Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

SF film fans delight, courtesy of INDIEWIRE.COM let us wallow together in “The 25 Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 21st Century, From ‘Children of Men’ to ‘Her’,” by Chris O’Falt, Graham Winfrey, Kate Erbland, and Zack Sharf, and brought to us via TOR.COM and Stubby the Rocket.  With themes that range from love to fear to humanity itself, the best sci-fi movies of the 21st century all share distinctly original visions. . . , begins the rundown, the rest of which can be seen by pressing here.  And the neat thing is, in scrolling down through it, I’ve probably seen at least half myself already (who knew I had such good taste?), and even own films numbers 1 through 4!

Then in other quick news, last night I turned in an interview to C.P. Dunphey of Gehenna & Hinnom Books, with questions designed almost exclusively with TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH in mind.  Yes, launch time for the novel is drawing nigh — but there’s still time to get a one-third off pre-publication discount by pressing here (or, for B&N fans, better yet here).*  But back to the chase, to quote Mr. Dunphey:  These answers are amazing!  For audiences, they will be superb, and for me as a8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13 reader myself, it answered a lot of questions I had as well.  I will post the interview tomorrow night and will send you the link before I post it to any social media.  Very excited for this to be published.  And yes, I know, would that others would be so enthusiastic!

So look Friday night or, one needing one’s sleep, possibly Saturday morning for a fairly long interview mostly confined to TOMBS.  And after June 1st, when the book is out, I understand there may be a review of it too.
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*I understand there should also be an electronic edition of TOMBS, but not quite yet.

IndieWire describes THE LURE as “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.”  Not sure there is much more to say.  Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s fiendishly dark and sly modern fairytale is set in Communist-era Poland and highlights the havoc wreaked by two vampire mermaid sisters intertwined in love triangle.  In Polish with English subtitles.  Contains mature content, including violence and nudity.  (Indiana University Cinema blurb)

So what’s not to love?  Perhaps “Golden” and “Silver” aren’t precisely classical vampires, preferring to subsist on human hearts, but they do get at them by biting through people’s throats.  At least Golden does, the one truer to her roots and, as one critic notes, the seemingly smarter of the two sisters.  But LurImage220Silver’s mistake is in taking it figuratively as well, falling in love with a dance club bass guitarist, and even enduring an operation to transplant a human lower body in place of her fish tail.  In spite of the fact that Golden warns her, should the fickle musician marry another, she has to “eat him” before the next sunrise lest she turn into sea foam.
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It doesn’t end well.
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One reason:  the film is actually a version of Hans Christian’s Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” which means part of the deal is she loses her singing voice too, and she and Golden are actually sirens of the lure-sailors-to-their-destruction kind.  And as Golden explains, she doesn’t sing solo.  In fact they’ve become a striptease act of sorts at a 1980s Warsaw night club (“Want to hang out here for awhile before swimming to America?” as Golden asks Silver early on), at one point billed as Corki Dancingu, the Polish title of the film, which I understand translates to “Daughters of the Dance Club.”  Another, perhaps, that it’s really a coming of age film about two young women, but without her sister, can Golden ever get to America by herself?
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On the down side, parts of THE LURE are a little confusing and, from a bit of a conversation I overheard outside the theater, the subtitled translations may miss some beats — but then, songs are a big part of the film too (remember:  Silver and Golden are sirens).  According to the docent before the screening, the 1980s are also important, including a sort of dance hall kitsch, as reminiscent of the director’s own childhood.  Also the music, channeling such films as ALL THAT JAZZ and CABARET, or at least a little, as well as Bjork — and the music is good!  And, the docent added, the mer-sisters do NOT wear seashell bras, but that’s not the only reason for not bringing children to this one as some of the violence does turn toward the graphic (something about “strong stomachs,” I think he said).
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So . . . maybe not the best movie ever made, but a weirdly good one.  I recommend it.

Yes, a lovely spring afternoon, the eve of Easter, and one’s thoughts turn naturally to gentle bunnies.  Candy, jelly beans, chocolate eggs.  But not all that gentle according to watershipdown_violencePhil Brown on CGMAGONLINE.COM!  Yes, from Jan Svankmajer’s ALICE to DONNY DARKO bunnies have their own dark side as well, and let us not forget WATERSHIP DOWN or NIGHT OF THE LEPUS!  Or in short, for one’s Easter viewing enjoyment, please to peruse Mr. Brown’s selections for  “Top 10 Most Frightening Bunnies in Film History” by pressing here.  Which one will you find in your basket this Sunday?

(And a happy Easter to all as well!)

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

“Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.” – Shel Silverstein

(The above quotations courtesy of blogger Lindsey Goddard who adds, I offer you my Top Twelve Weirdest and Creepiest Horror Movie Dances.  They are all listed here for different reasons . . .  but all of them possess a certain WTF factor.   Like seriously . . . WTF?)

So “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” in fact, from INSIDIOUS (“even ghost boys like to dance) is #2 on “The Dirty Dozen:   Top 12 Weirdest and Creepiest Horror Movie Dances,” by Lindsey Goddard on DIRTYLITTLEHORROR.COM, which appeared on my computer screen today and which I absolutely cannot resist sharing.  The weirdest (or possibly just most insane) is the zombie line dance (with music and lyrics) from DEAD AND BREAKFAST, #4 on the dance card.  That’s counting from the top down, so what will be #12, the last on the list, the weirdest, creepiest horror dance ever?  Hint:  think Linnea Quigley, and it’s not HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS.  Not enough?  How about not California but Louisville, Kentucky, or . . . well, all right, it’s the cemetery striptease performed by punk girl Trash (“Let’s get some light over here.  Trash is taking off her clothes again!”) from 1985’s RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, the movie which also brought us the idea of zombies craving brains.  To see, wallow, enjoy all twelve for oneself press here.

Quoting the Indiana University Cinema blurb for February 24:  Set in a dystopian Texas of the future, THE BAD BATCH is a “post-apocalyptic cannibal love story,” as writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour describes it, “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack.”  This genre-breaking thrill ride won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and features a dream-ensemble cast of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, and Diego Luna.  The film opens later in 2017.  Director Ana Lily Amirpour is scheduled to be present.  Asked herself afterward about PRETTY IN PINK, Ms. Amirpour allowed that was something she’d said in one interview and she’d never do it again, but she smiled when she said that.  As for ROAD WARRIOR, there is a Mad Maxish ambience to THE BAD BATCH with scavenger societies, makeshift cities (one making use of an aircraft graveyard), and never-mind-where-the-gasoline-comes-from automobiles, though in this case more the speed of Vespas and golf carts.

Then another question:  What was the significance of the bunny?  Let us go back in time for a moment to Amirpour’s earlier movie A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT* and Masuka the cat (cf. January 19, 11 2015).  Masuka acts there as a sort of marking figure, passed in ownership between people who become important; in this a bunny (unnamed in the credits unless I missed it) becomes the pet of a little

“Do you want to hang out or something?”

girl who in turn becomes the bond between principle characters Arlen and Miami Man.  But beyond that, well, animals in some way may represent innocence and purity, Amirpour allowed, but (harking to another question too) this might not be a film to put too much stock in one-on-one symbolism.

What it is, though, she said is a “personal story of a girl who feels cut down, ripped apart by life,” as well as, as she was writing it originally, her “love letter to America.”  She hastened to add, this was before current times with a President Trump.  Yet a pervading image is that of a Texas desert divided by a wall, behind which are thrust the “bad batch,” the non-productive, the terminally ill, illegal immigrants (Miami Man was, originally, “a Cubano”), the homeless. . . .   They then are further divided into two “cities,” The Bridge (so named from homeless who, in US cities, often take shelter under expressway bridges and the like), a machismo culture and also . . . cannibalistic, and Find Comfort, a more benign hippie-like civilization whose diet tends more toward pasta.**  Needless to say, they hate each other.

So what is a girl to do — who’s already lost an arm and a leg (literally) to the dinner table?  Or a doting father who’s lost his daughter, but wouldn’t turn his nose up at a human filet.

Might there be a third way?

But also beware, there’s a quality of dream, of fairytale about the thing too, of don’t always take too literally what you see.  Be content instead to see beautiful images, though often enough combined with the grotesque — this is not a film for the faint of stomach!  Enjoy the soundtrack, and worry not too much about details like where gas or electricity come from in the desert (or pasta, for that matter, or how many humanburgers it takes to sustain a weight-lifter physique).  Or if the ending is, as we say in the romance biz, “happily ever after” or even, realistically, “happily for now.”  Sneak previews aside (Friday’s screening was presumably the first outside the film festival circuit), THE BAD BATCH is set for a June 23 release by NEON according to IMDb and, when the time comes, just sit back and enjoy it!

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*The night before, in fact, we got to see seven short films by Amirpour including the original A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, on which the feature-length version was based (although, in the short, without any cats).

**And, surely this is just my personal eccentricity, I couldn’t help seeing a parallel to this, and especially the ending, in the 1974 Sean Connery film ZARDOZ (see October 15, 2016).  Or maybe I am nuts.

As we may know, the goth cat Triana, a.k.a. The Cat Formerly Known As Lucy Lu, takes her name from Triana Orpheus, the daughter of Dr. Byron Orpheus, necromancer and neighbor of Dr. “Rusty” Venture in THE VENTURE triana1BROS. cartoon series (see February 2).  But what more do we know of Triana’s namesake?  Fortunately we can find Ms Orpheus listed in “Goth Girls of Cartoons” by Miss Haps, on POPGOTHICA.BLOGSPOT.COM, among other goth ladies of ink and pigment translated to film and TV.  Many more, in fact — one must scroll down and down to the section “Extra Shadows” to find Triana herself.  And, yes, some of us may seem to have too much time on our hands on occasion.

But you know you’re curious yourself, so press here.

Growing up in the USA anyway, though I imagine in much of the world nowadays as well, some of our first introductions to fantasy on a large scale, for better or worse, may be Walt Disney Movies.  Yes, I still remember SNOW WHITE (and parody her too from time to time), not to mention the artistry of a FANTASIA.  The list could go on — and in fact it does in an a next-to-obsessive (yet fascinating) way in today’s TOR.COM via Mari Ness in snow-white-prince02“Wrapping Up the Disney Read-Watch.”  And, yes, fantasy writers and readers, as much as we may look down now on some of the poorer examples, I for one can recall the awe that the best of the Disney films inspired in me as a child.  And may yet still now.

So, today marks the first snowfall of 2017 in Bloomington Indiana, and here at least a gentle one making a crisp day lovely — as well as quiet the week before the spring term begins in a university city.  A day for reflection and memories, perhaps, for peaceful thoughts and recalling joy.  But for plans as well for a horror-filled year (writing-wise, that is, for those of us of darker inclinations), perhaps in some cases taking inspiration from the memories presented therein.

For more, press here.

. . . the idea of faith is more general in the sense that it covers any devotion to a higher being or spiritual power.  It could be anything, from a religion-based god to alien overlords to the Force.  The point is that you believe in something outside yourself that, in some way, shapes, influences, or even controls the nature of our world.  Yet somehow, regardless of the faith, the path to getting there is always the same:  you have to hear the call, and then yoarrival_movie_posteru have to take conscious steps to overcome that adversity within and without to reach its source, taking you from a non-believer to a believer.

Well, no, I haven’t seen ARRIVAL yet, I tend to wait sometimes for what I think may be important films to be out long enough on DVD to bring the price down to buy for myself, but that’s my problem.  The above, from “Communication and Faith in ARRIVAL”  by Michael Moreci, on TOR.COM a day or two back, piqued my interest however (cf. below, for instance, November 3, August 26 ; September 17 2015):  the question of faith, belief, in science fiction as well as, perhaps to be more expected, in fantasy and horror.  The need for an author — or reader — to know a people’s traditions in order to build their world.

Or that’s how I see it.  Moreci also brings up Joseph Campbell (the hero’s journey), and the movies STAR WARS:  A NEW HOPE and CONTACT; while in my own writings I might note the upcoming TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH as well as, at least in part, THE TEARS OF ISIS.  And in any event I may look into ARRIVAL myself sooner than I had expected.  Moreci’s critique, on the other hand, may be read right now here.

How about we get in the mood with a horror poem by Rick Powell, then I’ll share a SUPER EASY pumpkin cookie recipe you can make last minute to enjoy this evening, and to top it off… How about sex in a haunted house? Haha. That is, how about we watch the short horror film ‘Sex in a Haunted House’?😛

But let us start Thursday with something I was not in, but attended.  Thursday night offered an, as it were, otherworldly start to the Halloween weekend with a 100-year commemoration of Cabaret Voltaire.  Say what?  In the sponsors’ words:  On 5 February 1916, in the back room of a small bar in Zurich, a group of artists launched a nightclub which changed the course of modern art.  Cabaret Voltaire was the home of Dada, a movement that revolutionized European culture and led to seismic global shifts in art, literature, music, film.  Like Punk, Dada survives as an attitude, a rejection of aesthetic convention and authority.  A hundred years later, The Burroughs Century Ltd. and the Wounded Galaxies Festival are creating a dracula1958-melissastriblingandchristopherlee-50one-night-only homage:  a feast of the senseless.  This was at a local Bloomington nightclub and included, yes, movies as a sort of background/ accompaniment, some old, some just filmed,  but all experimental.  Added were musical and spoken word performances, as well as costumes — some quite creative — worn by onlookers (mine, less creative, was of a Zurich bourgeois who has come for an evening of entertainment).  Odd and fun, the event was also a fundraiser for Wounded Galaxies Festival to help with more presentations in the future.

Then Friday came the reading performance of Act I of D. L. Mabbott’s play THE UNFINISHED (cf. October 19), with two readers who also performed the night before, Joan Hawkins and Anthony Brewer, and two who didn’t, Shayne Laughter and me.   Or, quoting Shayne, [f]ree, tonight, at The Back Door!  I’m reading with Joan Hawkins — we are two lovely ladies in the organ harvesting biz, Tony Brewer is the burglar who sees too much, and James Dorr is the Inspector who . . .  well.  We could call this a 21st-century “Arsenic and Old Lace,” with more sex and stabbing.  This also was at a local nightclub, sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild, and while underattended (in this case perhaps because it was early, before many patrons had arrived, but more to the point before we’d be displaced by the night’s headlined band*), quite a bit of fun.

Then, Saturday having been a day off of sorts, Sunday night brought back the Ryder Film Festival (see October 27, 24, 17), this time with two films at local tavern Bear’s Place, 1958’s Hammer production HORROR OF DRACULA and new Korean ghost movie THE WAILING (the latter also screened tombs-final-copylast Sunday at the Buskirk-Chumley theatre), including my rescheduled reading of “Raising the Dead.”  As originally planned for last week, it preceded THE WAILING, scheduled at 7:30 but, because that’s the way things seem to work, actually starting about ten minutes late.   Like Friday’s play-reading the “crowd” was sparse (maybe the big kids were out trick-or-treating too) although at all times it outnumbered the players (me), even picking up a bit about half-way through.  Such is the way of the oral presenter.  “Raising the Dead,” billed by the Ryder as a tale of necromancy, dark fantasy, airships, and doomed love, is a story/chapter to be included in my forthcoming novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, due out from Elder Signs Press in spring-summer next year, and concerns an attempt to reunite a deceased man’s soul to his body by raising the latter up into the air, where souls congregate, during an impending storm.

But of course, if things all worked as planned, it wouldn’t very well be horror, would it?
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* The walk over, in fact, included fording a river of Halloween-costumed children and parents.




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