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Archive for January, 2017

Family

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This was an illustration of you family and something they like. I love that our cat Carmel is in this one too, and the event is family nights where we pop popcorn and watch special movies!

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ZipCon 2017

Conman16298695_10155029208382558_5432420521293596460_nStraight off the bat, I’ve got to tell you… I love zip con. It really has taken the place of shinboku con for me as the convention for me to get my anime fix…  they do such a great job at the University of Akron, managing to take what is a fairly massive show, and maintains the relatively intimate feeling that you get from smaller shows like cinema wasteland or NEO comicon. I had the great pleasure of being a part of this convention this year – I spoke in two different panels – one on cosplaying for charity and another on cosplaying on a budget (that being the panel that Bat-Mite crashed and also took part in….) I had already prepared remarks in advance and each went very smoothly. It was interesting to talk about sourcing materials at thrift stores or rescuing interesting looking16299131_1424924954218590_6525552726903486676_n wires and sticks from the trash, then combining them into something amazing you could wear out to visit the sick, the shut-ins, the forgotten.

It was a great deal colder this year than when we went last year… This really cast a bit of a cloud for Maddie, my little Jigglypuff. Still, she managed to find her very favourite Pokémon in the dealers room and perked right up. The dealers room hasn’t grown, although I did see some different faces there this year – I don’t know, I Kinda wish they’d open up the wall between the dealers room in the masquerade room and make that whole area one bigger dealers room, and then move the masquerade next door and move the Pokémon tournament to another space – I think this still has a potential for more vendors and better shopping, it’s really the only complaint that I have! We spent the day carrying around Maddies plush Poké Ball and inviting people to try and catch her – just watch!

16195762_1424926947551724_1948420088810939434_nOn a personal note, this may be the last time Voltron comes out – I did some major repair work to components including legs and touch ups, but the wings are just a little bit to beat up and I misjudged where to reattach the shoulder lions, and as a result the chest piece doesn’t close correctly… I’m cringing at a lot of the photos I see and I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort to continue repairs on this one. We’ll see. The character is in the middle of a renaissance, and I saw three or four people around with Voltron shirts on, and I still get people coming up to me just SO excited to get a photo with him. Like I said, we’ll see.

The rest of the cosplay out there however, were spot on. From the shockingly brutal Wonder Woman to the functional WALL-E that was being rolled around by remote control, there was plenty to see. I love cosplay at an anime con…you never know what you are goung to see. I still try to stick with anime, but Voltron and Mazanger z are about all i’ve got…but I also saw Harleys and Jokers, Superman and Belle, Pokemon, five nights at freddys, even a dinoasur…(Voltron fighting the T-Rex may be my new favorite thing).  The next day I discovered this marvelous video that shows some of the highlights.

16387285_1424927724218313_2172134969542039791_nI was a little surprised at the video game room. It seemed fuller last year, with more variety. I wonder if someone got delayed…I did see a bunch of TV that were set up,  with nothing attached to them. Maddie decided she was mre interested in the board game room anyhow. We picked up the Pokemon Sorry game.

“I just need your name and some collateral.”

“Matthew”

“Most people are leaving a driver license or phone.”

“Will a Voltron Lion head do?”

One of the monitors looked at the other.

“Exactly how am I supposed to describe this in the log?”

16299550_1424927510885001_5239981585712591300_n“Doesn’t matter. That’s the most awesome collateral we’ve had all day!”

Pokemon tournaments were going on in the room next to the masquerade – complete with the cartoon playing on the big screen. The judge was going around inviting people in by giving them a card and Maddie was delighted to receive a Squritle for her collection. We hung out for a bit, watching cartoons and play but didn’t really get involved ourselves. Maybe next year…

One thing I love the best about the convention scene these days, is running into people that I know. In addition to the folks I did panels with like Nick, and Taylor, Ali, Amanda, or Jerry and Eric,it was cool to see Vito there in his Batman suit, or to run into Keith from one bad day cosplay, Ryan and Mason and the guys at rubber city cosplay, Knightmage, as well as my old friend Riley – the first time I ever did a convention with her was I was wearing this exact same suit, and that she was wearing the same rogue outfit as well. The other great thing about having friends there is I can swipe their photos for blog posts and video reviews – and you better believe Maddie has something to say about this show!

16387867_1263610947010078_827876592187983587_nI think I’ve learned another lesson about doing conventions this time. If I’m going to bring the kids – I probably shouldn’t be doing panels or getting involved in the show… It sucks up so much of the time, that we end up not getting to do as much as we normally would like to – and that’s just not fair to the kids. Maddie felt that she spent too much of the day just kind of, sitting around. She’s not wrong, considering two hours of the day we spent with me talking in panel and her watching, and considering that the remainder of the day was us trying to plan our activities around those two panels. I’ll do better next time girls, I promise.
I’m deafinately coming back next year, I may try and bring both girls with me… I may even go without a costume – whatever I do though, I wanna take better advantage of the show. It’s such a great and fun convention, and I feel like I missed too much of it. We’ll be back.

 

And now…pictures. SO many pictures…

 

 


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See you tomorrow!

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Zip Con this weekend!

Maddie and I are going to Zip Con at the University of Akron Student Union this weekend! It’s kind of become my replacement for Shinbokucon – one of the only Anime shows I attend. This year I’ll be speaking in both the “Cosplay on a Budget” panel at 10 am and the “Cosplay for Charity” panel at 1pm. Hope to see you there!

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Argo City Cosplay

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I’ve finally given into peer pressure and set up an official cosplay page! Feel free to like, share and harass convention promoters with it….

You can find me and the girls here!

 

 

Argo City Cosplay

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Edge

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An Angel Lite commission.

The tough thing about Edge is that the Ninja has been done to death and it’s hard to make him a composite of the Mortal Kombat template and/or Shredder without tipping too far in either direction. The blades are still important though. I almost wonder if I didn’t put enough on- then I think of the way Shredder looked in the TMNT movie and realize less is more.

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The rising dead…

boxftdthe-rising-dead-dvd-blake-cousins-5630c42a43db0db0219aa8e770b03342The Windows movie maker stock transitions for the credits gave me some initial distrust of this film, but it soon became evident that this was slick, beautifully filmed with some good actors in it. This Cousins brothers production includes one of the brothers himseld as the leading man – and he really is cut out for that role. He’s got a nice dramatic flair to him, knows how to handle a gun and a blade and kept things exciting. The directors move the story along at a good pace and by the end of the film we are actually invested in our characters.

The movie begins with a plane crash. The plane, we shortly learn, carries the first lady, her children their bodyguard and some other official tape people – the bodyguard becomes our central character. We’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and our hero Jack is trying to get an explanation, though not towards the end of the film. That’s fine, it’s standard zombie fare. We already understand the troops and know the kind of film that we’re watching. The greatest problem with this movie is the utter lack of script. It feels like they had a set and access to some actors and make up artists and decided from there that they were going to make a movie… but with no script. I suspect that they arrived on site with an outline of the movie, with the dialogue being written in between scenes, and the narration added completely after the fact. It’s melodramatic and hammy, to hammy for a film, but just on the nose enough.

The action is good, and part way through, we see the hero trade his gun for a beautiful double edged sword. Makes sense, since this film is really all about style over substance. It’s beautiful and fun, but there is absolutely no story here. I’d kind of like to rip this film – speed it up to about doubletime, and then just overlay with techno and melodic rock – you wouldn’t lose anything, and you wouldn’t have any trouble following the story since there is none.

It’s a fun movie, and a great addition to the pack – I’d really like to see these guys go somewhere, but they need paired up with say, one of the better scriptwriters from this package and I think we have something very special if you got a boring afternoon, and you can find it on YouTube it’s worth a watch. If I want something that falls, but probably a buy for me


10 Cloverfield lane

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10-cloverfield-lane-logoI rmv5bmtq1nzu4nji5nl5bml5banbnxkftztcwntkymjc1mq-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_emember a couple of commercials for 10 Cloverfield Lane, and as well as getting some promotional swag for the film at Horror Relm last spring. It struck me as one of those kind of movies where I planned to wait and catch it on video – I wasn’t opposed to seeing it, but wasn’t in a hurry to catch in the theatre.

I liked Cloverfield back in the day, but haven’t seen it since its original run – even in the end scene, I could never quite make out the monster, and the ending made me sad – generally, I don’t revisit films that leave me feeling sad… Even good ones like this.

Sequels, on the other hand are always welcome .
I’m not sure what exactly I expected from 10 Cloverfield Lane… But this was pretty much exactly it– after a global catastrophe, A group of shady people hide together in a paranoid bunker that is about to r513265_005each the boiling point. Quite frankly, I don’t trust any of our characters and I wasn’t surprised by what was happening outside the bunker… it’s a good, high tension thriller, with a couple of really well done set pieces, a solid connection to the Cloverfield universe, and better than average performances.
I happen to love John Goodman. I think for most of his career he’s been one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, and I’m pleased that rolls like this are finally getting him some attention from the movie industry – his range is really visible in films like the big Lebowski, and he was easily the most talented performer on Roseanne Barr show… That always felt like slumming it to me…

Our other male lead, he is forgettable done in fact I think that’s really what is entailed war was supposed to be… Is 195015_045“the other guy “… There’s not a great deal of your development and it doesn’t need to be because the real focus here is on the girl. Y ou know, I realize she supposed to be the lead character, but I still don’t trust her any further then I can throw her… There was something about her that is just off-putting to me, and I spent the entire movie trying to figure out what it was. It didn’t become apparent to me until I checked her IMDB and discovered she had portrayed reminder flowers in Scott Pilgrim versus the world.

I enjoy both the Scott Pilgrim films and books, and I am adamant in my position that Ramona Flowers is a horrible personality who uses people in general, and Scott in particular.  She is wholly undeserving of the love or devotion that he commits to her and that stigma clings to the actress a bit, bleeding over into her role in this film (I understand that neither fair nor logical – it’s purely a matter of emotion, and not unique to her situation… Ask me sometime about how I feel regarding the Denise Richards)

But I digress…

10 CLOVERFIELD LANEThe reason it’s so easy to go off on a tangent when discussing this movie is because while it’s fun, I didn’t have any real connection to it – there is nothing particularly special about it other than being just another thriller
Or is there?

As I was perusing the IMDb page, I noticed a mention of someone who had laid out his explanation for these films – this intrigued me as I wasn’t aware of any explanation required. Both movies seemed to stand very well on their own. What I discovered intrigued me more than the features themselves… Apparently there is an entire world devoted to the Cloverfield online… Like an online scavenger hunt or puzzle, made up of websites, merchandising, clues and hints, videos and ultimately the films themselves – a group of gamers engaging in a passtime with all of the atmosphere of a conspiracy theory(but none of the lunacy). It’s the sort of expansion of the universe that we once relied upon movie novelisations to engage in – and a brilliant 21st century way of constructing it.

cloverfieldSo here’s the deal – if you haven’t seen Cloverfield or 10 Cloverfield Lane, go watch them… Do it now. If you have seen these films, keep scrolling down and heading into the YouTube links below… Here the presenter lays out the case for these films, and connects them to the various and sundry components – websites, journalling, behind-the-scenes stuff. It’s completely worth your time and will bring a depth to the films you couldn’t have imagined existed.

As for me, I’m heading back down into my bunker– you can knock all you want, but don’t expect me to open the door.

Unless maybe you bring me pizza.

 


Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies

Movie bannerattack-of-the-lederhosen-zombies-poster215965786_1414216831956069_7239775953112525294_nI expected a comedy.

With a name like Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies that’s kind of the impression you get (the trailer even plays it up that way)! However, while being a lighthearted and fun zombie flick, they play it straight, with a lot less camp than you’d expect. In the Austrian mountains, the owner of a ski hill is exhibiting his new snow making machine to an investor – something that will insure the hill stay open, no matter what happens with global warming. In the first five minutes, we discover that the coolant can be toxic to human beings and other living things (I’m not in entirely  certain I’m on s_78282board with this trend of Zombifying animals in these movies… It bothered me a little bit in Scouts Guide, and while it drives the story here – it still bugs me), causing a strange sickness, blisters and eventually… well, you know. When a group of professional snowboarders stumbles upon a very “American werewolf in London” type of pub, the shenanigans begin.

608428056Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies is very much a throwback to eighties splatter films – there is a fun yet straight tone going on here, interjected with just enough humor to keep the movie enjoyable without going full on comedy the way films like Return of the Living Dead or Evil Dead did back in the day. The lighting choices and color palette, mixed with that generally fun vibe make the movie feel a great deal like one of Charles Bands Full Moon features… but with less nudity and more gore (I’m totally good with that by imagesthe way). Did I mention the gore? Because there is a lot of it. It’s not quite up to The level of Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, but there are definitely some scenes hear that give Romero’s Day of the Dead a run for its money – if you’re looking for entrails, torn skin, and punished bodies, you will not come away disappointed.

It’s a short film, clocking in at well under 90 minutes… But that’s okay – it doesn’t need to be longer, and in the time that they have they managed to tell a fun little horror story in an interesting and exotic locale. It works far better than it has any right to.

attack-of-the-lederhosen-zombiesI caught this at the Capitol Theatre, with about six other people in the audience. That was kind of fun, you get a genuine reaction from the other folks watching the movie and it makes me feel like it’s 1981 on 42nd Street in New York all over again. I’m looking forward to grabbing a digital copy of this – it’s the sort of movie that seems like it would be best served on a television rather than a movie screen, but if you have a chance to catch in the theatre… By all means head up to see it. It’s worth the time, and these are exactly the sort of filmmakers that I want to see supported. I’m off to Imdb to see if they’ve made anything else!


Don Rickles

AutographsI have to admit, I was so nervous sending this one out – it’s already got Landis on it as well as Savini and Linnea Quigly. But Don isn’t getting any younger, and I just had to try. So glad it got back – and quick. Three weeks I think?

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Dark future

directorsgdark_future-557458193-largeDark future is a very 90s film in that it desperately wants to be Blade Runner. That’s really the best I can say about it – we have story told from the perspective of humans trapped in a small community, cut off by force field. There are  The Masters – the patrons, a group of cyborgs that look reasonably human.  Each area of this community is done up as a different time period – one done in the 90s, once the 30s, one is ancient Japan… You get the idea. It makes for is interesting visuals, particuarly because our main hero is from the 30s era– this makes sense, The 30s and the 60s were very much in vogue at this time in the early 90s. With the blueback lighting and smoke machines and fog it creates a very striking visual. We have laser guns and battles with robots – it’s great sci-fi fodder and is exactly the sort of movie that I would expect to see on the sci-fi channel. Not great, not art, but sufficient disposable entertainment that aspires perhaps to be just a bit more than it really is. It’s a simple tale, and the ending actually leaves me wondering in my cynical way how the last remaining humans are going to manage to survive – but then again that’s really not the point of this film. It’s all about discovering who your Masters are, and overcoming them. Do they actually managed to overthrow them? Going to have to watch this to find out.


Infernal Iron Man

commissionsThis may be stretching the definition of commission, but it’s really a sketch that I can use as a guide to design this armor. I have to visualize it before I can craft it. Here is my first sketch of the Infernal Iron Man!

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The invaders: Genesis

boxftd6aedae15-61ee-4068-8e3f-ffd4fe9da577_1-f0a17abce63ce0c62f8535033f82caadIt’s another cheesy videotape wonder, with production value straight off of the set of a soap opera,so why am I so intrigued? The story is essentially about an area controlled by martial law, with portions  closed off to protect citizens against the war and raiders of the regions beyond… except they might not actually be in as much danger as it seems – the criminals might not actually be criminals, and our hero – one of the soldiers,  is beginning to question everything.

It’s a strangely compelling story, with genuinely good form – the army men actually look extremely good with convincing guns and military fatigues. The production values, as I mentioned are more like a soap opera shot on tape yet the story is compelling enough to really keep me on the edge of my seat. The subtitle Genesis indicates that there might be more episodes/films – I actually hope so I’d like to explore this world and the story just a bit more. A definite buy in my book, and now I’m off to see if I can find any more of these.


Plan Nine

Movie banner1488282_984025421611975_1499289982379089467_nPlan 9 is one of those rare reimaginings that works. From the first trailer, it reminds me of the 80s remakes like the Blob or the Fly that would take a concept, throw in some homage, and then run their own way with it using modern techniques. It’s far more a re-imagining of the story then simply re-making it for a contemporary audience.

Plan 9 takes an interesting approach, I’ve always viewed it more as a sci-fi horror film – aliens, not monsters. This version of Plan 9 veers firmly in the monster 376331_593351420679379_1051367738_ndirection, turning the film into a very zombie focused gorefest as opposed to the original which feels very much like a traditional 50s or 60s horror movie, including a lot of those tropes – the fake graveyard, the stereotypical characters, the underlit monsters. This modern retelling plants it firmly in 2016 with the kind of makeup effects and gore a modern horror fan would come to expect. It’s done with the blessing (and inclusion!) of Conrad Brooks, the last of Ed Wood’s troupe still with us which makes it all the better. I can’t wait to chat with him about this at Monster Bash!

45541_593350304012824_2021405581_n31477_599905706690617_1408250437_nNot everything is perfect – the CG looks like late 90s television quality FX and there are more than a few performances in the film that are less than polished. But these sins are forgivable because what the film does give us is a lot of fun. A while back I praised Midnight Syndicate’s feature film “the Dead Matter” for including not only horror actors from the convention circuit but also several Horror Hosts as well. The inclusion of Big Chuck Schdowski, and Count Gore DeVol made the film a great deal more fun and appealing to those of us into the genre. Plan 9 dives right into this same territory, casting Jerry Moore a.k.a. Karlos Borloff into a meaty role – a DJ that Wolfman Jack would be proud of. It’s a great fit for Jerry, being a musician himself and I completely buy him as the character. There’s also the indescribable Mr Lobo. Indeed Mr Lobo is the most perfect casting I’ve seen in 598749_593345210680000_41556408_na very long time. His exaggerated and intentionally stilted delivery on his Cinema Insomnia show makes him absolutely perfect to appear as the late psychic Criswell. It only takes a few moments of listening to him and watching him, it’s impossible not to believe he’s channeling Criswell the entire time! The fact that he bears is no physical resemblance to Ed Wood’s old collaborator makes no difference, Mr Lobo is absolutely perfect in this role – a role that has been expanded to include him not only as the narrator for the prologue, but also as one of the survivors fighting for their lives against the hordes of zombies that have been resurrected by our fiendish aliens.

373907_593358514012003_737463809_n 999778_705271226154064_1139329032_nEven the aliens have a grisly make over here, all them appearing as the same stranger, lurking in the distance. Thier true nature is only revealed when they open their mouths to reveal rows of razor sharp brown teeth (what IS it about sharp monster teeth in a human mouth that freaks me out so much anyhow?). It’s a good conceit, and director John Johnson manages to even sneak in the same motivation for these aliens as the ones in the classic film. We get a variation of that speech, “Humans using weapons beyond their ability to understand. Stupid!”. Somehow though, what sounded goofy and campy in Ed Wood’s now comes off as far more chilling here.

This is not a blockbuster like this summer’s The Conjuring 2, or 10 Cloverfield Lane. It’s not art (but then again, if you’re coming to a film remake of Plan Nine from Outer Space looking for art, you may need more help then I can give you). What it happens to be, is a fun romp through blood-soaked streets filled with fast, angry, rampaging zombies. When I was 15940434_1540108776003634_5381902796029417889_na teenager, this is exactly the kind of movie that I would grab off of the shelf at my local video store to watch with friends on a Saturday night. In fact, you know what? Nick’s birthday is this weekend – I might actually do just that. You should do the same. Plan 9 is available throughout the US on streaming platforms and at Wal-Marts everywhere.

-Photos unapologeticly stolen from facebook –https://www.facebook.com/plan9remake/ Post your photo with the movie and they’ll send you some goodies.


Chandler Riggs

AutographsNo dedication, He just scribbled his name on both. I’m just happy to have it back, it’s the fourth time I’ve sent it out and it’s come back to me. That makes Chandler Riggs, Andrew Lincoln, Jeffrey DeMunn and Vincent Ward on it!

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Dance macabre

directorsgo_dance-macabre-dvd-90s-gory-horror-movie-0135I’m going to flat out say this – dance macabre may be Graydon Clark’s greatest film. Robert England as the centrepiece here is magnificent obviously, but the Russian setting and the ballet and the atmosphere… It all works so well. It’s a magnificent spectacle overlaid on an inspired mystery. This is not horror.  This is not adventure, it’s not even mystery. It’s a thriller. It’s one of those rare moments where Clark has everything working – all the engines are firing on all cylinders and it just comes together beautifully.

The story is about an American Dancer who arrives at the Russian ballet school (with her father twisting her arm all the way) to study ballet. It’s the first time they’ve opened the doors to outsiders in ages…. Possibly ever. All around her though, people begin to die – until the schools closes and she remains the only student, with an obsessed instructor hellbent on getting her an audition. Its brilliant drama, highly atmospheric and engauging the whole way through.

There’s talk that this was originally meant to be a sequel to Englund’s Phantom of the opera. I’m not sure of the truth or baseness of this tale, but I can certainly see where someone might get that idea. It’s not just Phantom that I see influences from though, I get glimpses of Susperia her as well. It all melds together to create a supremely satisfying package. Seriously, Clark has no better films on this.