Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tis the Season*


Just another Yuletide lineup!!!!!!!!! Hohoho!!!






Before getting to this evening’s Yuletide line-up, I did want to mention that I watched what I thought was a nice, little Pixar movie from 2008 with voicework from John Travolta as a little white dog named Bolt, manipulated by Hollywood into thinking he’s some super pooch always in need of protecting his master, a girl named Penny (voice by Miley Cyrus), always pursued by a villainous mastermind (voiced by Malcolm McDowell), with hi-tech weaponry, numerous armed men, and speedy, maneuverable vehicles out to discover Penny’s father’s scientific secrets. Bolt finds himself across the country with a cat (voiced Susie Essman) and hamster in a protective ball (voiced by Mark Walton) needing to return to his owner. Meanwhile, Penny’s money-conscious, unflappable agent (voiced by Greg Germann) plans to replace Bolt with a similar-looking dog because the “show must go on”. Penny misses her dog and Bolt is gradually made to realize by his traveling companion cat, Mittens (Essman), that he doesn’t have superpowers (such as a supersonic bark, the ability to hangtime in the air, or stop moving motorvehicles with his head), while his giddy, fanboy hamster, Rhino, is a source of encouragement and motivation. I really enjoyed how the opening takes us into a comic book superhero movie where the dog is the star protecting his master as the enemy attempts to kidnap the scientist’s daughter so they can get him to give away his secrets. Then this film-within-the-film is revealed and Bolt is recognized as a duped doggie with no understanding that in order to get authenticity in his “performance” he had to be tricked into believing Penny was always in danger by the director. Penny’s agent is always focused on getting the pictures made so he can keep his job and clients working. Ultimately making sure Bolt is in the dark regarding Penny (keeping them apart when the camera isn’t rolling) is the main goal of all behind the superhero movies featuring them. The remainder of the film is “animal road adventure” with a particularly exciting involvement of a train as Mittens, for a while anyway, attempts to get away from Bolt, persistent in returning to Penny. The trio of animals (their talking to humans is animal sounds like barking, meowing, and chirping) make for a cute, delightful gang. There are others like pigeons that talk with Bolt as he accidentally finds himself further and further away from the set. Great animation, fun voicework, good pacing, clever premise, and nifty use of Hollywood behind-the-scenes make for a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Bolt’s discovering the limitations of being just a regular dog is also quite well done…like when the bolt mark fades and Mittens’ going off about being abandoned, trying to talk sense into him about accepting freedom and not returning to the way his life was before. ***½


Night of the Meek is a second season Twilight Zone episode that gives Art Carney the ideal character to work his magic as his boozing department store Santa is emboldened by forces he doesn’t quite understand (but his happy to attain just the same) to give to the poor, both young and old alike. Seeing a tragic drunkard Carney slurring his speech and stumbling about after several shots in a bar, confronted by small-statured John Fiedler (voice of Piglet on Winnie the Pooh) in the toy store (where an incredible train set is built and operational) is really tough, but as we know all too well, the Twilight Zone has a way of offering those down on their luck the chance to better their lot in life. For Carney’s Henry Corwin, he’s granted a “magic bag” that gives just the right kind of presents to those in his presence, whether it is a pipe and smoking jacket for Burt Mustin, different toys for the neighboring kids often going without, a bottle of wine for Fiedler, a cane, sweater, and canned goods to those in need. Carney’s monologue, heart-felt and heartbreaking, in the store after Fiedler fires him, is a standout scene as is his “visit” to a police station when the bag’s offerings are considered suspect by a mission’s church lady and police officer. The bag yielding old cans when it appears Carney might be in trouble, only to once again give what is desired when asked is hilarious and wondrous in equal measure. Carney granted his gift to be Santa every year as an elf, sled, and reindeer awaits is what TZ does best. Although the videotape liability placed on the show to save money is a burden, the performance of Carney and whimsy of his story on Christmas Eve more than compensate. ****


Max Fleischer produced and directed Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1948, his final cartoon, and while perhaps considered a weathered relic of an era of animation many consider “perfected” more and more in our digital age, I find my heart very receptive of this. This can be found on YouTube, but I have it as a special feature on a VCI DVD release of the 1951 Alistair Sim, Christmas Carol (which had both color and B&W versions). Back in 2010, I watched this with my late uncle during his final full year on this earth. ***

I wrote these user comments on it:
This one is a bit different than what you are accustomed to seeing in that the village of the cartoon is occupied by reindeer instead of people(well, except for Santa). Rudolph, who of course is self conscious of his bright and shining nose, becomes Santa's most prize reindeer in that he provides the light which allows old Saint Nick to see. There's even an unusual coliseum celebration in Rudolph's honor. The reason to see this is because it contains the old Max Fleischer touch and is a look back to the way animation used to be, simple and rough around the edges but endearing and in rich color. It was kind of unusual seeing Santa delivering presents to reindeer, but even that gives this particular cartoon(only a mere 8 minutes)a charm.


It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992) is perfect Christmas fun for me because I grew up with the comic strip in the local newspaper. Schulz and Melendez essentially give us a series of vignettes tied to the season, and pretty much all of time amused me. Charlie trying (and failing) to sell wreaths door to door, with even lying sister, Sally, unable to do so. Charlie wanting badly to buy a pair of gloves for his crush, and after selling his comic books and buying them, she reveals to him she bought her a pair! Sally, Marcie, and Peppermint Patty are in the Christmas play, as an angel, Virgin Mary, and a sheep respectively. Patty hates that she didn’t get the Mary part, lamenting her minor role as a “Baaing” sheep, ruining her friend’s performance through annoying interruption, while Sally cries out, “Hockey stick!” instead of “Hark!”—thanks to brother, Chuck carrying around a hockey stick while she was practicing. Snoopy is portraying Santa on a street corner and as Lucy always does, she criticizes the pooch. Snoopy just honks his horn at her as the Woodstock siblings pass by (and later performing an orchestral score under the top hat of a snowman). Lucy balking at Linus for crashing on the beanbag in front of the television, Sally going on and on about the agony of buying gifts (earlier obsessed with getting gifts while Chuck tries to talk “giving instead of getting” into her skull but it has no effect) while Linus tries to read from the Word to her with little of the message heard, and Peppermint Patty never paying much attention to Marcie are additional vignettes featured. I think if you like Peanuts, the comic strips in the funnies, and Christmas specials in general, this should be a treat. I found it quite rewarding, but I’m a Peanuts mark so take it for what it's worth. ****


The Rankin/Bass presentation, Twas The Night Before Christmas (1974), uses the children’s poem as inspiration for a simple story about Santa’s disenchantment with a village after a nerdy mouse sends him a letter calling him a fake and fraud (!), leaving the locals disillusioned and brokenhearted, especially the kids who truly believe in him. The nerdy mouse’s father (voiced by George Gobel who co-narrates) has to set his know-it-all son straight about the detrimental reaction to his letter, encouraging him to understand the ramifications and possibly rectify his actions by helping to fix a clocktower built to sing to Santa by clockmaker, Joshua Trundle (Joel Grey; Cabaret (1972)). Three songs in the span of 24 minutes and alternating reaction between the Trundle family and the mice family that lives in Joshua’s home with the recognizable voice of John McGiver (the business owner father in Period of Adjustment (1968)) as the mayor is the result of this animated special once shown on network television. Like The Stingiest Man in Town, Twas The Night Before Christmas is featured in the Classic Christmas Favorites set you can easily find accessibly available at different stores. It is a prize Christmas collection of different Rankin/Bass presentations, many of which you might find during the holiday season. Fans who grew up with this will probably treasure this more than perhaps those spoiled by Pixar, but I think there is much to enjoy, and each special isn’t all that long either. ***


Last year it seems Monte Hellman’s Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out (1989) went down a lot better than this year. I dusted off a VHS copy I purchased cheap on Amazon around 2010 which I thought was lost only to discover it under the bed. This year was the first time I watched it without the VHS blemishes, tracking ripples, and audio fading (sometimes going out and coming back). Funnily enough, StarzEncore’s Suspense channel showed it during the summer, along with the fourth and fifth films in the SNDN series. I recorded the three films on a blank DVD for this very month. However, I had went ahead and watched the fifth film one night, so I’m not sure if I will give it a second viewing this year or not. Hellman is rather proud of Better Watch Out considering the short time frame and difficult screenplay processes that put the film together rather quickly. I have read from many who consider the score quite generic and lacking, but I felt tonight it was one of the bright spots in a rather difficult experience. I just found it to be such a slog compared to last year. I reviewed this third film for the blog last year. Review here   For better or worse, Culp really helped me enjoy a bit of it. He just doesn't take the film seriously at all, talking about a car phone's capabilities, until he slips into "cop mode" on occasion when need-be. But it once again felt eternally long. And the protagonist is just off-putting, irksome to me more this go-around than in years-past. And just the preposterous idea that Ricky could get to Grandma’s before Laura, Chris, and Jerri left me rolling my eyes. I get that he needed to so that Ricky is waiting on them, as slashers often have that formula about them. Still, Ricky with the open skull dome helmet and slow zombie pace shouldn’t be any match for healthy, strong Chris. And how could Dr. Newbury be so stupid as to walk up to Ricky while he’s standing over a fallen body with a scalpel in his hand?!?! I found the novelty of the psychic blind Laura (this popped in my head tonight: psychic pursued by psychotic…), with a unique power (her “mind connection” with Ricky “awakens” him from a coma) tonight rather malnourished…it feels as if one slasher movie within a SNDN series is not quite the fit for such a concept seemingly worthy of a more complex franchise and genre. The pacing for this film is such a liability…it needed to really have something special to hold our attention, functioning in such a glacial manner. If you read the countless user comments on the IMDb, it is quite a similar thread of discontent. **

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I had a fun dialogue with a young lady I work with about the rather hilarious scenes particularly in romantic comedies and action genre wher...

Ahs

Ahs

Edc

Edc
Blog's Dead all Over
"... perhaps we invent artificial terrors to cope with the real ones."

--host, Donald Pleasence, Terror in the Aisles (1984)

Sbut

Sbut
Snip. Snip

Hal

Hal
There are many things under the sun
---Dr. Werdegast, The Black Cat

hal1

It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare.

Jtm 2

Jtm 2

Rave

Rave

Mrub

Mrub

Gb

"Back off, man. I'm a scientist."

--Ghostbusters

sm6

sm6

Rv1

Rv1

Nas

Nas

nos3

nos3

Lok

Lok

Po

Po

Ra6

Ra6

dawn

dawn

Dracula's Daughter ('36)

Countess Zaleska: Be thou exorcised oh Dracula, and thy body long undead find destruction throughout eternity in the name of thy dark unholy Master.

mh2

mh2

z2

z2

Hiii

Hiii

Fred

Fred

Ghspo

Ghspo
Movie, so-so, but poster, cool

Enl

Enl

nos4

nos4

gm

To a new world of gods and monsters!


No 2

No 2
Jason Lives

clothes line

clothes line

Ahorr

Ahorr

Cbi1

Cbi1
Case of the bloody iris

Wsha

Wsha

Mouth3

Mouth3
In the Mouth of Madness

Fdfn2

Fdfn2
Freddy's Dead '91

Vyr

Vyr
Vampyres 1974

Sh fr

Sh fr
Friday the 13th Part 2

Vlov

Vlov
Carmilla's kiss

f133

f133

Edpos

Edpos

Ttf2

Ttf2

Jm2

Jm2
El Hombre Lobo

Psycho '60

It's sad, when a mother has to speak the words that condemn her own son. But I couldn't allow them to believe that I would commit murder. They'll put him away now, as I should have years ago. He was always bad, and in the end he intended to tell them I killed those girls and that man... as if I could do anything but just sit and stare, like one of his stuffed birds. They know I can't move a finger, and I won't. I'll just sit here and be quiet, just in case they do... suspect me. They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."

Kife

Kife
Knife is calling, Psycho 2

Meg

Meg
Meg Tilly, Psycho II

ring 2

ring 2
the ring 2002, "the tape"

poster

poster

exor1

exor1
"the visitor" The Exorcist (1973)

Conj

Conj

Tz1

Tz1
"Masks", Twilight Zone

In the kitchen, The Shape

In the kitchen, The Shape
In the kitchen, The Shape

exc4

exc4

Ps56

Ps56

Hun

Hun
Murders in the Rue Morgue 1932

Ps89

Ps89

Cof

Cof
Victor and Paul, with their Monster

pcushig

pcushig

His

His

Efny

Efny

sus

sus
I'm going to grind you down to blood and screams.

--Innocent Blood 1992
Rest in Peace, Robert Loggia

wb

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

WZ

WZ

Edfen

Edfen
"Do not enter the city...It belongs to the dead now."

h1

h1
Look behind you!

Bs

Bs
"There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it."
--Alfred Hitchcock

linnea

linnea

Amer

Amer
Taste of metal

The h gang

The h gang

Nlc

Nlc
Old Skool Nostalgia

Hp

Hp

Smoke

Smoke
Got a smoke?

Strek

Strek
Live long and prosper

Hill

Hill

Castle

Castle

SRW

"This seems to be the place where the plot begins to thicken..."
--Spooks Run Wild (1941)

Frere and dummy

Frere and dummy

Mlove

Mlove

Alone/dark

"There are no crazy people, doctor. We're all just on vacation."

--Alone in the Dark (1982)

Lips

Lips

Fhz

Fhz

Ph

Ph

Vestron

Vestron
Vintage VHS

sm 3

sm 3

Monique parent

Monique parent
Erotique in Review

Were5

Were5

f13

f13
November 2015

Bmate

Bmate

--Wes Craven

I think there is something about the American dream, the sort of Disneyesque dream, if you will, of the beautifully trimmed front lawn, the white picket fence, mom and dad and their happy children, God-fearing and doing good whenever they can, and the flip side of it, the kind of anger and the sense of outrage that comes from discovering that that's not the truth of the matter, that gives American horror films, in some ways, kind of an additional rage.

Ms45 w

Ms45 w

Churcvh

Churcvh
The Church 1989

Ww

Ww
The Whip and the Body 1963

Lsho

"Now, no novacaine....it dulls the senses"

--Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Christopher Lee

Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.

Vampyros lesbos

You are one of us now. The Queen of the Night will bear you up on her black wings

The Unknown 1927

No....not sick. But I have lost some flesh.

Alonzo, the Armless.

Ckvh

Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Glen: We'd like to speak to the Townsends, please.

The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

Bw5

Bw5

Jill

Jill

Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?

Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.

Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.

Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.