Category Movies

Monster Movie Madness: Michael Jackson’s Ghosts

Less a movie than a 38 minute long music video, Michael Jackson’s Ghosts portrays Michael Jackson as a loner living on the outskirts of town who enjoys entertaining the local children and who is about to be run out of town by a lynch mob. This was in no way inspired by real life events, right? Said angry mob is lead by the town’s mayor, who bears a striking resemblance to the lead prosecutor in the child abuse case against Jackson in 1993. In fact, if you watch it with a thought toward Jackson’s history and public opinion about him, it’s actually quite sad, as he was no doubt aware of all of the people who thought he was a freak, and it comes through crystal clear in Ghosts*. For maximum entertainment value, it’s probably best to enjoy it on a superficial level.

On a superficial level, this “movie” features: the worst angry mob I’ve ever seen, pretty great makeup effects, decent CG, MJ shooting ectoplasm out of his hands, and a moonwalking skeleton. Worth the watch for the moonwalking skeleton alone!

*However, if Michael Jackson entertained his guests by screaming “HOOOOO!” every few seconds, I’m glad I was never invited to Neverland.

Early Cthulhumas

Last week Wednesday, Jason and I celebrated Cthulhumas early, as he was flying to visit his family for the holidays. We did it up in proper style–I took him out to dinner, he took me out for drinks, and then we went home, opened gifts, and watched Sharktopus, because my man knows what I like. No one cried, so it wasn’t technically a holiday, but it was lovely nonetheless.

At first glance, Sharktopus appears to be about a half-shark, half octopus hybrid, which for some undiscernable reason has both whiskers on its face and bayonets on the tips of its tentacles, neither of which are found on either species in nature. Upon further reflection, I have decided that existence of Sharktopus is proof that Syfy loathes its target audience. The cancellation of Stargate Universe, the mere existence of Caprica–these things were evidence that Syfy kind of disliked the people to whom they cater, but Sharktopus is hard proof, a bayonetted-tentacle slap across the face that screams “OH GOD WE HATE YOU FUCKING NERDS SO FUCKING MUCH AND THIS IS HOW WE’RE GOING TO HURT YOU.”

Bad movies can be wonderfully fun, and given my intense love for trash culture, I enjoy a wide range of B movies, from the earnest-yet-inept to the self-aware. Sharktopus falls squarely into the self-aware category, however, the entire thing is done with a wink and a nod in a sort-of insulting way. “I bet you retards would like to see some dudes get yanked off the side of a boat while eating sandwiches. *WINK* Here ya go, assholes!” “Let’s see, I bet you shitstains would laugh if a stacked girl in a bikini found a gold coin on the beach and was so excited she started jumping up and down, jumbling her jubbly jiggly bits, and then BAM, sharktopus, all while some creepy dude watches and doesn’t help and then takes the coin she found. *WINK* There it is! We just gave you jerkoffs jackoff material for a month. By the way, the creepy dude and the pimpled teenager who shouts ‘AWESOME’ when he sees Sharktopus attack are both allegorical to what we think of you, our audience. Fucksticks.” Look, Syfy–if *I* can see what you’re really saying, it’s obvious. Maybe tone the hatred of your audience down a little? Or turn the production of your made-for-tv crapsterpieces over to someone who isn’t so bitterly resentful that he’s directing this instead of something like Black Swan that he infuses it with all of his loathing? Just a thought.

As far as the gift-giving went, Jason either genuinely liked all of the things I got for him, or he’s a far better actor than anyone in Sharktopus. I had done some snooping around on the internet and found his Amazon wishlist of two items, only one of which would make a suitable gift. He said that one was a genuine suprise, unlike the piles and piles of socks–athletic socks and support socks and squishy socks and fuzzy socks and moisture-wicking socks and god knows what other superpowers dude socks have. This is the thing about dude socks: I am used to purchasing lady socks, which are sold according to the laws of cuteness and softness–there really is no other standard that I have seen. Dude socks are all sold on the basis of performance enhancement, a concept with which I am unfamiliar in terms of socks. Arch support socks, cushion socks, odor-resistant socks, moisture-wicking socks, penis-enlarging socks, 50-yard-dash speed socks, bear-fighting socks, socks that will sneak out of the house at night and slay your enemies while you slumber peacefully…the list goes on and on. How am I supposed to know what sort of sock is the ideal sock? The World’s Greatest Sock? “To hell with it,” I muttered (truly, an embodiment of the holiday spirit), and bought some of each. Maybe we’ll need to hold some sort of sock endurance test, with graphs and charts.

He also said he’d like a t-shirt, maybe a matching t-shirt with me, which is not something I’m super-comfortable with because, hey, I’ve spent a long time building this obnoxious identity and it’s not going to go down without a fight. But I did find something that would make us both happy–the coordinating but not matching glow-in-the-dark Tron shirts at Threadless. I also got him some shower stuff that smells like apple pie, as he mentioned that apple pie is one of his favorite-ever smells–the best part about philosophy shower stuff (in my opinion) is that it smells amazing in the shower or while you’re taking a bath, but the scent doesn’t linger beyond the shower, so you don’t have to smell like apple pie or pumpkin spice muffin or gingerbread or peppermint bark or whatever for the rest of the day.

He got me a boxed copy of “Yo! Noid!” for the NES, a game (surprisingly) made by Capcom that’s essentially a big advertisement for Dominos pizza that I have a lot of nostalgia for that disappeared in the Great Game-Selling of Nineteen Ninety-Something, when my brother decided that the family NES was now his NES so he could pawn it for pennies to Funcoland and get a SNES. I’m not bitter or mad about this at all. Noooooo sir. Maybe a little. Anyhow, when I started working at Gamestop, I began to recollect these NES games, and I got my hands on most all of the titles that I remember playing as a drooling brace-faced child–pretty well all of them save “Yo! Noid!” which never showed up as a trade-in at the store. I had mentioned how bad games hold a special place in my collection and my heart to him in one of our earliest communications, and how it was missing “Yo! Noid!”…and he remembered, and it’s no longer missing.

He also got me this monstrosity:


Look at how huge it is compared to what I was using before (which was also a gift so I’m kind of loathe to get rid of it, though I have absolutely no idea what I’d use it for)! I hardly know what to do with so much screen real estate. Using Photoshop is going to be awesome now–no more toolbars piled upon toolbars which are piled upon yet more toolbars!

Best non-holiday ever.

If you’re gonna be dumb, ya gotta be tough.

On Friday before the haunt dress rehearsal, I made my way to SoDo to go to PNTA to look for makeup kit supplies. I was thrilled to discover that they stock both Ben Nye and Kryolan (and was informed that they’re one of the biggest distributers of Ben Nye in the country) and simultaneously knew that having relatively easy access is going to be a problem for me because my kit is going to grow to monstrous size rapidly. Time to start pondering storage solutions BEFORE my place gets hoarding-level bad!

After the haunt, I went downtown to see Jackass in 3D with mrsamedi and one of his friends. Mock me if you must for enjoying Jackass, but for me, there’s very little more comforting in this world than watching idiots hurt themselves in increasingly entertaining ways. It’s the movie equivalent of a fuzzy blanket and chicken soup when you’ve got a cold. I laughed so hard that I believe I ruptured one of my internal organs.

All of the trailers before the movie were ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. Take, for instance, The Warrior’s Way:

When the line “Ninjas…damn” was uttered, we all fervently expressed our hopes that was the actual title of the movie. Ninjas…DAMN!!! Tell me that wouldn’t be a fantastic movie title!

After Ninjas…DAMN!!!, we saw trailers for Aliens…DAMN!!!, Cowboys…DAMN!!!, Jigsaw…DAMN!!!, and Vampires…DAMN!!!. Those are all solid movie titles, I feel.

It was nice to see Brendan again, I hadn’t seen him since we went to see Troll 2, which is far too long. I need to be better about calling people!

More Monster Movie Madness

Oct 4th: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare 1994, color. “A demonic force has chosen Freddy Krueger as its portal to the real world. Can Heather play the part of Nancy one last time and trap the evil trying to enter our world?” I’m torn on this one. On one hand, it was a clever way to reintroduce Freddy. On the other, they eliminated the quirky kills that define Freddy as a monster and the one or two quips are halfhearted and a bit embarrassing.

Oct 5th: From a Whisper to a Scream Also known as The Offspring, 1987, color. On the evening his niece is being executed by lethal injection, a historian relates four tales about the town in which they live to a reporter, as he believes a great evil lives there and has tormented the settlers every generation, causing them to do evil things. These stories are similar to the type told on Tales From the Crypt, wherein everyone who behaves badly gets their comeuppance in a sort-of poignant way.

The first story is about a deeply awkward, squirrely man who lives with his sister, who has some sort of medical condition that causes Mr. Squirrely to have to bathe her in icewater daily. The impression is conveyed that the sister is more than hot temperature-wise for her brother, and that maybe a flipper-baby would be happy to join her in the tub. Mr. Squirrely, for his part, is deeply infatuated with a woman at work who is clearly out of his league, sends her flowers anonymously, and when he reveals himself to her as her secret admirer, she is less than receptive but agrees to go on one date with him. Mr. Squirrely, overjoyed, announces to his sister that he has a date and practically skips out the front door, in the most awkward manner possible. It’s a wonder he didn’t smack his face on the door frame. The date goes abysmally, Mr. Squirrely informs the woman that he loves her, that he’s written a song for her, and christ almighty, he begins to try and sing it. The woman tells Mr. Squirrely not to embarrass himself, at which point he attempts to force himself on her. She tries to fight him off, at which point he kills her. At her open-casket wake, Mr. Squirrely pops open some champagne, pours a glass for each of them, and has his way with her corpse. (All together now: EWWWWWWWW!) When he gets home, his sister looks like she’s been shot with Homer Simpson’s makeup shotgun set on incompetent whore, and informs him that she needs her bath. She does her best to seductively slink into the tub while he halfheartedly begins the process, and then she tries to make her move, something about siblings sticking together for Daddy’s sake and how hard she worked to make herself pretty for him, and Mr. Squirrely can take it no more and drowns her in the bathtub. After this, Mr. Squirrely goes and sits in the living room (christ, how can one man make SITTING IN A CHAIR look so awkward?) and he is disturbed by the sound of something breaking into the house. This something appears to be a ghoulie, but as Mr. Squirrely falls down the stairs in fear, it is revealed to be his monstrous child. Grosssss. The lesson here is: Don’t be gross. Seriously.

In the second story, a man is on the run from mobsters, gets injured, and finds himself in the cabin of an old man, who turns out to be much older than he appears…300 years old, in fact. He has developed some sort of life-rejuvenating serum, and the man on the run attacks this old man in the hopes of getting his hands on this serum. The old man had already given Asswipe some, and when his end comes…it is gruesome. The lesson here is: Don’t help people. Especially asswipes.

In the third story, a glass-and-razor-blade-eating carny falls for some carny groupie, but their love is not to be, because the voodoo-practicing carnival owner won’t allow her property to leave. Mr. Glass Eater tries to resist this groupie, but she is insistent, and convinces him to meet her in a graveyard to make out, because that is clearly the hottest place to get it on, according to this film. As Mr. Glass Eater begins groping Carny Groupie’s bum, she shrieks, and he pulls his hand away in horror to find that his fingers now all have razor blades at their tips, turning him into a half-assed Wolverine. The voodoo-practicing carnival owner laughs and laughs and tells Mr. Glass Eater that she knows where he’s been and that he’d better never leave again, because she can take his glass-eating powers away at any time and rip him up from the inside. This first demonstration was not enough, so Mr. Glass Eater and Carny Groupie run away together to a hotel, at which point razor blades begin shooting out of Mr. Glass’ body, splattering the room and the Carny Groupie with gore. After Mr. Glass is dead, Carny Groupie is forced into the carnival herself as his replacement, The Amazing Human Pincushion. The lesson here is: If you love a freakshow, their qualities will rub off on you. (Shut up, I am not Aesop. This moralizing is difficult!)

In the fourth story, the Civil War is over and towns are wartorn. A douche-y Yankee shoots a few Dixie soldiers who had surrendered, because even though the war is over, he is determined to kill them all. A member of his company tries to leave and go home, and Douche-y Yankee shoots him in the back. Eventually, he finds himself in a town run by children, who stab him in the balls and take him prisoner, according to the orders of ‘The Magistrate’. One of the children, a young girl, has lost her eye in the war along with her father, and Douche-y Yankee says, gee, what a coincidence, his daughter by the same name was killed in the war, and if she’ll only agree to untie him, SHE could be his daughter and he’ll get her fixed up by the best doctors and it will be like nothing ever happened. Naive and not realizing that eye transplants are a thing of the DISTANT future and not exactly Civil War technology, she unties Douche-y Yankee and gives him a hug. He snaps her neck and runs away, only to be recaptured. The children reveal that The Magistrate is made of bits and pieces of their blown-up parents that they’ve sewed back together, and now The Magistrate is telling the children that fire will cleanse the sin off this man and make him fit to eat. The lesson here is: Children are fucking creepy.

Oct 6th: Jason Goes to Hell 1993, color. For a movie with “goes to hell” in the title, I expected a little more Hell. Maybe some devil-fighting. My expectations were a little too high, methinks. It did have some Captain Adam Fuller, straight out of 21 Jump Street, though, and a cute head-nod to Quint in Jaws.

Oct 7th: Carrie 1976, color. I love this movie. It’s so well-done, and Sissy Spacek plays the role of Carrie perfectly, with a believable fragility. Her few moments of blossoming happiness juxtaposed with fiery revenge is particularly effective. It also touches on how your perceptions about how others see you can be incorrect, and that revenge can not only be unsatisfying but can also harm the undeserving. Also, fun fact: for continuity purposes, Sissy Spacek slept in ‘bloody’ (karo syrup and food coloring, though she was willing to have real blood dumped on her) clothes and skin for three days.

Oct 8th: His Name Was Jason 2009, color. A documentary about 30 years of Friday the 13th. This movie had a LOT of Tom Savini talking about makeup effects which made me VERY happy. It also revealed that the directors would like to take a collective dump on people who care about series continuity, because this is one series that was never really interested in continuity.

Oct 9th: The Amityville Horror 1979, color. The book scared the hell out of me as a kid. It had TRUE STORY printed right on the pages. How could a publisher lie about something being true? …Quite easily if it makes money, it turns out. Here is a direct quote from the movie: “Jesus Christ, it gets worse all the time.” That effectively sums it up. The book scared 8 year old me. The movie bored the shit out of 28 year old me. Oh wow, a dramatic driving over a bridge sequence AND a barking dog? You don’t say! Get me my smelling salts, I’m feeling the vapours come on.

Oct 10th: Albert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation 2007, color. I pulled and wore a horrible face for the entirety of this movie. “Albert Fish, the horrific true story of elderly cannibal, sadomasochist, and serial killer, who lured children to their deaths in Depression-era New York City. Distorting biblical tales, Albert Fish takes the themes of pain, torture, atonement and suffering literally as he preys on victims to torture and sacrifice. Includes interviews with artist and Odditorium owner, Joe Coleman, and true-crime author, Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D.” It takes a LOT for me to find something distasteful. I’ve built a life of reveling in trash, but the way this was handled made it pretty clear that the director/editor/whatever were titilated by the subject matter, like they were glorifying the shitstain of a person that was Albert Fish, and it was obscene in a way that made me want to retch.

Oct 11th: Them! 1954, b/w. Nuclear testing causes mutant ants to descend on a New Mexico town and wreak havoc while searching for food. This was one of the first movies to deal with the populace’s fears of the atomic age, and has been a HUGE influence on sci-fi and horror cinema–you see references and blatant rip-offs everywhere, mostly by James Cameron (don’t sue me!). Terminator 2, Aliens, Titani–ok, not Titanic.

Up tonight: The Machine Girl!

When a girl has a heart of stone, there’s only one way to melt it. Just add Ice.

On Sunday, some friends and I had a Vanilla Ice-a-thon, which consisted of two movies: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, and the amazing, can’t-believe-I-hadn’t-seen-it-before, Cool as Ice.

Dinner beforehand played out like Vanilla Ice: Behind the Music, as each of us brought our esoteric Ice knowledge to the table. “Did you know that he’s a motocross champion?” “Did you know he tried to make a comeback as a rap-metal artist in the late 90’s at the height of nu-metal’s popularity?” “Did you know he was involved in backyard wrestling?” “Did you know that ‘Ice Ice Baby’ is the only video to ever be permanently banned from playing on MTV? They actually had Vanilla Ice come in and destroy the video himself. He was a good sport about it but you could see that he wasn’t happy about doing it.” “Are you familiar with the concept of ‘icing’? Apparently there’s some sort of bounty if you ice Vanilla Ice.”

While we probably should have been downing Smirnoff Ice while watching this film, we made do with gin & tonics with lots of ice, ice baby…but not too much, lest our drinks get too cold, too cold.

Cool as Ice is a film that ostensibly has a plot and some underlying themes. The main theme is “Whatever a normal person would do, you should do the opposite.” So if you’re in the witness protection program, not only should you go on TV, but when your dumb ass is found and threatened by these figures from your past, you shouldn’t immediately call the police and instead wait until your child is kidnapped. If some dude on a motorcyle tries to kill you and your horse with his awesome stunt, you should probably date him. If that dude is Vanilla Ice, and you find him in your bedroom one morning and he wakes you up by jamming an ice cube in your mouth, you should probably take your top off instead of screaming, like a normal person would do.

It also arguably has some of the best, most believable dialogue of the last twenty years with Vanilla delivering lines like, “Drop that zero and get with the hero,” “What’s it like to have parents,” “I’m gone like yesterday,” and, approximately every other minute, “Yep yep!”.

It is horrible. I love it.

I’m also considering being Vanilla Ice for Halloween this year. Who could resist this tempting ensemble?

Apparently, Ice makes an appearance in the Juggalo Western, Big Money Rustlas, which is on the docket for a group viewing sometime this fall. Western wear or clown paint required.

My house looks like a goddamn werewolf!

Saturday, I intended to hang around home and chill out since I was out late on Thursday and was so busy on Friday and I had plans for Sunday as well–plus, given that this week had been turned into a five day workweek due to a corporate inventory audit (AAAAAARGH) as opposed to my usual four, I knew I would need to relaxbe lazy as much as possible when I had the opportunity.

I spent the majority of the day falling asleep watching Babylon 5, and would likely have wasted the entire day in that manner had I not received a text message from a friend saying she was in the area and would I like to meet for dinner at the Indian place that is going to be the death of me? Yes. Yes, I would. I seriously don’t even care if I die with veins pumped full of tikka masala because it will have been worth it, damn it.

After stuffing my face with entirely too much food, we went to the nearby cheapy theater and saw “Get Him to the Greek”, which completely defied my expecations based on the trailer (“Oh, that looks painfully stupid.”) and was actually very funny and entertaining, which was extra surprising since I didn’t care for “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” at ALL. I also clued into the fact that my period is rapidly approaching, because I almost cried near the end, and really, the only time the imaginary problems of the attractive affect me that much is when my blood is chock full of hormones.

And chicken tikka.

P.S. How is it that Russell Brand is so utterly disgusting and yet so attractive at the same time? Like that thing about Tootsie Pops, the world may never know.

Oh! You have saved me! I love you!

On Sunday, I went to see ‘Hausu’ at the Northwest Film Forum with Nicole. The description on the theater website read:

“Get ready to have your mind blown! This exceptionally wild and funny horror-fantasy is like nothing you’ve ever seen before—we guarantee it. A teenage girl brings six of her classmates along for a summer vacation at her grandmother’s country estate. What the girls don’t know is that grandma is a ghost and her house is haunted. They start to catch on when an evil housecat convinces a piano to eat one of the girls…and then it starts getting weird! Hausu is a truly absurd and thrilling rediscovery.”

At one point during the film, I leaned over to Nicole and said that I must have accidentally ingested acid at some point, because that’s the only way what I was seeing onscreen made sense. This movie has, in no particular order: dancing skeletons, magic cats, creepy aunts, a man made out of bananas, detached limbs performing kung-fu moves, a bottomless pit disguised as a girl, magic oceans of blood that peel off clothing, and a woman who exists almost entirely in slow-motion with floaty scarves. I didn’t expect it to be nearly as funny as it was, but now that I’m aware of its existence, it will have to be included in the lineup at some future Blood & Guts & Punch & Pie.

Best Worst Movies

On Friday, a group of us went to see Best Worst Movie at the Central Cinema, which may well become my new favorite theater because their upcoming events list looks amazing AND they serve beer. Coming soon: the Michael Jackson sing-along, Choose Your Own Adventure VHS, and a showing of The Room (the Citizen Kane of bad movies) WITH Tommy Wiseau in attendance.

I may well decide it’s worth my $60 if I can get Tommy Wiseau to record my new voicemail message: “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, MELISSA!” The desire to have this little bit of amazing for my very own, forever, must be weighed against the realities of giving Tommy Wiseau sixty dollars, well-knowing that he could use that money to make another movie. It’s a toss-up at this point.

Just a little bit of my desire has been sated with this, a talking Tommy Wiseau bobblehead. He speaks several phrases, including “I did naaaaaat!”, “Oh hi, Denny!”, “You know what they say: Love is blind.”, “I’m fed up with this world!”, and, again, my personal favorite, “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!”.


Best Worst Movie was a very enjoyable documentary, not only focusing on the surprising second life of Troll 2 as a cult classic, but revisiting each of the actors (many of whom have not acted in anything else since), and the director, who cannot believe that anyone dares to call his artful masterpiece a bad movie. One of the actors, extremely likeable George Hardy, has given up acting to become a dentist, though he talked wistfully about how he wishes he could have done more, acting-wise. One of the actors has receded into madness. One of the actors was mad prior to and during filming, which explains a lot about his scenes in the movie. Another hit a genuinely sad note when he talked about how he’d frittered away his life, “but that’s what a life is for, right? Frittering away.” Even the majority of our group, who hadn’t seen Troll 2, found it entertaining and worth watching. They weren’t able to stay virgins for much longer, however, as immediately after the documentary, we were given a bonus showing of Troll 2, so no one was able to sleep peacefully that night.

During the movie, Brendan leaned over and asked a passing waitress if he could have another beer. I asked if I could have another as well, and she replied “Are you from Wisconsin?” I was confused. What had I said that was a regionalism? “Kenosha, Wisconsin?” she continued. “I’m Sonja S____.” “HOLY SHIT.” It was a girl with whom I went to high school! Halfway across the country! And she recognized my face/voice at a whisper in a dark theater! What are the odds?

And you can’t piss on hospitality! I WON’T ALLOW IT!

Have you ever seen Troll 2? Widely recognized as one of the worst movies of all time, Troll 2 is the subject of a recent documentary, Best Worst Movie. Troll 2 was named as such to capitalize on the relative success of Troll; however, the movie contains precisely zero trolls, and is, in fact, about goblins. Awful, awful, vegetarian goblins from the town of Nilbog who are terrified of the cholesterol content in meat. However, it does have a memorable corn-on-the-cob sex scene, and a molotov cocktail-throwing grandpa from beyond the grave.

“Two decades later, the film’s now-grown-up child star (Michael Paul Stephenson) unravels the improbable, heartfelt story of the Alabama dentist-turned-cult movie icon and the Italian filmmaker who come to terms with this genuine, internationally revered cinematic failure.”

Best Worst Movie will be screening at the Central Cinema on June 18th, 9:30pm. Tickets are six bucks if you buy in advance and you can drink in the theater, plus cast & crew will be in attendance. Why wouldn’t you come?

After seeing that Troll 2 ranked #61 on the IMDB’s top 100 worst movies, I decided to check out how many of these cinematic masterpieces I’ve seen.

I am cut! I am cut! Oh this is a bitter pill!

I just saw RoboGeisha at SIFF last night* and it may make my all-time top ten favorite list. Typically when I say “What the fuck, Japan? What the fuck?”, it’s done with a measure of eyebrow-raising and general befuddlement. This instance of “What the fuck, Japan? What the fuck?” is said with the purest love. Love for robot girls who shoot metal out of every orifice and buildings that mysteriously bleed when being smashed by a giant dancing robot. Love for a businessman who is chatting on his cell phone while in the middle of a swordfight with goblins. Love for every second of ridiculously campy dialogue.

I would have preferred more prosthetic effects paired with fake blood to the mainly-CGI blood employed, but overall the humor more than makes up for some sub-par gore, even in a splattercore film.

*Hey SIFF guys, just a thought: If you’re playing a subtitled film, maybe put it in a theater with better stadium seating than the Neptune so people can actually read the subtitles without wishing for a guillotine for the head of the person in front of them or having to crank their head awkwardly and lean into the seat of the person next to them? Maybe?