Saturday, January 26, 2013

THE TERRIFYING CREATURES OF DOCTOR WHO

Day of the Woman is solely dedicated to the world of horror movies, but there are moments when crossovers do exist.  The amazing thing about horror is that it is present in every aspect of our lives.  We fear whether or not we're going to get a job interview, we worry if our significant other is going to get home from work safely, we develop severe cases of anxiety wondering if anyone saw us pick our wedgies in public.  Now, I have a confession to make.  I am a Whovian.  Before any of you attack me with TARDIS salt shakers, please note that I have been a Whovian since I was a little girl.  My dad introduced me to old WHO long before David Tennant flashed a smile, so back off!  I hate that I even have to make that disclaimer, but, you know, since I'm a girl I have to work twice as hard to prove my geek cred...*breaks fourth wall and looks directly at viewer* ANYWAY, for those who have never watched DOCTOR WHO, I'll give you a quick refresher before going on with this list.  DOCTOR WHO. "Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord—a time travelling, humanoid alien known as the Doctor. He explores the universe in his 'TARDIS', a sentient, telepathic time-and-space-travel machine that flies through the time vortex. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, a common sight in Britain in 1963, when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, the Doctor faces a variety of foes while working to save civilizations, help ordinary people, and right wrongs." -shamelessly stolen from wikipedia.

These aforementioned 'variety of foes' can range from the silly to the downright nightmare inducing.  That's where I come in.  The horror of DOCTOR WHO is unlike anything I've ever experienced.  I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I'm emotionally invested into the characters to the point of obsession, but I admit that I've had my fair share of sleepless nights over some of the DOCTOR WHO monsters.  With that in mind, I present to you-The terrifying creatures of DOCTOR WHO *OOOOOH WHEEEEEE OOOOOOH!*

 WARNING: DOCTOR WHO FAVORITES LIKE THE DALEKS OR THE CYBERMEN WILL NOT BE REPRESENTED. THIS LIST IS FOR CREATURES THAT WOULD BE TERRIFYING TO LOOK AT IN WORLDS OUTSIDE OF THE DOCTOR WHO UNIVERSE.

PEG DOLLS (episode: Night Terrors)
There's something about the combination of creepy looking wooden dolls (that can walk) and giggling laughter that makes my skin crawl, and these weirdos are no exception. If they touch you, you become one, trapped forever as a wooden doll. The scariest part is the only way to encounter these creeps is to be sucked into a dollhouse, where you are the same size as they are. Holy balls. No thank-you. I'll take the check please.

SMILERS/WINDERS (episode: The Beast Below)
Writer Stephen Moffat is an asshole. I'm just going to put it out there. His twisted mind creates creepy ass shit like the three faced man to my right and his creations will frequently show up on this list. He's a twisted sombitch.


 THE ZYGONS (episode: Terror Of The Zygons)
These creepy looking squid monsters are quite possibly the most impressively built monsters of the classic who series.  Old Who was also known for its micro-budget, so costumes like these were hard to come by.  However, these shape-shifting sea creatures could replicate the image of any (living) organism, being masters of disguise.  Whatever they were shifting as, they had to keep alive, which for some reason makes them even creepier.  If the tentacles, didn't freak you out enough, maybe the fact they survive off of the breast milk of the Loch Ness Monster will do it for you...

**NOTE: You may notice an abundance of monsters from the newest WHO series.  This isn't to say that the old episodes aren't as good, but the technology and FX weren't up to par with the creatures of today. Old Who monsters were scary to the point of hoping the Doctor would survive. New Who monsters tend to be the stuff of nightmares**



THE FLOOD (episode: The Waters of Mars)
The Flood are a creepy water dwelling civilization that reside inside of a glacier on Mars.  Unfortunately, these buggers needed a host and started infecting humans like the god damned THING.  The poor, unfortunate humans being infested would start to violently convulse and have seizure like episodes. The results-horrifying humanoids with weird mouths and dead eyes.  Ugh. Kill me.

 THE SILENCE (a whole lot of episodes)
If Slenderman had a baby with an Alien, the result would be something representing the Silence.  Again, Moffat is a huge asshole. The second you look away from them, you forget you ever saw them BUT retain suggestions made to you. This allows them to have a pervasive influence across human history while being difficult to locate or resist..  I guess that could be beneficial in that you couldn't have nightmares over them, but now they can kill the crap out of you and you will never see it coming.

JAMIE (episode: The Empty Child)
"Have you seen my mommy?" NO. NO I HAVEN'T YOU CREEPY LITTLE SHIT. I don't care if it was during the London Blitz and I sure as hell don't care that this episode won a Hugo, there is something so painfully unsettling about an upset child in a gas mask.  Oh, not to mention, HE'S DEAD. HE'S A WALKING UNDEAD CRYING CHILD IN A FUCKING GAS MASK.  This is the sort of thing Bio-Shock would come up with, not my treasured Doctor Who!  Again, Stephen Moffat knows exactly how to make my entire life feel like a terrifying nightmare that I can't seem to wake up from.  How do you think of things like this!?


WEEPING ANGELS (way too many episodes, I'm going to go cry now)
While I try to describe these evil bastards, I'm going to note that I'm undergoing a staring contest with my computer screen.  Weeping Angels are as old as the universe and there is a belief that every statue is a Weeping Angel.  Once you see a Weeping Angel, you must not look away.  Every time you look away, or even blink, the statue moves closer...and closer....and closer....and closer....and closer....UNTIL THE BITCH GRABS YOU AND SENDS YOU AWAY FOREVER. They're terrifying, and don't get me started on the cherub statues. Those assholes giggle. Stephen Moffat, I hate you.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

RANDOM RAMBLINGS FROM BJ-C

Hey folks, sorry I've been away. This past week I began my final semester of my undergraduate career! I've finally gotten myself readjusted and working back in the swing of things.  It's been a pretty big last couple of weeks in the horror world so I figured I'd shed some light on the things I'm most excited about and see what you all have to say about it as well.

It would appear that my video on "Fake Geek Girls: Horror Edition" has caused quite a bit of an uproar within the horror blogosphere.  I've been met with a great deal of praise from other women (and men) who have either been victim or witness to this sort of treatment and were relieved to see someone speak up on the manner.  On the other hand, I've also been notified of some people (predominately men...okay, they were all men) that disagreed with my video so strongly, so passionately, that the felt the need to write half hour reading worthy articles dedicated to bashing not only my opinion, but my personality, my appearance, my integrity as a writer, my intelligence, and yes, my horror street cred.  Look, I can deal with differing opinions, that's why they're called opinions, but when someone goes from criticizing my opinion to making personal attacks...that's just cowardly bullshit. If you see things like that happening, please let me know where you see them so I can quickly eradicate the situation. I would be greatly appreciative.

Word on the street is that the new EVIL DEAD re-whateveritis has absolutely zero CGI special FX within it. I'm a little skeptical about whether or not that's actually true, but at the very least, that means there will be a ton of practical effects.  Practical FX in my opinion will always, always, ALWAYS be superior to their CGI counterparts.  Movies have been getting a little carried away with the CGI as of late, and practical FX will be a breath of fresh air.  I'm not saying CGI is the devil, it can be rather lovely when in the right hands and used properly, but I'd rather see buckets of corn syrup and latex before some weird digital effect. The trailers have been giving me a total nerdboner and I cannot even measure the level of anticipation I have for the tree scene.  If there isn't any CGI with that tree, I want to have the babies of whoever made it...because it looks incredible.

Speaking of impressive make-up jobs, can we discuss how incredible the transformation for Naomi Grossman to Pepper from this season of American Horror Story? Holy Hell in a hand basket.  I admit that I'm going to admit I'm rather ignorant when it comes to the body of work for this particular actress, but when I finally did a little online searching to see who she was, I was blown out of the water.  This transformation is absolutely incredible and the makeup design team for this show is extremely talented.


Our favorite horror T-Shirt company, FRIGHT-RAGS has been unleashing hints on the images for their next series of horror tees. This one above appears to be the Stephen King classic, Misery and they will be dropping hints over the next two weeks as to the next shirts to make arrival.  Go on over to the official Fright-Rags facebook page and see if you can figure out what they're bringing to the table!

Monday, January 7, 2013

FAKE GEEK GIRLS: HORROR FAN EDITION

 
Note: These video blogs are completely unscripted.
Yes, I did say "she must be someone's boyfriend".
Check out albinwonderland's amazing video on the subject of Fake Geek Girls
 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

THE CASTING CONUNDRUM: HORROR MOVIES AND THE MISTAKES WITH CASTING

After watching the horribly mediocre rehashing of a beloved classic with Texas Chainsaw 3D, I found myself incredibly frustrated.  I'm not even going to talk about the problems with continuity, or the poor dialogue, or the the terrible effects, or even the haphazardly lit scenery, I am going to talk about a little thing called casting.  Without a shadow of a doubt, casting can make or break a film.  That's just all there is to it.  Regardless of how talented an actor is, not every actor is meant to play every part. Except Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep could play anything at any age and I'd still pay to see it. I digress.  There is an unsettling trend in horror films where we have been sacrificing quality acting chops in lieu of a pretty face or pretty body.  Where I can sort of understand the idea that you want to pull in some viewers with promises of eye candy, this is a movie, not a modeling agency. Casting for looks isn't the only issue, we've also got the issue of miscasting by age, not utilizing character actors, bad accents, or quite simply, hiring non-actors to do an actors' job.  Yes, I said job. I wouldn't hire a non-doctor to do my heart surgery, so I sure as hell don't want a non-actor in my movies.  We train these people for a reason.   

While I'm on the subject, let's discuss hiring non-actors.  In the 1990s, horror films started a trend of casting rap and r&b singers in secondary roles in order to appeal to a new target audience.  African Americans had been (and still are) underrepresented in American cinema, and horror was one of the first genres to make it somewhat formulaic to have a token black character in their films.  Now, don't get me wrong, I get it.  I totally get why they do it.  In fact, E! online posted a statistic that "exit polling showed one in three moviegoers cited [Trey Songz], making his first turn in a major movie, as the horror remake's main attraction".  Texas Chainsaw 3D made $23 million Friday-Sunday and this box office splurge seems to have been driven by huge Songz obsessed females, who made up more than half of the opening-weekend audience.  If we're talking about making money, yes, hiring rap singers is a quick way to do it. It's no different than hiring celebrities to do voices in animated movies, even if they have no idea how to do a character voice.  People are drawn to the name and the already present fanbase will follow their idols every move.  The issue with this is that the quality of films are taking a major dive.  Horror is already seen as the bastard child of the movie industry and many people are under the misconception that it is impossible to have a horror movie that also contains merit as a quality film.  The fact we're still making bullshit casting decisions like hiring Trey Songz to do nothing more than brood and flex isn't helping our case.  Which gets me on another irritant: Trey Songz is not an actor...so what is he doing in a movie?  As a student of the performing arts and an actress myself, I know firsthand just how nearly IMPOSSIBLE it is to nab one of these big breaks.  There are hundreds of thousands of talented, sexy, African American actors that would have been far more talented and definitely more appreciative of the opportunity to have been in this movie.  Trey Songz did a horror movie for fun.  Participating in this movie isn't going to change his life, because he's still going to be Trey Songz and he's still going to be making millions off of his music.  By allowing these singers and rappers the opportunity to play in these huge roles, we are taking away the chance for someone truly deserving to get their big break.  Horror movies are known to be the jumping off point for some of Hollywood's greatest performers (Jamie Lee Curtis, Johnny Depp, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve McQueen, John Travolta, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Jack Nicholson...) and we denied the possibility for some aspiring actor by allowing Trey Songz to shit all over this movie.  Now, TC3D wouldn't have made nearly as much money, but they could have potentially had a better quality film.  Nevermind, it would have still been garbage...nothing could have saved that piece of shit. However, with horror films as the jumping off point for most careers, we are denying not only the quality of horror films, but the future of all genres who could have benefited from up and coming talent.

Not utilizing character actors is another problem that needs to quickly be eradicated.  During horror's glory days, character actors were some of the most sought after performers.  Dwight Frye was undoubtedly the greatest of the early years, but look at actors like Zelda Rubenstein.  We don't have people like that anymore, and we should.  The closest thing we have is Lin Shaye and a good chunk of her movies never see a screen bigger than a festival (with a few exceptions).  It's just so frustrating how most horror movies today are so afraid to use actors who have perfected their craft and continue to make a living doing what they're best at. I mean, shit, we complain about Michael Cera playing nothing more than George Michael Bluth, BUT IT WORKS. It works and he's made a career out of it. Why can't we do the same with horror?  Why don't we have an actor to play everyone's creepy uncle, or the weird lady at church, or the town drunk who secretly knows it all?  Why are the character actors that we know and love spending their time trying to pay the bills with the money they get from signing autographs at conventions instead of being cast to do the shit we love them for in the first place?  It's just mind boggling.  Even worse is when we use character actors to do something other than character act.  Robert Englund will forever be painted as Freddy, but instead of utilizing his amazing comedic timing, he gets thrown in films for 5 minute appearances for no other reason than the fact he is Robert Englund.  The man can play roles other than Freddy.  2001 Maniacs or my personal favorite, The Paper Brigade is proof of that statement, yet we still don't give him the roles he deserves.   

Somewhat on the same page, we are totally under-utilizing older actors.  One of the biggest complaints with the TC3D movie is the continuity issue that the main character should have been 38 and that Leatherface should be pushing 70.  Instead, we have a tight bod 20-something and a 30-40 year old chainsaw killer.  Shit, I would have LOVED to see a late 30 year old trying to escape a decrepit Leatherface.  It would have made for a far more interesting movie, and we wouldn't have had to sacrifice the "eye candy" appeal the film was going for.  Kate Beckinsale is 39 and she's sexier than anyone in that film and STILL doing the Underworld movies.  There are more than enough actresses of her caliber that could have been better suited in TCM than this 20 year old who was only as good as her cup size.  Why are we so afraid of using actors that are closer to menopause then they are to puberty?  I just don't understand it.  Not only would it help with continuity in a lot of horror films, but we are then given more experienced actors, and perhaps will have better quality performers.  I mean, look at the remake of The Omen in 2006, Julia Stiles looked like she should still have an after school job and I was expected to believe she was a mother and wife of an U.S. Ambassador? Get real.  This isn't solely a female issue either, there are plenty of men that are miscast because of their age, it is just far more frequently apparent with women.   

Though it can be argued that casting simply for the sake of appearances is probably the biggest problem.  Filmmakers have a tendency to go after the more socially aesthetically pleasing actors and actresses rather than who would be better suited for the part.  Case in point: The Amityville Horror remake (ever notice a lot of these problems exist in remakes?).  As much as I love Ryan Reynolds, he in no way, shape, or form looks like anyone's dad. I'm sorry. You can slap a '70s beard on Ryan Reynolds, but he's still going to look like something chiseled out by Michaelangelo.  Seriously, my dad looks like the poor man's Pesci, not a Calvin Klein model.  I'm not saying that he's a bad actor, but he was so horribly miscast in that film because he was not convincing as a father figure.  Often times, people are cast as parents that look waaaaaaay too young to be the parent of a teenager or more often than not, a set of siblings that look nothing like the other.  I'm not against hiring pretty actors, but if they don't look like the character description (or if they can't fucking act), you can't just throw them on screen and expect magic to happen. It just doesn't work that way.  There is a reason that acting coaches and schools exist, acting isn't for everyone.  For once I would like to see a big budget horror movie that cared less about the amount of abs on a man or the cup size of a woman and instead focus on whether or not they can showcase more emotion than a Cabbage Patch doll.  

The biggest victims of all of this nonsense are what I like to call Everyman(s).  The gentleman in the photo to the left is actor Ed Ackerman.  For those unaware, he's the chair lift operator in FROZEN, and the ticket tacker in CHILLERAMA (amongst a couple other things).  He, my friends, is an every man.  He's not overly one thing and looks like every guy that you could pass on the street.  You know, a real person.  However, this guy who actually has some impressive acting chops is going to lose out on roles playing average guys, because the filmmaking industry would rather give roles for his character type for people that look like Ryan Reynolds.  I want to see this guy play someone's dad in a haunted house movie, because he actually looks like he could be someone's dad. Go figure, right?  Not only is he a good actor, but he's a nice guy and deserves far more work than some of these asshole pretty boys who are only famous because they look nice and can speak full sentences.  It's a shame that we care more about giving people work who look naturally photoshopped than we do giving actors with actual talent the time of day.  Shit, I should just become a casting director.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

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