Archive for movies

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Scream Greats – Beetlejuice

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , on October 21, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

It’s Monday, time for another Scream Greats poster. This one was inside Fangoria #76 from 1988 and it features a great image of Beetlejuice.

Just a few issues earlier, in Fangoria #74, also 1988, they featured a set visit to the movie.  The cover page to the article featured an alternate version of the Scream Greats photo.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Movie Friday: Christine

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, books, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture, Stephen King with tags , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Every year around Halloween I try to fill in the gaps in my Stephen King reading. I’d read a bunch of his books back in high school and in college, but then I lapsed for a while. So a few years ago I decided around Halloween each year I’d pick up a book I hadn’t read of his and read it for the spooky season. Over the last 10 years or so I’ve read the uncut The Stand, The Talisman, Salem’s Lot, The Shining and Needful Things. This year, I decided to finally read Christine. And since I’m reading the book, I thought I’d watch the movie as well, seeing as how I’d never seen it.

book movie

I was always fascinated by the idea of the story and was eager to dig in. I read the book first. And the book is actually a lot longer than I was expecting. The copy I read had over 500 pages. It’s typical early King, long on setup. But once you get past the halfway mark, things amp up considerably.  But don’t take that as a disparaging remark to the first half.  The fact that King takes the time to set up the concept and we get to live with the characters a little while, it makes the events in the end really affect the reader.  You know and care about the characters, so the horrific events at the end hit you hard. Since King is playing the long game we really get to know Arnie and when the changes start coming you can really see it.  Little events build up to bigger events until it all snowballs in the end to, honestly, catastrophic results.  And I like the motivations and explanations of Christine here in the novel.

I really enjoyed Christine as a horror novel and a King novel.  Is it my favorite?  No, but I’m glad I read it.  The next King book I’m going to tackle will probably be The Dark Half.

So after reading the book, I watched the movie.  Directed by John Carpenter, who was originally supposed to direct an adaptation of King’s Firestarter a few years earlier but it fell through.  After reading the book, I was a bit disappointed with the slightness of the movie.  I get it, it only has like 2 hours to do what King did in 500+ pages, I totally acknowledge that.  Carpenter’s directing is pretty great.  The movie is shot fantastically.  The car looks awesome.  I love the burning car sequence.  It’s just so relentless and horrific looking.  Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed with how the movie answers the motivations of Christine.  It’s different than the book and it just feels so…bleh.  It was evil from the day it was made?  Really?  Huh.  I didn’t love that, but I really liked the kids in the movie and overall I’m happy with how it turned out, but not surprisingly, I prefer the book.

Fangoria did cover Christine a few times.  With several articles.  The movie got a cover story in Fangoria #32 in 1984.

Fango 32 cover Fango 32 article

King’s novel would get a review in Fango’s Nightmare library a few issues earlier, Fangoria #30, in 1983.

Christine novel review 1 Christine novel review 2

It’s a positive review, for the most part, but the author uses so many metaphors it’s tough to really say for sure.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001) movie review

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2019 by Paxton

Fangoria Movie Friday

So, I’m finishing out the first two weeks of Elvira with a review of Elvira’s second movie, Elvira’s Haunted Hills from 2001.

Like Mistress of the Dark, I had never watched this one, so with the surprise of actually liking that first movie, I sat down to watch this one hoping to also like it.

And I didn’t.  It’s more of the same but not done as well.  Elvira is Elvira.  Double entendres abound.  It feels like it wants to be something like Young Frankenstein, or, to be more accurate, Haunted Honeymoon.  But the charisma of the cast (or lack thereof) can’t overcome the poor script and attempts at humor.  I know this was made on a shoestring budget, and it’s lampooning old Vincent Price Poe movies like The Pit and the Pendulum (the poster for which even had the giant swinging blade on it) and The Raven, which I honestly haven’t seen.  But it still didn’t land, meaning mainly the humor.

The sets for this movie were pretty great though.  The giant castle, as a set, worked very well and had lots of cool elements incorporated into the design including a small hidden door in the side of the giant fireplace (sidenote: I love giant stone fireplaces in castles).  And the overall story was actually not that bad, but this movie lives or dies on the humor and the humor just doesn’t work as well in this one as it did in the previous movie.  It was so MEH that I didn’t really have anything I wanted to talk about more in depth by pulling out screen grabs.  It’s just not as fun a movie as I wanted it to be.

I wish it wasn’t so, because I still love the character of Elvira.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira’s crazy cameos

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

The character of Elvira has become pretty ubiquitous over the years popping up in everything in pop culture including movies, TV shows, beer ads, MTV specials and video games.  In the next few articles over the next few days I’ll take a look at some of Elvira’s strangest pop culture appearances.  Today, let’s take a look at movies and TV shows.

Like I said, Elvira has popped in all all kinds of TV shows and movies.  Sometimes she’s in costume, sometimes it’s Cassandra Peterson as herself.  Here are a few cool, random appearances of Elvira in costume in different movies and TV shows.


Elvira showed up as a race car groupie in the 1983 Burt Reynolds NASCAR comedy, Stroker Ace.  There are a lot of mixed opinions about this movie, but I love it.


Elvira showed up on an episode of CHiPs in Season 6, episode 21 titled “Things That Go Creep in the Night”. Ponch and Jon are protecting a woman who seems to be stalked by a comic book character. Elvira shows up at a comic book/horror convention.


Elvira starred in an episode of The Fall Guy that was written specifically for her. It was Season 4, episode 7, titled October 31st. Colt Seavers (Lee Majors) is filming a Halloween Special with Elvira in an old mansion that is supposedly haunted.


Elvira also showed up in a couple of live action segments of the Super Mario Bros Super Show from 1989.

Cassandra Peterson had a few fun movie cameos that I always forget about.


Cassandra Peterson had a small part in a sex comedy called Jekyll & Hyde: Together Again from 1982.  She played the busty nurse.  I love this movie and I hope to do it one day on Cult Film Club.


Cassandra is good friends with Paul Reubens. Consequently, she appeared in the biker scene in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

And there are several others I could bring up but I think that’s a good random sampling of appearances for the Mistress of the Dark.  Tomorrow I’ll take a look at one of Elvira’s first, and most mainstream, forays into comic books!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira Mistress of the Dark (1988) movie review

Posted in Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2019 by Paxton

Fangoria Movie Friday

So this week has been all about Elvira.  You’ve seen articles and centerfolds.  Elvira has permeated pop culture especially during the Halloween season.  She has popped up in many random movies as a fun cameo. But there have been two Elvira specific movies released and I have watched neither of them.  So I thought now would be a good time to do that.

Today, for my very first time, I’m taking a look at the first Elvira movie; Elvira Mistress of the Dark from 1988.

movie poster

I can’t believe I’ve never watched this movie. It’s fun, it’s campy. It’s the perfect Elvira movie. Mostly comedy, with some spooky genre elements added in. I had a lot of fun with it.

Let’s take a look at a few highlights from the movie.


Title cards.

on the TV show set
The show opens up with Elvira on the set of her late night TV show. It’s a low budget local station so naturally she wants to get out of there and go to Vegas to become a showgirl.

Anchorwoman
This is an anchorwoman at Elvira’s TV station waiting to go on after Elvira finishes her show. She’s not very nice. She’s played by Tress MacNeille. Tress is sort of a legend in voice over animation work. She does voice work for Simpsons, Futurama, Animaniacs, and SO MANY other shows. Check out her IMDB. It’s insane. But, funnily enough, Tress would voice the character Booberella on The Simpsons which was a parody of Elvira.

A lot of this movie is what actors pop up from other genre pictures.

teens
Here are a few of the teens Elvira befriends in the movie. On the far left, is Ira Heiden, who played Will in Nightmare on Elm Street 3.  To the right of Ira is Kris Kamm who’s been in a ton of TV like Quantum Leap, 21 Jump Street, and Coach.

Kenicky!
Hey, it’s Kenicky! From Grease!

villain!
Here’s the villain, Vincent. He plays this up pretty well. He’s appropriately evil and English.  This guy has also been in a bunch of genre stuff like Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country, the old Fox TV show Werewolf, the Max Headroom TV series, Needful Things and Michael Bay’s Transformers.

Apple Slice!
Edie McClurg! I love 80s movies for vintage product placement. We get a scene at a town picnic and in it we see a bunch of old soda cans like this Apple Slice as well as a few vintage Diet Pepsi cans.


Elvira finally gets to Vegas at the end and we get to see a whole overblown Vegas number. It’s campy but fun.

This was a fun movie to watch.  Yes, it was campy, but that’s Elvira’s whole shtick.  The movie was entertaining and I enjoyed it.  Glad I finally watched it.

So next week.  I had so much fun doing Elvira this week, that I think I’ll do it again.  So, expect to see another week of Elvira goodness.  I’ll look at more movie and TV appearances as well as a few other surprises.  Come back next week to see what I have in store.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira Busts Out

Posted in Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , on October 3, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

In Fall 1988, Elvira was getting ready to release her first movie, Elvira Mistress of the Dark. And, of course, she got some coverage in the September 1988 issue of Fangoria (issue #77).

I’m honestly surprised she didn’t get a full cover for her first movie. She always had a great relationship with Fangoria.  But if you are going to get bumped, Freddy Krueger in a new movie is the news that’s going to bump you.  *Especially* in 1988.  And *especially* if the magazine has available to them a pic of Freddy with a baby arm coming out of his head for the cover.

This article is an interview with Cassandra Peterson about making the movie Elvira Mistress of the Dark.  She talks about having the longest bit of dialogue to do on the first day and that no one really explained to her how to play the character on the big screen.  Sometimes she was playing it too big, sometimes she played it too small.  It took several days to work it out and get comfortable.  She also makes sure to play up the humor in the movie.  She wants people to know it’s not a horror movie per se, it’s a comedy.  And she hopes that people understand that when they go see it.

It’s a pretty good article, but it always is with Cassandra Peterson.  She’s always funny.  Unfortunately for this movie, New World Pictures went bankrupt the day the movie was released and instead of opening on 2500 screens, it opened on 600 screens.  Even though it tanked at the box office, it has since picked up a big cult following on the home video market.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I love Elvira and I have since the mid to late 80s. As you see, I bought her appearances in magazines, I loved it when she was the Coors Light “spookswoman”, and when she had bizarre cameos in movies like Stroker Ace.  We even covered her 1986 MTV Halloween Special on the Nerd Lunch 2017 Halloween Special.  But for some reason, I never got around to watching either of the Elvira movies.

So tomorrow, for Fangoria Movie Friday, I’m going to take a look at her first movie, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, from 1988.  Should be fun, I can’t wait.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

2018 Year End Honorable Mentions – Movies/TV

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 31, 2019 by Paxton

Movie Report

Okay, so I got my main year end lists, Favorite Movies of 2018 and Best Books I Read in 2018 out there.  My personal favorites have been laid bare for the Internet.  But there were some other movies I saw that I do want to give a mention.  I usually do that in an “Honorable Mention” section at the bottom of the aforementioned lists, but I decided to break it out this year.  And I didn’t really even discuss TV shows in that list, so there’s some stuff to talk about.

Below are some Honorable Mentions in movies/TV shows that I watched for the first time in 2018. These aren’t going to be necessarily the “next best selections” from my lists. These are just entries I want to talk about. Good or bad.

Let’s do a few movies first, then I’ll do some TV shows.


Justice League – I feel like I should address this since I saw it last year. It wasn’t bad. At the time I watched it, I liked it better than every other DC movie except Wonder Woman. Now, it’s third behind Aquaman.  There are things I didn’t love about it, of course. The inclusion of Cyborg is still baffling to me. Steppenwolf as the big blobby CGI villain kind of sucks. But there are many things I really like. Cavill is pretty much fixed as Superman here. Let me be more specific, I think Cavill is GREAT as Superman/Clark, but the writing of Superman has been out of whack.  THAT is what is fixed here.  I also love Supes’ return to the living and his initial fighting against the JL.  I love Wonder Woman.  I thought I’d love Batman more in this, but he was only okay.  I fully expected to hate Ezra Miller’s Flash, but I didn’t. I actually enjoyed it.  Aquaman is great in his debut here (as it’ll carry over to his own movie).  So there’s more to like than dislike for me.  I was surprised by that, especially judging by the online reaction to the movie.


The Polka King – This one is one I want to talk about, but it’s not for everyone.  I’ve really been enjoying Jack Black the last few years.  I’ve *always* found him funny but he’s really picking interesting projects during this latter part of his career. This, Goosebumps, the Jumanji sequel, and The House with a Clock in its Walls, are all things I’ve thoroughly enjoyed him in.  Polka King is different and a bit weird, like I said, not for everyone. But I really enjoyed it.  Black is flanked by a pretty great cast as well with Jenny Slate and Jason Schwartzman.  If you are so inclined, give this a watch, I think you may like it.


The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Extended Editions – On Twitter last year I called out that I had never watched the LOTR Extended Editions.  Honestly, I never really had a desire to watch them.  Then I finally caved and borrowed the extended edition trilogy DVDs from a friend and made the commitment to watch all three extended edition movies.  It took me a month, but I finally got through all three extended editions.  You know what, I actually enjoyed it.  Backing up, my thoughts on the theatrical movies are; love the first one, hate the second one, like the third one.  After the extended editions, I love the first one even more, actually better appreciate the second movie, and still like the third one pretty much the same.  I don’t plan on ever watching the extended editions again, I’ll keep my theatricals because Jackson has gone on record saying *those* are his official versions, but this exercise has made me appreciate the movies as a whole even more.  So I’m glad for that.  And I’m actually looking forward to a rewatch of the theatrical editions soon.


The Hurricane Heist – This entry and the next entry are sort of linked. Last summer I was really wanting to get in a theatrical viewing of GeoStorm because of all the bad buzz it was getting. I couldn’t make that happen but then this movie dropped on Redbox and I thought it had a promising story and could be sort of “fun bad”. Plus it starred Toby Kebbel who I actually like as an actor even though he’s been in some very maligned stuff like the Ben Hur remake and that 2015 Fantastic Four movie.  I was wrong.  This movie is garbage and none of you should waste your time on it.  That is all.


Geostorm – Fast forward a few weeks.  I go to Tallahassee to visit CT for a nerd weekend.  Geostorm just dropped on Redbox so I pick it up and we watch it.  And it’s actually pretty fun.  I don’t know why everyone was blasting this as the worst movie of the year when I literally *just* watched the worst movie of the year and its name was Hurricane Heist.  This movie is ridiculous, Gerard Butler is 100% Gerard Butler-ing it up, but it’s all just so entertaining.  Unlike the previous movie.  And the effects look GREAT.  Maybe that’s the difference, this one had the budget so ultimately it works, but I feel like there’s a perfect storm of things that made me enjoy this.  A perfect Geostorm of things, if you will (and I will).  Is it a *good* movie by any definition?  No, but it’s an endlessly entertaining movie.  Especially if you watch it with a fellow nerd, like I did.

Now, here are a few TV shows I watched last year that I want to mention.


Santa Clarita Diet Season 2 – Steph and I watched the first season of this show back in 2017.  Loved it.  Season 2 dropped in 2018 and we watched it and loved it just as much.  It really gets bonkers in the second season.  The quick premise is that Drew Barrymore is mysteriously turned into a zombie-like creature that only wants to eat people. Not just brains, but all people parts. I’ve said many times that I don’t like zombie stuff, and this is *kind of* a zombie thing, but it does its own thing.  But it sort of makes zombies and their origins into something different, maybe something closer to what zombies used to be in 30s-40s movies like White Zombie.  Drew and Timothy are hilarious in this.  Their daughter played by Liv Hewson and the kid next door played by Skylar Gisondo are also hilarious. They also open up the mythology of this series’ zombies just a little in this season. This is a great show and I really hope they keep it going. Like the show I’ll talk about next, the show runners here end each season on cliff hangers, so if it gets canceled, we are SOL.

Travelers
Travelers Seasons 2 & 3
– Steph and I watched both Season 2 and Season 3 of this show last year. Season 2 in January and Season 3 in December. This is a pretty great little sci-fi show that, like I mentioned above, actually ends its seasons with pretty hardcore cliff hangers. So, hopefully for us, they get renewed and the story can be resolved.  The premise: an oppressed, post-apocalyptic civilization in the future develops a way to send people’s consciousness back into the past.   Unfortunately the process completely erases the consciousness of the “host”.  So they only send people back into persons that historically are about to die.  And these agents that are sent back are following orders to make small changes to the timeline in order to bring about big changes in the future.  But real life in the 20th century constantly gets in the way for all the agents.  It’s a great show that seemingly could’ve ended in Season 3, but could also be a huge reboot for Season 4.  I’m not sure which it is yet.

Black Mirror
Black Mirror Season 4
– This is a great show and I’ve loved every season. Season 4 was a doozy.  The opening episode, USS Callister, was horrifying and great.  As was Arkangel and its look at what’s the line for protecting your children and invading their privacy?  Hang the DJ was a highlight and the final episode, Black Museum was pretty epic on its own.  Such a great modern version of Twilight Zone.  I’m looking forward to trying out the movie, Bandersnatch, at some point, but I really want the show to return with a new season.

So those are my honorable mentions in Movies and TV.  Coming up next, I’ll do the same for books and comics.