Archive for December 31, 2006

“Now you will pay a dreadful penalty!”

December 31, 2006

If you enjoy weird, weird comics, have I got a treat for you: The day job has posted an article I edited on Fletcher Hanks, the Golden Age comic-book writer/artist whose work is basically the most bizarrely violent and violently bizarre stuff you’ve ever seen. It’s in honor of the forthcoming collection from Fantagraphics and editor Paul Karasik, I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Fantastic Comics of Fletcher Hanks.

Good Lord.

Three unrelated things

December 30, 2006

First of all, the blogroll (to the left; scroll down) has been updated after a prolonged period of benign neglect. Click around and see where the day takes you.

Second, you can learn my horror-related New Year’s Resolution at this week’s Horror Roundtable.

Third, to expand a bit on my reaction to Travis Mackenzie Hooper’s Pan’s Labyrinth review, I felt like I should point out that I’m on his wavelength in terms of not digging the sort of cheesily calculated return to childhood “magic” that “grown-up fairy tales” traffic in, but not in his aversion to clear-cut depictions of good and evil. While I think it’s a sign of true adult storytelling (and adulthood generally) to acknowledge that things can be more complicated than that, I also think it’s a sign of true adult storytelling (and adulthood generally) to acknowledge that sometimes, things can be just that simple.


December 30, 2006

Well, this was definitely a thrill: Over at the day job, my interview with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof is now online. A major theory about the Others is debunked and (SPOILER) the real reason for the death of Eko is revealed therein, among lots of other juicy info. Even Nikki and Paulo get a moment in the sun!

Quote of the day

December 29, 2006

More from The House Next Door:


Two from the House Next Door

December 28, 2006

A pair of links from Matt Zoller Seitz’s daily link round-up caught my eye today.

The first is a post by Drew Morton of the intriguingly titled group blog Dr. Mabuse’s Kaleido-Scope on “The State of the Horror Film in 2006.” Unfortunately, its coherence and insight can be best summed up by quoting one sentence: “Thanks to films like ‘The Descent’ and ’28 Days Later,’ I believe that over the course of the next year horror films will be coming into a renaissance not seen since the days of ‘Scream.'” Huh? The thrust of the pieces is that “recent” horror films have been adding elements of comedy or social criticism to further engage audiences–which is obviously something horror films have in fact been doing, well, forever (and moreover is giving a lot more poli-crit credit to the “When she gets her eyeball ripped out, that’s about Iraq! Yeah, that’s the ticket!” school of horror filmmaking than I’m willing to hand over). Still, it’s worth a read if you’re interested in how the genre looks to uninitiated types who nonetheless are up for thinking about how the genre works, which I’d imagine describes most professional critics and a goodly chunk of the academy.

More intriguing to me was a lengthy post from film studies god David Bordwell (he has a blog! how did I not know this?) on the self-conscious artifice of many recent film’s narratives, and the healthy role that genre–“science fiction, mystery, fantasy, horror, and comic-book movies…[and] indie cinema”–played in creating this state of affairs. I’ve always found it startling, if not depressing, how few fans of high-falutin’ art (not critics, but the kinds of people who read a lot and post on message boards and such) pick up on the ways that genre tropes frequently constitute violations of traditional formal narrative or visual structure. When a film stops in its tracks to watch a shape-shifting alien annihilate a pack of sled dogs, there’s something interesting going on there beyond the fact that a shape-shifting alien is annihilating a pack of sled dogs.

Quote of the day

December 27, 2006

[…]movies like this get made, remakes of perfectly good films with cult followings, remakes done up

Live, from the ocean, it’s a giant squid

December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas

December 27, 2006

Now go buy this and remind yourself of just how awesome JB could be.

Equal time

December 22, 2006

I may have given Dana Stevens the business yesterday, but this line from her review of Dreamgirls is pretty terrific:

It’s a big, fat, luscious movie in which no one is tortured, murdered, or mutilated (honestly, how many recent films can you say that about?)

Man, no kiddin’! I pointed this out in my senior essay way back in, geez, 1999 I guess it was, but what started in movies like Pulp Fiction and continued through Saving Private Ryan has really grown to become the norm: the violent content and technique of horror has been well and truly mainstreamed.

Today is a great, great day

December 22, 2006

The same Japanese team that took the first photographs of a live giant squid has now taken the first film of a live giant squid (a 21-footer), which they subsequently captured.


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(Hat tip: Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo. More here.)

Remember the Flagg

December 22, 2006

ToyFare Magazine has posted what may be my favorite article of any kind ever: The 10 Greatest Christmas Gifts of All Time (or at least the 1980s). If this rundown of the biggest, most eight-year-old-mind-blowing big-ticket toys ever (Castle Grayskull! All five Voltron lions! The Defiant! The AT-AT! The freaking USS Flagg G.I. Joe Aircraft Carrier!!!!) doesn’t send you into an immediate nostalgia coma, I don’t know what will.

Maybe I’m being unfair, but in all honesty, that’s when I tuned out

December 21, 2006

Children of Men, based on the 1992 novel by P.D. James, is the movie of the millennium because it’s about our millennium, with its fractured, fearful politics and random bursts of violence and terror. Though it’s set in the London of 2027, Cuar

Everytime I get excited about Grind House, I remember

December 21, 2006

We’ve been down this road before, haven’t we?

Music video nasties

December 20, 2006

Today, I give you the mother of them all.

Going, going, gone

December 18, 2006

The Comics Journal’s Dirk Deppey reveals what you may have already noticed: Any sites (such as Where the Monsters Go) that use as the basis for their content aggregation have gone belly-up thanks to’s deadbeat corporate dad, Yahoo. Brighter technological minds than mine are striving to solve this problem for WtMG as we speak. They promised. You hear me, brighter technological minds?

Because violence is fundamentally cool

December 17, 2006

Here’s every on-screen death from the Friday the 13th series, back to back.

When you’re right, you’re right

December 16, 2006

And geez, is Bruce Baugh ever right when he describes fandom as constantly searching for reasons not to like things anymore.

I only very recently got into Battlestar Galactica. I’ve got about half of last night’s episode to go before I’m finally all caught up, so I’ve at long last been able to read what people have been writing about the show without fear of spoilage. And simply put, I’ve been stunned by the degree to which ostensible admirers of the show slag each then-new episode as woefully inferior to some mystical pre-lapsarian BSG era that I, for one, have been unable to identify. (See this post at Table of Malcontents (hat tip: Pop Candy), or any comment from “Sheik Yerbouti” over at The House Next Door (example).) You can see this level of intensity in the criticism of shows like The Sopranos or Lost, sure, but in those cases it’s easy enough to pinpoint the turning point: The Sopranos lost people when it stopped being about killing the big bad guy at the end of the season, and Lost lost people when they didn’t show the inside of the hatch at the end of Season One. But having watched all of BSG within the space of about a month or two, I can’t for the life of me figure out any reason for why people are apparently just dying not to like the show anymore, beyond a sort of culture-wide terror of being the last person to stop clapping.

Here and there

December 16, 2006

Here: My thoughts on this past week’s installments of Justice League of America, The Spirit, X-23: Target X, Batman, Gen 13, Robin, Tales of the Unexpected, The Trials of Shazam, Ultimate X-Men, and X-Men: Phoenix–Warsong can be found at Thursday Morning Quarterback. The discussion of The Spirit is particularly interesting, I think.

There: I pat myself on the back for a couple of things I wrote over the past year over at The Horror Blog’s Horror Roundtable.

I Love Water Monsters: A Post in Three Parts

December 15, 2006

I Love Water Monsters Part One: Cryptomundo’s Loren Coleman passionately defends the existence of alligators in the NYC sewers, and tells a tale of two dueling New York Times pieces on the subject.

I Love Water Monsters Part Two: The Guardian reports on all sorts of crazy new species and phenomena (including a believed-extinct “Jurassic shrimp” and a crab so weird they had to invent a new biological family for it) being discovered in an oceanic “census” currently being conducted. (Hat tip: The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.)

I Love Water Monsters Part Three: The BEASTS! Blog previews the upcoming art anthology from Fantagraphics, in which various luminaries from the altcomix and illustration worlds try their hand at depicting creatures of myth and legend from around the world. Needless to say, I really dug Tony Millionaire’s Leviathan:

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Music video nasties

December 14, 2006


Directed by Tony Gardner, this video for Daft Punk’s “The Prime Time of Your Life” is a none-too-subtle commentary on eating disorders and self-injury that is easily, easily, the most genuinely disturbing video I’ve linked to so far.


Hat tip: Pitchfork.