Monday, January 13, 2020

Meanwhile, Over At Dread Media....#646

This week, it’s the end of the world as A.T. White knows it as Des and Duane take a look at the strange apocalyptic saga from last year, Starfish. Then Rich The Monster Movie Kid looks at Mike Flanagan's 2019's adaptation of Stephen King sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep!

The trailers is below, as is an essay on the difficulty of making cosmic horror films, Stephen King's top 15 favorite horror films, a list of songs to play at the end of the world and--if you’ve got a lot of time--a compendium of radio dramas adapted from or inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft!

Listen to Dread Media #646 here


Thursday, January 9, 2020

If Everybody’s Doing, Why Can’t We: 2020 Stuffage To Look Forward To

Welcome to the new decade.  I hope everyone made the transition to the new 20‘s.

I am still hoping to lure some of you into the Domicile as a full-on Patreon.  Here are some things I hope to lure you in with:

1) I’ve still got two copies of The Best of Bare Bones, an anthology of pieces that appeared in the seminal publication that grew out of the ashes of The Scream Factory.  I’m represented by an interview with the great detective novelist Richard Prather and a critical overview of George S. Chesbro’s science fiction/crime noir series, Mongo.  I mailed a third copy this week to my $10 Patreon, Angie Bulkeley.  I want to give these remaining copies to the next two people who go to my Patreon Page at the $5 level or more.  The $5 level will net you exclusive writings like the ongoing Liberty serial (I am working on the second segment now), reviews and commentaries, access to the uncensored versions of Thomas Deja’s Watching (which I will get back to, promise!) and Patreon exclusive podcasts Cinematic Mirage: The Theater of Movies That Do Not Exist (a new episode should be recorded shortly) and Pacific Rim Rialto (Episode One, covering Japan’s Bloody Chainsaw Girl, is in the can; Episode Two, covering Korea’s Rampant, will be recorded shortly).  If you decide to invest more money, you can get things such as movie commentaries (the first two will cover Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and All About Evil, and will be recorded in the next two months) and the right to make me write articles about whatever you want once every three months.  And that’s not counting special surprises like the Holiday Mixtape I dropped on Christmas Eve, participation in special events like the Halloween Horrorfest, and the experimental pilot Come To The Movies, which is still free for everyone!

And speaking of Come To The Movies....

2) The response to this little experiment was pretty positive, so I will be doing it again in the near future.  The Two True Freaks Network has picked it up, and I will most likely do what I am doing with Thomas Deja’s Watching--post future episodes ‘raw and unedited’ on Patreon for a period of weeks like I did with my...experience with Cats before releasing it on the TTF network.  The Patreon version will include everything, but I will be streamlining the TTF episode so it fits within a half hour listening time.  Like Cinematic Mirage, there is no set schedule, but I will try to make it to the movies every month or so.

3) If you like something I present but are unwilling to commit to a monthly pledge of support, you can do a one time donation over on my Ko-Fi page.  Presently, the money from this page will be going toward getting some new equipment for my audio stunts.  In my situation, every little bit helps.

I know it sounds like I’m begging, but things are bad and I am not asking for a handout.  I continue to produce new stuff and looking for new ways to entertain and inform you.  For me to continue to do so, I need to keep my equipment current and my head above water.  If you can’t, I understand, but if you can, it will be appreciated.

Let’s fight against the rudeness and injustice of this world together.  Let’s make the world stranger!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Meanwhile, Over At Dread Media....#645

As is the tradition, the first episode of the year is Des’ look back on the year before!  Join the Master of the Morbid Mansion that is Dread Media as he lists the best of horror in pop culture across the board!

Below are some Best of Lists from some of our YouTube Peers (including one from 2018 from Mr. Good Bad Flicks Cecil Trachtenberg...go figure), a playlist of the best metal songs of the year, and an animated musical review of film in 2019!

Listen to Dread Media #645 here




Saturday, January 4, 2020

THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE PHASE ONE: Candidates for 1980

Welcome to the 80‘s!  I’m pretty sure I’m going almost to the ends of Queens, as I was expelled from Benjamin Cardoza and transferred to Springfield Gardens--a school that was primarily black.  This, oddly enough, resulted in me not getting into as many fights as I made friends with one of the members of the Wrestling Squad.  I also got mugged for the first time; the mugger only made away with a package of Trident.  I am pretty deep into my community theater phase, and discovered my love of musicals.  I’m also watching a lot of movies...

...which is why I might put stuff on here I did see in its original run.  Some of them I have only hazy memories of, and some I have forgotten entirely except I know I saw them.  So keep that in mind from this time out.

THE APPLE
I’ve already established that I love musicals, and 1980 is usually associated with Xanadu, the roller disco musical that featured Olivia Newton-John as a Greek muse and Michael Beck as a man killing his career.  But true weird musical fanatics know about this, a Canon Films joint that tells a...Biblical Creation Myth? with strange disco music, hippies and people walking around with this triangular prismatic sticker on their forehead.  I want to experience it with the more educated eyes I now possess.

THE NINTH CONFIGURATION

I watched Exorcist III: Legion for last year’s Halloween Horrorfest.  It was the other, more famous film directed by writer William Peter Blatty.  I was so impressed by that film, I want to see this, his first effort.  It’s supposedly a black comedy about a hospital after the Vietnam War which tries an unusual treatments towards its patients, all of whom are suffering from PTSD.  It’s also got an interesting cast for a lover of character actors like me, featuring Stacy Keach, Jason Miller, Neville Brand, Moses Gunn, Tom Atkins, and others.

THE STUNT MAN

Okay, this one I almost saw, as I tried to go to a revival screening of it at a theater in Times Square (it’s now a visitor center)...and was promptly told that the pass I received was no longer valid because the person who issued it had apparently ripped off the company that was operating the theater.  It’s supposedly a weird metaphysical thriller where Steve Railsback (he of the Most Punchable Face) is on the run and becomes a stunt man for Peter O’Toole’s maniacal director--who may be more than a director.  I have always been intrigued by this film and want to finally see it.


THE GONG SHOW MOVIE

This is a strange one--a TV tie-in based on a bizarrely cynical reboot of the classic talent show, and apparently focused primarily on its creator and host, Chuck Barris--who is a cynical and bizarre person himself, judging from his disputed autobiography(?) Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (which was turned into a great movie by George Clooney featuring Sam Rockwell as Barris).  Even though TV tie-ins were common in the 60‘s, they had died out by 1980...which makes this a strange outlier.  I loved The Gong Show (not enough to watch the neutered version featuring Mike Meyers playing an English stereotype), and I am super-curious what they managed to do to take up a feature film.

Please head over to my Twitter Page and vote on which film you’d like to see me view and review in the coming weeks.  This may be the strangest collection of candidates, so I’m curious as to what ends up the winner.

Oh...and if you’re wondering, I have seen Murder By Decree, the winner from last year, and will post my thoughts in the next few days.

If you enjoy my journey through my cinematic past, please consider becoming a Domicile of Dread Patreon and receive lots of free goodies throughout the year including exclusive essays, movie commentaries and podcasts.  If you'd rather not make a monthly commitment, please consider making a one shot donation through Ko-Fi.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Phase Nine of...THE HONEYWELL EXPERIMENT!

The New Year always brings a New, Particularly Fun Episode of The Honeywell Experiment, and 2020 sees Virginia and me urging my lab monkey Chris Honeywell to Get Up And Boogie by enduring--WATCHING!  I mean watching 1975‘s Darktown Strutters.  Learn how a script written in three days became a thoroughly insane spoof of blaxploitation and biker flicks that involves a Colonel Sanders look-a-like, cross-dressing Klansmen, martial artists who don’t like doors, The Dramatics stuck in a dungeon and jokes about terminal venereal disease!  This is one of the strangest movies we’ve discussed in this series (and if you know I’m saying that after a film featuring a cat living inside another cat, that’s saying something), and it’s the perfect way to ring in the new decade!

(Plus it’ll put a smile on your face, which is fortunate given what we’re going to subject you to in February...)

Park your brightly colored tricycle here!

If you want to support this podcast and other podcasts like it, please consider becoming a Domicile of Dread Patreon and receive lots of free goodies throughout the year including exclusive essays, movie commentaries and podcasts.  If you'd rather not make a monthly commitment, please consider making a one shot donation through Ko-Fi.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Meanwhile, Over At Dread Media....#644

Des’ admiration for Nicolas Cage and Werner Herzog are unparalleled...so why not celebrate them with a review of a film that unites them together?  Join Des and Darryll as they view the film that made Abel Ferrera vow to kick Herzog’s ass, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.  Then I drop by to discuss the curious Season of the Witch, in which Cage shares a scene with Christopher Lee!  Finally Des closes out the episode with a Cage/Herzog Top Five!

The trailers are here, as are an essay exploring whether Cage’s acting is Deep or Dumb, Werner Herzog’s Ant-Man and music from Herzog and The Magnets and an awful young Crispin Glover and Cage from the TV pilot Best of Times!

Listen to Dread Media #644 here

Thursday, December 26, 2019

THE SEVENTH LABOR OF HALLMARK: A Christmas Melody (2015)

Hope you enjoyed The Holiday of Your Choice, ladies and gentlemen!  Here’s me suffering some more for your enjoyment!

When Special Hallmark Christmas Consultant William Bibbiani told me there was a Hallmark film directed by Mariah Carey--whose biggest (and, to the best of my recollection, only) cinematic offering was the manic, treacly Glitter--I had to make it a Labor.

And, to be fair, this is nowhere near as bad as the atrocities I’ve seen committed by Candace Cameron Bure and those ‘godwink’ people.  Oh, it’s bad...and a portion of it is thanks to Ms. Carey, who insists on playing the ‘bad guy’ as well as directing and apparently prepared for the role by bingwatching every prime time soap Aaron Spelling ever produced.  But maybe it’s because I am over halfway through this terrible trek through the Hallmark Holidays, but there’s a certain charm to its awfulness that makes me want to pat Carey on her head and say, “At least you tried,” before giving her a participation medal.

Kristen (Lacey Chabert) moves from Los Angeles to her hometown of Silver Falls, Ohio after the failure of her fashion boutique.  While she and her daughter Emily (Fina Strazza) adjusts to small town living, both become involved with the local Christmas Pageant.  While Kristen endeavors to make the pageant costumes, Emily collaborates with local music teacher and Designated Hunky Hunk O’ Destiny Danny (Brendan Elliot, who is channeling Jason Bateman something fierce) to compose an all-new Christmas song that she hopes will serve as a magical letter to Santa...who may or may not be hanging around Emily’s new school as a janitor (Kevin Chamberlin).

There are some of the Kabuki-like elements that seem to infect all of the Hallmark Movies I’ve encountered--we do have an inconsequential ‘complication’ that hits exactly at the one hour mark, and that chaste kiss that seems to signal the movie is over--but I was surprised at the things that didn’t appear.  I suspect the presence of Carey assured that we would have a more diverse cast, and a lot of the trappings are non-existent.  No snowball fights, no hot chocolate, and no Christmas crafts permeate this little ditty. 

However....

I could not help but notice that this is the second film in this gauntlet which treats the heroine being offered the career of her dreams as a complication.  I’ve suspected for a while that Hallmark Christmas Movies, much like the sitcoms of Chuck Lorre, are designed to assure small town America that they’re superior to Us Big City Folk.  It’s one of the reasons I think the only big city that is shown in a positive light amongst these films is Chicago, which happens to be part of what was once referred to as ‘Flyover Country.’  The message in both this film and Christmas Connection, whether intentional or not, is ‘Your ambition and dreams are secondary in worth to the love of a good man and a deep, abiding love of Christmas.’  Not Christmas in the religious sense, although we’ve seen a couple of these films dancing close to Evangelical values and beliefs, but Christmas as a holiday in and of itself.

Maybe because I’m now deep in my Labors, but A Christmas Melody doesn’t bother me all that much.  I’d put it closer to Santa’s Summer House (bad, but entertainingly so) than Christmas Connection (actively, if inadvertently, frightening).  I get why Lacey Chabret is one of the Queens of Hallmark--she’s attractive, even a little sexy, without being threateningly so, and her acting style is just quirky enough to seem endearing to people who don’t want any depth.  It didn’t hurt me, and on a lowered-expectations-scale of Hallmark Christmas Films, this wasn’t too bad.

Now if only Hallmark had continued this experiment of letting former Pop Idols direct their films, I’d be enthusiastic.  I want to see what, let’s say, a Christina Aguilera or a Avril Lavinge Christmas Movie was like.

If you enjoy my journey through Hallmark Hell, please consider becoming a Domicile of Dread Patreon and receive lots of free goodies throughout the year including exclusive essays, movie commentaries and podcasts.  If you'd rather not make a monthly commitment, please consider making a one shot donation through Ko-Fi. Please also visit William Bibbiani's great podcast network Critically Acclaimed, and buy Alonso Duralde's definitive book on Christmas movies, Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas!

So next time, I think I’m going to reach back fifteen years to one Alonso told me was infamous in its awfulness, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus, which features both Steve Guttenberg and Crystal Bernard.  The ghosts of the 80‘s are alive and...well, they’re alive at least.

Meanwhile, Over At Dread Media....#646

This week, it’s the end of the world as A.T. White knows it as Des and Duane take a look at the strange apocalyptic saga from last year, Sta...