Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WOMAN OF THE WEEK: REBEKAH MCKENDRY

When it comes to women in horror, it doesn't get much more impressive than Rebekah McKendry.  As the current Director of Marketing for Fangoria magazine, Rebekah McKendry is living proof that bad-ass horror fans come in all forms, vagina included.  Rebekah wasn't always the horror professional.  Before she hit it big with Fangoria, McKendry taught film and English at a high school just outside of Washington, D.C.  Unfortunately, teaching wasn't for her and she sought out to find her true calling.  After moving to New York City, Rebekah found herself working for the New York Horror Film festival.  She would meet many staff members of Fangoria in this process and began to work part-time for Fangoria Radio as a researcher.  Working her way through a number of different positions including writing and assistant producing, she became the Director of Marketing.  As the DM, she works with cross promotions, sponsorships, advertising, conventions, fan relations, and merchandising, just to name a handful of her responsibilities.


With a B.A. in Film, Masters in Media Education, Masters in Film, and in progress for a PhD in Media and Film, (that makes her soon to be Dr. McKendry for those playing at home) Rebekah has more than proven her street cred as a film guru.  Her personal musings can be found on her blog on the Fangoria site is called Bekah’s Confessions, and she's contributed to many books as well.  This past April, Rebekah McKendry had been selected as a new host of the popular horror web show INSIDE HORROR, joining the ranks of current hosts Elric Kane and Staci Lane.  As a producer, writer, director, and show host, Rebekah McKendry has achieved what just about every little horror girl has always dreamed of.  She has found a way to work within the medium that she loves, and is respected for it.  Rebekah McKendry is a force to be reckoned with and one of the queens of the horror journalism world.  No one does it like Rebekah McKendry and she has truly paved the way for female horror writers/journalists to come.  
We at Day of the Woman salute you.  


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TERRIBLE POSTER TUESDAY: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3-D

Texas Chainsaw massacre superfans are a breed unlike any other in the world of horror fandoms.  Seriously, those that belong to "The Saw Is Family" way of life fit right in with the Buffy shippers and Whovians.  I have been trying my hardest to keep myself as free from knowledge about this remake/reimaging/reboot/rewhatever so I can give it a fair view when it releases, but I cannot prevent the furious littering of superfan tirades from appearing on my social networking news-feeds.  Ladies and germs, this is how I was introduced to this absolutely treacherous advertisement.  The worst part about this poster is the fact it exists alongside this absolutely beautiful poster.  It's painfully obvious that whoever in charge of marketing only wanted to dish out the cash for one of the advertisements.  While one poster was brilliant and enticing to look at, the other was a rehashing of a poster we've seen about ten million times before it.  To put it simply, this is painfully generic and not worth a bead of ass sweat on the taint of the TCM franchise. 

The complete and utter lack of originality is first and foremost the most offensive aspect of the entire poster.  The solid color background, bright red font, and half shown image of someone from the chest down facing away from the camera wielding a weapon has been done more times than a "shoot them in the head" line in a zombie film.  Not only that, but the dramatic lighting that somehow reflects in the wrong part of the weapon in comparison to where it shadows the person holding it is another trend that needs to quickly end.  It's absolutely infuriating to try and have hope for a remake when it is already setting the tone that it will follow the same path as all of the horror movie remakes that have come before it.  Amateur, generic, and disappointing.  The man with the chainsaw appears to be more of a rough and tumble lumberjack than Leatherface, a very edited Leatherface.  Seriously, this image has gone through more filters than a girl with an acne problem on instagram. Everything looks unnatural and a bit too staged for my liking. 

Let's take a side step for a quick second and discuss that God forsaken font.  My god.  This font is to horror movies what Helvetica is to hipsters.  WHY?!  Why must every. single. horror. movie. poster. use. the. same. damn. red. font?! WE GET IT. IT'S A HORROR MOVIE. THE RED SYMBOLIZES BLOOD. WAH WAH WAH. Show some damn creativity!  Show me something that isn't in all caps, show me something in green, show me anything than this damn font in red lettering in all caps!  It wouldn't be nearly as bad if the film didn't use the same font as the SAW franchise, you know, because the word "saw" is in "chainsaw" and that makes it all the more obvious that the graphic designer is ripping off another film.  Coming from the same producers or not, using the exact same font is incredibly lazy.  Now some may try to write it off as a "strategy" to elicit the same emotion by viewing it as audiences would see with the SAW posters, but I don't buy that. It's lazy marketing. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.

Plastered in tiny font and quite ill-placed is "Buzz. Kill."  Presumably, this is the tagline.  The amount of face in my palm is unmeasurable.  When I read this tagline, my only response is one similar to Peter Griffin on Family Guy whenever he is forced to listen through anything from Buzz Killington.  I know that the audiences of today tend to be a bit stupid (I mean, they'd have to be to crank out that much money for Twilight and only a fraction of it for DREDD) but don't insult the fine folk.  Everyone has at least HEARD of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Don't insult our intelligence, and please don't take tagline advice from people who write jokes for Laffy Taffy candy wrappers.

Despite popular belief, I've noticed that it's pretty easy to judge a film by it's poster.  There are always exceptions, but the rule of thumb tends to be that a shitty poster will accompany a shitty film.  Now, I am going to go into this film expecting less than I would from a four year old not whining in a grocery store, but this poster did not change my already preconceived opinion.  If anything, I'm now going to be heading into that theatre even more weary as I originally intended. Damn it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ZOMBIE, ILLINOIS: SCOTT KENEMORE RETURNS WITH HIS BEST NOVEL YET.

No stranger to Day of the Woman, zombie expert, Scott Kenemore is at it again with his second zombie novel centered around a midwest outbreak.  Scott Kenemore is the author of the Zen of Zombie-series of humor/satire books, and the novel Zombie, Ohio.  A graduate of Kenyon College and Columbia University, Scott is a proud member of the Zombie Research Society and the Horror Writers Association.  When he's not writing,  Scott is a Chicago Drummer and is the drummer for the musical band The Blissters.  Scott has discussed zombies on the Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The Alan Colmes Show and other esteemed news outlets.  His books have been written about in the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Hartford Courant, Indianapolis Star, Cleveland Plain Dealer, USA TODAY, Rue Morgue Magazine, Fangoria, Gawker.com, BoingBoing.netAOL News, and the New York Times “City Room” blog.  He's even such the zombie expert that he's been been asked to discuss zombies and horror-writing at conventions like Comic-Con International, Spooky Empire, and ZomBcon.

Zombie, Ohio was the first zombie novel that we had seen from him after his Zen of Zombie satirical book series, but Zombie, Illinois has taken his writing skills to an entirely new level.  The novel has three narrators-- a twenty-something Latina rock drummer in an all girl band, a thirty-something male political news reporter, and a sixty-something African American pastor. Zombie, Illinois follows these three characters as they interact with one another, fight zombies, and negotiate the difficulties of the first 24 hours of a zombie outbreak in Chicago, Chicagoland, and greater Illinois. Many of the themes and locales are drawn from Scott Kenemore's own experiences (being a drummer in Chicago bands, working in the media, and working for six years with community-improvement organizations in African American neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side).   

The most interesting thing about Kenemore's writing style is his ability to generate very different voices for each of his characters, while still maintaining his own style of writing.  Obviously the language between a girl in a band called "Strawberry Brite Vagina Dentata" is going to be far more vulgar than an African American pastor working in the slums of the South Side of Chicago.  Somehow, he manages to retain a sense of fluidity and the book flows seamlessly between the three different perspectives.  The characters are likable from very different corners of perspective, and everything feels very...real.  One of the easiest mistakes to make with a zombie novel is losing touch with reality, which is something Kenemore never does.  He has produced a zombie novel that is able to frighten, thrill, and entertain without ever becoming campy.  

Any Chicago native (or anyone who has ever visited Chicago) will be sure to enjoy all of the little homages that the book throws to us Windy City dwellers.  Kenemore has written a novel about zombies, yes, but the underlying exposition on the beating heart of Chicago is thrown right in our faces.  He has truly captured what it means to be a Chicagoan and what makes us different than any other city on the planet.  "West Coast, East Coast, how about NO COAST." He really did his homework with mentions of cities outside of Chicago, including a little nod to my overzealous religious city of Zion, Illinois just north of Chicago.  

The fact that Kenemore doesn't receive as much praise or notoriety as say, a certain zombie author with a very famous filmmaking daddy, is incredibly frustrating.  Kenemore has tapped into the human condition, underground issues in society, and of course, the zombie phenomena. The world in which is characters reside is one that is very, very convincing.  While reading Zombie, Illinois, it never once feels out of the ordinary and everything resembles how a zombie apocalypse would actually happen.  To put it simply, Zombie, Illinois is one of the most entertaining and realistic zombie outbreak novels in a very long time. 


You can purchase Zombie, Illinois on Amazon 
HERE 
or 
You can try to win one of the two copies I've got for giveaway by sending me an email 
at BRITTNAHJADE@GMAIL.COM with 
"I LOVE CHICAGO ZOMBIES" in the title

Monday, September 17, 2012

PITTSBURGH'S SCAREHOUSE PREMIERES WEBSERIES SCARE U!

Natives of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are no stranger to the premiere haunted attraction, The ScareHouse.  Named "one of America's Scariest Halloween Attractions" by the Travel Channel, The ScareHouse was also ranked as one of the country's Top 3 Haunted Houses by Haunted Attraction Magazine and HauntedHouseRatings.com. The ScareHouse was recently voted as the #1 haunted house in the world by Tophaunts.com - featured in the pages of USA TODAY, Fangoria, Money, Funworld, and Pittsburgh magazines - profiled online by AOL, Forbes, Univision, Yahoo, and many other websites - and featured in two national television shows airing on Travel Channel: "America Haunts" and "America's Scariest Halloween Attractions."  Offering three haunts for just one price: The Forsaken, Pittsburgh Zombies, and theirnewest attraction: Creepo's Christmas in 3-D. "Pittsburgh's Ultimate Haunted House" is located just minutes from downtown and open on select dates from late September through mid November. (The ScareHouse FB Page)  If you're not impressed by this resume yet, you're not reading the same reviews I am.  

In the wake of the success of this spookhouse, The ScareHouse has started their very own websires, SCARE U.  Hosted by Dr. Margee Kerr, Scare U dives into the scientific explanations as to why specific things frighten us. Dr. Margee Kerr holds a doctorate degree in sociology, and has been studied the science of fear for many years.  Since 2008, she has shared her findings with The ScareHouse. In the Scare U series, she invites us to go deeper into fear, discovering how our brains and bodies are reacting to the things that scare us.  The series premiered with a common fear of many horror folks, creepy clowns. The 8 part series of Scare U will come out each Wednesday from now until Halloween. The series will explore fears ranging from zombies, dolls, phobias, and much more, featuring terrifying footage from both the ScareHouse and popular movies and TV shows. The first episode was extremely well done and I cannot wait for the rest of the series. It feels like one of those specials you'd see on The Discovery Channel, but far more entertaining, and much more unsettling.  It's a shame it's only an 8 part series, because I would watch this year wrong.  Hell, I'd watch this as an actual television series. 

The entire series can be found on the ScareHouse's YouTube channel: 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

THIS FILM IS A DEADLY SIN: A REVIEW OF FAT KID MASSACRE

As of late, the horror genre seems to be overwhelmed with remakes and found footage films.  Whenever an original concept is brought to light, genre fans cling to it not necessarily because of its high quality, but simply because it's different.  A short film was recently brought to my attention with an incredibly unique premise, but unfortunately fails to deliver a quality final product.  Brought to us by BDHR Entertainment (run by the man behind Big Daddy Horror Reviews, Brandon Sites) FAT KID MASSACRE is (according to the crew) "a touching coming of age story that revolves around a former fat kid who got muscular and good looking, but who struggles with identity issues as his former friends - THE FAT KIDS - bully him on a constant basis. As a cruel prank is set into motion, a killer arrives on the scene to make sure these fat kids pay for their glutony and unhealthy lifestyle, including death by Twinkie suffociation!"  I copied this description off of their official indiegogo fanpage, spelling errors included.  Based solely off of the short film version that has been circulating the internet, I think that the writers behind this film are giving themselves a little too much credit.  This film was a borderline abomination, an insult to horror filmmaking, and stole nine minutes and twenty seconds of my life that I will never get back.

First of all, the acting by the three "fat kids" are absolutely treacherous.  Writer/Producer Brandon Sites cast himself as one of the fat kids and he looked like he was smiling with pride after delivering every single line.  His acting style reminded me of Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, in that every time he said a line that "sounded black" he'd smile at what he presumed to be his own brilliance. The only difference, is that Brandon Sites has absolutely no concept of vocal rhythm and delivers lines reminiscent of the old women preaching "all senior citizens should have life alert" followed by an unnatural smile.  The first three seconds of the damn short show the fat kids stuffing their faces and you can see Brandon Sites trying not to smile while shoving food in his mouth.  I have nothing against writers/producers/directors acting in their films, but usually...they can actually fucking act.  To make matters worse, Brandon and the other "fat kids" are supposedly the old friends of former fat kid "Ian-The Skinny Bitch". Ian looks easily twenty years younger than all of them, which forces the believability of their friendship completely out the window.  It's unfortunate, because Ryan Sandefur, the actor playing Ian, actually plays a "bitch" quite well.  The only problem is that he's a halfway decent actor surrounded by a gaggle of guys who wouldn't have even been cast as Tree #4 in a community theatre production.

The final seven minutes of the short film is nothing more than one of the fat kids tied to a chair by a masked man who "taunts him" with weapons until finally forcefeeding him Twinkies until he dies.  For seven minutes we're given nothing but a poorly lit room with a dull build up to an unsatisfying pay off.  All the while, forced to listen to the annoying and unconvincing whines of a fat kid tied up to a chair. I can't even give them credit for having an unique kill, because we've seen the "feed the fatty to death" kill before in plenty of other films. (I'm looking at you, Se7en).  The dialogue is mind-numbingly poor and clearly forgot any sort of common sense in the process. When the fat kids are bullying the skinny bitch, one of the men states "You went behind our backs and lost all the weight".  Okay, this kid is not only about 200 pounds lighter than the lot of fat kids, but he's also built like a god damn GI Joe.  Lost weight behind your backs?  YOU WOULD HAVE NOTICED THE WEIGHT LOSS.  So unless their friend went on a three year hiatus or a stint on The Biggest Loser, the audience's suspension of disbelief just isn't strong enough to believe that.  Continuity problems aside, THE DIALOGUE HAS IMPROPER SYNTAX.  "You're just a scared, little, pathetic, kid from Georgia who amount to nothing."  I believe the word you were looking for was "amounted" not "amount".  Then again, maybe the line delivered was supposed to be "amounted" and in that case, Brandon as an actor really, really needs to work on his enunciation. I hate to say it, but he is the largest reason why this short is so terrible.  His acting is distracting, and his writing brings it down.  The camera work is rather good and the editing is very clean.  The biggest problem, is Brandon Sites.

The actual storyline is absolutely ridiculous and if this is supposed to make me want to donate my hard earned cash to fund the feature version of this film, I'd rather donate my money to Chik-Fil-A before I'd donate to this garbage. I'm not here to rip on someone's hard work, but this film is part of a trend that desperately needs to end.  I'm talking about the kickstarter/indie gogo projects undeserving of our attention.  The writer/producer has been putting on social networking sites that he sees this film as a "future cult classic". In the words of the incomparable Kristin Wiig, are you fucking serious?  I'm sorry. I'm really sorry, but are you fucking serious?  The fact that people are actually donating to this piece of trite garbage makes me want to swallow drain cleaner.  The crew has shown promises of having Scream Queens Season 2's Sierra Holmes in the feature version and I want to just shake her and ask her what in the actual hell she is doing being associated with something this unwatchable.  There are so many wonderful, terrific, well-deserving films that must resort to indiegogo or kickstarter to help aide them in getting their films made, and then there's shit like Fat Kid Massacre that's only positive use would be using the disc as a coaster.  I'm all about supporting indie films, I am one of the largest supporters of indie films, but just because you're low budget...doesn't mean I have to support you.  Money can't buy a good storyline, and it can't prevent one either.   

To Sierra Holmes, Ryan Sandefur, Kaylee Williams, Alisa Lova, Aley Kreinz, and Shawn C. Phillips, I don't care how desperate for work you are, this is something that should be scrubbed from your resumes, immediately. Normally I'd post a link for the indiegogo, but honestly, this film doesn't deserve your money. If you really want to seek it out, you can do it for yourself.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

COMA: THE SCOTT BROTHERS MANAGE TO KEEP THE CREEP

This labor day weekend, A&E will premiere the two night event of Ridley and Tony Scott's incredibly revision of 1978's COMA.  Based on the 1977 best seller of the same name written by Robin Cook, the original film was directed by Michael Crichton and was a modest hit for its time.  Flash forward to this coming Monday and Tuesday night and audiences will be given the opportunity to witness one of the final collaborative efforts of the dynamic duo of Ridley Scott and the late Tony Scott.  For those unaware, this past August, Tony Scott committed suicide and left behind an incredible legacy.  COMA is quite an entertaining mini-series and in the most respectful way possible, quite the high note for Tony Scott to go out on.  While it is absolutely in no way a perfect mini-series, they've created a rather thrilling four hour tour.  Backed up with a star studded ensemble cast, if the audience is willing to subject themselves to a very, very needed suspension of disbelief, they'll be satisfied.  The need for suspension of disbelief must be stressed, because the unfortunate issue is that the medical world and legal practices have changed drastically in the last thirty four years. 

Cult film darling, Lauren Ambrose stars as Susan Wheeler, a medical student resident at Atlanta’s Memorial Hospital.  After discovering a questionable trend occurring at the hospital, Susan Wheeler begins her search to figure out the horrifying secret of Memorial hospital.  For some reason or another, young and seemingly healthy patients undergoing routine (and relatively minor) procedures keep finding themselves comatose.  If the coma inducing trauma wasn't enough, all of these comatose individuals are then transferred to the Jefferson Institute.  It doesn't take a genius to know that these comas are happening at such a rapid rate from intentional action rather than an unfortunate outcome of the medical practice.  Determined to find out the truth, she turns herself into enemy number 1 with her constant file hacking, air duct crawling, and asking meddling questions.  Also starring Michael Weston, James Woods, Richard Dreyfuss, Geena Davis, and the incredibly horrifying Ellen Burstyn, COMA isn't monumental, but it's one of the most well developed mini-series events in a very long time.

COMA premieres on 
A&E: September 3rd & 4th
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