Since I spent all of last week eating, drinking and thinking about The Thing I’m guardedly optimistic on hearing the news that a prequel to the movie being made.
Now, they certainly have some challenges in making this film. For this film to be consistent with the other then everyone has to die by the end. That would be a deal-breaker for me if they weasel out and let someone escape. So, I would really expect a sense of inescapable doom hanging over this whole thing.
Also, the reason the 1982 movie stands up so well over time is that it isn’t really a movie about monsters or gore. Rather, John Carpenter really mastered the sense of paranoia and claustrophobia. If the new film is a simple gore fest it’ll be doomed to obscurity.
Another Halloween season is down and I tried to delve into the season with mixed results. Here are my findings.
Trick or treating was rather tepid. We had some kids come by but nothing spectacular. I can’t blame them however. The community set Trick or Treating hours from 1-4pm on the 30th! It’s like they sat down to try to figure out how to suck all the fun out of the day.
We started our way through the Twilight Zone catalog. I thought I’d seen all of them but apparently not. What a brilliant show. Rod Serling was a particularly interesting guy and I highly recommend you check out this interview (parts 2 and 3 are on YouTube as well) with him circa 1959. You could see the struggles between ‘selling out’ and commercial success being fought out even in TV’s early days. I found his bluntness surprising and inviting. Could you imagine a producer today alienating so many potential demographics on the eve of launching a new show?
We watched a couple of movies. The first was titled Moon and the second was a Spanish movie called Timecrimes. Both movies had promise and weren’t bad but I think both suffered from spending too much time with their central idea. Both would have been much better had they been shorter (45 minutes or so…definitely less than an hour). It’s kind of a shame there isn’t much of a market for shorter films like there is for short stories or novellas. I’m not sure I could recommend these films but I wouldn’t actively dissuade someone from seeing them either. If you find yourself on a barren asteroid with lots of free time on your hands, go check them out.
But, something I most definitely can recommend is The Passage by Justin Cronin. The book has a number of similarities to Stephen King’s The Stand but without some of it’s flaws (primary among them the fact that Stephen King was the author). At 845 pages it’s just about a massive as the King book (and since it’s only the first of a proposed trilogy the final project will dwarf The Stand) but without the long descriptions King is famous for that convince you the guy is getting paid by the word. It also avoids the incredibly lame ending of the Stand (although to be fair, since this is only the first installment of the series comparing the end of the first book to the end of King’s entire project may not be appropriate). It’s got something for everyone: out of control military test projects, vampires, the apocalypse and cross country travel. What more could you want? There are some nice twists to the story, namely the way Cronin plays with the vampire mythology and adapts it to his universe. There was some interesting imagery used in the story and it might deserve a second read to see if there’s more than just a entertaining post apocalyptic yarn in there.
Mrs. TwShiloh and myself got to catch up on the new season of Dexter and we continue to be flummoxed at how this show manages to avoid jumping the shark. Every time we’re convinced the writers are going to have to go for the easy and predictable contrivances, they surprise us yet again.
And finally, I saw the pilot episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. As much as I enjoy the comic I have to admit I envy those who haven’t read it since the whole storyline will come as a surprise. Still, the series has a great deal of promise. The actors they’ve shown so far are quite good as are the effects and if they can keep the quality up this promises to be a great, plot heavy series.
Feels like it’s been too long since I’ve had some zombie news to write about but today, consider the dry spell officially over.
I was cruising through my ‘on demand’ section of cable and came across ‘Zombie Roadkill‘ which is an amazing 6 part mini-series (and when I say ‘mini’ I mean it, each installment is about 4 minutes long) about various roadkill victims which rise from the dead seeking revenge. It’s got that Evil Dead over the top, campy humor (which makes sense since Sam Rami was involved) and Thomas Hayden Church stars as a tougher than nails Park Ranger.
And in my book, any film that stars a zombie squirrel that rips out your eyes and then inserts one of them into its own socket is worth watching:
Freddie Kruger was a wussy!
Amazingly, for a 24 minute series, it looks like they made another 5-10 minutes of special features and behind the scenes stuff. All of which you can see here.
I’m finally able to catch up on some movies that have been in my queue for awhile…
The first was the Spanish movie [Rec] which was quite enjoyable. Think Alien except instead of occurring in space it takes place in a Barcelona apartment building. And instead of an Alien, it’s zombies (kinda sorta). There’s not much in the way of character development but you don’t really need that for this kind of movie which is really more about conveying a sense of dread and claustrophobia. There isn’t an excessive amount of gore, relying instead on good old fashioned suspense to deliver thrills and I found the subtitles to actually enhance the atmosphere of the film by adding an extra layer of anxiety. Not only do you not understand what’s going on within the plot of the movie but you don’t understand what people are saying either. I don’t think it’ll make ‘classic’ status but it’s a nice, solid movie that’s worth your time.
The next movie was Sunshine which had some interesting ideas but ended up being a mess. It really does look like they had two movies and just mashed them up which resulted in having two incomplete (and unsatisfactory movies). Even though the movie had some nice visuals I just can’t recommend it as the plot completely fell apart and made no sense.
Finally, Monsters is about an invasion of Northern Mexico by giant cephalopod sort of creatures. Yeah, I know that sounds lame but it was actually pretty good. The filmmakers appear to have had a rather limited budget so that had to go for a story rather than an effects driven film but that actually forced them to have a plot, which was a nice change of pace. Almost all of the ‘action’ is in the first five minutes (but it is a pretty cool way to open up the movie) and the rest focuses on two people trying to get back to the U.S. In that regard, it’s probably better to think of this as a relationship movie with a sci-fi backdrop. It won’t keep you up at night but if you enjoyed the near future realism look of District 9, the visuals should appeal to you.
The original was quite good and the American version is not supposed to be an exact remake so do go and see the original. That being said, I’m pretty excited to see this one given that it’s getting positive reviews. Here’s the trailer:
The TwShiloh household recently began watching the BBC series Being Human and it’s pretty good stuff. The plot revolves around three people sharing a house and the twist is that they are a vampire, werewolf and a ghost.
The show follows their attempts to blend in and join humanity while struggling with their various trials and tribulations. One doesn’t need to have an overly analytical mind to realize that these three paranormal states are, in fact, metaphors for much more mundane (and common) plot lines that fill TV dramas. The vampire is an addictive personality (blood, cigarettes, bad girlfriends) and plays the role subtlety and well. Lycanthropy raises all sorts of issues of self loathing and struggling for hiding one’s identity and is clearly supposed to represent repressed homosexuality. Even though the character is hetero, he is just shy of Nathan Lane’s flamboyant Albert from the Birdcage with a lot of hysterics and startled exclamations. The ghost is a young woman who’s struggling to find (and establish) her own identity. In life she defined herself only through others and so had little independent existence.
Without the paranormal angle this could just be a bad soap opera. With it, however, the writers are able to do some interesting things with the characters without getting too heavy handed as well as introducing a bit of fun.
And it is fun. The series is styled as a comedy-drama and there are equal bits of both. The plot lines are fresh, with a nice amount of unexpected twists and some interesting ideas about the horror archetypes thrown in.
Two seasons have been broadcast thus far and a third is on the way. If things go as they have in the past, my positive review will be followed shortly by the BBC announcing that they’re canceling the show immediately.
The only thing I can really ding the series on thus far is that there’s far too much snarling going on. When the vampires are mad they bare their teeth and hiss (like we’ve all seen oh so many times before). But really, is that what they’d really do? How often have you seen a person hiss? Or make some incredibly contrived affectation? And for the few times you’ve seen someone try it, how often has it worked? Still, that’s a minor point….Check it out and enjoy.
Now that I’m back to kind of a regular schedule I can enjoy keeping up with my blogroll.
Jason has a kick-ass post about cognition in snakes that involves putting them in a weightless environment. I’m tired of these mother-flippin’ snakes on this mother-flippin’ Soyuz capsule.
Mike Bennett is starting part 2 of his vampire novel podcast Underwood and Flinch. I’ve recommended it before so I’m sure you’ve all listened to it but in the off chance you’ve ignored my previous recommendations, it’s not too late to catch up with part 1. Mike is a great audio performer and storyteller. There’s none of that namby pamby Twilight sort of vampire in here. Good stuff.