Brian Michael Bendis
I found this graphic novel at half price books, signed by the archetect of the modern Marvel universe. In Cleveland we particuarly love him because he’s a hometown boy made good and this book in particular is fun – maybe we’ll explore that a little later….
Night of the Demons
Night of the Demons is a quintessential the 80s horror film… The music, the look, the hairstyles especially! There is something distinct about 80s horror, it’s got a certain sort of filth on the walls. It has a warm red and orange lighting to it. It’s an evolution from the gothic horror of the 60’s and a disctinct take on the classic haunted houses of the 50’s. There is a Central antagonist that’s made up in a very solid, rubbery way. Rubbery, but with full movement due to advances in foam latex. Like I said, very 80’s.
Then there’s the teeth. Oh my God, the teeth. What is it about Grody jagged teeth that affects me on such a primal level?
The characters are all stereotypes of course. It’s a shortcut to connecting us with the victims before they’re picked off one by one. The house itself, remind me a great deal of the Nightmare on Elm Street house – with its dirty walls covered in cobwebs. Indeed, this movie almost feels like it’s trying to be a mixture of Elm Street and Return of the Living dead. The story is simple, Halloween party gone wrong – complete with the seance that awakens the demons inside the house. The marketing campaign obviously was trying to make a slasher franchise of this, and employs Angela – the head daemon as the next slasher icon.
She never took hold, and I can’t quite consider this a bonafide classic. Still, it’s a fun and solid monster movie – and an old favorite.
And it’s worth noting that there are a couple of iconic scenes – the lipstick one comes to mind immediately! This was never ever going to be more than a direct video series though, and I seem to remember the sequel as delivering diminishing returns. Maybe it’s time to explore those next!
This time around I feel like I need to do a little introduction before diving into this director’s spotlight…in the past we’ve covered genre directors and more familiar names, but Hill isn’t quite the household name as some.
Over the years I’ve frequently heard him referred to as a hack director. I’m not sure I can argue that. I don’t know.
What I do know is that Tim hill consistently puts out family films that I genuinely enjoy…enough that I seek his name out and go out of my way to catch his movies. If he’s a hack, he’s MY hack, and he’s tackled some of my favorite franchises, showing skill and a wicked sense of humor. He’s one of the driving forces behind Spongebob which give you an idea of his humor, but it’s his live action work I want to explore.
That’s why I want to spend a little time looking back on his work – to shine a light on a director I really enjoy and perhaps even to mount a bit of a defense against the popular opinions.
We’ll be back next time with our first look at hill’s movies!
From Egg to Frog
A paper plate folded in half, I never would have thought of that…It’s just so cute and built around a poem Maddie loves.
Shame on you Mel! I was so thrilled to get something back…only to discover I didn’t get my original picture back and received instead this pre-print.I mean it’s a great picture, but it’s still not the same as a real autograph, and not worth me wasting my postage.
A couple years ago I saw Psycho for the first time. My immediate reaction was to go and hunt down all of the sequels (there are four by the way.Would you have guessed that? ). Last year I did the same thing with the Fly… I saw the film for the first time up at the Capitol and then hunted down all of the sequels and remakes. I had enough fun with both of these that it seemed like something I should do more of, and a great excuse to finally get out and watch some of the classics that I’ve always seem to miss. As a result, we’re doing a new feature this year called franchise focus. I’m attempting to catch some of these films that I really should’ve watched a long time ago but just never got to… particularly some of these with long franchise histories – long inexplicable franchise histories. Things as unlikely as Prom Night, Children of the Corn, Night of the Demons, and maybe a few unexpected entries like Black Cobra and Fast and Furious.
I’m actually kind of excited about these, so stick with me and I will see you on the other side of this!
Don’t let the cover art fool you, this is not Keira Knightley’s movie. She is a minor character at best here… Well perhaps a little more than that but she certainly not the star of the story!
From IMDB : “Four teenagers at a British private school secretly uncover and explore the depths of a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a possible bomb shelter. ”
I’m glad that IMDB labels them as teenagers because I wasn’t certian- still not sure if that’s a high school ro a college….
In any event we have the predictable hook ups, booze, jealousy, all of this is standard fare, flashing back to the horrible events of the film. We got through the retelling of the story, and the main character gets out victoriously – it almost feels like the end of the descent that then I checked my watch, only half an hour had passed. Surely this can’t be it! It wasn’t. The story is from several different perspectives, with the feel of the police procedural going on in the background. In many ways it feels like we’re retelling the story until we get it right – until we get to the truth. It’s an interesting tool but it kills rewatchability…not that I was going to be coming back to this any time soon.
I’m not totally certain that I would classify this as horror or even suspense. I’m really not sure what it’s doing in this package – the story at its heart, is really more about the breakdown of society – admittedly in a microchasm like this but still, they kind of want to explore the same themes that we see in say, Ramiro zombie films. It’s about what people do to each other in desperate situations. There’s a twist here but you can see it coming 1,000,000 miles away and after a while the repetitive nature of the story makes you wish that they just get to the point already. It’s not a bad film , it does make you squirm a little bit, it makes you uneasy, but it’s not my kind of film that I think it’s time to move along…
Another pre-signed one, but you know what, it’s a good shot and I’m so happy to have her in my collection!
The King of Kong
Of all the video game documentaries out there, this one has probably become the most famous. It creates an underdog story of Steve Wiebe– the man who wants to prove he holds the record for the highest Donkey Kong score ever, versus Billy Mitchell – the reigning champion of Pac-Man and a contender for the very same score.
Mitchell is part of the video game establishment – one of the elites, one of the crowd. He’s been a part of that world where video game champions reign for a very long time. Wiebe on the other hand is an outsider, driven by a singular passion for Donkey Kong.
Where as in another doc – Chasing Ghosts, we saw some of the intrigue and in-fighting that happens within the world of video game champions, it’s brought into sharp focus here. Steve Wiebe is in some ways, ostracized in the community, there is a genuine desire it seems for Mitchell to clinch the championship – a desire that is juxtaposed against the skepticism of Weibe’s own skill. It’s hard to say how much of this rivalry was true and how much was the result of judicious editing – the point of a documentary is to craft a story using interviews and documented footage. In many interviews it seems to me that the rivalry is been overstated, but there is definitely a sort of exclusionary feel from what we see with Weibe. We also see how certain game champions are frowned upon and look at with suspicion All in all the filmmakers have managed to create a riveting story here and one that will absolutely take you beyond just nostalgia. It’s a film that actually makesyou fall in love with video games all over again.