Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review Haiku: Sorority Row (2009)

Dumb hateful skanks kill,
Then dumb hateful skanks die. Who cares?
Total piece of shit.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Review: Black Swan (2010)

Carrie Fisher once said she hated writing, but loved having written. That is a pretty close match to my feelings towards watching a Darren Aronofsky film. I can’t say I enjoy watching these bleak, raw explorations of human misery, but I love having watched them.

I made the mistake of watching Requiem for a Dream one Thanksgiving morning. By the time I showed up to my friends’ house for dinner, I looked like I had just walked away from a plane crash – ashen, confused, a little less optimistic about the future and a lot more anxious about the present.

Black Swan did not quite disturb me that deeply, but it did leave me with a sour stomach and a feeling of unease.

I think Mr. Aronofsky would be happy to hear this. He seeks to disturb. Though his movies are not horror per se, they share the basic arc of a horror film. Things go from bad to worse for the protagonist(s) as they embark on an unerring collision course with their doomed fate.

With tight dizzying angles and raw uncompromising performances, Aronofsky is expert at strapping his audience in so tightly to the experience of his doomed protagonists that you feel every ounce of their torment and confusion on their plummet to hell.

In Requiem, the dark side is represented by addiction. In Black Swan, the dark side is the Black Swan herself – the seductive, dark side of the Swan Queen in the ballet Swan Lake.

Our heroine is Nina (Natalie Portman) the ballerina – a study in perfectionism, rigidity, and hyper-competitiveness. And like the archetypal Final Girl of slasher movies, she has a few issues with her body and sex.

Though she scores the lead in Swan Lake, she lacks the dark, animalistic, lustful grace of the black swan. She can embody the light, but not the darkness required of the dual role.

In fact, Nina is so uncomfortable in her own skin, she tries in vain to scratch it right off of her bones. It seems to be one of her many antagonists. She is so alienated, she cannot even count on her skin as an ally.

But there are many more antagonists to be found in Nina's dreary world: a psychotic aging Ballerina (Winona Ryder) who isn’t quite ready to be replaced; a sleazy stick of sex of a director (Vincent Cassel); an overprotective, infantilizing, sabotaging mother (Barbara Hershey); and a sexy, backstabbing minx of an understudy (Mila Kunis).

As Jung warned us, denial of our psychological shadow has both a personal and worldwide cost. What we deny, we can project onto others, leading to violence against individuals or groups we perceive as demons. Or we can start to view our own dark sides as an internal evil that needs to be destroyed, leading to addiction, self-abuse and psychosis.

Black Swan, like Requiem, is an exploration of the latter. Nina’s need to stay her mother’s perfect little sweet girl and to become the perfect Swan Queen, while lacking any connection to her own darker nature, is the seed of her undoing.

Though I can’t say I enjoyed the experience of watching Black Swan, I marveled at the the performances, cinematography, and the dancing itself.

As the many close-ups of the dirty undersides of the ballerina’s slippers portray, this is a film about the soul-destroying dark underbelly of the people-pleasing perfectionism that drives many performers. It's a trait that drives these individuals to great heights, only to leave them there without the emotional maturity or relational skills to handle the altitude.

And, though Natalie Portman gives a career-defining performance as Nina, it doesn’t hold a candle to THIS.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review Haiku: Frozen (2010)

I've known pet rocks with
Better survival instincts
Than these three douchebags

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meet Ze Monsta....

Postings have been few and far between lately, because ... er ... stuff. Yeah, lame. I know. Full time job. And this ... other project. The one I told you about before.

So it's time for another hint. It's a movie. One I wrote. And it's been optioned by producers who want to make the damn thing.

That's all I will say. I'm absolutely superstitious. Lots of people option screenplays that never get made. Blah, blah. I don't want to be overly optimistic or negative. I like to ride that middle ground between hope and despair, which means I guess I'm pretty much numb most of the time or something. Kind of like sistafriend here....

Anywho, just thought I'd share a few bits from my fantasy soundtrack for my movie. These are the songs that in my biggest, wettest, gayest dreams, would be blasting from the theater speakers while the movie plays ... to packed houses ... of faithful fans ... returning for their fifth viewing ... dressed as their favorite character...

OK, got a little carried away there. So, without further adieu, my fantasy soundtrack...

You may have noticed a theme.

OK, that's all for now. I probably just jinxed everything to hell....

Monday, November 1, 2010

The People You Meet ....

I had a nice Halloween surprise whilst out making merry on Halloween. Met a great guy named Russell. Friendly. handsome. Piercing blue eyes. And somewhat ... familiar.

He mentioned he'd been on a soap opera for years, television, commercials, etc. Figured I'd seen him on something here or there. Then he mentioned that he was in Friday the 13th Part 2.

Well, wouldn't you know, it was Russell Todd who played Scott, the devilish slingshot-wielding prankster.

Things don't work out too well for Scott after he meets up with Jason...

Luckily, it appears that Mr. Russell Todd is alive and well and looking damn fine. I, however, look like a dog's breakfast standing next to him in my my "Rocky Horror Balboa" costume.

A Happy Halloween to me, indeed. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Review Haiku: The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

Why can't white people
In haunted houses, just get
The frack out of there?

Review: New York Ripper (1982)

Am I an enabler? I mean, I’m gay. I’m a feminist. I’m liberal. But I love 70s and 80s slasher movies. And in these movies, we often see malevolent male killers graphically kill … well … mostly ladies...

Were 70s/80s slasher movies part of the backlash against Feminism or were they a comment on the backlash on Feminism? Does the realm of “low art” simply reflect the attitude of the times and does that hold any value or is it simply exploitation?

Usually these questions don’t bother me any more. Since the 90s, slasher movies have become a bit more gender neutral. Sure it’s almost always a male killer, but the victims are pretty evenly distributed. We are less likely to see the boobs of the female victims and more likely to see the ass of the male victim. And most of the final girls in the post-80s movies know how to throw a punch. All of these are welcome developments.

So what, then, to make on the Fulci’s New York Ripper? I mean it has so many things that should give me a movie boner for it...

1) A killer that quacks like a Donald Duck on the phone:

2) Two awesome 70s beards (you're welcome, Jinx):

3) Headphones guy:

4) Green-screen terminal computer guy.

5) Hot Italian men in sweaters and leather jackets:
6) Hot Italian men without sweaters and leather jackets:

7) Lots of fake 80s high tech wizardry including this close-up. can you read the subliminal message? Can you?

All of that plus:
- "Sometimes I wonder how a girl like you with an IQ of 182 can be such a dummy."
- Sleazy sex scenes, like one where a high-society lady gets a foot job from two Puerto Rican strangers in a restaurant.
- Italian horror staples, like weird jazzy disco music at completely inappropriate times and long boring expository scenes.

Yes, the New York Ripper is weird and awful, which are usually a recipe for a mega-win for me in terms of movie finds. And this movie is so ridiculously weird and incredibly awful in every conceivable way that to be offended by it feels like a defeat. I demand my ironic distance! I will not be defeated by the likes of New York Ripper! You will not offend me!

But offended, I was. It reminded me of my feelings towards Showgirls.

I always get lots-o-laughs from the "I ate Doggie chow" scene. I pee a little when I see the "fish-flop" sex scene, the horrible dance numbers, and Elizabeth Berkeley doing whatever Verhoeven asked of her, hoping this piece of shit was going to make her the next Sharon Stone. And then ....

There's that rape scene. The misogynistic fly in the bad movie ointment. It rips away my precious ironic distance and makes me aware of the sleazy minds behind the trash I am mocking. And I hate myself just a little for watching it.

To put it in Showgirls terms, New York Ripper is 95% rape scene and 5% fish-flop sex scene. The lady-hatin' is just way too much. For those in the know, the misogynist piece-de-resitance is the scene of a seemingly passive bound woman getting her eye and breast sliced open. The actress is completely unable to convey her terror and the special effects are laughable. These are good things. You can get through the scene knowing it's all make believe, but then you think to yourself ... WTF Fulci?

And there is more. Like when one of our Beards buys a Blueboy magazine on the street. To a modern mind, it seems like a strange scene. He bought some gay porn. So what? It took me about 20 minutes to realize that, in Fulci’s world, buying gay porn makes you a murder suspect. Not just normal murder, but girl-hating murder. Motive? Because … wait for it … he was jealous of girls having a vageen. Something he wanted oh so bad.

New York Ripper kicks it very old school, but in the homophobic, misogynistic way, not in the fun "the two Coreys" kind of way.

Sure I laughed at the Donald Duck voice, the terrible acting, and the cheesy special effects. Sure, the 80s New York sleaze filtered through a Catholic damaged Italian horror filmmaker is perversely fascinating.

But by the time the credits roll, I felt depressed, trapped in Fulci’s Madonna-Whore complex, and thinking about all of the more enjoyable and rewarding things I could have done with my time … like counting my nose hairs, bedazzling my socks, or rubbing a cheese grater against my face.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

And if you didn't catch the Glee version, the audio of Mercedes belting it out can be found here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I've BeenTagged!

The Spooky Vegan -- delightful purveyor of delicious non-animal-murder-derived goodness and Halloween fun facts -- has tagged me!

She then immediately demanded I answer a battery of her questions. She's awfully pushy for a non-flesh eater, no? I will relent, because I completely lack the ability to say no (especially to someone as adorable as the Spooky Vegan. I mean, can she be any cuter?) As stated before, I also lack the ability to tell people what to do and these memes/awards/taggings always highlight that nagging character flaw. So unfortunately, the tagging will stop with me and I will not be passing it along.

But here are my answers to questions I'm sure you are just dying to know about me...

1. If you could get away with one illegal act in your life, what would it be and why?
I would stalk Ryan Reynolds. And since we are in total fantasy land here, he wouldn’t press charges and choose, instead, to become my love slave.

2. What is your all-time favorite Halloween costume that you've worn?
I went as Melissa Sue Anderson who played both final girl and killer in Happy Birthday to Me. My friends pretty much hated my obscure choice and made me promise to never attempt drag again.

3. What are five movies from your childhood/teen years that define you?
Bambi, Halloween, New House on the Left, Dawn of the Dead, Damien: Omen 2. They all left their own teeny traumatic tuna-style sear on my grey matter.

4. What character in a movie/book/TV show/etc. do you identify with the most and why?
If I say Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, would you shoot me point blank in the face? I certainly hope so. It's a hard question to answer definitively, but I have to say that I was deeply affected by the character of Solly in Europa Europa. The incredible true tale of a Jewish boy having to hide his identity under Nazi rule had a lot of resonance with me, since I grew up gay in ... well ... Earth.

5. What is your favorite Halloween-related activity to do in October?
Going to Day of the Dead Celebration at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

6. What's your favorite Halloween-themed movie to watch around Halloween?
Halloween 3. Killer robots, Laser-equipped Halloween masks that melt child noggins into snakes and spiders, And the frakkin' Silver Shamrock tune. The first horror movie ever to use an annoying jingle (instead of a sense of dread or shock) to get under your skin ....

7. Who is your favorite horror movie villain/monster?
Mrs. Voorhees from Friday the 13th. I defy anyone to find a campier (no pun intended) slasher killer. OK, Angela from Sleepaway Camp (still no pun intended) might be a runner up.

8. What is one "luxury" product you can't live without?
I'm totally blanking on this one. If by luxury, you mean anything beyond food, water, clothing, and shelter, then I'd have to go with soap. Yes, that's it. Soap. Wow. I really choked on that last one.

Final Girl Nirvana

Though Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis' comedy You Again did not open to such hot reviews or box office (my boyfriend, connoisseur of chick flicks that he is ... loved it), it did present us with the following horrorgasm inducing interview clip wherein the final girls from Halloween and Alien riff about which movie is scarier. I need a cigarette...

Friday, October 1, 2010

It Gets Better: In the meantime, watch more horror movies…

This rash of reported suicides of bullied gay teenagers has got me thinking. Fucking fuming is more like it. As I sit in my protected world, far from the psychological meat grinder of public high school, I realize how lucky I was to survive.

I dealt with homophobic bullies from 5th grade until my senior year in high school. I had friends, but since I wasn’t out to them until my 20s, I repressed a lot of my anger. As a result, I was plagued by hidden obsessive thoughts of suicide and violent revenge against the bullies. Thankfully I never acted on either.

Though Dan Savage and Ellen DeGeneres are doing the right thing by letting troubled gay teens know that things do get better (and they do, TRUST ME, they do), I’d like to address those darker regions of the gay teen mind that even the most caring, responsible message cannot reach. The only way I could reach those places as a teen was HORROR.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s – the golden age of feminism, sexual and gay liberation, and the slasher movie. Slasher movies for me were a trip into the dark reaches of my own mind and a way to reconcile subconscious forces that threatened to undermine my psychological health.

The final girl was always a sex shy tomboy – a perfect avatar for my own sexual repression, self-doubt, and self-loathing. The depression part of repression.

floating on a sea of sadness...

The slasher was also a perfect avatar for my repressed primal rage and internalized homophobia. The angry, destructive part of repression.

i will cut a bitch...

Via slasher movies I could have a fully satisfying psychological experience. First, I could enjoy watching a batch of overprivileged, horny, irresponsible hetero teens get violent consequences dished out to them via chainsaw, razor blade, pitchfork, or George Foreman grill -- essentially playing out my own fantasies of violent revenge against my peers in a safe, non-destructive way.

that's mr. faggot to you...

Then, when the slasher and final girl faced off, it was a chance for me to watch the two disconnected aspects of myself face off. Would the inner wounded rage (slasher) finally kill off the weakened, depressed sense of self (final girl)?

this inner struggle is killing me...

But the slasher never wins. The final girl always manages to stop running away, face down her demon, get out of her shamed fetal position and triumph over the slasher. Symbolically, she integrates the slasher's rage, fighting fire with fire, pulling her out of her depression so she can destroy her (inner) demon.

the revolution within...

High school is not a slasher movie. It is a series of indignities that you just have to endure. I can tell you that it was the worst time of my life. The minute I graduated, my life became immeasurably better. College is better. Your twenties are better. I’ve lived long enough to report that the thirties and forties are fucking amazing.

The teenage mind is cruel and absolute. It runs on rampaging hormones, ego, and insecurity. Teens haven’t lived long enough to understand consequence or self-awareness. Most of these bullies will become miserable adults, attracting misery to themselves. They may not get a hatchet in their face, but their karmic wheel will turn.

what's the number for the glenn beck show again?

Others may even change. Some of the kids that made my teen life miserable have become good people who since apologized for their behavior.

Either way, know that they don’t matter and your life will become fabulous … so let it.

i rule!

In the meantime, focus on school, and hang out with the nerds and arty rejects in school. They’re the ones that have the kindest hearts and will be going places.

And watch more horror movies. You’ll be glad you did.

Get involved:

It Gets Better Project YouTube Channel

The Trevor Project

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hideous Linky: The Righteous Fury of Carrie White

I am speechless after reading the brilliantly incendiary post over at KinderTrauma today, wherein Unk links the film Carrie with his rage at the recent rash of bullied gay teens who have committed suicide.

I can't add anything to his brilliant rant, so I can only humbly link and urge you to click immediately....

Carrie: Don't Ask, Don't Snell

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rock the Quote: Black Christmas (1974)

I'm pretty sure Jason Adams at My New Plaid Pants beat me to it on this one, but it deserves to be highlighted again.

Black Christmas was the inspiration for Halloween and all other Holiday slashers that followed in the 70s and 80s. It starred the improbable trio of Andrea Martin, Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder as sorority girls being stalked by a killer in the attic of their sorority house.

Hussey is Jess, the final girl with the boyish name. Martin is her kinky haired best friend Phyllis. Kidder is her drunken, taunting overly bold friend Barb. (They are the archetypal precursors of Laurie, Annie, and Linda in Halloween.)

Kidder's Barb has all of the best lines, including this classic:

Clare: ...[Y]ou know that town girl was raped a couple of weeks ago.
Barb: Darling, you can't rape a townie.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A List to Ponder

Stacie Ponder over at Final Girl has requested Top 20 lists of favorite horror movies from her fellow horror bloggers. Because she is the alpha queen of horror bloggery, we must do as she says. Bad things happen to those who don't.

So without further adieu, here they are.

1. The Exorcist
With Regan’s violent rages, skin eruptions, and body secretions, The Exorcist captures the gross horror of puberty better than any film before or since.

2. Halloween
The second scariest closet I have ever experienced.

3. The Shining
Because it’s so much better than the book and Stephen King still can’t quite understand why. And Shelley Duvall is freakin’ amazing.

4. Psycho
The original Freudian freak show.

5. Alien
Sigourney battles double-jawed bugs while dodging buckets of extraterrestrial acidic drool. I named my cat Ripley. End of story.

6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Every time I watch this, I think it will be dated and fun, but it ends up re-traumatizing me all over again. It’s just still that effective. And Leatherface is the scariest drag queen since Divine.

7. Friday the 13th
Goes from creepy to campy and ends with a girl fight. Three words: “Kill her Mommy.” No Jason-based sequel or remake will ever compete. There's even some subtext to be had beneath the cheese.

8. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Yay for slow zombies in bluish/green makeup! Yay for horror that criticizes the consumerist culture in a way the remake would never dare.

9. Carrie
The second best puberty-horror movie ever. I always hold out hope that things will end different. Sissy Spacek is just that good.

10. Rosemary’s Baby
“What have you done to its eyes?”

11. Videodrome
Videodrome draws you into its sleazy grasp early on and never lets you go. The line between reality and fantasy blurs beyond recognition and we start to wonder if the media-induced hallucinations of our protagonist are any different from our own. And Debbie Harry dishing out S&M punishment to James Woods? “Long live the new flesh!”

12. Suspiria
A bloody Technicolor hallucination that makes absolutely no sense (you can leave the school, ladies!), but has the gravitational pull of your worst nightmare … drawing you closer and closer to the dark mother within us all.

13. Silence of the Lambs
Two words: Jame Gumb and his psycho tranny tuck dance. OK, that was eight words.

14. Damien: Omen II
This movie creeped me out much worse than the original. Maybe because the idea of a kid struggling with his fate as the spawn of Satan coincided with my own homoerotic stirrings. Or maybe because a lady gets her eyes pecked out by a raven, then blindly wanders in front of a speeding truck. (And with Lee fucking Grant as Aunt Ann? I mean, come on!)

15. Martyrs
The French existentialist “fuck you” to Passion of the Christ.

16. Angel Heart
Underrated to the extreme. Great performance by Mickey Rourke. Perhaps one of his best. When he finally realizes the devilish truth and chokes out “who was the boy?” my spine is all ashivers.

17. Audition
That bag. Those acupuncture needles. The wire. Lordy!

18. Safe
Has that Rosemary’s baby’s creepy feeling to it while also being quite funny. The invisible killers that stalk Carol White – pesticides, germs, spiritual alienation, etc – aren’t supernatural. They are the silent, quiet horrors that stalk us all, every day. The last scene with her looking in the mirror saying “I love you” always gives me the sads.

19. Hellraiser
“And Jesus Wept.”

20. Requiem for a Dream

Plays like the Suspiria of drug addiction. The sense of dread and suffocation is almost unbearable. Like any good horror movie, things go from bad to worse for our characters … and there is nothing they can do to stop it. Ellen Burstyn shreds my heart to little pieces.