Monday, August 24, 2015

Shocktoberfest 2015-Cabin in the Woods Edition (Joss Whedon, 2012)

October is really Shocktober in my house.  That's when I try to watch as many horror movies as I can.Here is the list and it is pretty good list so, what the heck, let's get busy!
I am not a very organized person, and terrible at planning, so I wing these yearly marathons and try to make some sort of tally of what I watched.  Well, I made a list last year.  That was a step up from previous years.  Last weekend I came across this interesting article which listed the top 21 horror films of the 21st century (thus far), according to the Internets. Inspired by the fact that many of my favorite, modern films were on it, I made an executive decision and decided that Shoctoberfest would start early this year.  Here is the list that Mark Hofmeyer at Movies Films & Flix created:

21. (tie) Session 9 (2001)
21 (tie). The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
20. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
19. Paranormal Activity (2007)
18. The Mist (2007)
17. The House of the Devil (2009)
16. American Psycho (2000)
15. Trick r’ Treat (2007)
14. [Rec] (2007)
13. Martyrs (2008)
12. The Conjuring (2013)
11. The Ring (2002) (American remake)
10. Drag Me To Hell (2009)
9. Mulholland Drive (2001)
8. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
7. The Babadook (2014)
6. It Follows (2014)
5. Let the Right One In (2008)
4. The Descent (2005)
3. 28 Days Later (2002)
2. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
The Winner: Cabin in the Woods (2012)
(My honorable mentions include Kill List, the entire [REC], VHS and ABC's of Death franchises.  I know that not everyone enjoyed the franchise films as much as I did, but why heck wasn't Kill List on this list?)

To find out how the author chose these films, read the article.  My goal is to try to watch as many of these films as I can before I get distracted by oh look, nonfat Greek Yogurt...But really, let's just jump right to the top of the list and start talking about the movies.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Something about a dragon (another Heavy Rotation on my iPod post)

Obligatory “I know it has been a while...” paragraph: I know it has been a while since my last post.

The question all dilettantes ask themselves constantly is “Am I missing something cool?” At some point in the past I made a decision to start actively seeking art, music, films, whatever my diverse diversions are called, that are created by women. The basis was simple; most of my music, books, favorite film makers are men. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I happen to be a man IRL (Sorry, Hungd00d682, but you have been catfished. And you need help).  But it seemed that there were many voices that deserved to be heard.

 So this post is a gratitude post for some of the cool, new music I have been listening to from that other gender.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

[REC] 4: APOCALYPSE, 2015 Jaume Balagueró

I am just going to leave this here, from a fb conversation on God and man:

I think that comments like the ones you started this thread have little to do with the nature of a higher power and more to do with the nature of human beings. And let's face it, since we are all free to create our own understanding of what that higher power is, there is going to be some pretty messed up stuff put out there by a lot of unbalanced folk whose most redeeming quality is their ability to make other people do stupid stuff. Having said that, I would suggest you take some time to open yourself up to God so that he would show you His true nature by watching [REC] 4: Apocalypse, which deals with these issues in a unique and surprisingly sensitive way.

 Seriously, you need to put it at the top of  the list of important things to do soon. Even more important than fixing Timmy's kite or getting gang-banged by midgets in clown make-up. Maybe not the midgets, but you know that Timmy punk is going to grow up to be an asshole no matter how many times you fix his fucking kite. Plus, there is a literal shower of monkey guts.

Yes, I am a fan of the whole series. Each movie is a well-balanced movie-meal of good scares, great action and just the right amount of gore and humor.  As a plus, missing from the third installment, Manuela Velasco is back as Ángela Vidal, one of the most serious butt-kicking femmes in any franchise since Sigourny Weaver's Ripley.

Available on VOD from the usual suspects.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Shocktober Round Up

Even though she doesn't like horror movies, The Doctor does like Halloween.  This is us as tour guides for a haunted house in Vergennes, Vermont. This was probably our favorite Halloween Night.

Every year, much to the Doctor's dismay, I dub October Shocktober and try to watch as many horror movies as I can.  This year I decided to share the movies I watched by posting an image from the it as my fb profile picture.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014)

If forgotten, the sins of the past are likely to be revisited on the future. As the only nation to have nuclear weapons used against them, Japan has a duty to remember the scale of devastation Fat Man and Little Boy had on the unsuspecting cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They commemorated these attacks by re-imagining the bombs as giant, invulnerable radioactive monsters who would devastate entire cities. It was fitting that The Doctor and I chose to honor the memory of the frightening destruction of the war by spending Memorial Day watching Gareth Edwards' thoroughly American remake of Godzilla, a creature spawned 60 years ago by the Japanese to remind us all of the monstrous effects of the most violent weapons ever unleashed on humanity.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Insomniac Theater Presents: The Prodigal Son (Sammo Hung, 1981)

In the 1970s, martial arts films from Hong Kong began to flood grindhouse theaters and late night television slots in America, creating a “Kung Fu Craze” that captivated action film fans. Martial arts director/star Sammo Hung, actors Lam Ching-ying and Yuen Biao made several standout films together together that not only fed the craze but also elevated the quality of film-making of the genre.  In the 1990s, my daughter and I used to watch bootleg VHS copies of these movies together.  One of her favorites was 1979’s The Prodigal Son, which was both a kung fu comedy with breathtaking action scenes and fight choreography and a warm tribute to the Peking Opera origins of the stars.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Insomniac Theater Presents: H.P. Mendoza's I am a Ghost

I started this blog in 2010, when I became ill and couldn't sleep.  The Insomniac Theater  was a chance to dump some of the obsessive thoughts into the larger muck pond of the Internet. My daughter's cat, Olivia, would pad into  my room as I set up my laptop and put on headphones.  Tucked under my chin, she would watch the colors of on laptop screen while I explored all the movies I could get my hands on.  We were a weird pair, me with my nearly useless limbs and this scrawny, angry black cat the only two creatures awake in the house.  A perfect time for ghost stories.

 H.P. Mendoza's ghostly chiller I Am a Ghost would have been a perfect movie for those nights.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


This special “I can’t believe it has been so long” edition of What I Watched Last Night presents a classic, double creature feature from the islands of “It’s More Fun in the” Philippines. Come to a land of beautiful sunsets, lush jungles, gorgeous, exotic women, blood thirsty vampires and horny, homicidal plant-people monsters and prepare your mind for the Twin Tales of Tagalog Terror!

The first feature was 1964’s The Blood Drinkers (aka Blood is the Color of Night), directed by Gerardo de León. The Blood Drinkers was the good movie for the night, a sure fire winner of a vampire film with its tragic love story and doomed search for redemption.  There is even a rubber bat (named Basra!)

Basra, the Bat

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Good Bye, Easynews

Here are my usage and loyalty statistics from Internet Usenet Provider Easynews:

"USAGE: 3,158,654,239,388 bytes web (2941.73 gigabytes), 204,150,990,984 bytes NNTP (190.13 gigabytes)
You have downloaded a total of 3131.86 gigabytes.
You've accumulated 3141.23 gigabytes (3,372,872,660,059 bytes) for downloading.
You have 9.38 gigabytes (10,067,429,687 bytes) remaining.
Your account will cycle on 2013-06-16
You have been signed-up continuously since Sat May 31 09:19:00 MST 2003 (10.03355514 years)."

After over a decade of using Easynews to get access to Usenet (probably one of the oldest Internet thingys still in use), I decided it is time to say "Farewell"

Usenet is the Internet without HTML.  It predates the World Wide Web by 10 years.  It started as a way to post messages among, well, if you want to know more, here is the Wikipedia page.

I do not know what I did with that 3000 gigabytes of stuff.  Probably a disturbingly large part of that  was pornography.  

At the very least, Easynews gave me access to a pretty large library of arcane and esoteric stuff.  That is the big advantage of Usenet over torrents:  stuff gets posted on a server so anyone who knows how can download it quickly, wholly independent of who many people are seeding or leeching or whatever the heck torrents are about.

Their service record is impressive.  There were very few technical glitches that affected me.  Easynews often give out free gigabytes to customers when troubles do come up (they are very generous). 

It has been a long, strange trip indeed.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Evil Dead ( Fede Alvarez, 2013)

The last time I saw a movie that such an intense audience impact as the new The Evil Dead  was 1999's The Blair Witch Project, which left some poor girl  weeping in terror long after the lights came back on.    Even though the remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 The Evil Dead  wasn't the life changing event I hoped it would be, it is still had a good time.  Unless you are the poor guy behind  me who fainted during the tongue-cutting scene (at about 2:09 in the red band trailer).

 Fede Alvarez's  version of The Evil Dead is a basic "5 Stupid People in the Wrong Place" movie where the beginning sets out the back story.  In this case, douche-bag brother Dave (Shiloh Fernandez, the hunk from Little Red Riding Hood) and his girl friend show up at his little sister Mia's (Jane Levy from the US version of Shameless) cold-turkey heroin intervention.  I did a lot of eye rolling, especially over the horribly bad choices the characters made before the crazy happened.  Seriously, the best thing to do would have been to drop Mia off at a nice clean rehab under a qualified doctor's care and everyone else find an Al-Anon meeting.

Worst moment:  Mia seriously burns herself and everyone wants to take her to a hospital.  Everyone except friend Olivia (Jessica Lucas), the worst nurse  in movie history.  Nurse Ratched is against going to a hospital because "She would just get the same treatment I'm giving her."  Not really, in a hospital they have real doctors and medical equipment.  All she brought is a large supply of Chlorazepam.  Seriously, when others need medical attention, Dave's girl friend and an old first aid kit in the shed at the first line of defense.  Granted, by the time they needed bandages, the nurse was out of the picture, but she still should have brought bandages. 

Once the supernatural stuff starts to happen, the movie's pace quickly speeds up.  There is very little of the vacillating between "She is a demon" and "She still my sister."  

From 1981's The Evil Dead
I wasn't sure I wanted to see until I saw Sam Raimi's car in the another trailer.  Not because I am opposed to remakes, but because I didn't think it would be any good.  Too often I've seen low budget, independently made horror movies redone with large budgets, CGI, and TV stars trying to  make the jump to movies and found them lacking.

Not all source material needs to be treated with an almost fanatical sense of reverence, after all, this is not The Koran. It isn't the duty of every remake or reboot to is to be extended homage to the original (ever see Gus Van Sant's Psycho?).  And don't get me started on the "It's not as good as the book" crowd.  In both cases, people seem to forget that it is an original movie first, then a remake of an older film or movie version of a book.

This Evil Dead is not a shrine to Ash, Scott, Cheryl, Linda and Shelly, the characters of the original (and the word deadites is never said).  It is its own thing.  Once you get pat that, it is pretty kick ass horror movie and I am glad I saw it.  There was plenty of the jump-out-of-your-skin moments.  It certainly kicked the ass of the guy behind  me.   

I can't really think of a better 
recommendation than that.