Monday, June 18, 2012

FEED ME: AN ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF FOOD IN HORROR FILMS

Food has always played a vital role in Life's rituals. The breaking of the bread, the last meal of the condemned man, and this meal. However informal it might appear, you can be sure that there was to be little, bonhommie. -The Rocky Horror Picture Show

 Horror films exploit the things we fear not only by the use of the horrifying creatures of our imaginations, but also at the most basic levels.  Films like Frozen exploit the fear of being stranded, fear of being frozen, fear of heights, and fear of helplessness, while films like Psycho showcase the fear of showering, new surroundings, and strangers.  Everyday occurrences that we often look at meaningless activities are quickly turned into something only our nightmares would think to torture us with.  Tapping into our psyches with the things we not only enjoy, but require for survival and twisting them into horrific scenarios tend to be some of the most memorable.  Arguably one of the most well known examples is the way horror films have dealt with food.  Where romantic comedies have an instant connection to flowers and chocolates, horror movies seem to have an instant connection to blood and breasts.  While it is undoubtedly a fact that horror films contain a plethora of mammaries and vein goo, one of the more common factors of our beloved genre is located a little lower than our spurting arteries.  That's right, the quickest way to a horror fan's heart isn't with a blade...it's with a feast.

One of the more obvious ways horror has haunted our dietary dreams is with altering what was actually IN our food.  Charlton Heston's famous discovery of the ingredients of Soylent Green made freaky food horror films a staple in science fiction films.  What made the film so scary wasn't the events that took place or the suspicious activity by those involved it was the reveal of what Soylent Green contained.  To discover that the only something that could keep you alive contained the remains of your loved ones is quite possibly one of the most horrifying discoveries in science fiction history and therefore brought to light our fear of being fed the unknown.  

Larry Cohen has always been a strange bird when it came to his directing choices, and The Stuff was no different.  As an ice cream aficionado, The Stuff has always been a difficult story to swallow.  Differing from Soylent Green which was used for civilians to survive, "the stuff" was a luxury food item, a new product without calories that was as sweet and creamy as ice cream.  I'm sorry, but if someone promised me an item like that, I'd be all over it.  In a world where we're constantly being shelled out new food fads one after the other, films like The Stuff completely tap into the fear that what we're eating...very well may be eating us.  See also: Killer Tomatoes From Outer Space.

To take it a step further and more in your face, leave it up to Lloyd Kaufman to deliver the freaky food flick Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.  More of a satire on the fast food industry through the eyes of a horror film, Poultrygeist used the American's addiction to fast food to show the horrifying side effects that Super Size Me never got a chance to experience.  If the health centers and their war on obesity want to really strike some fear into us carnivores, they should really take the Troma approach because I have honestly been a little weary of any sort of fast food chicken since seeing the film.  I'm serious, it's that tromatizing.

In many instances, the food itself isn't what scares us, it's the idea of being eaten.  Dating all the way back to Nosferatu and Count Dracula, vampires were really the first to experience eating people in a sense with their blood lust.  The vampire bite is arguably one of the most recognizable wounds in horror history and although they may not be "eating" us, they are drinking us, which is equally as horrifying.   Hannibal Lecter may not have been the first cannibal, but he easily became the staple of man eating anti-heroes.  Cannibalism is pretty self explanatory when it comes to why it's scary, so I'm not going to waste any more time insulting your intelligence trying to explain why you'd be freaked out if someone on bath salts came bum rushing after you in the nude.  On that same coin, I'm not going to go on and on about why zombies are important because they feed on human flesh.  If you're ill informed about the fear factor of zombies and cannibals...you're on the wrong blog, kid.

Not only is Hitchcock one of the most respected directors in film history regardless of genre, but he was a genius when it came to using food as a plot device in his films.  Hitchcock used food as a tool so many times in his films, two French women compiled a cookbook centered around all of the meals in his films.  My personal favorite (and I'm sure one of yours) is when Janet Leigh barely touches her toast as Norman expresses his relationship with his mother and his thoughts about the meaning of life in his room of taxidermy. For two solid minutes she holds a piece of toast and never moves it lower than it's initial placement other than to her lips.  The tension the audience develops between her uneasiness with her final meal while listening to the banter of Norman Bates.

The scratching of plates, the sounds of swallowing, and the echos of bodies digesting food is a critical tool used to set the tone and mood of the situation.  The silent dinner is a commonly used scenario, but it's when a happy and joyous dining experience is interrupted that catches the audience off guard and helps generate a more powerful scare.  Look no further than the infamous "chestburster" scene from Alien.  The gang seems to be laughing along before the choking sounds and bodily convulsions interrupt the happiness only to have dessert be a giant try of sprinting alien baby.  One of the more unsettling scenes in Poltergeist is when diner is being prepared like any other day and the slab of meat begins to move on its own.  If those aren't ways to destroy an appetite, I don't know what is.

Then there's the idea of intentionally being fed food that is meant for our demise.  The set up is always the same whether it's The Rocky Horror Picture Show,  2001 Maniacs, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, or even Serial Mom.  An unsuspecting individual is given a meal on a silver platter beneath a beautifully polished cloche only to be removed and a disgusting or terrifying dish is laying underneath.  Sometimes we're delivered the heads of our loved ones or sometimes we're delivered rats by our insane sisters, but there's something about not being able to see underneath the cloche that only adds to the suspense of figuring out just what the hell we're being served up for dinner.  It's a classic horror freak out and even if there's nothing scary underneath it, the audience almost always develops a sense of nervousness as the character's hand slowly lifts the top off of the tray.

The lack of food, or starvation is another fear many of us will hopefully never have to endure, but something that is very, very real.  While horror movies aren't going to start focusing on our poverty crisis anytime soon, they have found many ways to give us the heebie jeebies at the thought of losing one of our most basic needs.  In the film Dread, a vegetarian character is locked in a room with raw meat simply to see how long it will take her before she finally cracks and eats it.  Watching the poor girl hide in the corners from the meat until her carnal instincts to feed take over was one of the more gut wrenching scenes and it was a very realistic portrayal of the human's response to hunger.

On the other hand, overeating is also an easy go-too for freak outs in films.  One of the more obvious examples is the victim of Gluttony in deadly sin crime-thriller Se7en.  The poor bastard went all Orson Welles and ate himself to death.  The same way we all waited for Violet Bauregaurde to pop in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, we were all filled with the same sensation after watching Brenda fill up with alien baby slugs in Slither.  From the second we were shown her gargantuan body, every single person was eagerly awaiting her inevitable pop...and boy was it ever a blow out.


Of course I'm going to be missing plenty more examples and this is in no way a definitive analysis.  Please feel free to discuss more examples and situations in the comment section and don't miss out on the conversations that occur over on the Day of the Woman facebook page.

Monday, June 11, 2012

SILENCE! THE MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING, OR WE CAN'T BE FRIENDS.

In case you're new, you should know by now that BJ-C is a jazz squaring, belt singing, Barbara worshipping Musical Theatre geek.  I'm a theatre student right now and whenever my loves combine..my passion knows no bounds.  Now, I'm going to just let the music speak for itself here. Let's just say, if you don't see this show and you have the opportunity to...you're dead to me.

 

 and if you want an idea of the music and are above the age of 18... 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

ADAM GREEN TWEETS THE FIRST LOOK OF GORE FOR HATCHET III



Looks like my insomnia does have some perks!  At 1:00am today, the world got a little gift thanks to the twitterverse.  Unleashed on the world by Adam Green himself, here is the first look at the gore promised for the third installment in his HATCHET series.  Although directed by BJ McDonnell, Green is acting as the writer, executive producer, and "presenter"of the film. 


You can follow Adam Green on twitter 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

10 ACTORS WHO WERE IMPOSSIBLE TO TAKE SERIOUSLY IN HORROR

For many aspiring actors and actresses, the horror genre has been incredibly kind as the jumping off base for successful careers.  Who can forget the infamous blue bulge of Kevin Bacon in Friday the 13th or the ill-fated sucked through the bed death of Johnny Depp in A Nightmare On Elm Street?  Oscar winners, teen heartthrobs, and even Dame Judi Dench have all tampered in the genre of blood and boobs.  That being said, horror isn't a genre for everyone.  It just isn't.  Those that do not get their start in horror may struggle being taken seriously in the genre after making a name for themselves as something else. It would be like Michael Cera playing anything that isn't Michael Cera.  That being said, let's take a look at 10 actors who made the decision to be in a horror movie...and really, really shouldn't have.


10) MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY & RENEE ZELLWEGGER IN
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION
I'm admittedly pushing it a little bit with this one considering they weren't nearly as big of stars back then as they are now, but both of these two had performed in a little movie called Dazed & Confused before this one.  They both became huge stars just two years later and the marketing people behind TCM 4 suddenly decided to completely refocus the box art and publicity material to make the duo the center of attention.  The film was to be a torture-romantic comedy. The film played theatrically in less than twenty theaters and for good reason.  Not only is the film itself horrendous, but why these two ever signed onto this piece of garbage is beyond me.


 09) KELLY ROWLAND IN
FREDDY VS. JASON
Kelly Rowland wasn't the first singer to be in a horror movie and the late 1990's/early 2000's were really into having hip-hop, r&b, and rap stars to dive into horror films.  I don't know what casting guru came up with it, but just about all of the attempts were absolutely ridiculous.  The one I found the most distracting, was Kelly Rowland.  All of you should recognize her as the not-Beyonce girl from Destiny's Child that you actually knew the name of.  Well, after the group split up and Beyonce became a superstar, Kelly decided acting was her forte and the whole time we kept thinking "...why isn't this Beyonce?"

08) CHESTER BENNINGTON IN
SAW 3-D
He tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end...IT DOESN'T EVEN MAAATTTTERRRR. He was glued to the chair, they shaved his hair, but in the end...IT DOESN'T EVEN MAAAATTTERRRR. They put their trust in casting directors, pushed hard to transcend his singing career, but when he failed the trap, this is the song we were all thiiiiiiiiiiinking of. They tried so hard...didn't get far, but in the end...IT DOESN'T EVEN MAAAAATTTEEERRRRR.



07) BROOKE SHIELDS IN
THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
This one is a little interesting considering Brooke Shields actually got her start in horror films as a child victim in the cult hit Alice, Sweet Alice.  However, after rising from child stardom, she became the most memorable Calvin Klein model in history, and had that stint with Michael Jackson.  Brooke Shields became a total IT-girl and although has plenty of acting credits to her name, nothing will ever be bigger than her "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." ads that arguably put Calvin Klein on the map.  So when she popped up as the super artsy woman in control of Bradley Cooper's career in The Midnight Meat Train, it was ridiculously hard to separate between "model" and "serious actress". 


06) ANNASOPHIA ROBB IN
THE REAPING
I really shouldn't be picking on a kid here considering she probably had absolutely no choice in her casting decisions at this point in her career.  Despite this being a horrendous film to begin with, AnnaSophia Robb had been making a name for herself playing just about the cutest little blonde girl since a Fanning sister.  She was an American Girl Doll, one of Willy Wonka's golden ticket winners, and the coveted female lead in Bridge to Terabithia. Trying to picture her as anything but sugar glazed adorableness was next to impossible, and trying to act alongside Hilary Swank was almost as painful.


05) CARY ELWES IN
SAW
Leigh Whannell and James Wan burst their way onto the horror scene and spawned the most financially successful horror franchise in nearly a decade with the torture thriller SAW.  While the film contained a multitude of actors, the major plot was centered around two individuals trapped in a bathroom.  Those two: Leigh Whannell and Westley himself-Cary Elwes.  The whole time I was just waiting for him to throw the saw and call Leigh Whannell's character a warthog-faced buffoon or look at Jigsaw and say "as you wish" before hacking off his leg. 


04) CHRISTIAN SLATER IN
ALONE IN THE DARK
This one has the potential to be blamed on the poor quality of the film as a whole, but Christian Slater's decision to play the leading male in Uwe Boll's Alone In The Dark was probably a worse idea than blowing up Westerberg High.  After making a name for himself as a cult film icon, jumping into the leading role of a thriller/action/horror flick was ill planned and difficult to believe.



03) EMBETH DAVIDTZ IN
THIR13EN GHOSTS
 I'm really going to show my age here on this one, but that's okay.  (EDIT: I am 22...I saw Army of Darkness waaaaay after I already developed my association for her with another character) I know that she was the French maid in Shindler's List in all that, but for me, Embeth Davidtz will ALWAYS be Miss Honey from the movie Matilda.  When I was in first grade, I had a teacher that was so alike with Davidtz character in the film that I become borderline obsessed with developing telekinesis and hoping my teacher would adopt me. Shortly after the film, she also played the loving mother in Bicentennial Man, further ingraining her as the sweetest and most woman in the entire world.  When she popped up as a "bad guy" in Thir13en Ghosts, I couldn't take her seriously. The entire time I just kept watching the screen wondering why Miss Honey was being so mean and manipulative.  I couldn't shake the kind hearted characters off of her. I'm sorry Miss Honey, please still adopt me?

 02) MILA KUNIS IN
AMERICAN PSYCHO 2
Wait, someone actually thought that we were going to believe that Meg Griffin & Jackie from That 70's Show is a cold and calculated murderer who wanted to seduce William Shatner?  You've got to be kidding me.  Mila Kunis has one of those voices that you can hear ten years later and know immediately who it belongs to.  Watching her try to be threatening made me just think of the moments on Family Guy when Meg loses her mind in romantic obsessions.  I know I can't be alone on that one.
 
01) DANIEL FRANZESE IN
 I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE
 There's a good chunk of you reading this right now with a blank look on your face wondering who the hell is Daniel Franzese and why is he number 1 if you have no idea who he is. Before I go into what he's normally known for, let's look at his role in the ISOYG remake, shall we?  In ISOYG, Daniel plays "Stanley" a rapist with a penchant for watching who loves to video tape his friends' actions of torture and raping a poor girl named Jennifer.  He does all of this with pure delight and the audience is none the pleaser when he finally gets what he deserves and has his eyes pecked out of his head by crows.  He performs with vengeance and generates a character the audience grows to hate with just about every fiber of their being. Well...before ISOYG, Daniel Franzese was...
YEP. HE'S DAMIAN FROM MEAN GIRLS.  DAMIAN "TOO GAY TO FUNCTION", "SHE DOESN'T EVEN GO HERE", "I WAS REALLY BUSY WITH CHOIR", IS THE CAMERA MAN RAPIST IN ISOYG.  To his credit, that goes to show just how talented of an actor he is to play both of these roles but god damn, the second I realized that's who he was, I turned off the movie.  I really did.  It took me three sittings to finally watch the remake. The first time was because I was so pissed they remade it in the first place, the second time was because I realized who he was, and on the third time I actually sat through it.  Don't get me wrong, he wasn't terrible in the film...BUT HE'S DAMIAN. HE'S COMEDIC. AHHH. My life is ruined.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

THE THIRTEEN MOST UNREALISTIC COUPLES IN HORROR MOVIE HISTORY

Dramatization of John & Jen's Honeymoon
After the breaking news of good pal Johnny over at Freddy in Space's upcoming nuptials with his slice of human perfection and longtime girlfriend Jen, Zach Shildwachter and I got caught up in conversation about how great the two of them are and how they're a match made in horror heaven and blah blah mush mush love love blah blah WHATEVER, THEY'RE PERFECT, WE GET IT. I like to believe that there is someone out there for anyone, opposites can attract, and it's totally possible to fall in love with someone you meet on the internet. So let me say before I continue, I'm all for everyone finding love and being happy. Moving on. Anyway, our conversation tripped into horror movie territory and we began to throw ideas around about how some horror films have couples that make a grand total of zero sense. We all love to gush about some of our favorite horror couples (I'm looking at you Shaun & Liz), but we seem to completely look past the absolutely DREADFUL pairings we've seen throughout the years. I've mentioned previously how much I hate seeing families in movies that don't look related, but I think the relationships between these characters need a closer examination. That being said, Zach and I present to you: The 13 Most Unrealistic Couples in Horror Movie History.

NOTE: If you and your significant other resemble any of the couples we make fun of, we're not making fun of you...we're making fun of fictional characters. Please refrain from butthurt comments, this is all in good fun. :)


13) GARY OLDMAN AND WINONA RYDER IN 
DRACULA (1992)
I firmly believe that the only reason this pairing existed is because Winona Ryder was sort of the manic pixie dream girl of dark films in the 1990s and Gary Oldman could play Princess Diana in her biopic and still pull it off.  The reason this pairing fails so horribly is unfortunately the casting of Gary Oldman.  Don't get me wrong, Gary Oldman is an absolutely fantastic actor and one of the most underrated of the modern era, but they managed to make him look horrendous in this film.  Gary Oldman is an acquired taste appearance wise as is, but they made him look like the the pure definition of anti-poon.  If he wasn't resembling the demon with boobs on his head from Little Nicky, he was sporting a broke ass weave and the figure of an Auschwitz prisoner.  Everything about this couple was forced and unbelievable. Then again...Winona Ryder doesn't know how to have a male counterpart, but I'll touch on that later.


12) PETER BERG AND CAMI COOPER IN 
SHOCKER
The picture alone should show how this couple would have never gotten together in real life.  Cami Cooper looks like she stepped out of an H&M ad and Peter Berg is the only man to have ever had an overbite and an underbite at the same time (Zach's line, not mine).  I'm under the impression that Berg didn't grow eyebrows until somewhere around 1998. He's the poor man's Christian Slater and Cami Cooper is the girl who wouldn't have given him the time of day in high school.  He's a putzy football doofus with some serious daddy issues and she's a total sweetheart who even stayed the night to ensure his safety.  To put it simply, she is WAY out of his league.


11) SHARON STONE & MICHAEL IRONSIDE IN 
TOTAL RECALL
I'm pushing it by including this here, but it's a science-fiction film that was touched by Dan O'Bannon, therefore...it fits.  I'm sure you're surprised why I'm doing Michael Ironside instead of The Governator, but the borderline traumatizing kiss shared between these two is enough to make anyone beg for decompression and asphyxiation.  Zach said it best, "there's no way the bad guy from SCANNERS bagged the beaver from Basic Instinct.  THERE JUST ISN'T. God, he looks like he's eating his son's prom date in that picture. Gross.

10) GOLDIE HAWN, BRUCE WILLIS, & MERYL STREEP IN DEATH BECOMES HER
Bruce Willis is one of those lucky men who seem to age like a fine wine.  The older he gets, the sexier he is. However, he was undoubtedly going through an awkward stage in 1992.  Donning a receding hairline, glasses, and a hell of a molestache...this man managed to have Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn fighting over him while they were in their prime.  Um. What?  Hell, the entire film is dedicated to these women attempting to make themselves more attractive in order to woo him over.  The character had money, yes, but...for God's sake. If you have the ability to nab an average looking plastic surgeon, you have the ability to nab a super hot dentist. I don't buy this love triangle for a second. Meryl, you should know better.



09) WILLIAM RAGSDALE AND AMANDA BEARSE IN
FRIGHT NIGHT 
Charley Brewster is the biggest idiot that ever lived.  There, I said it.  A social reject has this utterly adorable queen of bows in his bed, is willing to end make out sessions so he can watch his favorite show, snuggles under the covers ready to hand deliver her unopened lotus flower to him, AND HE WANTS TO SPY ON THE NEIGHBORS.  The fact she even started talking to him after that astounds me. Granted, he got some of her dished out comeuppance, but she went back to the fool.  Even worse, she turned down a life of being boned by Chris Sarandon so she could hang out with a kid who dons a sweater collection even Bill Cosby would be proud of. What was she thinking?


08) NICOLE KIDMAN AND MATTHEW BRODERICK IN
THE STEPFORD WIVES
As much as the underlying message of the film about how men want to secretly turn women into blonde, submissive, sex robots scares the hell out of me, the thought of Ferris Bueller dating anyone but Sloane Peterson haunts my nightmares.  Nicole Kidman's character is immensely hard to like in this film.  She's harshly judgemental, a huge snoop, and emasculates her husband constantly. To believe he really didn't want to turn her into a robot was a bigger shock than the reveal at the end, this couple never made sense to me.  Plus, you'd think a man who constantly felt threatened by his wife would have married someone who wasn't a foot taller than he was.


07) JEFFREY JONES AND CATHERINE O'HARA IN
BEETLEJUICE
A cutthroat contractor hell bent on relaxation ends up with a grotesque artist hell bent on transforming his relaxation sanctuary into a work of modern art and exploiting chaos with the undead?  I'm so sure this is exactly what eHarmony would consider compatible. Growing up, I was always convinced that Mama Deetz and Otho were in some weird non-sexual relationship, but I never bought Charles and Delia as a couple.  I understand the whole "opposites attract" business, but these two never had any couple chemistry.  Don't get me wrong, I love the characters as individuals, but that's exactly how I see them.  I never think of them as a partnership, I always see them as two completely separate entities.


06) MELISSA GEORGE AND RYAN REYNOLDS IN
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
I normally pride myself in having taste in men unlike the general public, but I'd be lying if I didn't say Ryan Reynolds gets my motor running. Something about a hot man with a sense of humor, sue me.  Regardless, there's no way in hell that a man as sexy as that would ever want to settle down with Melissa George's character who is a bit whiny and comes with three cases of college tuition baggage.  THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE.  The man's abs in this film could probably shred concrete into a soft powder and I'm supposed to believe he's about to marry a whiny woman with eyebrows that don't match her hair? Yeah right. I mean, thanks for trying to make me think that Ryan Reynolds is into girls that don't look like Scarlett Johanson, but you're not fooling anyone.

   05) JACK NICHOLSON AND SHELLEY DUVALL IN
THE SHINING
I love Wendy Torrance. I really, really, REALLY, do...but there is no way in hell that I'm ever going to believe that The Joker would end up with Olive Oyl, especially after him having an alocholic fit and hurting her kid.  Wendy Torrance is a strong woman who although naturally frightened, is a total badass and fantastic mother. The way she defends her son Danny when her husband Jack starts to lose it shows how caring she is, there's no way in hell she would have stayed with him after an abusive attack. Nope. None. No way.

 04) THOM MATTHEWS AND BEVERLY RANDOLPH IN
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
Alright Freddy, where the hell did you find this one?  Your friends all look like they stepped out of a concert for the lovechild of The Clash and The Cure, your letterman's jacket says "Fuck You" on it, and you're dating a girl who won't drop the 'F' bomb and looks like she's getting ready to wait in line for Tiffany tickets? Uh...sure. I'm sure her trust fund daddy really loves the rebellious streak his daughter is on by dating your punk ass and partying with your friends in cemeteries. She may be loyal, but I'm sure that's because she was hoping to make the quarterback of the football team jealous when she took the anti-jock to the prom.


03) TOBIN BELL AND BETSY RUSSELL IN
SAW
 Did someone lock Jill Tuck in a TARDIS in a deleted scene or something because I swear she looks younger and younger in each film.  Whenever John Kramer and his lady Jill argued, I could only imagine a daughter home from school yelling at her old school pop stuck in his ways.  I'm not one to knock age gaps in relationships, but there is a twenty year age gap between the two actors and they make Tobin look so decrepit that it appears to be forty.  The film says in his autopsy that he was 52 at the time of his death, which is like my mom trying to tell everyone she's still 29. Good try.

02) HEATHER LANGENKAMP AND JOHNNY DEPP IN
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Most high school students experience the dreaded awkward stage.  Johnny Depp, however, is not of mere mortal descent.  He's always been a total dreamboat.  One of the main reasons I love Heather Langenkamp so much was because she was pretty, but not to the point where you wonder if she just walked out of New York fashion week the way we do with just about every actress in a horror film these days.  However, let's be realistic here. Johnny Depp wasn't boning the girl in high school with big hair, big brows, and the same facial expression in every shot...so don't try to flatter us into thinking he did.


01) WINONA RYDER AND 
JOHNNY DEPP/ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL
 IN EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
These two are repeat offenders and the director Tim Burton is a two timer on this list as well.  Coincidence? I think not.  Not that it's her fault or anything, but Winona Ryder really doesn't know how to act opposite men.  Add that to the fact that Kim Boggs is one of the most poorly written characters in the history of poorly written characters and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster.  She chooses the nerd from The Breakfast Club who beefed out and turned into a huge asshole for a good 3/4 of the film, she BARELY says anything to Edward, she "falls in love" through a glance on a television screen, she didn't do shit to help him when he was in trouble, after convincing the town that he died, she never returned to visit him, and she never told anyone that she and her lame ass boyfriend were the ones who broke into said lame ass boyfriend's house.  He loved her why?!

So there you have it. Thirteen couples that would never exist anywhere outside of movieland.  But in all seriousness, my biggest congratulations to John and Jen, I wish you both the very best and the happiest days ahead. 
<3

Monday, June 4, 2012

BJ-C: TROLLING HIPSTERS WITH HORROR FILMS SINCE 1990




Okay, so. I see this image on tumblr ALL the time. Anyone who knows me knows that Let The Right One In is a film that changed my life and I am utterly OBSESSED with the cinematography of the hand-hold scene after Eli returns to Oskar's room after feeding. I'd know a scene from that film no matter what frame of shot it is, that is a fact.  So whenever I see this image, I always giggle. Silly hipsters. The top comment is what someone posted, the bottom is mine.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

GRAB THE CORSAGES AND AIM FOR THE HEAD: IT'S THE ANNUAL CHICAGO ZOMBIE PROM!


Buy your tickets at ZOMBIEPROMCHICAGO.com

THE HORROR HOTEL: SPECIAL FX CHECKING IN FROM GD EFFECTS & ZACH SHILDWACHTER

As a born and raised Midwesterner, I'm often looked down upon by my comrades on the east and west coasts for living in a cultural wasteland.  Here's the deal, though.  The Midwest isn't nearly as lame as once thought.  Thanks to Horror Society, Chicago hosts some of the most incredible events throughout the year, and it would appear that Ohio is slowly but surely growing some major chops.  I know, the state whose nick-namesake comes from a TREE has some rad stuff going down.  I was under the impression that the only thing horror related Ohio had going for it was Cinema Wasteland and an over abundance of serial killers, but I recently was proven wrong and am going to exploit my ignorance to support some incredible artists out of the Midwest.  May 19th I was busy emceeing a beauty pageant, and the horror fanatics of the Buckeye state were headed to The Horror Hotel: a convention with guests, lectures, scream queen/special fx/film/film scoring competitions, and indie film screenings.  Now, I was obviously unable to attend, but I was so impressed with the two winners of the Haunted Rooms competition (judged by Alan Tuskes) that I had to get in touch with both of them to find out more about them.  I present to you, GD Effects & DotW friend and favorite, Zach Shildwachter.  First prize? A paid gig doing the special effects for the upcoming indie film Lady Dragon.

Horror Hotel favorites and well known Ohio FX company, GD Effects is composed of Daniel Blain Click and Greg Lanning.  The duo have been doing special effects for local productions since March 8th of 2011 with their first effect, an eye gouge for the film Chill. Since that first eye-gouge effect, their second movie was Night of the Cannibals, followed by Kandie Land.  The three films are all currently in post production, but the boys of GD Effects aren't solely stuck on films.

Last September they grouped up with Dan Mizicko of Stuck In Ohio and shot a commercial for the Y-town Zombie Crawl. The duo have worked on The Vampire Biker's Ball, Zombie crawls, festivals, proms, and even some of the more iconic FX for a local production of Evil Dead: The Musical with Greg nabbing the coveted role of Ash.  Following the show, they competed at the Horror Hotel along with their extended crew of Jim Danko and Tony Sperry whom they met on the set of "NOTC", Dan's girlfriend Diane Smolak, and also Dan Carroll who Jim and Tony brought on. Chris Brady who gave them a studio to work out of, some of the materials, lights, and a fog machine. It all paid off because the boys won the contest along with Zach Shildwachter.

The room generated for the competition resembled an Altar of the Church of Satan complete with a demonic priest looking somewhat inspired by a cross between a horned toad and the classic red demons of storybooks.  Adding to the mix was a half-faced nun and a blue demon with large horns and a demon guard with oozing wounds.  

The next project for GD Effects will be a web series called "Zombiemom", and work on their partner Jim Danko's movie Hatchet Man Road. You can view more of their work on their Official Facebook Page.

The next artist is no stranger to Day of the Woman and I hope you're not sick of my praises for his work. A child of the 80's, Zach Shildwachter was raised in the glory and evil of the fight between VHS and Betamax.  After seeing the future come and go with laser discs and contemplating making the switch of his collection of films no one has ever heard of over to blu-ray, he realized that he is unequivocally, a whore for the silver screen.  Willing to trade, barter, borrow, and steal in order to fulfill the itch that only B-Movies can scratch, Zach is a true product of his environment.  Blood, gore, unnecessary violence, gratuitous nudity, and general depravity have all aided into warping his fragile little mind into what it is today...and it shows in his work.

Creating a cross between something that looks like the love child of David Lynch, David Bowie, and David Cronenberg, Zach's piece was something that the judges at The Horror Hotel weren't exactly sure how to classify.  What Zach lacks in professional props and expensive products, he more than makes up in with his passions.  Largely self taught, he is an artist acting as a disciple of trial and error, working predominately with materials cheaply at his disposal.  His room was themed as "biomechanical body horror" an attempt at revisiting the late 80s/early 90s VHS horror as a look within itself.  An exploitation of all his visits at those Mom & Pop video stores that refused to rent him the blood soaked box covers that would stare back at him from his youth, his goal was to be flashy, trashy, and make the viewer feel sleezy.  His work is an aim to remind the audience of a time when entertainment was dangerous, risque, and filled with undesirable elements.  If you're asking me, I believe that in this effort, Zach Shildwachter was incredibly successful.

Those familiar with Day of the Woman know that Zach has a remarkable grasp for creating grotesquely beautiful works of art using just simple man-made prosthetic and make-up, but it was enlightening to see what else he had up his sleeve.  Inspired largely by Akira, The Beyond, John Carpenter's The Thing, and Tokyo Shock, Cronenberg, and Frank Henenlotter, Shildwachter created a room that was less "haunted house" and more "unsettling".  It reminded me much of what the play (turned film) BUG would have been like if Tracy Letts had taken acid and sat through some J-Horror before writing it.  His actors for the weekend were folks behind the up and coming short film I AM ALIVE, and even melted the director Justin Buckner into the overstuffed chair.  Although it's hard to see in the photos, one of Zach's main selling points was his aptitude for lighting and mechanical creations.  As bummed as I am to have missed the show, I'm still mighty impressed with what he created.  As always, you can view more of his work at Awkward Creations.
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