Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Greatness of DC

So, I am fully willing to admit to being a Marvel guy. Not so much I will not read me some DC stuff. I just like the Marvel Universe better. Can't explain why, since i like a lot of the DC characters better. If asked to name favorite superheroes, most of my picks would be DC. But, if asked to list my favorite comic books they would skew to Marvel. It's not even the creators that do it either. I follow some names, but still read titles I like even if the name I was following has left it. No idea why.

Anyhow, the big thing DC is doing to get my money is this Wednesday Comics thing. A fantastic idea. Weekly comic strips of DC characters, as done by big name creators. I am interested anyhow, just by that alone. Then you get into more details.

BATMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS’ weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso

I never read 100 Bullets, but hear how awesome it is. Enough that I am very intrigued by the team responsible for that doing a Batman story. Sounds like a gritty batman, which is rarely a bad thing in my eyes.

ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope (BATMAN: YEAR 100)

Paul Pope is one of those guys who I didn't really appreciate when I first saw his work. His art frequently turns me off. But, he is so damned talented that it is hard not to want more. Adam Strange does nothing for me. But, Pope's crazy sci fi leanings would fit well with the character.

METAMORPHO, written by New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman with art by Eisner Award-winner Michael Allred (Madman)

Ok. What the hell DC. Did you read my mind? I will buy anything Neil Gaiman works on. Anything at all. I have a nice collection of comics and novels and movies that he was responsible for. I have a list of cds and books and comics and movies he has works on that i need to get. So, yeah, you had me sold already. Then you add in Mike Allred, who is another guy I will buy anything from, and you have me drooling. Finally, toss in Metamorpho, a character i don't really read but have an immediate fascination and love for based on concept alone. Well, I think you have just earned my money. Big time.

THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson (Thor, MANHUNTER) with art by famed DC cover artist Brian Stelfreeze

Walt Simonson, he of the pen that made Thor truly divine, writing about The Demon. Sold. Catwoman is just icing on that awesome cake.

DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, art by Dave Bullock

Don't know who these dudes are, and don't really care about Deadman. Meh.

KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) with art by Ryan Sook (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL)

Arg. I like Gibbons for his art, but he writing has been solid as well. I will buy a book based on the fact it has a Ryan Sook cover, regardless of interiors. So, yeah, I got to have this. Plus, I love Kamandi's concept. Have been unable to get my hands on anything Kamandi to read, but the Wikipedia article and various descriptions on blogs has be totally there. Hello DC, shall I just give you my bank account now?

SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with art by Lee Bermejo (JOKER)

Arcudi has done some stuff i have liked. Bermejo has also done stuff I liked. I know because I know the names. What they did, I have no clue. So, they are good enough for me to know the names, but not for me to know why. Superman is a character I like less and less as I get older. I like the idea he represents, but not the character himself. Still willing to try this one.

WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell (Dare Detectives)

Means nothing to me.

GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek (TRINITY, ASTRO CITY) with art by Joe QuiƱones (TEEN TITANS GO!)

Astor City is pure comics gold. Possibly so good as to be comics platinum. Teen Titans Go! was a series I liked, but rarely for the art. Green Lantern is a character I only care about because of the spectrum of corps being used currently. So, this is about 50% cool to me. With a decent chance of going up based on how it works in reality.

TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza with art by Sean Galloway

Got nothing here. All depends on the team used, and how angsty it is. I want a cool team, but not really the current one. Titans that are ex sidekicks or legacy supers I like. Low angst I like. We will see.

SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX) with art by Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL)

Oh hell yeah!

HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, Special Forces)

Another hell yeah, for Kyle Baker. He does such crazy fun I cannot pass him up.

SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert (SUPERMAN: LAST SON), ilustrated by legendary comics artist Joe Kubert

Um. What? Kubert and Kubert? Father and son? Working on the comic that really made dad's career? YES, yes. A thousand times yes!

THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS YEAR ONE, THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl

Yeah. Karl Kerschl is a name I care about because of his Teen Titans: Year One work. Fun comic with great art. So, him on the Flash I may be cool with.

METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio with art by Ian Churchill (SUPERGIRL)

I love Metal Men. I car little for the team on this. Balances out to no opinion.

Issue #1 on sale July 8; Issue #2 on sale July 15; Issue #3 on sale July 22; Issue #4 on sale July 29 • 1-4 of 12 • 7” x 10”, 16 pg, FC, $3.99 US

16 pages? For $3.99? Damn you DC. I can't afford a $4 weekly series, even if it is only 12 issues. Especially if it is only 16 pages. I don't care how big those pages are, or how they may be folded to appear as or function as more. I have to call this one a loss, because this price inflation is out of hand.

A shame too, since I really really wanted to get this.

A first for me (Part 2)

After a little delay, here's the Marvel Solicits that I am interested in. Any possibly a few I am not.

Covers by JAE LEE

I'll give it a shot, since I have this thing for dark or evil versions of people. Sort of how i hate the idea of the Dark Reign stuff, since i can't imagine anyone being dumb enough to believe Norman Osborn is the guy we want with limitless power...regardless of his saving the world or not. But, I like his version of the Illuminati, since it really is a pretty decent reflection of the original. So, a Dark X-men seems kind of fun. Probably won't be though, since that have Humberto Ramos on it, and I cannot stand his art. That's enough to kill even the best stories for me. He's part of why i gave up on Runaways.

Anyhow, this may be cool for who they are having on the "team." Emma Frost is fun, even though not a great character. Mimic I like a lot Cloak and Dagger need more time in the spotlight, since they were great back in the day and need to be use more often. Daken should never have been imagined. Weapon X...I got nothing for. Dark Beast is awesome, underused, and should make for a fun story.

Penciled by BONG DAZO
Variant Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
"HEAD TRIP," Part 1 of 6

I wasn't goign to get this, since I like Deadpool but not enough to actually read his comics. However, the image of Deadpool and Zombie Deadpool Head running around the Savege Land and fighting Hydra...well, damn, how can I pass that up?


I will buy. I will read. I will see if there seems to be any reason to continue on Ultimate titles after Jeph Loeb ruined the entire line single handedly. How one man can destroy what I saw as possibly the greatest costumed hero comic line in years, when he wasn't even writing all of the titles in it, baffles me. It was bad enough when he took over on Ultimates 3, and destroyed all that was cool about it. But, then he had to do that fucking Ultimatum shot and now the entire line has been bent over a table and raped with a sandpaper condom. I hate Jeph Loeb so much for that. I really want to read what Millar and Bendis are planning on doing to hopefully rescue this stuff. Also interested to see what new Ultimate title may be coming along. May not like the current direction, but I still like old Ultimate stuff enough to want to give the new a shot.

Written by JOE POKASKI


Written by ARON E. COLEITE
Penciled by BEN OLIVER

Will be getting these to see how the first volumes end, and to see if any potential continuations will be worth reading. Also, I need more nerd rage.

Pencils and Cover by C.P. SMITH
Variant Cover by DENNIS CALERO

I loved the Fairy Tales stuff marvel did over the last year or two. I love noir. I love the idea of doing alternate realities or alternate takes on existing properties. So, I will have to be reading all of this. Which means going back to find the existing issue(s) since I have not bought new comics in a while.

Written by PETER DAVID
Penciled by VALENTINE

I continue to read because I like Peter David's writing. However, I miss the original concept of a psuedo-noir detective agency. Too many event comics and crossovers have diluted the awesome, and destroyed the team to the point where the book isn't as fun as it used to be. But, Layla's back and she was a big part of the we have to keep reading.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A first for me

I'm actually looking at solicits. I never pay attention. I pretty much have the comics i like, and that's what I read. If something big is coming along, I may pick it up. Otherwise, I get most of my info on what to read based off of other blogs or interesting covers. However, I happened upon some July solicits today so I will talk about what sounds interesting.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert
Variant cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Sketch variant cover by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert

This is a no brainer for me. I was totally sucked in with the Sinestro Corps stuff because I love balance and duality. When they showed the hints at other lanterns, I was totally sucked in. I have been unable to pick up the GL comics since then, but plan on going back and reading all of the stuff I have missed about the new lantern corps. But, really, it is all about the dead coming back and tearing shit up. So, yeah. I am there.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari

Oooo, man. I think I should pick this up too. An origin for Black Hand to explain how he is connected to this whole thing is a must have as well. Plus, the cover has me excited. Probably a lie, but still...

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari

Ooo, J'onn back from the dead. We knew it was coming, but holy shit is that a great way to start off.

Written by Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Rags Morales, Chris Sprouse, Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke and others
Covers by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
Variant covers by Gary Frank, Francis Manapul and Doug Mahnke

Um, yeah. Must have this as well. I need all of the Lantern stuff i can get with regard to alternate corps.


Holy hell. It is like DC read my mind. They have a direct feed into my brain as to what is cool. I need another post just to talk about how this makes me feel.

Written by Judd Winick
Art by Mark Bagley & Art Thibert
Cover by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea

I would consider this, if only for the Bagley art. Plus, Winick I hear writes a good Batman. I know he is capable of good comics. I have seen them. I just don't think he has managed to put one out in a long time.

Written by Greg Rucka
Art by JH Williams III; co-feature art by Cully Hamner
Cover by JH Williams III

First of all, look at the team on this book. Really, look. That is a set of names you do not pass up. Also, Batwoman finally in a series where she should have been all along. Much as I loved what Paul Dini did to Detective with his "done in ones," I can survive without that if it means seeing Batwoman and the Question in their own comics.

Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March

Um. Yes please?

Written by Keith Giffen; co-feature written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund; co-feature art by Mike Norton
Cover by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund

Booster Gold. Blue Beetle. Deathstroke. With Giffen writing and Jurgens art. Sold.

Written by James Robinson
Art and covers Mauro Cascioli

Geeze, about freaking time this thing came out. Shame it's only a miniseries instead of the originally promised ongoing. I'm intrigued by this hodge-podge of a team. Though, to be honest, the blurb for this one is lacking in anything i would care about. Likely wait for the trade on this. Or wait for someone else to tell me I need it.

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott & Doug Hazlewood
Cover by Daniel LuVisi

It's Secret Six. The best thing to come out of Infinite Crisis. So, yeah, I'm reading this.

Written by Mike Ploog
Art by Mike Ploog & Dan Green
Cover by Nick Cardy

You see the name Mike Ploog? Guy worked with Eisner himself. Gut has amazingly fun artwork. Plus, this comic has been mostly good regardless of the team (though nobody has bean Darwyn Cooke's run yet). I not only plan on reading this, I long for it. I needs it. The precious.

Written by Art Baltazar and Franco
Art and cover by Art Baltazar

Aw yeah Titans!

NORTH 40 #1
Written by Aaron Williams
Art and cover by Fiona Staples

How badass is this:
Somewhere in Midwestern America was a place called Conover County. When the old book was opened, and the runes therein used in haste and ignorance, a place of farms, simple folk, and small-town dreams became a den of monsters and nightmare. NORTH 40 is the story of those who survived and came to confront an even greater evil on the horizon – one that wouldn't just consume their flesh, but their souls as well. Heroes arise with power to bring against the dark: Wyatt, an unwilling protector of his former tormentors; Amanda, an apprentice to forgotten arts; and Sheriff Morgan, whose bonds with Conover County go back farther than even he can remember. See where it started, and watch where it's all going in NORTH 40 #1.

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Davide Gianfelice
Cover by Kako

Modern reimagining of Greek Tragedies. I think I can justify an issue or two of this before making a judgment.

Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Jim Fern & Craig T. Hamilton
Cover by Joao Ruas

Never miss an issue. This series has managed to be awesome from issue one, and has somehow managed to stay good when the major overarching plot has been resolved. Somehow a series about fables in New York because they lost their homelands has managed to work after they have managed to defeat the conqueror responsible.

Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Tony Akins
Cover by Brian Bolland

Another awesome series I have not missed an issue of. As long as Jack writed the cover message and previews of the next issues, and as long as Babe has his page of thoughts, i will keep reading.

Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Luca Rossi & David Hahn
Cover by Esao Andrews

The way I see this, it is the new Sandman. So, I have to keep reading. It helps that the series is actually good.

So, that's the DC and DC Imprint books. Next up Marvel. When I am not feeling as lazy. Also, sometime soon, the Wednesday Comic post.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Masters.

So, second season of Masters of Horror. What do we have to say about it? Spoilers are likely to abound.

The Damned Thing: Directed by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). So, we have a boy who is too smart for his own good watch his family die. Pretty gore filled deaths too. Actually, this episode has a decent amount of gore in it. Quite fun, that. Anyhow, flash forward to the present day whee the boy is now sheriff. Small town starts having some crazy stuff happen. people killing themselves or others. Then the mystery is solved and everyone dies. Personally, this would have worked better as a full movie. The one hour to develop backstory, have the crisis, and resolve it all just wasn't working well. Not enough character development to really make you care about the deaths too much. Also, there is no real explanation of why the thing that is causing this is doing so with regard to the timeframe. What I mean is that the times between incidences in the grand picture are not consistent, and the birthday synergy doesn't make sense without more information. Also, finally, the thing was more scary before you see it. Just saying invisible is sometimes better than visible.

Family: Directed by John Landis (American Werewolf in London). So, we start with gospel music and a bath of acid. Not to shabby for setting the mood. Seeing George Wendt as this kind of character is fun, and a little disturbing. I like hos the skeletons are sometimes alive. Adds a lot to the show. I spent most of this movie expecting the new couple to be serial killers too. They just felt a little off. It is strange how John Landis has done two of these episodes, and both have a twisted humor to them. Anyhow, good episode with a really fun ending.

The V Word: Directed by Ernest Dickerson (Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight). First of all, when I hear the phrase "the v word" I think of vagina. The word they want you to think of is vampire. Not very similar concepts, really. That aside, this is a fun little piece. We get some nice camera shots, and a good build of tension for the first half. After that, though, the whole thing loses a lot. The vampire sight thing was stupid. If vampires really saw like that, they would be virtually unable to function. It also lost all horror elements once everyone was dead. Then it shifts to emo vampire shit. Blah. I liked it ok since the first half was very well done, just a disappointment for the rest.

Sounds Like: Directed by Brad Anderson (Session 9). Wow, this is horror in a way that I usually don't think about. Not horror in that there is graphic violence or gore, though there is a bit of that. Not in that there is shocking imagery, though there it some of that as well. Not in the way that you have scenes meant to build tension and then make you jump. This is horror in a more existential way. The horror of losing someone you love, and not being able to cope. Of having the guilt you feel overwhelm you. If letting the guilt of something you cannot control consume you to the point of ruining all other aspects of your life. There is a deeper horror contained in this tale than you would normally see. When I look at who the director is, and what his major horror credit is, this does not surprise me at all.

Pro-Life: Directed by John Carpenter (Halloween). A movie with a message...I think. Girl is raped by a demon. Wants abortion. Ultra-conservative dad says no. God tells him to protect the child. Maybe. The whole thing is pretty predictable. People die, baby is born, dad realizes mistake. There are a couple scenes that are a shock, like how the dad decides to deal with an abortion doctor. Oh, and the exploding vagina. Who knew a vadge could spray like that. Also, who knew it would burn and blind like that. Pretty fun movie, but nothing stunning.

Pelts: Directed by Dario Argento (Suspiria). Leave it to Argento to bring the tits and the gore. We've got a fur trader in love with a stripper. To win her affections, he offers her the opportunity to model a fur coat in a fashion show. Problem being, the coat is made of magical raccoon skins. Which are cursed. Lots of people die. The deaths were interesting, and mostly well handled. There were some practical effects, with a dude cutting his own chest and a guy skinning himself among them. There were also some crappy cg deaths, like the woman who sews her face shut. I could have done without the obvious cg. Some is ok, but when it is easy to pick out to the point of distraction then you have a problem. I like how there are a number of strip club scenes, so a lot of nudity. I am easy to please there. Boobs make me happy. I am ok with this fact. Beyond that, I can't help but wonder how a woman feels when they are asked to do 90% of an acting role topless. I know I would feel a little strange to have my junk hanging out for most of a movie.

The Screwfly Solution: Directed by Joe Dante (The Howling). You got scifi in my horror. No, you got horror in my scifi. Actually, this was a pretty sweet episode. Begins with a description of scientists messing with the hormones of flies to mess up their mating habits, thus exterminating them. Then we get some info on dudes killing women when they become aroused. Starts as a southern US thing, and spreads north. Guys doing it claim it is God's will. There is also mention of a handful of people having seen angels, and that they are not what you would expect them to look like. Some stupid moves, like the woman not telling her daughter the full truth. Or the daughter being a stupid teenager. After women are killed, the little boys soon follow. Other than the scifi bit, this is a pretty creepy and fun movie. What The Happening could have been. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

Valerie on the Stairs: Directed by Mick Garris (The Stand). Proof that Clive Barker inspires great movies (since it was based on a short story of his). What a great idea. A Halfway house or unpublished authors. Free room and board as long as you are working on getting published, but have not managed to succeed yet. I would love to live in a situation like that. Except for all the smoking and the haunting and the killing. So, maybe not so much wiht the living in that situation. A fairly simple idea, not terribly unique for overall plot. But, well done anyhow. A very enjoyable episode, with a lot of fun to it. Until the crappy cg effect at the end. I know they could have found the buget to do more with that than they did. Even a practical effect could have been done for a bit of it I bet. Would have been better than what we got. I mena, come on people. At least sync up the live acting with the cg better. That was just pathetic. The makeup effects were awesome though, and especially the one leading into the crappy cg. Probably why the cg looked so bad.

Right to Die: Directed by Rob Schmidt (Wrong Turn). See, that's what I am talking about. Some awesome practicals in this one. Yeah, there's a it of cg. But, at least that all makes sense for what they are doing and isn't too intrusive. Basic idea in this one is there is a husband who cheated on his wife. She's mad, but he wants to reconcile. They get into an accident, where he escapes mostly unharmed but she is burned to a toasty mess. She is probably going to die, without a donor. He decides to pull the plug. When she dies, which happens a couple times, her spirit haunts him and does bad things. The other woman comes into this a little bit too, as well as an attorney who is helping with the do not resuscitate order. The toasty body makeup is good, as is a later scene involving a skin donor. There are some fun secrets as the show goes along, where you learn a bit more about what really happened and why. Very fun episode.

We All Scream for Ice Cream: Directed by Tom Holland (Child's Play). Note to self: Do not piss of your kids if they have cursed ice cream. Something about clowns makes for a great horror movie. Add in the ice cream man, who can be moderately creepy as well, and you have a pretty good foundation for a scary plot. The general plot of this is nothing new. Kids pull a stupid prank to be needlessly cruel. It goes wrong, and somebody dies. Now the kids are adults and the dead target of their prank is back to get revenge. The specifics are where this differs. In particular is how the death is dealt out to the victims. Some really fun visuals on this. I like how they ice cream used is how the end result looks. Icky, nasty, fun. Also, you see how to make hillbilly soup. Sort of.

The Black Cat: Directed by Stuart Gordon (The Re-Animator). A rare departure, going with a Poe story instead of Lovecraft. Still uses his best star, Jeffrey Combs. I must admit, Combs is a much better actor than I would have initially given him credit for. Even knowing he was in the episode, and who he was plying, I didn't recognize him at all. Was very cool to have that happen, as I rarely encounter acting of that caliber. Story of this is pretty much the plot of the Poe story of the same name, but superimposed over Poe's actual life. Not a lot of horror to it. First truly creepy bit isn't until about 40 minutes into this 58 minute episode. However, the effectiveness of Poe's madness and his )sometimes creepy) love of his wife/cousin is pretty well handled. I spent the whole show wondering who was the character to hate. Is it Poe, or Pluto? I am still not sure.

The Washingtonians: Directed by Peter Medak (The Changeling). AWESOME! The premise of this episode is so amazing, I am surprised this is the first place i have heard it. George Washington was a cannibal. Since his time, there has been a long line of people dedicated to keeping his cannibalism a secret, as well as continuing the practice. A guy finds written proof of the lost historical fact and his family suffers for it. Some pretty messed up images, and a really fucked up alternate history. It all kind of makes sense and works out through the limited historical knowledge I have. Then there is the historian with the federal forces. How awesome is that. This is what history should be like, man. Only down side was that horribly ending. The real horror is who they replace Washington with on the $1 bill. *shudder*

Dream Cruise: Directed by Norio Tsuruta (Ring 0: Birthday). First of all, this is based on a story by Koji Suzuki. For those of you who don't know the name, he's the guy who wrote the stories that the Ring and Dark Water series were based on. Having read the first two Ring novels, I can tell you the guy has some creepy ideas. So, does the episode deliver? Yeah, it really does. The story and events of this episode are fairly straightforward, but it still manages some good creepy bits. Hell, within the first 5 minutes it give 2 good jumps, one of which was completely unexpected for me. Basic plot is a lawyer in Japan is having an affair with his client's wife. Client finds out, and plans to kill them. Bad stuff happens with ghosts and a stranded boat. Along with this is the plot of the layer's youth, when he let his brother drown. The two stories sort of tie together, with some flashbacks to explain the new ghost. All of it is twisted into one coherent story. This works much better than a lot of j-horror for the simple fact that the story is very basic and non-confusing. The really amazing bit is that it still feels like Asian horror, and not an American movie. Probably one of the better episodes of the season.

Now I just have to go back to catch the old episodes of Fear Itself. That's the official unofficial third season of the show after Showtime dumped it and NBC picked it up, only to dump it again. After those reviews, i will go back and compare each offering from specific directors with each other to see what they tell me about each other. Unless I forget to do it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


So, I picked up that Timestorm 2009-2099 thing. It's interesting.

So far, the characters they have been using are all preexisting ones. I like that. No reason to create a new character, when the originals work. Though, some have been redone a bit. Kron Stone, for example, seems less of a sociopath and more of a Flash Thompson (teenager era). I am pretty cool with the alterations they have made on that front.

The new looks so far have been limited, and pretty cool. I like that Jake Gallows isn't some rogue cop in a costume, but a regular cop on a special mission. All cops dressed in that armor is an odd look, but not bad. Cerebra is still a crappy redo in the way she looks. I really hate that one.

So, what about thematic changes? It looks like instead of the dystopia they had in the originals, it is more of an information overload in this one. This works pretty well, since it is a bit more thematic for current audiences. I think the old stuff would probably have worked ok too, but I can see the change for what it is. It seems to be working so far.

This has so far not impressed overly, but hasn't disappointed either. I will be buying the next issue, which looks like a Ghost Rider intro. So, we will see if they can keep this 2099 fanboy happy. If it keeps up at this rate, or gets better, then i would buy a new 2099 ongoing if one happens. I hope that it does, actually. I want more 2099.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Ghost in Four Parts

Phantasm: Wow, that girl playing Mike sure is pretty. Wait, what do you mean that's a boy? Damned 70's hair. Also, if the kid's 13, why the hell is he driving his brother's car and drinking a beer? Some people have no idea of proper child raising. All jokes aside, this is a pretty trippy movie. Dude has sex with a girl in graveyard, and she kills him. Then the rest of the movie is a series of dreams and crazy shit. Zombie dwarves. Portals to another world. A Tall Man with yellow blood. Flying spheres of death. Those are by far the best, and most iconic, pieces of this franchise. I mean, come on, silver balls the size of a tennis ball that fly through the air, extend blades, and drill into your head. Who doesn't want one of those? I loved the scene with the sphere killing a guy. All blood that blood shooting out of the hole, then the dude dead on the floor in a puddle of his own urine. Amazing. Nice ending, too, where the whole thing is a dream. Or is it...Oh yeah, almost forgot how cool it was seeing all that marble. Just tons and tons of marble. If you have seen the movie, you will know what i mean. If not, why are you not watching it already?

Phantasm II: This movie is MIA. Not available on DVD that I can tell. Apparently available on VHS, but who the hell sells that anymore. The Wikipedia article tells the plot. Thankfully, someone put it on YouTube. I feel bad for watching it there, instead of paying to buy or rent a copy. But, if it isn't possible to see it the proper way, I suppose I am willing to go through other methods. I blame the movie studios for not giving me the option of doing it right. Anyhow, the installment picks up where the last one left off. Except, once again, it isn't what it seems to be. None of it has happened yet, while it is also years later. Or something. The timeline and what is real and what isn't for these movies is somewhat screwy. On purpose, which I think is a great touch. There's some awesome homemade weapons too. 4-barrel sawed-off shotgun, homemade flamethrower. Awesome stuff. Lots of dead, or "murdered" small towns. Oh, hey, this takes place in Oregon. Somehow, i thought it was Midwest or New England. Cool to learn. I kind of wonder how that yellow blood tasted. Grandpa Zombie just wanted some love, I think. Lots of marble again. I think every town or city needs a building that is 90% marble. It just looks classy. Introduction of some new bad guys, dudes in work coveralls and gasmasks called Gravers. At this point (50 minutes in) I am wondering why the Tall Man wants the girl so much. I see a reason for Mike and Reggie, but not the girl yet. Near-death by rosary. Nice. Oh, now they have explained why the Tall Man wants the girl. Stupid psychics. Reggie is so bad at the hero thing, but I love him for it. Gold Sphere is even cooler than the normal ones, which is saying a lot considering how awesome the originals are. Getting drilled in the pit then chainsawed in the groin has got to suck. Just as I was thinking that these movies are pretty cool for how low gore they are, somebody has to have his eyeballs pop. I was expecting Alchemy's secret to have been revealed earlier. Like during sex. That would fuck up your day. Another ending that is possibly a dream and possibly not. One last thought, I am positive I have seen some of these scenes before. There are a handful of them that are really familiar, but the movie itself I know is new to me. Strange.

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead The is one that I know exists on DVD, but have been unable to find. So, once again YouTube to the rescue. Not the perfect solution, but workable for now. I swear that this is the only series I will do this with. As far as I can tell, all of the other movies I care to review are available on Netflix anyhow. I like how the recap at the beginning uses material from both of the first two movies, but in a way to tell a slightly different story than they actually told. As before, this one starts right where the last one left off. Well played how they reuse the scenes from the end of the last one to start this one, but with the original Mike. Though, the death of Elizabeth was random and stupid. I do wonder why the Tall Man wants Mike so bad though. Obviously, it wasn't what he was told last time. Apparently the balls have brains and eyes. Who knew. Jodi's back. Kind of. Interesting development there. Holy crap, this kid is hardcore. He will fuck your day up, and in a clever way too. Oh look, my least favorite character in a movie. I hated Rocky the first time I saw this movie, and I hate her still. Reggie's dream is funny, and totally expected from him. Tall Man's severed anything is something you do not want to mess with. Zombie Looters...or is that Looter Zombies? So, the Tall Man makes the spheres and dwarves out of the same source. Interesting. I am liking how the mythology is expanding a bit with this. Still have no real idea what is overall going on. Apparently, Jodi being fried one time to many turned his ball into a badass black one, instead of the silver and gold we have seen before. Nice, shiny black ball. Mike has a secret...maybe. Rocky finally leaves, but Reggie is a dumbass who has to keep poking around. The standard ending, but this time with less resolved than before. I need to see the next movie soon to see what the hell is going on.

Phantasm IV: Oblivion Starting at usual with a montage of scenes from previous movies to recap. This time it seems mostly ro hold true to the story of the last movie. Also taking place immediately after the event of the last one, but altered a bit. No sign of Timmy, so I guess he really did die at the end of the last one. We have this great flashback to scenes taking place during the first movie, but not actually from it. Unused footage getting used finally. A good idea. Also, return of the creepy fortuneteller. Been a while, hah. Deomn cop is why you never want to be pulled over. Ever. Placing the dwarves and Gravers in the desert reminds me of jawas and tusken raiders too much. Civil War flashback. We get an attempt at an origin for the Tall Man. I have a weakness for movies like this that tell the history of the characters. One of my favorite Hellraisers is the 4th one, for the origin story. I'll have to try and review those sometime. I like how this Phantasm has a lot of old scenes that were left unused from the original movie. Some of those old scenes are quite awesome. Really, this is a pretty fun addition to the series. I just wish they could get together whatever they need to get another one of these out. I want some closure, to see if they can actually stop the Tall Man for good.

So, overall, an interesting series. I wonder how much of this all was planned ahead of time. There are some indications that they may have known the overarching plot from the beginning. But, the way each movie contradicts the last in slight ways seems to show there was little forethought. Unless that was on purpose, in which case it was fairly well handled. The thought that nothing is what it seems, the reality is malleable, is a pretty deep one. If that's the actual plan for the series, then damn do they show it well. There are some great ideas and images in these movies. I can totally understand why these are so popular.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Masterfully Done Show

Thanks to the wonders of Netflix (in particular, the "Watch Instantly" feature), I have managed to see the entire first season of Masters of Horror finally. Herein lie my thoughts on each episode.

Please note that I watched the first 5 of these about 8 months before I saw the rest. So, early episodes are a little less clear in my mind. Just in case the reviews are not so good on those.

Also, for those who are interested, I have added a review of the latest Friday the 13th movie to the original post (found here. In short, I liked it, but needed more blood.

Incident On and Off a Mountain Road: This one was directed by Don Coscarelli, who is known best for his Phantasm movies (which are the subject of my next horror movie series of reviews). The movie is basically about a woman who is driving down a road on night, and the horrible events following. Throughout there are some flashbacks to parts of her life, where we learn about the crazy man she ended up marrying. These serve to explain her awesome survival instincts and skills. Overall, a fun movie to watch, since you see a woman who has some kick ass skills to fight back against the freak who is hunting her. The episode sets a nice tone and feel for the rest of the season. Horror movies of various forms, with a twist of some sort at the end. The twist in this one was not a huge shock, but was still good.

H. P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch-House: Directed by Stuart Gordon, a man known for his HP Lovecraft movies. This takes place in a house where a physics student is staying while researching his thesis. His work research on intersecting planes, and how they may open portals to other dimensions, turns out to be more real than he would have thought. There is also this creepy rat with a human face in there. Mostly, an interesting story and some decent visuals. Having never read the original story this is "based on" (quotes used since most Stuart Gordon movies are not really based on as much as inspired by the stories), I can't tell you how accurate it is. Still, not bad.

Dance of the Dead: Tobe Hooper of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame directed this one. Post apocalyptic setting where some chemical warfare has caused a lot of people to burn to death, coming back as zombies. There is this city called Muskeet which is apparently some haven for immoral people or something. Kind of a weak spot there. Anyhow, the idea is that this innocent girl in a small town is working in a diner. Her mom is super protective, becasue her sister and father are dead. Some bad guys come into town and take blood from people, for reasons later explained. They go to the diner, convince the girl to come with, and go to the city to watch zombies dance. Crazy, I know. The end was cool, since you find out the truth of what happened to the sister and why the mom's so protective. There's also a bit more explanation of a flashback from the beginning of the episode. Robert Englund is not a good actor.

Jenifer: This was directed by Dario Argento, one of the masters of Italian horror (Suspiria is one of his greater works). This movie is basically about a cop who saves a woman from being killed. Then falls in love with her. Then tries to kill her. There's a bit more to it than that, but this is the very brief plot synopsis. The woman in question is beautiful, until you look at her face. The face in question is pretty effed up. I can't really describe it, but lets just say that I wouldn't have had sex with her. The movie is a good look at obsession, as well as the lesson that no good deed goes unpunished. Pretty fun.

Chocolate: Directed by Mick Garris, who is the man behind the show in general and apparently has done a number of Stephen King adaptations. The episode is about a guy who keeps seeing, smelling, feeling, and tasting things from the point of view of another person. He then becomes obsessed with finding her, and starting a relationship. Which goes poorly, as she ends up trying to kill him. The entire thing was pretty interesting, and a little creepy if you think about what it must have felt like to be him. At one point, he says he knows what it feels like to die. That's some hardcore stuff there.

Homecoming: Joe Dante of Gremlins and The Howling fame directs. A right wing talking head makes a statement saying he wishes the dead soldiers cold come back long enough to tell everyone how proud they were to serve their country in the war. Then, exactly that happens. Except, they are not so happy about the dying in a war thing. Very funny episode, with zombies doing non-zombie things (like voting). Well done political commentary, with a twist. This episode angered me for how close to reality it was, while entertaining me for how close to reality it should be.

Deer Woman: Directed by John Landis (mostly comedies, but did American Werewolf in London as well as the Thriller music video). A trucker is trampled to death in the cab of his truck. So much that at first the police aren't even sure that the body was a human being. The detective who chooses to follow up is a loser relegated to the animal attacks stuff. He continues to investigate, and piss off his coworkers. The killer is a hot chick. Really really hot. Interesting legend they have in this one. No idea if it is a real legend or not, but I enjoyed the strangeness of it all.

Cigarette Burns: Directed by John Carpenter, of Halloween and The Thing. As a fan of this man's work, this was the episode I most wanted to see. Also, having read a plot synopsis, this was one right up my alley. I was disappointed, not because it was bad but because it was too short to properly do this idea justice. If you have seen In the Mouth of Madness (another of Carpenter''s movies) you pretty much know this story. In this varation, there is a man who is known for gettign hard to find movies for collectors. He is hired by a guy to get a copy of "La Fin Absolue du Monde," a movie that was screened once. The reason it was only screened the one time is because after the showing the entire audience went mad and killed each other.The only print was supposedly destroyed, but the collector claims otherwise. The man sent to find the movie starts digging around, traveling to Paris and some other places. Long story short, he finds the movie and starts going crazy int he process. In the end, everyone gets what the want. Also, there is an angel in this one. An angel with his wings cut off. It was pretty fucked up. I wish this was longer, because I love this idea so much and wanted more of it. I also wish that "La Fin Absolue du Monde" was a real movie. I kind of want to see it, consequences be damned.

Fair Haired Child: Directed by William Malone (who did the remake of House on Haunted Hill and FeardotCom). Not much to say here. Girl who is an outcast at school for reasons that are never really explained is kidnapped. She wakes up in a hospital, her mom cares not. Then she is tossed in a basement and tormented by a demon. The reason for the demon is ok, and the twist at the end is kind of fun. Really, though, this was a fairly forgettable episode. Sad, since the majority of this series has been good. Demon wasn't even all that interesting or creepy to look at.

Sick Girl: Directed by Lucky McKee (who did a movie called May, which I never heard of but have added to my netflix). Basically, with this one you have a scientist who studies insects, and has a few as pets, who falls in love with another woman. There is some big, angry, aggressive bug involved that impregnates others by biting them or something. Really, nothing too deep or impressive. You get awkward science lady, cute artist chick, pervy scientist dude, uptight landlady bitch. Lesbian sex scenes, though very tame. One of the stars was an actress who seems to work primarily with this director, which would explain a lot since she wasn't very good. The other main actress was Misty Mundae (now going my her real name Erin Brown). She's adorable when she is actually acting well. Unfortunately, they don't let her stay adorable and shy, instead making her overact as a bitch instead. Wow, is she bad in those scenes. I was a fan of hers from her crappy sexpolitation horror movies. So, it was a treat seeing her try to do something a bit more legitimate. Even if it was a failure.

Pick Me Up: Fairuza Balk is hot. Just want to get that out there early. Michael Moriarty is normally a better actor than this. Those out of the way, I liked the premise of this a lot. Bus of tourists breaks down in the middle of nowhere. One walks off on her own. Half of the remainder stay with the bus, half take a ride with a trucker who happens by. All of them die. The trucker is a serial killer called Wheeler. He kills people who hitchhike. There is another killer called Walker. He hitchhikes and kills people who pick him up. The two meet, and fight over Fairuza Balk's character. Then there is the twist, which I won't give away. Just leave it with, I wasn't expecting that particular twist. Well played, guys.

Haeckel's Tale: John McNaughton directs this. He is known for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. This story was apparently based on a Clive Barker short story. We have some guy who goes to a witch to get his dead lover returned to life. Then a flashback to a pseudo-Frankenstein story that turns into zombie porn. Then back to the original story for the twist ending. Not too bad. There were some bits that seemed to have no real bearing on the rest of the story, but it was a fun episode. Not really horror or scary all that much. Also, Elise is really attractive, even with her...issues.

Imprint: Directed by Takashi Miike, who did Audition and Ichi the Killer. This episode itself is famous for being to shocking for Showtime. Which, really, says a lot about how graphic this movie was. If a premium movie network won't air it, you know you have found the line and crossed it. Then you probably pissed on it and laughed. So, right, This is about an American who is looking for the prostitute he fell in love with in Japan. He arrives on an island of whores, but she isn't there. He takes one of the prostitutes for the night, who happens to be pretty strange (half her face is deformed and she is a bit crazy). This woman tells him the story of what happened to the woman he loved, as well as her history. But she lies. So she tells it again, and another time. The stories she tells are pretty fucked up. Abortions and hangings and needles in places that should not have needles. I cringed, which is saying a lot since i only ever cringe at guys getting hit in the nuts. There were no nut shots in this, so yeah. To be honest, I am not 100% sure I know what happened in this one. At least there was some crazy gore, though, right? Right?