Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Media Update 11/9/17

November 9, 2017


Thor: Ragnarok

I never read too many Thor comics when I was growing up but I read enough to know his basic set up. I actually more fondly remember reading the shortlived Thunderstrike comics instead. I read so many Hulk comics (once Hulk was smart). I look forward to each and every Marvel movie because each has so much potential and they have such a good track record as a whole. When I found out that this one would be directed by Taika Waititi (from What We Do In the Shadows and Moana), I was even more excited. I liked the first Thor movie because it mixed a lot of the Shakespeare I grew up reading with the comedy I saw in Iron Man. The second movie was great because we saw Thor and Loki actually team up. The third movie is the best one yet as it gave everyone a lot more room to grow and expand their roles. Thor had an opportunity to be even funnier. Loki became a more rounded character. Both Hulk and Banner got opportunities to talk. We were introduced to Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and she was so cool and imposing. Cate Blanchett was deadly and formidable as Hela, the first female Marvel villain and one of the best villains so far. Idris Elba’s role was expanded as well and he was allowed to slip out of his armor. Apparently, a high percentage of the dialogue was allowed to be improvised which gave it a lighter feel. Add in some great cameos and excellent special effects and I cannot recommend this one enough.


The Dark Tower

I am a pretty big fan of Stephen King. He is a writer I looked up to as a kid and the worlds he created inspired me to create my own worlds. He also was one of the main writers who scared me as a kid. Most of the books I read as a kid were horror and fantasy books so when I found out that King had a fantasy series, I was onboard immediately. I really do need to read more of it but I loved the first four books of The Dark Tower series which is also connected to such varied books as Hearts in Atlantis, The Stand, It, and Eyes of the Dragon. When it comes down to it, most of his books are connected with each other. I went into this movie with low expectations based on its reputation and I actually thought it was pretty good. We only got a small percentage of the mountains of lore from the books but I think that worked in its favor. If they chose to proceed through more movies or the more likely television show, there is so much more source material to draw from. As usual, Idris Elba really sold this movie to me as I love Elba when he plays a cool customer who is full of simmering rage beneath the surface. Matthew McConaughey continues his McConaughsaince and basically plays a demon, clearly not the Devil but ranking in that region. I recommend the movie but I knew most of the easter eggs and references as they happened so I might be biased.


RockNRolla

I have seen most of Guy Ritchie’s movies at this point. I have made a point of going back and watching them movie by movie after watching his first Sherlock Holmes movie. Ritchie loves scrappy street criminals and each movie he makes is a love letter to those who love to bend and break the rules. The start of the movie moves at breakneck speed as we rapidly introduce the characters and set up the basic thrust of the movie. Like his earlier movie, Snatch, there is a large ensemble of solid, mostly British actors to introduce and mix up in a blender. The main heroes are played by Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, and Tom Hardy who have been a street gang for years. It really felt like they were best friends who have been through a lot together. They are opposed by Karel Roden, Tom Wilkinson, and Mark Strong who are such charming ‘villains’. Thrown into the mix is Thandie Newton who is a lot of fun in her subdued and playful performance. As usual, the movie has Ritchie’s breakneck editing style which he has mastered and few can do it without being completely annoying. While this was not a home run, it was a fun little movie and I was totally engaged by the end of it. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
the GazettE – Ibitsu

Har Mar Superstar – Lady, You Shot Me

The Posies – Unlikely Places

Tyler, The Creator – Who Dat Boy

Dead Kennedys -Nazi Punks Fuck Off

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Idris Elba Week”
– I started Blacklist Season 4
– I finished Stranger Things Season 2
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I am really digging the new Dragons in Places DnD podcast
– I started listening to Harmontown again
– I started watching Sleepy Hollow Season 2

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Media Update 11/2/17

November 2, 2017


Mindhunter

I have been fascinated with abnormal psychology and the way our minds work for a long time. As a kid, I bought a psychology textbook because I wanted to learn more and more. It was probably the nerdiest thing that I have ever done. Textbooks are really not meant to be read cover to cover but I did my best. This show brought me back to that. The characters of academia and the FBI struggle to find some way to catalog and explain the public emergence of serial killers in the seventies. People like Charles Manson and Sam Berkowitz left law enforcement staggered and startled because their motives were elusive. The foundation of the show is the partnership between two FBI agents (played by and ) as they interview these killers to see what makes them tick. It quickly becomes a team when a college professor (played by Anna Torv) lends her considerable expertise to the project. The project is also somewhat unofficially helped by ()’s character’s wonderfully sarcastic girlfriend (played by ) who is a psychology doctorate candidate. The really meaty scenes come when the agents interview the serial killers but as we go we learn more about how the whole team copes with the grueling work and how they deal with each other. I definitely recommend it.


IT (2017)

I distinctly remember renting the original 1990 It miniseries from Blockbuster and taking it home so my brother and I could watch it. I had read the book along with a lot of other Stephen King books even though the thing is almost thicker than a phonebook (ask your parents, kids). The original is not really scary. Some of the concepts are creepy but the execution is more unintentionally funny than scary. It still has a place in my heart. This version felt more faithful to the book. First, it is not a huge spoiler to say that the movie only covers the first half of the book. This is great because the original was four hours long and instead of doing that again, we are given just the first two hours. It allowed them time to focus on the first act of the story and really focus on quality. The cast of children is really amazing. All of them are on the ball and act like kids I grew up with but a special shout out to Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things and Sophia Lillis. Bill Skarsgård is amazing as Pennywise. He switches from creepily playful to deadly serious in a heartbeat. His eyes and body move in crazy directions. The makeup is so freaky looking and the special effects applied were pretty amazing. The movie follows a lot of the book but makes some changes which I think were mostly for the better. I definitely recommend this one.


The Belko Experiment

I had wanted to see this movie since I first saw a trailer for it and I finally got my chance. Based loosely on the legendary Milgram experiment, this movie is about a vicious human psychology experiment. How does a person’s morality fair when the stakes get higher and higher? When the law is not an issue, what duty do we owe our fellow humans? The trailer is above and it pretty much describes the premise. An office building full of workers are told that they must start killing each other or there will be consequences. The inevitable descent into madness is slow but that ends up being great. We know things will get bad. We know the destination, so the journey is the real story. There were a bunch of great character actors that I loved like Sean Gunn, John C. McGinley, Brent Sexton, James Earl, and Michael Rooker. There were also great main characters in John Gallagher Jr., Adria Arjona, Melonie Diaz and Tony Goldwyn. Really, everybody was really great. It really felt like offices I have been in but in a pressure cooker that explodes. It definitely owes a lot of its visuals and feel to movies like Battle Royale but it still felt like its own thing. I also recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Sinister Purpose

Big Data – The Business of Emotion

OMI – Cheerleader

The Sequence – Funky Sound

Rise Against – The Violence

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Psychological Killers”
– I am halfway through Stranger Things Season 2
– I kept watching Blacklist Season 3
– I kept watching Blindspot Season 1
– I kept watching Little Witch Academia Season 1
– Halloween is well and truly over… for now

Top 11 Horror Movie Connections

October 30, 2015

So, I whipped this up because I love imagining what’s beyond the limits of a film. I readily admit that this is barely researched. I also admit that I know there’s a simpler story for a lot of these examples. I also admit that these were fun to write. These are the top eleven horror movie connections with greater story implications.

Xenomorph
11 Xenomorph Skull (Predator 2)

Alright, we start with a well-known easter egg in the background of the lesser-liked sequel to a great, yet cheesy Schwarzenegger film. This crossover is actually happened so it’s not the most exciting on the list to me. However, back when Predator 2 was released it took a quick eye to pick this out. It was casual confirmation that the two awesome franchises might share the same world. It opened up a lot of possibilities where we could have (and still could see) some awesome stuff. An interesting side note: the xenomorph skull looks an awful lot like the xenomorphs in Alien and Aliens which are set centuries after Predator 2. Does this mean that there were no advances in xenomorph evolution for centuries? Considering that xenomorphs use other species as incubators, they must have some dominant genes. Maybe, they’re a genetically manufactured species?

Max
10 Max Schreck (Batman Returns, Shadow of the Vampire)

Batman Returns is a pretty good Batman movie (Catwoman is great though) and it has some very memorable characters. You have your Batman, your Penguin, your Catwoman (rowr!) and you have the corporate villain who doesn’t really have a comic book counterpart. Max Schreck is the tycoon who isn’t above manipulation, fraud and even murder to earn money. He’s pretty much an unrepentant evil monster who easily out-evils the other two villains put together. The thing is, he started out with the last name Schreck and his parents called him Max. Max Schreck is a little known film actor who worked in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Of course, the one movie of his you might have a snowball’s chance in Hell of knowing is Nosferatu in which he plays the vampiric Graf Orlok. Not only that but in Shadow of the Vampire, a fictional telling of the making of Nosferatu, it’s revealed that Schreck himself was a vampire. Am I saying that Max Schreck (Batman Begins) is a vampire? Well, definitely figuratively as a sort of financial vampire. A bit of a stretch but it makes me smile.

Bachman
9 Bachman (Sons of Anarchy)

Alright, Sons of Anarchy isn’t a horror movie or even a horror television show. Instead it was a long-running show about a motorcycle club’s politics and crimes and the personal lives of the members. It’s a great show (at least as far as I am in it) but it definitely has its dark moments. Without giving away too much, during Season Three of the show a couple of main characters need a body to completely disappear. They call in a guy they know and a character played by Stephen King shows up and claims that his name is Bachman and that he is a cleaner. He plays his scenes pretty low key but there’s definitely a creep factor to his lines and delivery. So, “Richard Bachman” is an alias that King has used freely to publish a few of his books (The Regulators for example). What if Sons of Anarchy’s Bachman is supposed to be Stephen King? What if that’s what he does in his spare time? He travels around and makes bodies disappear for some extra cash but mostly for the fun of it.

Midwich

8 Midwich Elementary (Silent Hill, Village of the Damned)

Village of the Damned is a B Horror movie where weird albino children appear who have psychic death powers that they use to hold adults hostage and get what they want. It capitalizes on how creepy kids can be without even trying. It takes place in the Midwich, England and therefore the creepy kids all attend Midwich Elementary as the adults try to figure out how to survive their predicament. In the Silent Hill video game series (and the first movie) characters encounter a Midwich Elementary where the kids of Silent Hill attend school apparently. It’s situated on Midwich Road but I would still think it would be called Silent Hill Elementary because it’s in Silent Hill. Of course, many places in America are named after places in England but I have a more fun theory. What if the supernatural forces that swirl through Silent Hill were attracted the residual psychic resonance of Midwich Elementary. What if the town wanted to possess such power and somehow transported the school to Silent Hill and then cannibalized it to create its own school?

Chalk Door
7 The Chalk Portal (Beetlejuice, Pan’s Labyrinth)

In Beetlejuice, Barbara and Adam Maitland find a spell to access the Netherworld. The spell has them draw a door and knock three times and the wall opens to expose a portal to a world beyond our own. The book they get their spell from is readable by mortals who aren’t deceased and later in the film a spell is even successfully performed by a mortal man. Granted, the spell that is used isn’t the chalk door spell but there’s nothing to say it couldn’t be done by a mortal. In Pan’s Labyrinth, the main character Ofelia is given magic chalk by a seriously untrustworthy faun who instructs her to use it to form a door. She does and is transported to a dark, twisted version of a faery lair of sorts in order to further her weird faery scavenger hunt. (Seriously, just go watch the movie. It’s amazing.) It’s almost the same dang spell! It involves the drawing of something in chalk that ritual makes real. It’s almost like the spell relies on the user’s imagination to work. Could these two spellbooks overlap? It’s interesting to think about.

Whiteboard
6 “Deadites and Evil Molesting Tree” (Cabin in the Woods)

Cabin in the Woods is an interesting dark comedy/horror movie because it tears horror movies apart while paying so much tribute to them. I could sit here and list dozens of little homages to a lot of horror franchises that range from subtle to brilliant. However, the main thing about these homages and easter eggs is that most of them look like knockoffs of the originals. They’re close but no cigar. Early in the movie, when certain characters are cataloguing supernatural threats, you actually see the words “Deadites” and “Angry Molesting Tree” very close together. These are very specific words that only relate to one movie which is Evil Dead 2 (basically a gorier remake of Evil Dead). Deadites are practically a registered trademark of the Evil Dead movie and video game series and the Angry Molesting Tree is a pretty infamous part of the second movie. What I’m saying is that those words really don’t apply to anything else. Now, I don’t want to give away the premise of an awesome movie by saying this but could “they” be responsible for the events of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2?

Ethan
5 Striped Shirt (Nightmare Before Christmas, The Addams Family)

In the Addams Family movie from 1991, there’s a very clear art direction which includes brilliant costumes that fit the tone of the movie exactly. One of the prominent costume pieces is Pugsley’s shirt which is a distinctive black and white horizontal striped shirt. The actor playing Pugsley is a young man and is more than a bit chubby, mostly as a visual counterpoint to his thin sister Wednesday. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, there is a little zombie boy who participates in all of the shenanigans of the movie as one of many good-hearted yet misunderstood characters. He wears a shirt with black and white horizontal stripes and he is pretty portly himself. Granted, he’s a little more plump than Pugsley but he’s dead and sometimes dead bodies bloat. If anyone on Earth would have access to Halloweentown, it would probably end up being the Addams Family. So is the dead little boy Pugsley? I don’t think so but they may have shared some fashion tips. Alternately, Pugsley may have shipped some hand-me-downs to Halloweentown.

Chucky4 “Chucky on Crack” (Leprechaun in the Hood)

This next one is just a little bit of evidence but the idea excited me too much to put it lower on the list. I am a sucker for both the Leprechaun and Child’s Play franchises. In Leprechaun in the Hood (Leprechaun 5), two gang members are startled by their first meeting with the Leprechaun. (As we probably all would be). One of them calls the Leprechaun “Chucky on Crack”, not being familiar with the little demon in front of them. There are many similarities between Chucky and the Leprechaun. They’re both vertically challenged and they both rely on ancient magics. Chucky is fueled by Voodoo magic which somehow keeps his little doll body mobile and able to swing melee weapons. The Leprechaun relies on some sort of ancient Irish magic of his own which allows him to basically break reality. Maybe, just maybe, these gang members called him “Chucky on Crack” because Chucky is a well known urban legend. I want a Chucky vs. Leprechaun movie so bad.

Santa Mira3 Santa Mira (Halloween 3, Invasion of the Body Snatchers)

I have a soft spot in my heart for Halloween 3: Season of the Witch mostly because it’s a good movie but also because a lot of people don’t like it. One of the most eerie parts of Halloween 3 is how ordinary people are replaced by unfeeling automatons who serve Silver Shamrock with undying loyalty. This all took place in the town of Santa Mira, California which was also the site of another famous horror movie. Invasion of the Body Snatchers features Santa Mira getting slowly taken over by aliens who replace human beings with emotionless copies. Both plots are only discovered because one man infiltrates the situation and flees to warn the world. It’s definitely too much similarity to simply be a coincidence. Imagine you’re Conal Cochran and you need guards for your big, magical terrorist plot. You think of androids and then you do your research about the Body Snatchers incident. Maybe you get a hold of info from Body Snatcher technology and you use it to perfect your android copy technology in the same town the original incident it went down.

Necronomicon
2 Necronomicon (Jason Goes to Hell)

The Necronomicon was an important object and an intesely detailed prop created for the Evil Dead series. In Army of Darkness we see it in great detail in a time lapse sequence that explains exactly what it is. It’s a book written in blood and bound in human skin and it contains information and dark spells relating to the deadites and the great magical force of the Evil Dead. Somehow such an important book often finds itself lost and in clear sight of people who could stumble onto its evil. First a cabin and now strewn among a whole lot of other magical items in a Friday the 13th movie. Among the many items in the Voorhees house, the Necronomicon is clearly visible as not many books have a face with a gaping mouth on them. This is another one that needs no speculation because the prop was confirmed by Sam Raimi. Later, in the comic books, Ash has to ride to the rescue to take out Jason and Freddy when Freddy gets a hold of the Necronomicon.

Freddy's Claw
1 Freddy’s Claw in Evil Dead 2

Speaking of unmistakeable props, Freddy Kruegger is a vicious killer/dream demon who takes out his victims in very creative ways. However, one of the most iconic parts of Freddy’s image is that unique clawed glove that has drawn the blood of so many teen victims. In Evil Dead 2 you can pretty easily spot Freddy’s glove hanging in the barn. Ash apparently doesn’t notice it but it is a clear sign that Freddy has entered his world. Now, I’ve already covered how Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash became a thing when it was published in the comic books. However, there’s something else in play here. In New Nightmare we are introduced to the concept that Freddy Kruegger is a real dream demon originally from our world aka the world you’re sitting in right now. He was only tamed by making movies about him which trapped him in the film world where he harmlessly killed fictional characters. What if, between Nightmare movies, they desperately wrote Freddy into Evil Dead 2 to keep him at bay for a little while?


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