Seeing as it’s nearly Halloween, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favorite horror movie series: Halloween. Despite a couple shitty entries, the original seven forays of Michael Myers and his love of murder is incredibly enjoyable. It also, inevitably, reminds me of the various knockoffs that came up as a result of John Carpenter’s original, namely my least favorite slasher series, Friday the 13th. Jason Voorhees gets all the fame and acclaim and Michael Myers gets shat on. Why? Because Jason’s been in more movies? Phooey and pshaw! I’m clearly biased, but I am willing to see the error of my ways. To that end, I’ve decided to pit these two horror heavies against each other in several categories and come to a logical “Who’s Better?” solution. It’ll be a hell of a lot more scientific than Freddy vs. Jason.
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Over the weekend, Felix Baumgartner fell a really long way out of a thing. Setting or breaking all sorts of world records, Baumgartner took a hot air balloon 24 miles into the air before jumping out and free falling for nearly 5 minutes at speeds well over 700 miles per hour. He spent the rest of his trip down to Earth (another five minutes) floating down via parachute. It’s a very impressive and life-affirming testament to the power of the human spirit that didn’t need to be done at all. The actual feat is wonderful, but what’s more interesting to me is that, to get to these ten minutes, Baumgartner had to sit by himself in a tiny capsule underneath a helium balloon for 2.5 hours to get to the right altitude.
Two and a half hours to sit and contemplate the billions of ways this could go wrong. 150 minutes to question whether what you’ve chosen to do with your life is really worth all this. It’d be very interesting to know what was going through his mind. Well, being the liar I am, I actually know some of the things he DID think about from the moment the balloon took off until it was high enough to jump out of.
It really is staggering just how many Alien rip-offs there were in the early 80s. It’s possible there were more of this type of movie than there were rip-offs of Star Wars, if such a thing can be measured. The vast majority of them concern a crew of space-goers who come across a big, ugly, and usually crappily-made extraterrestrial and have to not die because of it. The monster is always a terrible, menacing force, but what if the monster could, say, manifest itself into the victim’s darkest fear? That’d be pretty scary, right? Provided, of course, that your darkest fear is some kind of tentacle-having or insectoid monster. This interesting yet ultimately misguided spin on the Alien formula belongs to 1981’s Galaxy of Terror.
Evil little kids are certainly nothing new to horror films. Pre-pubescent terror goes all the way back to things like The Bad Seed and Village of the Damned. With Roman Polanski’s masterpiece, Rosemary’s Baby, a new and even younger breed of murderous children movie was ushered into the public consciousness: the evil BABY movie. All make, model, and serial number of these movies where a woman carries and gives birth to (literally) the spawn of Satan were produced in the early-70s to capitalize on the worldwide phenomenon of demon newborns and pretty much all of them are stupid. It’s a baby! How could babies be scary? While most of these films dealt with it in terms of the baby having psychic powers, one movie, 1975’s The Devil Within Her, actually has a super strong, violent baby who punches people. I…I really wish it was fake. Read More »
It’s only been three weeks into the NFL season and already the replacement referees have made a mockery of the game and become a national joke. It illustrates the stubborn, tight-waddedness of Commissioner Goodell and the importance of having people who know what they’re doing in various positions. However, have we stopped to consider the other victims of these new (shitty) referees (shittily) calling professional football games? It’s a horrific chain reaction that affects everybody… EVERYBODY. With the replacement refs working NFL games, there are now no people qualified to work at Foot Locker.
This year, and in fact this month, is the 20th anniversary of the premiere of the landmark superhero cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series. Twenty years! Boy, I feel old. Because of this, I’ve been watching some of the old episodes and it absolutely holds up. Every part of it is a masterpiece, from the animation to the voice acting to the music. The theme music is particularly great and I think I know why it’s so fantastic: NO LYRICS.
We’re fast approaching Halloween (and Christmas, if Target store displays are to be believed) and that always puts me in the mind to watch horror movies. I love them, watch them by the hundreds. I can’t remember the last time I was actually frightened by a movie, though. I didn’t always like them, either. No, I didn’t start watching horror movies really until I was in college. Before that, I was a big ol’ scaredy cat. They’re just movies; why was I so petrified? Not even just movies, though; I was afraid of pretty much everything. Why was I so afraid? And why did it change? No better person to ask than my 8-year-old self, eh? Time to take another trip into my own psyche! Read More »
The name Michael Mann is synonymous with gritty urban sprawl, fast-paced action, and films about the criminal underbelly; so of course that’s who you want for your supernatural horror flick set in WWII Romania. Right? That makes sense. In the early 80s, though, the director hadn’t quite cemented himself in any particular genre, so going completely in another direction seemed not so far-fetched. So, he followed his debut film, the impressive 1981 crime film Thief, with his most atypical film, trading in his car chases and jewel heists for Nazis and demons for 1983’s The Keep. It’s an odd little movie that tried to be (and probably should have been) a lot bigger. As pretty as the cinematography and design is, it suffers from that most allusive of film maladies, not making a lick of sense. Read More »
This year is the 31st anniversary of the release of Steven Spielberg’s seminal adventure classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which introduced the whole wide world to Indiana Jones and his high-flying, rip-roaring historical antics. To commemorate the release of the entire Indiana Jones saga on Blu-ray, they’ve re-released Raiders in theaters on IMAX screens. I saw this recently and it’s amazing. It really cemented the Indiana Jones movies as one of my very favorite film trilogies ever. Boy, I sure am glad they didn’t make a fourth one, which would have been a decade too late and lack all the punch and greatness of the first three. These movies taught me a great deal of important life lessons, which number conveniently 20. And here they are! Read More »
Recently, the trailer for the new horror film The Bay was released. Despite having a very eye-catching and effective poster, it immediately drew an eye-roll when I saw it was produced by the people who gave us Paranormal Activity. Sure enough, the trailer shows us yet another movie made up of footage supposedly suppressed by the government but is somehow leaked to the public, miraculously in a nice 90-minute package with all the unimportant bits removed. The trailer looks like a better-than-average one of these movies, but it’s still just found-footage. Then, the credit that really threw me for a loop: “From Academy-Award Winning Director Barry Levinson.” What? Surely he just produced it, right? But no; I checked the IMDb and the film was indeed directed by the guy who made Diner, Rain Man and Sleepers. Haven’t we gotten over this style of movie making? Aren’t we passed it yet?