2010: Week 27 Blots

BLOT: (11 Jul 2010 - 02:22:55 PM)

Poultrygeist night and growing old

Had some friends over, last night, to watch Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (LGT: Wikipedia, or, if you prefer...the official website). I had originally picked the movie up up for five dollars through Horror Mall, which looks like a deal because it is $23.49 at Amazon.com. For those wondering what the hell I am talking about, and afraid to follow the link, it goes like this: A chicken restaurant is built on top of an Indian burial ground. The vengeful spirits infect the chicken with a virus/curse that causes those that eat it to turn into hosts for the "chicken dead". Some of which are zombies. Some of which hatch into chicken-esque monsters. A dude named Arbie (or Arby) starts working there mostly to spite his now ex-girlfriend and newly lesbian Wendy, who has been protesting the place for desecrating the history of the place. There are also other fun stock characters: the gay latino, the angry muslim, Irish priest, and etc etc. As the death count skyrockets, jabs are tossed thick and thin at college-aged protesters, various religions, political groups, and corporate identity. All the while, crap and puke and gore gets splattered around with insouciant glee. It is spoken into existence by the mind and will of Lloyd Kaufman and it is up to you, the movie viewer, to accept that it is part of the experience. Gags and gags follow, including musical numbers, and we eventually reach something like a conclusion.

If you watch the trailer, then you will know the movie is in bad taste. No doubt. Inarguable. However, I'd say it is as much about joie de vivre as schlock. As I've said before (then, about Ed Lee's The Bighead): "Like all good transgressive works, there is something kind of holy about tapping so deep into your inexplicable id, brushing up against the hell you will never know. It is a freeing sort of act, and that's about the best I can say about it. Embracing no holds barred because real life is all about the barring of holds. And poo. Life is definitely about the poo." A movie like this can go anywhere and do anything while there. There is definitely a heavy dose of scatological chuckle, but there is just also a, I don't know, delight. Heh. What I am saying is, go into to have a good time, or avoid it. It's a free country (until the mega-conglomerates take over our souls, anyhow).

Even though Poultrygeist was the main focus, there were a few other movies. We did the 1970 version of Dunwich Horror (LGT: IMDB.com), which is trippy and psychedelic and more a statement on the sexual revolution than anything like horror. And easily mockable. After PG, we watched (kind of), Midnight Meat Train, which seemed to be ok but most of the dialogue was lost in the general party chatter. I'll rewatch that sometime and post more about it, then. Finally, watched the Doctor Who episode that ends up introducing K-9. Like MMT, we were mostly chatting with it in the background, so I am not sure where it was going and will have to rewatch.

I'm full out exhausted. If you factor in the time Kerry visited yesterday (she was originally on tap to watch movies with us, but did not want to melt her brain to PG:NotCD), I was actively engaged with company from about noon to 4:30am. That is too damn many hours for an old man like me. After the bulk of company had left, I remarked to Allen (who is leaving Huntsville in a couple of days and so that was a something of a one-last hurrah for him for now) that as I was feeding the pets and sort of putting some of the stuff away, it hit me that Saturday nights are no longer about partying with friends, but have become more about at the glorious time you can relax with a little booze and a good book or movie because you don't have to worry about work the next day. This, of course, means I am getting old but that's ok: I'm married, have a cat that I adore, plenty of books and movies to read, and am a bit set in my ways. I'm sure I'm going to bitch about joints by the time I'm 66, but at 33 I am cool with being just a bit washed up.

A couple of other shout-outs to visitors (not to exclude some of the Makeshop guys where were as absolutely awesome to hang out with and discuss the dangers of nano-bots with as always). Brandon got to hang out for the first time at my place. I've known him, online, for a couple of years now. It was good to get to hang out just a bit more with him. Also, Niko was briefly in town and was able to stop by. Next time he is up, he gets priority one friendship time and I'll clear a night so he and I can kick back with a cigar and some Clive Barker adaptation. Of all my friends, no one else appreciates the silly to sublime nuances of horror quite like him. With him in Atlanta, this basically means I'm watching all the non-group-watchable horror movies by myself and making random blog posts about them. Heh. So, to Niko: safe trip back. To Allen: here's hoping the move goes well and your time back up at college is good. To Brandon: consider yourself invited to all subsequent movie nights if you are game for it.

Now I am going to rest my old man bones and finish off this Partagas maduro while Sarah is on her way back up from Auburn.

Me in 2010, Horror

BLOT: (10 Jul 2010 - 02:11:32 AM)

Double Rainbow guy, I salute you. Woooo, indeed.

BLOT: (09 Jul 2010 - 01:25:54 PM)

Sun showers

In yesterday's post, I was talking about it raining hard and then being sunny later. It was also, for a bit, a sun-shower (a rain storm with sun shining through). Someone commented on my Livejournal re-post about the sun/rain combo, and I brought up the old "Devil's beating his wife!" colloquialism. This lead me to look up more, and it turns out Wikipedia has a list of folkloric names for sun-showers. Any good ones you don't see on the list?


BLOT: (08 Jul 2010 - 07:29:23 PM)

Answering political survey questions (1-800-251-5850) and afternoon rainstorms.

The light through my library window suggests our brief rain shower has passed on by, this afternoon. Aren't those great? I mean, besides the fact that they dump humidity everywhere. I like the way they blow up in the afternoon, drop cold and heavy rain on an otherwise scorcher of a day. The smell of dust and pollen rises up in this invisible fog. An unmistakeable aroma. Then, within the hour, no matter how bad it has gotten: it has passed. Thunder is off in the distance, the sun is peeking back out. There was a summer, maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, where every afternoon had a severe pop-up thunderstorm. I would remember going walk in the afternoon, maybe 1pm or 2pm. Would walk about two miles. Many days, by the time I was getting back, the clouds had blackened the sky. A few times I didn't make it back before the rain would hit. We are talking about a walk under an hour. Blue skies to black in such a short time. By the night, stars would be back out and the bull frogs down in the swamp would be singing in the last vestiges of wet.

For the past several weeks, I have been getting phone call, daily, from 1-800-251-5850. I called it back a couple of days ago, and it turned out to belong ot a marketing/political research firm. They said they would not take "do-no-recall" requests on call-backs, but the next time they called, they would go ahead and take one. When I got one today, I was first going to ask them to not call us any more, but then I figured: you know what, why not? You know how you hear about polls on confidence in the president and you ask "Who are they asking? I've never gotten a call..." Well, here was my chance to answer a call. Most of them were simple. I feel a little bad for the woman, because I'm me and so I answer everything "I am mostly ok with X, but I am fairly sure that some degree of Y could be implemented." She is sitting there with her screen saying "Choose one of the following that best fits their answer" and she has to make a conscious choice. Ah well, probably shoudln't have kept calling after the first two weeks of us not picking up. If they call back, I'm going to openly mock them, waste their time, and/or give them nothing but FUD. No real reason, besides pestering people at random over the phone seems like a good way to ask for such behavior.

Did not sleep well last night (didn't get to sleep until sometime after 6am, was woken up about 11 by the phone). Going to try and get some sleep fairly soon. My day at work, tomorrow, won't be too longer but it will be long enough. This weekend will be fairly packed for me (another movie night being part of it, but also a few other things) so I'll probably be a bit tired come Sunday night, just in time to do it all over again. Time left to Grad School's next-to-last Semester? About a month. Woo.

Me in 2010, Phone Pests

BLOT: (08 Jul 2010 - 03:18:02 PM)

For those interested in picking up some Brian Keene books

I like Brian Keene. I've read a good number of books and follow him Twitter as well as keep up with his blog. Early today, he posted a link of one to the other that represents a concise list of all the places to get his various books. This includes Kindle, nook, Sony Reader, and so forth copies. Comics, zombie novels, other horror novels, a screen play, an indie-horror DVD, and even some clothing. I talk about him from time to time, and if you are curious, there you go in one place:

BLOT: (07 Jul 2010 - 08:12:52 PM)

Struttin that ass in Big Spring Park

And the remix!

BLOT: (07 Jul 2010 - 03:21:42 PM)

Ryu Murakami's Audition [J-Horror Book]

If you have seen Takashi Miike's oft-cited movie, Audition, then you know most of what the book that inspired it will entail. Aoyama, a widower, finally decides to get back into the dating game a few years after the death of his wife. He and a friend set up an elaborate audition for a movie that will never be, all for the hope of snaring young hopefuls so that he can have his pick. He immediately falls for Asami Yamasaki: a beautiful, fragile-as-porcerlain, almost other worldly woman. Ignoring all the hints from friends that something isn't right about her, he continues to fall deeper and deeper into her snare: up until the infamous "oh, this is a horror novel, huh?" ending.

The book is sharp and lean, the kind of thing you could devour in one or two goes if you made time for it. It reads somewhat compulsively, the prose is effective and light and both evocative and easy. A beach read or the sort of book you take to read on break (as long as you are willing to risk being a little late getting back). If you were to stop two-thirds the way in, you would think you had given up on a kind of sickly love love story in which the slightly womanizer widower was dating a slightly weird person: a bit of a hook but not really anything not delved into by romantic comedies or light dramas. While that is sort of the point, a few insertions of menace outside of general "There's something not right about her" might have been good (a couple/three mentions of men losing their feet not-withstanding). Murakami's playing a somewhat dangerous game, hoping that hints that things will go wrong coupled with cover blurbs and word mouth that things do go wrong is enough to keep you going until things do go wrong. I wonder how many people would have watched the movie or read the book if the ending wasn't spoiled for them.

On the book versus movie question, I'm going to go ahead and say movie on this one. Book goes more into the mindset of Aoyama, while the movie exposes Yamasaki more effectively, and in the toss-up between sad-sack of a widower and demented but beautiful ex-ballet dancer: you're gonna wanna bank on the ballet dancer. Also, while the book definitely has a humdinger of a tense moment towards the end, few can slam a viscera cream pie in your face like the unflinching Miike. Watch the movie, first, and then come back and read the book to get a few of the background details that were left out or were more or less untranslatable to screen.

On a bonus note, look at the UK cover of the novel:


BLOT: (07 Jul 2010 - 01:44:17 PM)

No burnin' the turtles, the lawyer somewhat arbitrated

I'll keep my comments light on this one, but apparently they just recently reached a lawyer overseen agreement to stop BP from burning up endangered sea-turtles in the control burn...or at least reached some sort of agreement to agree. Hurray?

"We've agreed to meet to work out the terms to make sure the turtles are protected," Jason Burge, a lawyer for several environmental groups suing to protect the sea turtles, told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier at an emergency hearing today in New Orleans federal court...The wildlife groups withdrew their request for a temporary restraining order blocking the burns, on the condition they may renew the request later if the turtle-rescue settlement falls apart. Don Haycraft, BP's lead lawyer in New Orleans spill-related litigation, said..."This effort is an example of BP and the government and the outside parties reaching a common agreement on an issue—protecting sea turtles—that is important to everyone..."

Ah, corporate speak. I love IT.

BLOT: (06 Jul 2010 - 07:00:20 PM)

Three movie reviews: Triange, The Road, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Guess I've watched a movie a night over the past few days, and the next couple of days may be no different. My thoughts on them aren't quite as focused as they are with some movies, so condensing the reviews down to a single paragraph apiece might be a good idea. Here, you go, then: movie reviews for Triangle, The Road, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

TRIANGLE: The premise is a group of young friends are caught by a storm while sailing (cliche), end up finding a old cruise liner that isn't as derelict as it should be (cliche), and weird things start happening (cliche). I can safely report, though, that the movie itself isn't all that cliche. I mean, there are a few spots from the cabinet and "old and tired", but manages to be a fresh take on some old themes. I won't spoil it, which means I can't even really talk about what is happening outside of what I have already sayd, but I will warn you that if you watch the trailer: it will be spoiled. I have no idea who approved that bit of promotion, but it basically goes "the twist is this, and there will be this twist...." and even shows a scene from right towards the end of the movie. So, skip those unless you are the sort that wants to know what sort of weird genre you are getting into, and rent it or watch it. Acting is fair to good, plot is good, and the overall staging and setting are good. Good overall rating. One final caveat, while this movie is tense and has a sense of creeping dread, after the first half-hour, most of the horror starts to unravel as the mystery kicks in. Best to think of it as more of a "weird fiction" movie than a horror movie.

THE ROAD: I'm a fair fan of the book. I have read it a few times, and think about it regularly. I've been wary of this adaptation for a bit just because there are so many things that can go wrong. In fact, if you watch the theatrical trailer: you should get an idea. The trailer shows explosions and running from bad guys and strange cult looking things and guns being drawn. If you assumed the trailer represented a decent ratio of the movie, it would be about an hour and a half of action sequences with a couple of maudlin, meandering bits. Actually, though, you see clips from just about every action shot in the piece and the majority of the movie is, like the book, the slow death of a man and his son as they travel across the now burnt husk of America. It never says what went wrong with the world (for the best, for anything definite would have dozens people screaming how it wouldn't be that way, blah blah blah) and we know only a few days of this broken family's life. Some harrowing scenes (one of the worst is the mom terrified to bring a life into the world they live in, her scream of despair contrasted to the grey landscape); but the overall effect is a little disaffected. It is hard to put that much ash and bleakness into the screen and have it all stick. Smit-McPhee, who plays the son, is heartbreaking while Viggo Mortensen, as the dad, is appropriately selfish and selfless as the book calls for. Stand-out short appearances by Charlize Theron (mom) and Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce. Plot is non-existence, the story is bleak, the acting is fair to great, and the photography is an appropriate mix of long shots and close-ups. Movie earns a Fair-Good because it feels like it could have better tapped into the mythos of the source, but deserves to be remembered.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO: In an American book-market that can only deal with one runaway best-seller at a time (and we're still about five steps deep into the Twilight swamp, though starting to walk out of it); many have overlooked the also hit Millenium Trilogy. This is the first movie in the Swedish version of the films (an American version is likely, though I do not think final details have hit yet). The movie and the book are about a recently disgraced reporter, asked to solve a 40-year-old murder, and a young, goth-alt hacker with something like Aspergers (the "Girl" from the title). The book has a few plots that drift around each other: the case that disgraces the reporter, a family biography, the old murder(s), office politics, family politics, the abuse that the hacker takes by people in power, and so forth. The movie appropriately pares them down to, mostly, the bits that set the stage in motion. A few relationships are dropped, some are slightly rewritten, a couple of characters are dropped. Never does the plot particularly suffer, though, not the main one. The end result is still two-and-half-hours long and two of the threads still comes across as a bit Dickensian happy (both of which are extremely cut down in the movie so that the gritty of the main-plot can be savored). The hacker, who has a a couple rough scenes, by the way, is expanded upon here or there to make her just a little more toned down as a character. Some will like that (like me) while those wanting the fierier version might dislike it. Plot is good, acting is good, and the photograph is good. Overall, a Good movie.

Movies, Horror

BLOT: (05 Jul 2010 - 10:03:08 PM)

Horror Mall is dropping its Eraserhead stock. Good sale on while it sticks around [bookstore]

I'm not sure exactly what is up, but based on the Horror Mall's Horrorgy post, "WE'RE ERASING ERASERHEAD PRESS! OUR LOSS IS YOUR GAIN!, they and Eraserhead Press will no longer be enjoying each other's company. I'll not get into it (I like both companies), but one quick quote from the entry: "Rather than promote small press havens such as the Horror Mall, their owner made it abundantly clear that Horror Mall was NOT in their business plan." Sounds like this is some sort of six-degrees of separation from declining book sales...

The upside, for as much as there is one, is that a big ol' Bizarro sale is going down. Including such highly recommended Eraserhead Press books as The Baby-Jesus Buttplug, Teeth and Tongue Landscape, and Shatnerquake. I'm going to fill in my gaps of Carlton Mellick, I think, and take a couple of stabs at some I don't have.

Book Industry

Written by Doug Bolden

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