Archive for May 31, 2007

And if their wings burn, I know I’m not to blame

May 31, 2007

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Like The missus, I love Klaus Nomi. Here’s an outrageous video of his for “Falling in Love Again.” I don’t know who he was trying to kid with the heterosexuality on display here, but hey, go for it, Klaus, god bless you.

And here are some lovely first-hand Klaus stories and pictures by Madeline Bocaro.

Water Monster Update

May 31, 2007

I hope you’ll pardon the annoying watermark, but here’s footage of an unidentified swimming object in a certain body of water in Scotland. The Loch Ness Monster, or a wave, or a sturgeon, or what? Via the great Loren Coleman.

Next, can you identify this mysterious sea creature?

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Mr. Coleman thinks he can…

Finally, the Onion turns to the man on the street for reaction to the news that a hammerhead shark gave virgin birth. The middle response is the one that lines up with mine.

Science Fiction/DoubLOL Feature

May 30, 2007

Behold, The LOLcky Horror Picture Show.

I love the internet.

(thx Ken)

Pig Blood Bullshit?

May 30, 2007

Is the giant hog story a photoshop hoax? I hope so. (Via Keith Uhlich at The House Next Door.)

Because it’s not every day I can post an on-topic LOLcat

May 29, 2007

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Via the indispensable I Can Has Cheezburger.

Is Weeks weak?

May 29, 2007

This vicious critique of 28 Weeks Later and the entire brutal-horror enterprise by Reverse Shot’s Andrew Tracy strikes me as a very important piece in terms of the genre’s future. I say this even though it’s so diametrically opposed to my own take on horror that it’s like it was written by Bizarro Sean, as evidenced by passages like these:

Much early praise has been showered upon this sequel to 28 Days Later for its “relentlessness,” “bleakness,” “darkness,” “ferocity,” et cetera and ad nauseam. That these are merely descriptions rather than values in and of themselves does not seem to register.

There’s not a whole lot for me to say here by way of refutation or response that I haven’t already said (for a long time). I mean, yeah, I disagree, duh. I will, however, point out that the essay’s conclusion perhaps contains the key to unlocking the problem with Tracy’s approach:

The unnerving and terrifying cinematic power of the original Chainsaws and Living Deads transcended their generic packaging and filtered into the world at large; their inheritors package an unnerving and terrifying world and serve it back in consumable portions. 28 Weeks Later and its ilk do not make one reflect on the ugliness of the world, but on the needless ugliness of the far narrower film world. To look away from this garbage is not to refuse to face reality, but to look towards more rewarding films.

Oh dear, the dreaded “transcending the genre” rears its ugly head! I’m so, so tempted to allow the use of that phrase to make me ignore the piece entirely, as that is the right and good response to the deployment of T.T.G. in nearly all cases. But the real problem is the distinction Tracy’s attempting to draw, because, simply put, I’m not sure that it’s based on anything other than which cinematic values cause Tracy to wrinkle his nose. To listen to the likes of George Romero and Tobe Hooper talk about their work, “packag[ing] an unnerving and terrifying world and serv[ing] it back in consumable portions” is exactly what they were doing. Are we to ignore them? (To be fair, we probably should: They’ve clearly learned what mainstream film critics and scholars will eat, and they’ve trained themselves to serve it.) I think what Tracy’s saying is that the filmmaking in the earlier films is more sophisticated, to which I can only reply that he should watch those two movies and then Hostel and 28 Weeks Later again; none of them is really self-evidently superior, in purely cinematic terms, to the others. It seems like what it ultimately comes down for Tracy is a beef with a perceived “slickness” in the recent films, coupled with an aversion to out-and-out gore. Fine–even admirable in belief it demonstrates that style is substance–but, well, wrong. I’m not sure how the fact the more recent movies had the luxury of decades of erosion of censorship of gore going for them and weren’t shot on 16mm for whatever disqualifies them from “mak[ing] reflect on the ugliness of the world [as opposed to] the needless ugliness of the far narrower film world.” They certainly made me reflect on the former much more than the latter.

Overall I think Tracy’s piece is a part of a wave of “cynicism fatigue” that’s starting to crest (cf. responses to this season of The Sopranos). All I can really say is that driving into work this morning, I saw the remains of a black and white cat whose head had been so completely destroyed by the car that ran it over that but for the paws and the tail you wouldn’t even know what it was, and I honest to god thought “that about sums it all up, doesn’t it?”, so the cinema has a long way to go before it can hit bottom with me.

Sorry to be a downer. Anyway, read the whole thing, then check out the comment thread at the House Next Door post where I initially found this link, which contains this gem from Matt Zoller Seitz:

28 Weeks Later” is filled with images of people doing the right thing and being killed almost immediately. But not for a second does the film suggest they should have behaved selfishly. The subtext is, doing the right thing is its own reward, and observance of the golden rule, especially when it costs us personally, is what truly makes us human.

Add “and that cost is what makes life tragic” and yep, there you go.

Go, read: Tom Spurgeon’s guide to San Diego Comic-Con International

May 28, 2007

In an annual experience nearly as enjoyable and insane as the con itself, the Spurge has posted his absurdly massive guide to attending the San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest gathering of nerddom in the Western Hemisphere. Ironically, I haven’t attended since I got a job in the industry, a fact that makes me cry silently to myself every summer. Each SDCC I attended ranks in my top comics-related memories ever; if you’re a general-purpose geek like I am, it’s heaven on Earth, and Tom’s guide will make you miss it so much if you’re not going, which you should. If you’re NOT a general-purpose geek–like Tom–it’s a more complicated experience, which is part of the fun of reading his guide, as is the sense you get that writing it is in some small way an act of self-injury, like cutting or laxative abuse, or perhaps like those monks who flagellate themselves.

My two all-time favorite TV villains have three-letter first names that start with ‘B’

May 28, 2007

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Well, that was a bust

May 27, 2007

By the time we arrived at the Museum of Natural History at around 2pm, the Mythic Creatures exhibition was entirely sold out for the rest of the day. I didn’t even know museum exhibits COULD sell out. But apparently it’s one of those timed-tour deals that starts every half hour, not just a walk-through kinda thing. Oh well, it’s there through December.

Alone in the dark

May 27, 2007

This week’s Horror Roundtable is the inverse (or the converse? I fucking hated math) of last week’s: The challenge this time is to name a horror movie you liked that everyone despises. I had to stretch a bit with mine; if you had said “whose DIRECTOR everyone despises,” it’d have been a better fit, for certain obvious reasons.

How to

May 27, 2007

The Smoking Gun has an large assortment of lovingly drawn depictions of different methods of torture, discovered in an al Qaeda “safe house” in Iraq.

Look where I’m going today!

May 27, 2007

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To the Mythic Creatures exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History! There’s a whole segment dedicated to water monsters! Mint!

Read more in this New York Times article and this Live Science article. Thank you, Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo!

Quote of the day II

May 26, 2007

“This iron ball was found in the boar’s body. This is what hurt him so. It shattered his bones and burned its way deep inside him. This is what turned him into a demon.”

-from Princess Mononoke

(Found here–thanks, Matt Wiegle)

Quote of the day

May 26, 2007

Well, I think that people loved Grindhouse. Everyone who saw it loved it. The critics loved it, the fans loved it. I just think that the length scared people away, and a lot of their audience now has kids. I talked to my friends who love those movies but didn’t go see it, and I said, ‘Why wouldn’t you go and see it?’ And they’re like, ‘Well, it’s three and a half hours and then you’ve got to get dinner and plus we get a baby sitter for five hours. There’s that extra money’ and you think ‘Oh wow. There’s a whole – you can’t take your kids to it. You have to get a baby-sitter. It’s like a whole extra expenses.’ It actually pushed people into the territory of ‘Well, I want to see it, but I’ll see it on DVD.’

Eli Roth, in an interview at Dark Horizons (via JA)

Please note

May 25, 2007

The animal below lived for three hours after being shot eight times with a .50-caliber revolver before it was finally chased down and killed at point-blank range. I’m sure those were a wonderful three hours for it.

Pig Blood Blues

May 25, 2007

“This is the state of the beast,” it said, “to eat and be eaten.”

Clive Barker

(photo source)

Gleaming the QB

May 25, 2007

I talk about the latest issues of Criminal, Captain America, Countdown, Final Girl, Gutsville, Snake Woman, and X-Men at this week’s Thursday Morning Quarterback over at Wizard.

Did I mention that the comments work now?

May 24, 2007

Because the comments work now.

Quote of the day

May 23, 2007

“There are no homosexuals in Korea. We don’t like them.”

–North Korean press escort to reporter Christian Caryl, “Curiouser and Curiouser: There’s pomp, propaganda–and even a fake Chanel purse or two. NEWSWEEK’s Tokyo Bureau Chief discovers that touring North Korea has some unexpected moments,” Newsweek