Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DOOGIE HORNER'S "100 GHOSTS" IS THE CUTEST COFFEE TABLE BOOK, EVER.

I'm a total sucker for coffee table books. I don't even have a coffee table to keep the endless supply of horror themed decorative books I've accumulated over the years, but I adore every single one of them.  I review a lot of books on Day of the Woman, but I can safely say 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts by Doogie Horner is hands-down the cutest one I've ever gotten in the mail.  Available September 10th, 2013, 100 Ghosts features 100 different ghosts (complete with adorable little illustrations) showcasing ghosts that aren't out to be creepy or scary.  Believe it or not, some ghosts like to dress up festively just like the living.  100 Ghosts is a whimsical book perfect for any age.  It's simple enough for the youngest of readers, but clever enough to put a smirk on the face of even the most jaded of cynics.  Fans of any horror illustrations or comics will adore this book, and I can't stress this any harder. IT'S SO ADORABLE I JUST WANT TO SQUEEZE ITS LITTLE HARDCOVER BODY!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

IS HORROR REALLY CONTEMPORARY?: AN ANALYTICAL LOOK AT TODAY'S YOUTH IN SCARY MOVIES VS. REALITY

I watched The Ghastly Grinner after school...
I was born in 1990.  Yes, you read that correctly. 1990 as in, I'm only 23 years old.  From the very beginning, horror movies have focused a lens predominately on the life of the teenager.  To quote The Director from The Cabin In The Woods, when it comes to horror, "It's different in every culture, and it has changed over the years, but it has always required youth." The vulnerability and immortal mindset of the teenager has always presented the generation to be ripe for the slaughter.  For most fans of horror, we either are teenagers, or have survived the teenage years.  Horror films are always particular in that while everyone is afraid of something, everyone's fears sit on a varying scale.  Taking a look at a time frame that a large majority of the horror audience has already survived gives audiences something they can all identify with.  Strangely enough, most horror movies as of late have been focusing on families because people were downright sick of seeing teenagers hacked to bits in horror films.  My question, why?  I asked around through social media and many told me, "Because teenagers today are so abysmally obnoxious, no one wants to watch them, even if they die."  Considering I'm only a hop, skip, and a jump out of my teenage years, hearing an assessment like this is incredibly frustrating.  I'm sorry, elders of the horror community, teenagers today don't act the way horror movies portray them.  Horror movies are always hailed as being one of the most contemporary portrayals of its time period, but I think that modern horror movies have completely gotten teenagers wrong.  Don't get me wrong, teenagers are a bunch of fahkin' idiots, but teenagers have ALWAYS been a bunch of fahkin' idiots.  The teenagers of the new millennium aren't any more ridiculous that the teenagers of the generations that came before us, and in fact, we might be a little less ridiculous...
Granted, The Cabin in the Woods was mocking this idea, but you catch my drift.
First of all, teenage girls are not all a bunch of sluts and whores.  Sex and horror go together like peanut butter and jelly, and it always has.  Somehow, for some reason, despite the years and years of horror movies showing teenagers playing "hide-the-boner" in the most inopportune of moments, the horror fans that aren't presently in Generation Millennial are under the impression that kids today are having more sex than ever before.  Uh, really?  Okay. Well, thanks to Medical News Today, studies have shown that teenagers today are waiting longer to have sex for the first time in 25 years.  Not only that, but even if we WERE having more sex than the older generation, why does that even matter?  Society has a whole has become overtly sexualized in the last 20 years and it has nothing to do with teenagers and everything to do with marketing.  This sexual spin started happening when the older generations were teenagers, and it has become the market in which today's kids have been raised in.  The kids today are simply products of their sexualized environment that has existed from birth.  Then again, women today aren't having more sex...they're just less ashamed of their sexualities. Score one for feminism.

Detention is the single most offensive film to my generation. Period.
Another common misconception perpetuated by horror films, is that Generation Millenial are a bunch of entitled brats.  "Back in my day, I didn't have a cell phone until I was 25 and now I see kids today with iPads before they can drive!"  Fair assessment, but cell phones also weren't readily available and affordable for all people until you were 25.  You also weren't a child during a time with some of the highest rates of crime in history, or in a time where children are more scheduled and involved with extra-curriculars than ever before.  These parents aren't giving their whiny teenagers new modes of technology because they whine for it, having cell phones are a survival requirement.  Some elementary schools are requiring 9 year olds to have iPads to help teach them how to adapt to the constantly advancing world of technology.  However, instead of actually thinking about why the modern teenager is able to text faster than the average CEO and work their way around modes of technology that will be a necessity by the time they're looking for career planning, the older generation sees "entitled brats" and reflects that mislead mentality in movies.  Teenagers may be a little tech-obsessed, but at least we know how to handle it.

Sure, Tamara was bullied...but don't act like you weren't pushed in a locker 20 years ago.
Every day we see growing reports of teenagers offing themselves from years of bullying and cyber-bullying and somewhat of an epidemic rate.  These numbers often inspire filmmakers and screenwriters to portray teenagers in the cut-throat world of high school and college as nothing more than assholes hell-bent on ruining the lives of those we deem "inferior." Look, I'm not going to sit here and make up some lies about how kids aren't cruel, because that just isn't true.  I am, however, going to analyze the fact that unlike when the generations that came before us were bullied, there wasn't any physical (and constant) documentation of it.  Bullying feels more intense than it did 30 years ago because now the bullying is inescapable.  The mean things you would hear in the hallway are now staring at you in the face on twitter with no way of erasing it. Bullying isn't more intense, just the medium has changed.  We have our bullying assholes the same way you had your bullying assholes, the only difference is that now our bullying is in print.

But mooooooooom, I want to do what I WANT.
















Did you know that today's teenager is totally selfish and only cares about themselves?  Yeah, despite the fact that more teenagers today spend their summers doing community service than going to a summer camp, we're totally a bunch of self-obsessed assholes.  "Teenagers today don't move out of their parents' homes and are a bunch of free-loaders!" you my cry, but what these horror movies DON'T show about today's modern teen is the ridiculous amount of shit that we have to deal with that effects our future that the teens that came before us never have to experience.  Student loan debt is at an all time high and most teenagers are graduating owing a god damn house before they ever step out of mom & dad's front door.  Why are we still living at home? Because we can't fucking afford to live anywhere else.  Screenwriters see this idea of a free-loading teen and write characters that are whiny, constantly looking for ways to weasel themselves out of responsibility, and inattentive parents that give their kids whatever they want.  Sorry, but that's not how it is. It's really, really not.

Look at my abs. Look at my no-pants. LOOK AT MY RADIATING CONFIDENCE!
We're all image obsessed and totally confident, too, you know?  This one makes me a little insane.  I don't understand the sudden wave of horror casting directors opting for "look" before "talent," but it's getting really old, really fast.  My generation is BOMBARDED by media outlets influencing our appearance harder than ever before, and because of it, horror films are under the impression that all teenagers either ARE top-model gorgeous or want to be top-model gorgeous.  Combine this with the idea that we're all selfish, and we're breeding a character that is completely unlikeable and painfully annoying.  Weird, I wish I knew a modern teenager that wasn't falling into the statistic that we're more depressed, anxious, and paranoid than ever before...

I have the power of life and destruction in my hands, and I totally know what that means. LOLJK.
Perhaps the most troubling, is that despite all of the negative attributes screenwriters are attaching to their characters, the idea that today's teenager has the same worldview as the 45-year old who wrote the character, is pretty damn alarming.  Adam Barnick brought this idea to my attention through twitter, and he's absolutely right.  At the end of the day, teenagers are still teenagers.  We're just as naiive as the generations that came before us, yet our screenwriters make it seem like we have this insane existential grasp on society as a whole.  We can't be bothered with the direct instant-gratification of fixing our own problems, we're too busy saving people from falling buildings when a monster attacks us.  Yeah, our first instinct, despite being so "self-absorbed" isn't to save ourselves...it's to save our ex-girlfriend or something.  It's ridiculous.  You can't give us all of these noble qualities and in the same breath, insult the absolute shit out of us by making us look like a bunch of selfish jerks.

I'm not trying to say that teenagers today aren't a bunch of toolbags, because they are, but so were every other generation of teenagers that came before us.  I'd just like to see a little more depth into my generation, because I promise you, we're not nearly as vapid as the films would make us out to be.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

FEMALE HORROR JOURNALISTS YOU SHOULD BE READING (THAT AREN'T PLAGIARISTS) PART 2!

The first installment of this list blew up to proportions I didn't think were possible.  I was met with an out pour of support, received my fair share of hatred, and was slammed with so much criticism I nearly had an existential crisis.  However, this morning I woke up to find that my list had been chosen as today's  #1 on Matt Zoller Seitz's Thumbnails series for RogerEbert.com. I know I had previously stated on my social media accounts that the first list would be the last list, but I can't in good faith allow that to happen.  If I backed down and allowed the "haters" to get me down, I would be doing a disservice to female horror journalists and the integrity of my work.  The first article was admittedly done rather quickly, because I was doing my best to add some kindness towards such a negative situation, and there were a lot of women that weren't mentioned.  Despite what some critics would like to say, there is an abundance of women working within the horror journalism industry, and they too deserve the spotlight. NOTE: I can't feature every single woman who has ever written a horror article ever, and there will always be someone "missing."  Feel free to add names in the comment section and if you have been left off, please understand that there are HUNDREDS of women to choose from, and I cannot feature every single one of them. There are women like Maitland McDonagh and Carol J. Clover who have written books that have truly shaped the way we view horror and film criticism, and because of that, they're a little "too big" for what I'm trying to accomplish with these lists.   I will do my best to include a variety, but please, please understand how difficult it is to encompass everyone. Thank-you.

HEIDI HONEYCUTT
Formerly known as Heidi Martinuzzi, Honeycutt is one of the horror industry's most valuable women.  Heidi started writing for Bloody-Disgusting nearly a decade ago and has since expanded into a feminist horror empire.  She has contributed, at various times, for Ms. Magazine, Bitch Magazine, Bust Magazine, Women and Hollywood, Zinc Magazine, Film Threat, CultCuts, Rue Morgue, and a many ,many more.  Her writing talents lead her to the creation of Pretty-Scary, the first horror news site for women who love horror, online from 2004-2010, and then PlanetFury.com until just recently. Most recently, Heidi has had pieces published in both Fangoria and Famous Monsters. Heidi holds a master's degree in Journalism and is currently writing a book on the history of horror films directed by women.  Outside of her writing talents, she is currently the film programmer for the Viscera Organization, for the Viscera film festival, Etheria film festival, and Full Throttle film festivals. Currently, Heidi runs a blog about women directors at planetetheria.com.  She's been featured in a few documentaries and TV spots on G4 and E! all for horror.  And they say women can't bring the noise for horror...

ANNIE RIORDAN, KERI O'SHEA, STEPHANIE SCAIFE, COMIX, NIA EDWARDS-BEHI, AND KIT RATHENAR

The website Brutal As Hell has been around for quite a while now, and I'm glad to announce that it's a website filled with a very, very diverse writing staff.  Comprised of a large group of female journalists, the women at Brutal As Hell prove that their gender does not define their passions.  Covering ultra-violence, gory horror, comic books, they exemplify why the tagline for the website is "Horror Without Mercy."  One of the founding members, Annie Riordan, is also a major part of Grindhouse Purgatory Magazine.  These women have writing contributions all over the globe, but you can find all of their work at Brutal As Hell.  

ALYSE WAX
Horror journalist, TV producer, Entertainment/Lifestyle writer, fashion writer, and all-around badass, Alyse Wax is one of the most well-known women in the business.  Predominately known for her work on Hollywood.com, BlogCritics.org, and FEARnet, Alyse is truly a jane-of-all-trades in the writing world.  From her website, "Alyse has been published in Teen People Magazine, Weekly World News, Filipino magazine 100, and Hollywood.com. She is the television reviewer and a regular contributor at FEARnet.com, and former fashion editor at USA Network’s CharacterBlog.com. She launched her own fashion website, SporkFashion.com, in 2005 and has since spawned two spin-off sites, SporkBeauty.com and SporkLiving.com."  To put it simply, Alyse Wax is kind of a big deal.

JESSICA DWYER
Don't take this personally, but there isn't another person on this planet that has the geeky street-cred like Jessica Dwyer.  If you look up "fangirl" in the dictionary, you won't find a picture of her, but you'll find the definition of the world "fangirl' which she totally is.  (Please catch my Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang reference).  The Editor in Chief of Fangirl Magazine, one of the co-hosts of Fangirl Radio, and one of the most well known voices of HorrorHound magazine, Jessica Dwyer's passion is unmatched by anyone, regardless of gender.  This woman loves what she does, and it shows through in every single medium to which she contributes.  

AMANDA REYES
Many of horror's greatest contributions lie within the "made-for-TV" movie category.  In terms of these strange creations, nobody speaks on the subject quite like Amanda Reyes.  I am not as familiar with her work as I should be, but there were a number of readers that pointed me to her direction.  From a fan, "Amanda is not only an expert on all things TV (as evidenced by her site "Made For TV Mayhem"), she's also one of the unsung pioneers of female horror journalism as she has been sharing her considerable knowledge of the genre on Retro Slashers for as long as I can remember. She's not one to toot her own horn so I just wanted to toot it for her!"

 JESSIE LILLEY CAMPBELL
Jessie Lilley Campbell truly paved the way for female horror journalists everywhere. From a fan, "Currently the editor of Mondo Cult Magazine, a highly-respected, Rondo-nominated publication, Jessie founded Scarlet Street long before anyone thought women could cut it in this industry. She also was the publisher of Worldly Remains, editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland and Cinefantastique. Please remember her whenever you're thinking of influential, talented Women in Horror. She's the mama of us all!"  Not to mention, Jessie Lilley Campbell was inducted into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame this year!

KIER-LA JANISSE
Where can I even begin with a woman as influential as Kier-La Janisse?  A frequent contributor (as well as the web director/editor) for Fangoria, Kier-La Janisse has been a major player in the horror journalism world since 1997, when she started "Cannibal Culture Magazine."  Two years later, Kier-La started the CineMuerte International horror Film Festival in Vancouver.  CineMuerte ran successfully from 1999-2005.  Kier-La's writing credits include Fangoria, Filmmaker, Rue-Morgue, and the book Destory All Movies!!! A Complete Guide to Punk of Film.  Kier-La has a book of her own, A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi.  In 2010, Kier-La opened the screening venue, BLUE SUNSHINE which hosted the The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies.  Kier-La Janisse's credentials far surpass what I've mentioned here, but you can read more about her accomplishments on her website.

ANITA SARKEESIAN
Anita Sarkeesian is arguably the most infamous of all of the women I could feature on this list.   Anita is the author of the video blog "Feminist Frequency" and the video series Tropes vs. Women, which examines tropes in the depiction of women in popular culture. In 2011, Sarkeesian co-authored the essay "Buffy vs. Bella: The Re-Emergence of the Archetypal Feminine in Vampire Stories" for the anthology Fanpires: Audience Consumption of the Modern Vampire. While Anita Sarkeesian is known moreso for her work with science-fiction, fantasy, and gaming, it was her professionalism and strength after an online campaign to destroy her made the national headlines.  Her influence on the way women are treated in "geek genres" is progressive, and downright inspiring.

There are plenty more women I could feature, but I could probably spend the rest of my blogging career shining a light on all of them.  I'd also like to throw a special shout out to:

June Pulliam, Kim Morgan, Kimberly Lindbergs, Heather Buckley, DeDe Crimmins, Andrea Mark Wolanin, Izzy Lee, Karina Wilson, Lauren Jankowski, Dana Davidson, Jill Killington, Jenna Busch, Jenna Pitman, Melissa Silverstein, Maria Giese, Chandra Vitellaro, Jeanette Laredo, and
THE COUNTLESS OTHER FEMALE HORROR JOURNALISTS!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FEMALE HORROR JOURNALISTS YOU SHOULD BE READING (THAT AREN'T PLAGIARISTS!)

Blah. Blah. Blah. Plagiarism. Blah. Blah. Blah. Quentin Tarantino. Blah. Blah. Blah. We get it. Everyone has been talking about a rising female horror journalist with a high-profile boyfriend that recently got busted for stealing from other writers and pawning them off as her own work. Quite frankly, as furious as I am, I'm sick of talking about it. She doesn't deserve the amount of free publicity (there's no such thing as bad publicity) she's getting for being a shitty journalist, and I'm not going to be the one who gives her anymore. The hard work of others was taken for granted and it is cruelly unfair that a thief will forever be a name we all remember, and there are individuals that still remain in the shadows.  I want to be furious, I want to dedicate an entire article talking about how unforgivable the act of plagiarism is, but a thief is not worthy of my energy or analysis.  At this time, I think the important action to take is to direct your attention to women that are far more worthy of your time and attention.  The plagiarist in question has taken away opportunities from other women who are far more talented, and clearly, much more genuine than Miss "Pen-Name from a 1968 black comedy." Instead of bitching and moaning about this plagiarist, it's time to replace her.  Considering you're reading my blog, you're already off to a good start! I'm not going to bore you with my credentials, because I've already gotten you on this page, and that's good enough for me.





REBEKAH MCKENDRY
Arguably the hardest working female horror journalist in the game, Rebekah McKendry is a trailblazer for female horror journalists everywhere.  Currently the Director of Marketing for FANGORIA magazine (meaning she does just about all of the work behind the scenes), one of the hosts of KILLER POV, the mind behind FEARnet's panel The Unseen, and a contributor to, well, everyone, Rebekah McKendry exudes intelligence, passion, and creativity with everything she does.  She recently hosted the Q & A panel at the Viscera Film Festival, and she's a brand-new Mommy. She's truly an inspiration and more than deserving for all that she has achieved.


KRISTY JETT
Known as The Executive Director of Service & Sass for FRIGHT-RAGS, Kristy was also a runner-up for the Rondo Award this year for "Best Writer."  Kristy is someone I would consider to be a professional fangirl, and has channeled her love for the genre into an impressive career.  Currently, she is a contributor to HorrorHound Magazine, FEARnet, and Rue Morgue Magazine. In the past, Kristy has written for Bloody Disgusting, Dread Central, Fangoria, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Strange Kids Club, Cashiers du Cinemart.  Kristy is also associate producing (and heading P.R.) for Before The Mask, and the spearheader and producer of the retrospective documentary for the film Popcorn.

 HEATHER WIXSON
Dread Central contributing writer and founder of the CineMayhem Film Festival, Heather Wixon is more commonly known on the interwebs (and twitter, can't forget twitter) as "The Horror Chick." Along with writing, she's also previously acted as the Content Editor for Dread Central.  Last year, as a Chicago native (*high fives*) she returned to the Windy City to co-host Flashback Weekend, Chicago's biggest and baddest horror convention of the year.  She's got producing, acting, and directing credits on her imdb resume, and recently nabbed a gig for Marketing, Distribution & Digital Media for Imagination Worldwide.


 STACIE PONDER
Back from her short hiatus, Stacie Ponder, the mastermind behind the smash-hit blog Final Girl, contributor to AMC, artist, and all around hilarious woman is revered by many.  Stacie writes with a sense of humor that is completely unique to her style, but still manages to be understood and adored by all walks of horror life.  Stacie is unapologetically honest with her interpretations and manages to balance entertainment with intelligence unlike any other writer.



ANDREA SUBISSATI AND ALEXANDRA WEST
This dynamic duo represents the beauty and brains behind The Faculty of Horror podcast.  Alexandra West writes for Famous Monsters of Filmland and Rue Morgue Magazine. Andrea Subissati writes for Rue Morgue, contributes to the Rue Morgue Podcast, and has written the book, When There’s No More Room In Hell: The Sociology Of The Living Dead.

CHRISTINE HADDEN
Mother of the outstanding blog, Fascination with Fear, Christine Hadden puts a lens on horror films from an entirely original perspective.  Known for her unique weekly features, powerhouse lists, and remarkably intelligent interpretations of the horror genre, Christine is a relatively unknown voice deserving of far more accolades than what she's been given.  A former contributor to The Blood Sprayer, Christine is currently a contributing writer for FANGORIA.

APRIL SNELLINGS
Acting as the current Associate Editor of Rue-Morgue Magazine, April Snellings is a filmmaking graduate of UNC School of the Arts.  Not only does April edit Rue-Morgue, she's also a contributing writer for the magazine as well as for Metro Pulse. (focusing on film and comic books!)  A self-proclaimed "word nerd," April Snellings consistently provides excellent reading material for horror fans everywhere.


 STACI LAYNE WILSON
Queen of awesome hair and writer of just about every form of media, Staci Layne Wilson dominates the horror journalism circuit.  One of the hosts of the live show, "Inside Horror," Staci  has also participated as a commentator for numerous television shows and documentaries.  Formerly, she's worked for for AOL/Time-Warner, SyFy, Yahoo! Movies, theStream.tv, Horror.com & L’Ecran Fantastique.  Staci has written both fiction and non-fiction books, and also works as a screenwriter.  Not just a journalist, Staci has also directs/produces films and music videos.  Seriously though, her hair is always awesome.

ANDRE DUMAS
When it comes to smart women in horror journalism, you can't get much more knowledgeable than Andre Dumas.  Founder and writer of the popular blog The Horror Digest and unofficial Martha MacIsaac look-a-like,  no one writes like Andre.  Andre writes 100% and purely from the heart, and her personality shines through with every single word.  A former contributor to The Blood Sprayer, Andre is currently the Associate Editor for Planet Fury.  


MONICA KUEBLER
Managing Editor for Rue-Morgue Magazine, Monica Kuebler is also the brain behind Rue-Morgue's  "Library Of The Damned book column" and is currently attempting to expand Rue-Morgue to also covering the horror gaming industry. She has represented Rue-Morgue for many documentaries and TV series including onscreen interviews in History Channel’s The Real Vampire Files and Pretty Bloody: The Women of Horror.  According to her website, "Monica is the founder and editor-in-chief of BURNING EFFIGY PRESS, where she is the sole curator of the company’s celebrated genre chapbook line."  A creative writer as well as journalist, Monica is currently working on her young adult horror/fantasy saga Blood Magic.




KREEPYLADY KRISTIN
The bio-mechanical Frankenlady of Chicago, Illinois, Kreepylady Kristin is one of the Midwest's greatest horror journalism asset.  The founder of The Chicago Creepster, Kreepylady Kristin has been heavily involved with Dark Chicago, Horror Society, and contributes to Chicago NOW as a film critic.  Kristin is one of the most recognizable figures in the Midwest horror community, and is genuinely one of the kindest women I've ever had the pleasure to know.

Of course I can't feature EVERY amazing female horror journalist, because quite frankly, there's too many of us.  They may not be featured, but I encourage everyone to also track down Charlotte Stear, Debi Moore, Liisa LaDouceur, Lyda Peever, Tristian Risk, Britt Hayes, Alison Nastasi, Hannah Neurotica, Killer Kalyn, and Tenebrous Kate. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

FEEDING HOLLYWOOD AFTER MIDNIGHT: AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ZACH GALLIGAN


To become an icon, to truly establish oneself as a prominent figure in cinema is something that every actor dreams of.  The nostalgia obsessed culture of horror fans holds their icons near and dear to their heart, and regardless of how much time passes, these individuals will forever be ones we admire.  Zach Galligan, known for Gremlins, Waxwork, Surviving, Cut, Hatchet III, and countless other films is without a doubt one of the most beloved of all figures in horror cinema.  Bursting into our homes as Billy Peltzer in Gremlins, the bright-eyed owner of everyone's favorite little Mogwai quickly sky-rocketed to success, and has managed to somewhat stay there.  While most child actors grow up and have more toxins coursing through their blood streams than an episode of Breaking Bad, Zach Galligan has not only managed to overcome the child-star death trap, but is continuing to work on a variety of productions.  Thanks to the power of Twitter, I was fortunate enough to have a one-on-one skype interview with Zach Galligan, and peer inside the mind of someone that I've admired from childhood.  An icon for horror fans, and a beloved celebrity for convention-goers, Zach Galligan is sincerely one of the greatest working actors.

Day of the Woman: The other night on Twitter, you were posting a lot of different memes and seemed to spark a little war with some of the ever-powerful Daryl Dixon fan base. Which, as you know, they’re insane.

Zach Galligan: INSANE. That’s kind of why I like to mess with them a little bit.

DotW: They’re absolutely apeshit. Have you ever experienced absolute crazy fanatics, like, “I watched Waxwork eighty-five times naked?” Do those people exist?

Galligan: See, the difference between Norman Reedus and myself is that I think his persona is an intensely sexual one. I think mine is an intensely sweet one.  Sweet people tend to attract less sexually aggressive people.  Whereas, “sexy guys” like Brad Pitt and Depp and Robert Downey Jr. and Reedus have this swaggery sexual thing that whips women into a sexual lather. They get frothy.

DotW: That’s an amazing way to put it.

Galligan: I mean, they get whipped into a sexual frenzy, and I don’t do that with any of my performances. I have found at times that when people meet me in the flesh, I’m so different from the “Hi, Mom! Hi Dad! I’m home” kind of sweet thing that I play, that I’m nothing like and what I’ve never been like at all…what I do find sometimes, and it’s pretty rare, several times when I’ve met women, and it’s almost always women, sometimes it’s gay men too, and sometimes even straight dudes who have just watched me 150 times when they were a kid and they’re just freaked out that I stepped off the screen or something like that, but I have had some women that have been trembling when they met me. They’re all sweaty and clammy and I’m like “Breathe, It’s okay. Breathe. I’m just a dude.” 

DotW: Wooooow.

Galligan: There was one time when I went to Japan and there was this line of Gremlins toys that were really cool, like LJN toys, you could probably find them on the internet, they were really cool, and I went and I signed some boxes for the toy company, and they flew me out. After this convention there was this VIP meet and greet where you could pay a little extra money and have dinner with me and 60 close personal friends, that kind of a thing, and there was one young woman who was probably about your age, 23-24 years old, Japanese girl, and she was sitting in the corner with her friends staring at me.  Obviously most of the people there spoke Japanese, because you’re in Japan, but finally this guy who spoke English pretty well dragged her over to meet me.  As he dragged her over, she was pulling back like she didn’t want to and I was like, “Don’t force her if she’s not feeling good.” She came over to me and she was shaking violently like she had a 28 Days Later virus or something.  So the guy introduces her and says her name and I said, “Hi, how are you?” and I shook her hand, and she fainted. She collapsed.

DotW: That. Is. Amazing.

Galligan: And I was with my then-wife at the time and when the girl fainted, I turned to her and said, “See, what’s your problem? Why don’t you faint when I touch you?” (laughs) But I don’t get the sexual frenzy thing that The Walking Dead people do, or that Reedus does in particular.

DotW: I cannot imagine having that kind of fanbase. I wonder what his life is like?

Galligan: I certainly know the feeling of when Gremlins came out, basically after a month of it being out, I couldn’t go anywhere in Manhattan. For me at 20 years old, it was really, really weird.  It’s hard to describe to someone your age that grew up with so much media, but back in ’84, ’85, there were six magazines.  Time, Newsweek, Us Weekly, Rolling Stone, TV Guide, and that’s it! If you were on one of those magazines, every fucking person in America saw you.  There were six magazines, now, there’s like six thousand.  There are all these tabloids and they’re all the same, just fifty shades of Kim Kardashian.  So what would happen is, I did the cover of People Magazine with Molly Ringwald, which every single woman between the ages of 15 and 45 read like the bible.  As soon as they put me on the cover, it was basically sending a message across the entire country that said, “Are you thinking of sleeping with a young guy? Because this is the guy you should be sleeping with.”  It’s hard to describe to people who weren’t there, but it was insanity. Once you did Seventeen and Tiger Beat…

DotW: Were you on the same page as River Phoenix?

Galligan: River Phoenix was in that movie!

DotW: I know that! But were you on the same page?

Galligan: River Phoenix came up to me on the set of Surviving because I was big then and nobody knew who he was. He was 15 and probably a year or two away from getting really famous.  He came up to me, and he was a very mischievous 15 year old.  He was 15 and I was 20, he was adorable and I was all method back then, so I’d give him piggyback rides back to his trailer.  He’d see me between takes getting swarmed by girls in Oklahoma City, and there’s nothing to do in OK City than watch the clay turn slightly redder, so when the girl from Sixteen Candles and the guy from Gremlins are shooting a movie down your block, it’s pandafuckingmonium.  So there’d be girls behind police barricades and I’d be signing shit and they’d be screaming and wetting their pants, and River comes up to me one time and goes, “Hey Zach, if I become a big star like you, am I gonna get the same quality ass you are?”
DotW: (dies of laughter) Oh my god. That is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. So, did you have any idea how big Gremlins was going to be?  Obviously it was big when it got released, but the cult following that stayed with it is kind of insane.
Galligan: We all knew it was going to be huge before we even started, because you have to put it into context.  We started production in April ’83, and E.T. was still in theaters.  It was still blowing up and was the world’s biggest movie.  So Spielberg was coming off the hottest movie ever made and we were basically doing an E.T. variation.  So even if we did a quarter of the business E.T. did, we’d do 150 million, 300-400 million dollars worldwide, which I think we ended up doing.  That’s in 1984 dollars, and a billion dollars in merchandise.  It was a massive hit.  It only doesn’t seem like as massive of a hit because it was slightly overshadowed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and even more by Ghostbusters which was released on the same day.
DotW: I have never even made that connection, before. Wow.
Galligan: To answer the second half, if you had told me three decades later, and thirty years is a long fucking time, that people would still be watching it, love it, and show their kids it, and that’s what is so cleverly constructed, is that there’s almost nothing in the picture that dates it to 1983.  So it’s like Gremlins is almost trapped in time.  It has a timeless quality in Anytown, USA.  It’s actually pretty progressive, with having a black teacher, when a lot of ‘80s movies where all white.  So you see it now, and if you were an idiot and someone told you it was shot in 1997, it’s conceivable. You pop it in, and it’s just a story, and it works.
DotW: I can see that, totally.
Galligan: It’s weirder for me now because back then, I expected it to be big.  It’s so surreal; it’s impossible to explain.  I don’t know if you caught my interview with Entertainment Tonight, but I was at a club one time and Marilyn Manson came up to me and asked me to sign his Gremlins lunch box.
DotW: What? No way!
Galligan: See, to me, here’s how fame works.  If you were famous before I was, you’re fucking famous.  I grew up in the ‘70s, so The Fonz, Henry Winkler, that fucking guy’s famous.
DotW: He does have a bronze statue in Milwaukee…
Galligan: Exactly!  But then I meet Brad Pitt, who got famous like seven or eight years after me, but I’m like “Oh, cool, whatever.” I’m not saying I’m not impressed by what they’ve achieved, because I am, but to me, famous is people who were famous before I was famous.  When they become famous after you, it’s like they become part of your peer group.  It turns into “Oh, hey, that’s my actor friend. I remember when they came on.” Does that make sense?
DotW: I think that mentality totally works.  It’s like when people get upset when younger people win Oscars that mentality totally works.  Now, this is a question that probably only I care about, but how in the world were you able to sit in the same room as Phoebe Cates delivering the greatest written monologue of all time?  I’m sorry, Shakespeare, no, the “Why I hate Christmas” monologue is the most brilliant thing ever constructed.  Knowing you got to be a part of that, to me, that is the coolest thing anyone can ever say.  Okay, that was my fangirlness. It’s gone, I can talk to you like a normal person now.

Galligan: The interesting thing about that monologue is that Joe Dante loved it, and Spielberg had very mixed feelings about it. He thought it was a clever piece of writing and liked it, but he wasn’t sure if the E.T. crowd would get it or if it would ruin the tone.  Joe’s idea was that this is the tone.  The whole movie is like a big prank on the audience because the first 45 minutes are like “Oh, it’s ET 2” and then NOT.  We were trying to get you to lower your guard so then we could go “Gotcha!” and it was perfect for that.  So here’s the thing with Phoebe.  Phoebe Cates was 19 years old at the time. She was a kid, but she was a very, very sophisticated young woman.  She grew up in Manhattan, hung out with Warhol, was a model at 14, did the Studio 54 thing, this was not her first rodeo by any stretch of the imagination.  She claimed at the time, and I believe her, that the only reason she took the role because she didn’t think it was much of a role except for the monologue.  The monologue was the entire reason she took the role.
DotW: My heart is just dancing right now.
Galligan: And she worked on that monologue night and day. Over, and over, and over. And she ran it for me dozens of time and she’d change a word here or agonize over this word, it was her raison d'etre for doing this movie, and I totally believe her.  So the day came, and she was nervous but kind of excited, and we shot it, and it went great.  Everyone thought it went great.  Then they showed the dailies to Spielberg or people at Warner Bros. and somebody there hated it.  Not her performance, but were like “this is sick.” And we were like “that’s the point!”  It was a Tim Burton, (who didn’t even exist then) Charles Addams, joke.  And so Joe told Phoebe and she was beside herself because her feeling was, “This was the whole reason I did this.” And I can remember she was really distraught, but Joe Dante said, “Well, lucky for you, I have final cut.” Which he did. “And as far as I’m concerned, it’s staying in, because I think it’s great.” “I promised you it’s staying in, and it’s staying in.” And as you and everybody knows, it stayed in.  Even though there were a lot of people involved in the movie who thought it was in poor taste and a bad joke and dreadful, but of course now it’s a movie legend.
DotW: The first time I watched that, I was probably about 8 or 9.  I just remember sitting back and thinking, and I was totally desensitized from watching sick movies with my mom, but I remember thinking “that is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.”  I didn’t even need blood for that, it was just sad.  It became my favorite.  So I get to college and I had an assignment where I had to do a monologue and the challenge was to do a monologue my teacher couldn’t place, so I did that one.  And I did it, and I did it so serious and my professor knew that he knew it, but he didn’t know what he knew it from, and he just goes “Ugh, God, that’s just so wrong and sick.” “What is that from?” and I looked him dead in the eye and went, “Gremlins, mothafucka!” and walked out. So yeah, what you just told me just met the peak of my fandom. 
Galligan: (laughs)
DotW: Switching gears, so, you were just in Hatchet III and you got to play a “character,” but what is the most fun about being in a movie like Hatchet III which is just a gorefest and such an Adam Green style movie.  I love his style and the references and for him, and he is a total fanboy about Gremlins, I mean, the first rule of the “Holliston Nation” shirt is “Don’t date a girl who hasn’t seen Gremlins, because it’s dangerous.” Clearly, he knows your shit.  What’s it like working with someone who is that big of a fan of your work.

 Galligan: You have to understand, I’m used to people being obsessed with Gremlins.  I hear about it at least every other day for three decades, so you kind of get used to it.  What was great about Adam was that he was such a fanboy about it, and it figures so prominently with the relationship with his wife.  He credits Gremlins with saving his relationship with his wife and it’s a beautiful story, so I knew it had a ridiculous impact on him.  I’m was so grateful, and still am grateful for him to just throw me that role.  I didn’t even have to audition for it, he just sent it to me and asked if I wanted to do it.  I was really grateful for him to sort of, get me back out there.  It’s important for people to see you do something recent, they can’t just see shit you’ve done in the past.  When we did the L.A. portion of shooting Hatchet III which was everything inside the ambulance boat, that whole sequence was shot in about 4 days about a half mile from his house in a set in his back yard. Just goes to show you the magic of filmmaking.
DotW: What? No way. I never would have guessed that.
Galligan: No one had any idea. You step outside the ambulance boat and it was like Adam Green’s backyard.  So I wanted to do something special for him as a way of saying thank-you, so I got him and Joe Lynch and they came over and we threw on the Gremlins blu-ray and I did the R-Rated, no one could ever publish, no one could ever know about, behind the scenes, ultimate scene-by-scene commentary through the whole movie for Joe and Adam.  They’d stop and ask questions and I’d fill them in and I’d point something out and say, “See that, that’s where this happened.” And they’d freak out, but they got the ultimate Gremlins commentary and they’re the only two who will ever get it.
DotW: That is the best present anyone could ever have, and probably could ever ask for.
Galligan: They seemed to really enjoy it, they still talk about it.  But a lot of crazy stuff went on behind the scenes.  I mean, it was me, Phoebe Cates, and Judge Reinhold, we were college kids. We were insane. I don’t want you to think I ever had a relationship with Phoebe Cates, because she and I never dated.
DotW: Yeah, my creepy obsession has let me know that.
Galligan: People wanted us to have dated.
DotW: Could you imagine if tumblr had been around in the ‘80s? Oh my god, just imagine the creepy fanfiction people would write about you two.  I don’t even want to know what they’d do with Gizmo in these stories.
Galligan: Yeah, no. People wanted us to have but it didn’t happen, and I’m not gonna make it up just to make people happy.
DotW: People just want the “met on the set, fell in love, blah blah blah” stories.
Galligan: Oh, we met on the set and I had a huge crush on her, it was just never reciprocated.
DotW: (laughs) That makes it so much better. So I’ve been going through other interviews to make sure not to ask you something someone else has already asked.
Galligan: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, BJ. You can ask me anything.
DotW: Okay, hm, well, was there ever a time when you were just absolutely sick of Gremlins or Waxwork?
Galligan: Yes, absolutely. I think all actors who have a big hit go through that and come out the other side.  You look back at it, and you kind of accept it, and at the end of the day you’re glad it stood the test of time and you’re associated with something people enjoy so much.  I can tell you the exact moment when I went from “God, Gremlins, I wish people would just shut up about it” to “Hey, you know what? This is pretty cool.”  I was sitting on my couch in Los Angeles watching TNT and Gremlins was on the guide.  I hadn’t seen it in years because I don’t sit around and watch my own movies, but it turned away to commercial and in between the commercial it said “You’re watching the New Classics: Gremlins on TNT” and I thought “The New Classics? I like that. I like the sound of that. Are they really saying that about that movie? Fuck yeah!” And now they play it all the time on Christmas and it’s become one of the top 5-6 movies around Christmas.  I think it’s kind of amazing now because I’m fairly certain that after I die, they’ll still play it around Christmas.  Kind of like how Jimmy Stewart’s gone and they still show It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s kind of an awesome feeling to knowing that you’ve done something that will stand the test of time and probably outlive you by a couple of years and keep your image and your likeness and the fact you existed on this planet out there. That’s pretty bad-ass.
DotW: If I’m being totally honest, as morbid as this sounds, I think Gremlins will outlive you by more than just a few years.  There are a lot of people where Gremlins is their Christmas tradition.  So, we haven’t mentioned the film in one take, Cut, and I wanna know how that was.
Galligan: You saw that?!

DotW: Yeah…but I can’t tell you how I saw it…
Galligan: I only saw it once in a theater and the sound was off, and it was incredibly exciting to do each take but I don’t think it worked as a horror movie. I didn’t think there were any scares.
DotW: Yeah…I have to agree.
Galligan: It just wasn’t really scary.  It was fun as hell and it came at an amazing place in my life, so it was a great experience for me.  I don’t know how good the movie is because I’m too close to it, but from everyone’s reactions to it on imdb, it seems like it didn’t really work.
DotW: When I saw it, I was told “I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I want to see if you can find the good in this.”
Galligan: And you couldn’t find anything good in this?
DotW: I thought that it would be an incredible exercise for an actor, but I can also find the good in The Happening.
Galligan: I guess you thought it was pretty bad if you could find something good in The Happening but you couldn’t find anything good in Cut, I think we have a problem.
DotW: Hey, if you watch that movie thinking they’re all in on a joke, it becomes one of the most hilarious movies you’ll ever see.  If you think they’re all just trolling us, when Marky Mark delivers the speech to the plastic tree, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Galligan: I think the best thing to do is to get into some form of an altered state, and just imagine that he’s being chased by demon farts. Just giant farts chasing him. That’s the villain.  It’s the funniest thing imaginable. 
DotW: Whoever wrote the police reaction line of, “Cheese and Crackers” needs to be shot. It was at such a tense moment annnnd it’s gone.
Galligan: It had a good trailer.
DotW: It did have a good trailer. It also works as a good drinking game. Drink everytime Zooey Deschanel doesn’t blink, you’ll be drunk the whole movie. I think she blinks three times in that entire film.
Galligan: (laughs)
DotW: So, of all the characters you’ve played, which one is the closest to you?
Galligan: Hm. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that.
DotW: YES! This is what success feels like. You could always go the other way and choose which one you’re the furthest from.
Galligan: Well, I played a gay Hollywood agent in The Storytellers with Mitzi Kapture, Brad Dourif, and Tippi Hedren, I’d have to say I’m pretty far away from the gay Hollywood agent, although I’m not much like a Houston Sheriff, either. 
DotW: That’s true.
Galligan: The one that is the most like me, is probably the one I did with River Phoenix, Surviving. I’m essentially playing myself there.  Right around that time I had a strained relationship with my dad over certain things, like my character did. I was discovering a lot about the infidelity that wrecked my parents’ marriage like my character was. I think I was moody. I think I was a lot like my character, I was a bit of a jock but I had to quit to do the theatre. I was a good student like the character and kind of a romantic/monogamous person like the character, so, yeah; I think I’m the most like “Rick” in Surviving.
DotW: So, do people ever quote things at you?
Galligan: Of course! When I first moved back to New York in 2003, I knew I was really back when I got out of the subway and was walking down Mulberry St. in the SoHo area and people across the street were going “What’s up, Billy?!” and I knew I was home.  I think it was also sort of rare for someone to look the same, like I have. People seem to think that I look at least similar to Gremlins 2. 
DotW: I guess being called “Billy” is better than someone creeping up behind you and screaming “Bright Light!”
Galligan: I only really get called “Billy” at conventions.
DotW: This is going to take me so long to transcribe.


Galligan: Yeah, it’s going to take a while; it’s been like an hour and a half. But it was fun, wasn’t it?
DotW: Yes! It was lots of fun!
Galligan: Now you look back at the beginning, being nervous, and know you had nothing to be nervous about!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

FOR THE LOVE OF EXPLOITATION: DIE, DEVELKOK, DIE!


Mike Dobrzelecki (I promise you, you're saying it wrong) is one strange bird.  Paying homage to the exploitation films of the '70s and '80s, Die, Develkok, Die! is a love letter to all of the subgenres that keep the horror genre scaring housewives all across the country.

The story follows Terry Develkok (Chad Laha), a man just coasting through life growing increasingly unsatisfied with where he's ended up.  In an attempt to end it all, he soon discovers that he is invincible.  Terry Develkok can not die.  Determined to use this discovery for the betterment of humanity, Develkok is thrown on an adventure that quickly shifts gears from an exploitative horror film, into a superhero gorefest of vigilante justice against the scum of the streets.  A little on the shorter side for a feature, Develkok is a quick trip down memory lane for fans of old-school horror.  Dobrzelecki (or Mike D as he is known) truly has a deep and abiding love for splatter, exploitation, and the films of yesteryear, and the writing and style of Die, Develkok, Die! prove that with every last frame.

Develkok could have been improved upon, as could all films, but this independent feature has a whole lot of good wrapped up in it.  For one thing, the practical fx are extremely impressive.  The wound that follows Terry Develkok's attempted suicide is absolutely SICK, and it's all homemade.  Mike D was the man behind the makeup brush as well, which gave a nice sense of continuity between the characters.  The gore is gross-out at moments and the over-the-top sound effects that accompany the gore add just the right "umph" to cross the line from cheap to entertaining.  Mike D. loves his gore, and he makes  it very well.

If I had to pick one thing to gripe about, it would probably have to be the through line of Terry Develkok.  This film has an array of colorful villains for Terry Develkok to do battle with, but they tend to take over his story.  Had this film had a similar balance to that of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I think Die, Develkok, Die! would have been a remarkably stronger film.  However, this gripe doesn't break the film, not by a long shot.  This charming little indie flick still remains to be a fun view and a nice look back at the films that sparked the way we do horror today.   Die, Develkok, Die! may not be a perfect picture, but it's truly a passion project and a solid effort by a couple of filmmakers in Murfreesboro, TN. For more information, “Like” the Die, Develkok, Die!'s Facebook page and stay tuned for Mike D.’s next film, Terms, already in pre-production.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

THE POWER OF ANTHOLOGY HORROR FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM

As each day passes, the modern audience is rapidly changing.  From movies hitting VOD before they arrive in theaters or smart phone applications that tell audiences when "boring" scenes are coming up so they can leave to use the bathroom, movie audiences just aren't what they used to be.  Of course there are the wonderful exceptions of film lovers that understand the phone is meant to be left off and leaving in the middle of a movie is disrespectful to not only the audience, but also those involved with the production of the film.  With audiences constantly changing and evolving, it's only natural for the modern horror film to change along with it.  Anthology horror films have been a favorite subgenre for decades, but there as recently been an abundance of anthology horror films being produced.  Trick R Treat, Chillerama, V/H/S/, The ABC's of Death, V/H/S/2, and the announcement of The ABC's of Death 2 have all proven that horror fans are hungry for anthology horror.  Short form filmmaking has become one of the most enticing mediums for horror audiences, and the success of these independently released anthology horror projects is prove of this idea.  The question remains, why?  Why are anthology horror films bigger than ever?  Despite the popularity of Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, and the countless other anthology horror projects that came before the current era of filmmaking, anthology horror went into somewhat of a hibernation and have only recently surfaced as something audiences loved to watch, and craved to get their hands on. 


A major draw to anthology films is the ability to satisfy our desire for nostalgia.  Regardless of the lies we like to tell ourselves, horror fans are some sentimental creeps.  We endlessly watch films from our childhood that may not have been a "good" film, but the sense of nostalgia it instills within us is totally worth it for us.  Horror movies are constantly being remade because we continually pay for admission to watch someone take a familiar film and give it new life.  We love the sense of nostalgia, and anthology horror films deliver us that satisfaction.  Anthology horror films are reminiscent of the late nights we spent watching Tales from the Crypt or The Twilight Zone.  For many of us, these anthology horror television series were some of our introductory experiences with horror.  I know I can remember sitting on my Grandfather's couch watching The Twilight Zone episode "The Number 12 Looks Like You" when I was only six years old and being terrified that when I got older I'd have to trade in my face.  The Trilogy of Terror and other anthology style made for TV movies were highly successful during their initial releases, and the resurgence has proven that we're a group of people who love their throwbacks.


We're also a generation (regardless of genre) of people growing increasingly more impatient.  We're an "immediate" generation, more comfortable with instant gratification than long term enjoyment.  The attention spans of the modern audience are rapidly shrinking, and anthology horror is the perfect remedy.  Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that people today don't pay attention to films the way they used to.  It's almost impulsive to check a phone and there are those that genuinely can't make it through a two hour movie without texting.  It's sick, but it's the world we live in. Anthology horror films satisfy the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" way of dealing with things. Audiences that are used to changing the remote control to something else if they find it dissatisfied no longer find themselves in the situation where they are forced to sit through a film they hate simply because they already paid for it.  When watching an anthology film, if an audience hates one of the segments, there's no worry, because something completely new and different will be coming up shortly.  This is especially appealing with films like The ABC's of Death, where segments are shorter than some people's bowel movements.

Perhaps most importantly, though, anthology horror films provide a sense of variety.  With the vast amount of information at our fingertips, the modern audience craves a multitude of different ways to tickle the brainwaves.  Anyone who has ever gone on a "click-through" on Wikipedia, or spent even 20 minutes on stumbleupon.com knows exactly what I'm talking about.  One moment you're looking up the run time of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and before you know it, you're researching the methodology behind dog breeding.  No one knows exactly how you got from point A to point B, but you know this game of mouse-click telephone was interesting and held your attention.  Anthology horror films give us that pleasure.  We're given a variety of characters with different names, different faces, different circumstances, and different stories.  There's no outlet for us to grow stagnant, and a range of our intrigues are experienced. 

I genuinely believe that anthology horror films will continue to gain popularity and become the next "it" thing in horror films.  Anthology horror films allow exposure for up-and-coming filmmakers and the ability to express new ideas and means of storytelling.  As long as the modern audience continues to evolve, anthology horror is going to remain a timeless subgenre that will continue to entertain.
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