horror-related news, I will post another picture of the fantastic Weng Weng. I suggest you bookmark this page so you can come back to these photos in the future when you're depressed and you need a reminder about how awesome life can be!


Jul 8, 2008

she doesn't have to tell you anything!

I had this feeling that watching The Child, the 1977 lo-budget flick about a li'l girl who telekinetically controls a li'l zombie army, would be a life-changing event.

There's a chance my expectations were too high.

And yet, this outing from a bunch of "nobodies" and producer de sleaze extraordinaire Harry Novak (Rituals, Please Don't Eat My Mother, Midnight Plowboy, Sexual Kung Fu in Hong Kong, and Mantis in Lace, which features my great uncle!) is actually pretty good and downright creepy.

Alicianne (Laurel Barnett) is to be the new nanny/governess for Rosalie Nordon (err...Rosalie Cole), whose mother died under mysterious circumstances- she may have been murdered by a tramp! Or perhaps something else happened. After all, Rosalie's mom was a nutter and spent most of her life in and out of mental institutions. Although the Nordon's elderly neighbor Mrs Whitfield (Ruth Ballan) says Rosalie is as wacked out as her mom was, that remains to be seen. The physical resemblance Rosalie bears to her late mother, however, is positively striking- Rosalie tells Alicianne that folks were always commenting how the mom and daughter even had the same exact hair. It's so true- see for yourself!

I must say, things get going right away with The Child. Alicianne is suspicious of Rosalie before the kid has even done anything weird- why, even Rosalie's dad (Frank Janson) and older brother Len (Richard Hanners) talk about the fact that she's a total kookadook. It doesn't take long before she proves them right.

Mrs Whitfield makes one too many comments about how Rosalie shouldn't be playing in the cemetery after dark and the next thing you know, she's got a basement full of crusty old zombies!

The zombies drag the poor old woman away and rip her face off, totally undoing her tightly-wound bun in the process. The Child doesn't skimp on the low-budget gore, that's for sure, and Rosalie's zombie army means business.

But how do we know that Rosalie is responsible for the zombie on elderly violence? Why, because she drew a picture of it in her sketchbook, that's how!

Yep, Rosalie's sketchbook is like a visual diary into her twisted little mind! She draws pictures of herself feeding kittens to zombies in the graveyard, then we see her feeding kittens to zombies in the graveyard. She draws a bunch of people laughing and crying around a giant book...

...and then we flashback to Mrs Nordon's funeral, where Rosalie promises something to her mother but I couldn't understand what it was exactly because of the overbearing echo effect. Those 'x'es get the point across, though- it's Rosalie's hit list- she's taking down all the people she thinks are responsible for her mother's death.

The dude in the middle of the drawing, the Asian gardener, gets a visit in his shed from Rosalie and a friend one fateful evening. The friend is actually a scarecrow wielding a shotgun, and although the gardener responds to Rosalie's accusations of "You killed my mother!" with "No! Mama crazy!", the scarecrow shoots him dead. Surprisingly enough, the glimpse we get of the scarecrow is more spooky than silly.

Alicianne finally confronts Rosalie about her midnight trips to the graveyard, but the girl insists that she only goes there to visit her mother. When Alicianne says that's impossible because her mother is "gone", Rosalie says "Gone? Gone where?" and then laughs for thirty seconds straight. Literally. What a hoot!

Halloween arrives and the holiday proves once and for all that the kid has eerie mental powers. Alicianne blows out the candle in a jack-o-lantern carved by Rosalie. Then the lights go out, the candle re-lights, and the pumpkin turns to follow Alicianne as she wanders around the room...and dammit if I wasn't getting all creeped out despite myself. What can I say, it's a really effective scene.

Rosalie finally 'fesses up about her graveyard pals- they "do favors" for her because she's the only person who's not afraid of them. When these favors extend to ripping off Mr Nordon's face, Alicianne and Len decide to hightail it outta there.

Before they get far, of course, the car dies...and here come the zombies!

Len and Alicianne manage to make their way to a shed; the former works at boarding up the door while the latter stands, wrings her hands, pulls her hair, and whines a lot. The creepiest eye EVARRR peeks through a hole in the wall and the next thing you know it's time for the zombie siege- how long can Len hold them off while Alicianne remains useless?

About four minutes, that's how long. The zombies come up through the floorboards and rip off Len's face, which is apparently their MO. Then Rosalie shows up...will the brat get what's coming to her or will Alicianne still remain useless and get her face ripped off?

There's a word that keeps coming to mind when I'm talking about The Child: creepy. It really is an atmospheric, spooky little flick. Until the final siege, we only get glimpses of the zombies- peering from the bushes in a foggy cemetery, for example, or maybe a grasping hand or two. They're not fully revealed until the final ten minutes of the film, but they're totally worth the wait. The makeup is fantastic, especially considering the low budget- if anything, they remind me a bit of the undead Conquistadors in Fulci's Zombi. It's nice to see zombies that really look like rotting corpses for once, rather than regular people who have been out in the sun a bit too long.

So if The Child was so very chilling and I liked it so much (and I really did), why wasn't it "life-changing" as I'd hoped? Sure, the dialogue is weird and feels a bit like a bunch of non-sequiturs strung together, but the real culprit, in a word, is sound. Or, in several words, the sound was fucking atrocious with a capital Oh My God The Sound Was Fucking Atrocious. The entire film is dubbed and the voice acting is some of the worst I've ever heard. Add to that truly terrible sound effects, a discordant Moog-based soundtrack that's irritating and distracting after the first three minutes you hear it (aka the first three minutes of the film), and choppy sound editing (music comes and goes from cut to cut- hell, the music even stops halfway through the end credits) and this boat is sunk before it leaves the dock. It's a real shame, too, because The Child could have been great. As it stands, this flick is primo '70s drive-in fare, and I highly recommend you seek it out. Just don't expect anything life-changing.

Jul 7, 2008

the rig is up

It is a well-known fact that one of the sides comprising the equilateral triangle that represents the best television shows in the history of ever is the new Battlestar Galactica (the other two sides being, of course, Melrose Place and Dallas).

Wow, writing that sentence totally got me jonesing to do some alg/trig, what with all the letters and formulae and angles that are involved. Scalene triangles are the best triangles, don't you think?

Wait, I mean I hate math! Christ, I keep forgetting that I'm a girl. Damn this moustache!

The point is, when one loves Battlestar Galactica as if the show is one's own child and one is browsing at Video Hut and one spots a movie called Ghost Rig (2003) and one notices that the words "Jamie" and "Bamber" are emblazoned across the top of the box, one gets very excited and one brings Ghost Rig home. Jamie Bamber, see, plays Apollo on Battlestar Galactica, and Ghost Rig is ostensibly a horror movie. A squared + B squared = 2 great tastes tasting great together, my mathemagical friends!

In Ghost Rig, a bunch of environmental activists occupy an abandoned oil rig that's about to be demolished. Believing that the "artificial reef" formed by the rig debris will do more harm than good, the crazy kids of "Action Planet" intend to stay on the rig until...until...uh, I guess until the government promises not to destroy it. You know, they use the strategy of those folks who sit in trees to protest the chop-chop.

After what seems like 453968 minutes of activists walking around with flashlights, we learn that the rig is not, in fact, abandoned! There's someone on board, though whether corporeal or otherwise it's unclear. This someone's intentions are perfectly clear, however, and soon the someone makes with the Black Christmasing of an unlucky activist.

After the body is found, the group is divided into two factions: those who want to stay and those who want to split. The stayers outnumber the splitters so the activists decide to keep...activisting.

Captain Action Planet decides this is a good time to casually mention to the group that the rig was quarantined before their arrival. Nothing like a little exposure to unknown viruses and the such to liven things up a bit!

At this point, Ghost Rig becomes the rig-ified baby of John Carpenter's The Thing and that movie I've seen ten minutes of about seven times, Fallen. The virus ain't a virus per se, but rather it's a...demon of sorts, and the possession is passed from person to person and therefore no one can be trusted. The ragtag group of activists must overcome their differences (Captain Action Planet is an a-hole! Jamie Bamber is totally a double agent, which kind of doesn't make any sense!) as they fight for survival. Will they be able to?

People flip out and whale on each other with hammers, wounds heal via dodgy CGI, there's a 'demon voice' which proves that Mercedes McCambridge is the only person who could do a believable demon voice and she didn't need any fucking help from a computer thank you very much, there are corpses tucked away in the walls, and the activists piece together what happened on the rig before it got all possess-y, starting with the discovery of a giant devil's hopscotch.

By the way, the term "devil's hopscotch" reminds me of Devil's Hopyard, which is a state park near where I grew up. Obviously it's the best name for a state park EVARRRRRR. It also has the coolest legends of any state park I've ever encountered, which, as you can imagine, fueled wee Final Girl's imagination:
Another tale focuses on the potholes near the falls, which are some of the finest examples of pothole stone formations in this section of the country. Perfectly cylindrical, they range from inches to several feet in diameter and depth. These potholes were formed by stones moved downstream by the current and trapped in an eddy where the stone was spun around and around, wearing a depression in the rock. When the rock wore itself down, another would catch in the same hole and enlarge it. We know this now, but to the early settlers the potholes were a great mystery that they tried to explain with references to the supernatural. They thought that the Devil has passed by the falls, accidentally getting his tail wet. This made him so mad he burned holes in the stones with his hooves as he bounded away.
Stupid, awesome, superstitious settlers.

But! Now is not the time for southeastern Connecticut's geological history. Now is the time for mediocre horror movies, so back to Ghost Rig.

I must admit, just when I was thinking that this movie was a let down, Apollo or no Apollo, Ghost Rig surprised me with a twist ending that was interesting, satisfying, and undoubtedly the best part of the movie. I'm not going to give anything away here because not only was the ending completely unexpected, but it's also complicated and I'm too lazy to type all that shit out. Suffice it to say, when Ghost Rig ended I had to give it a begrudging "Not bad, kid...not bad at all." Then Ghost Rig gave me a Coke and I threw my shirt at it*.

So. Should you seek out Ghost Rig? Well, if you're anything like me, then perhaps yes. "Anything like me" means that you want to make out with Battlestar Galactica so badly that you even consider rewatching Halloween: Resurrection, a movie that opened with fifteen minutes that made you want to kill yourself and the entire world the first time you saw it, just because Starbuck is in it. "Anything like me" means that a movie about a haunted oil rig is something that makes you genuinely go "Ooh, hey, this could be good". "Anything like me" means you would buy an algebra workbook just for fun, but I suppose that's sort of beside the point.

*I realize that there are plenty of you out there who have absolutely no clue what I'm referencing here, so voila. Great Caesar's ghost, I've dated people who are younger than that commercial. How is this possible? In related news, does Coke really add life?

Jul 4, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the 1975 edition!

Posters for the other notable 1975 films Beyond the Door, House of Exorcism (aka Lisa and the Devil), and Shivers can be found in past ampf editions: ampf #4, Mario Bava part 2, and David Cronenberg.

the friday wednesday

Greetings one and all. You have my sincerest apologies regarding the lack of updates around here, but I'm only just now emerging from the grip of a serious blog ennui...bloggui? I haven't touched my computer in days- in days, I tells ya- so consider this humble offering a step, at least, in the right direction.

It's not as if I've been watching all these awesome movies and not telling you about them, believe me. In fact, I have no idea what I've been doing with myself for the last week. Where have I been? What time is it? What is that doing there?

Well, no matter. A thousand pardons if this is old news, but AMC posted another of my columns this week. This effort is an admittedly cracked-out treatise on shark movies other than Jaws, and shark movies I'd like to see. It's groundbreaking!


It's also Ghostella week, hooray! Go forth now and watch Ex, a slasher film of sorts about one woman's long night dealing with her ex-girlfriend...and ex-girlfriend who really wants to get her lamp back. Or does she? Mua ha ha!

I don't even know if that make sense. The point is, watch it and see if you can spot my thrilling homage to Friday the 13th Part 2! First person to find it gets a virtual high five, which will make you the envy of all that you meet.

Speaking of being the envy of all you meet, check out what I picked up!

There is SO MUCH about this to love! Look at that cast! It's a sky full of stars, baby: Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, William Shatner, Keenan Wynn, and Ida Lupino? Please. I'm all over it.

Note the grammatically incorrect tagline. That apostrophe in "Devil's" ruins the whole thing. If they mean that there will be a bunch of devils, like, raining down, then there shouldn't be an apostrophe. If they mean we should all watch out because the devil's rain can, like, melt your face off or something, then they need to complete the thought. "Heaven help us all when the devil's rain falls, because it will, in fact, melt our faces!" No, it's not catchy, necessarily, but it's more grammatically delightful.

What's best about this, however, is the bold declaration "The most incredible ending of any motion picture ever!" Sure, you may be shaking your head as if to say "Really? Really, The Devil's Rain? Ever?", but bear in mind that this film hit in 1975, meaning that Killer Workout, which can, in fact, boast the most incredible ending of any motion picture ever, was still 11 years away.

I can't wait to watch this. It really is a video treasure!