Archive for the Horror Category

Twizzler Fingers

Posted in Films, Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

I imagine many OMGABAT enthusiasts, as increasingly small as the number of people who might be described as such might be, often wonder, “Gothicus Maximus, author of my favorite glorified virtual diary, is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, isn’t he? Although I am intimately familiar with his exceptional ability to whine about Dracula movies in a needlessly prolix fashion, so infrequently am I afforded a glimpse into his life as a mediocre author of drama and abysmal filmmaker,” then proceed to qualify that musing with either “that’s a shame” or “thank god.” Be this what you desire or what you dread, I have resolved to allow my readers to behold an example of the work whose creation occupies the majority of my time. 

Proceed at your own risk, bearing in mind, should you choose to do so, that both I and my single crew member are both writing majors, and therefore expecting us to use a camera proficiently is unreasonable. 

-Gothicus Maximus

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The Only Good Part of “True Blood” is the Title Sequence

Posted in Horror, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

As a function the aggressive viral marketing campaign that surrounds it, I can declare with reasonable confidence that most denizens of the civilized world are not only privy to the recent premiere of HBO’s newest drama True Blood, but have some familiarity with its premise, which involves a substantial population of vampires revealing itself to society at large and struggling for acceptance therein. As I do not presently have a subscription to the network on which this program airs, I was unable to view its first episode upon its initial airing September 7th, and thus was at a loss to answer the veritable maelstrom of inquires as to my opinion on regarding the show with which I was met the following day. I scarcely exaggerate in saying that anyone even vaguely aware that I exist approached me at some point in the past week and put forth a challenge to the effect of “Hey Gothicus Maximus, what’d ya think of True Blood?”, all, perhaps unconsciously, resolving to forgo the logically precedent question as to whether I’d even watched it. My 19th Century English Novel professor put forth a pronounced effort, after I had slept through his class, to engage me in conversation in order to solicit my thoughts. 

Were my reaction to such a circumstance equivalent to that of the average individual, I would likely pause for a period of no more than three seconds to lament that, at this time, when my professors have assigned to me more reading than I can complete while maintaining even the most piteous excuse for a social life, I am unable to devote any time to watching a vampire-themed soap opera, then forget the matter entirely, but, of course, I am, in all that I do, hideously far removed from the average individual. The petitions of my close friends, sworn foes, and vague acquaintances had engendered in me a twisted sensation that I had shirked some responsibility– people depended upon me to be ‘that vampire guy’, to have an excessively well-formed opinion on any media peripherally related to the un-dead on the day that media became available to the public, if not earlier, and in that capacity I disappointed them. Driven to amend my entirely chimerical failure, I eschewed my homework in order to undertake the considerable task of locating a recording of True Blood’s pilot in the annals of cyberspace, and, having done so, I am now able to articulate my thoughts: this show, if its general quality can be inferred based on its first episode, is pretty fucking bad.

In authoring drama, a playwright or screenwriter must choose between two means of delivering exposition regarding the present circumstances, personalities, pasts, and guarded secrets of his characters. The first, most commonly favored option is the use of compelling dialogue and dynamic action to introduce plot points and develop dramatis personae. The inexplicably less popular alternative, to which the minds behind True Blood have evidently committed themselves, is to make the protagonist telepathic.

True Blood is the story of Sookie Stackhouse, waitress in a sleazy bar and resident of a fictional Louisiana town, cursed to be constantly besieged by the thoughts of those around her. This is a particular burden because, as she lives below the Mason-Dixon line, everyone she encounters thinks in a thick southern drawl. The shameless caricatures of African Americans she counts among her friends even make a point to avoid proper grammar in their interior monologues, and to punctuate important cogitations with a ‘dayum’. Relief from the agony of ceaseless assault by relevant details regarding her supporting cast comes to Sookie in the form of a vampire named Bill, whose undead mind is inscrutable even to so titantically stupid a plot device as the waitress’ gift. Although the thoughts of every other man with whom she’s acquainted are limited to such musings as “God she’s so hot, god I want to touch her”, or “I need to protect her,” she decides to give the Nosferatu the benefit of the doubt, becoming attracted to him. I suppose her assumption that there’s more to Bill than there is to most men is a reasonable one, as we know that, in addition to sexual objects and the protection thereof, he also thinks about blood.

The vampire as a metaphor for mundane minorities is a mildly interesting proposition, and, surely, HBO realized this, but, somehow, from that realization the network drew the hideously malformed conclusion that a mildly interesting concept with some explicit sex scenes sprinkled over it was enough to constitute good television. I know not why, but for some reason beyond my grasp, I expected something of more merit from a program adapted from a series of romance novels whose protagonist’s name is Sookie Stackhouse. I expected more from my fellow television owners than to be contented with another entry in the virtually endless library of poorly realized romances that use supernatural motifs as a substitute for real depth. 

To afford some attention to a redeeming facet of the wholly disappointing experience that was the hour of time I dedicated to watching True Blood, I will note that the show has a theme song. This in itself pleases me, as I am vehemently opposed to the recent trend of hour dramas briefly flashing a title card in the viewer’s face before cutting to the first commercial break. I require a pastiche of stirring clips set to a rousing score if I’m to be rendered excited for the adventure that lies ahead, and True Blood satisfies this criteria marvelously, as its main titles are not only extant, but awesome. 

Tits! Snakes! Time-lapses of decaying wolf carcasses! I feel compelled to watch the show these precede. Hopefully that footage of roadkill will be reused for a more worthy series at some point within my lifetime. 

-Gothicus Maximus

Friday The 13th: It’s A Decent Franchise, Basically

Posted in Films, Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

News of the upcoming Friday The 13th remake has spurred a rather vitriolic reaction in the fans of Jason Vorhees’ sanguinary saga, so intense in some that their righteous fury has stripped them of all but the most basic communicative faculties:  

The compulsion I experienced to enter into this intellectual dialogue was powerful beyond my ability to resist, but to parry these eloquently articulated, meticulously formulated opinions, I was forced to mount, with the aid of my younger brother, a two-pronged attack of sorts.

Will the inevitable Chinatown remake be produced by Michael Bay as this film is? I don’t know, but what I do know is: franchise. 

– Gothicus Maximus

A little glass vial?

Posted in Films, Goth Shit, Horror, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

That four days have passed since my last updated might suggest that I’ve forgotten about the legion of devoted readers for whose satisfaction I am responsible, but allow me to allay any suspicion that this is the case. I’ve just started a new job and will be beginning my sophomore year of college in a few weeks, and therefore I will be unable to post to OMGABAT with the frequency my immense following may have become conditioned to expect. Rest assured, however, this change will not be dramatic– I pledge that only very rarely will three days pass without my rendering an entry of some kind, and never will a pause in activity exceed a week’s length.

Today, I feel compelled to call the public’s attention to the upcoming release of a screen musical titled Repo!: The Genetic Opera. Articulating an explanation as to why anyone should care about any screen musical is a daunting task, but if anyone can carry out that task, I can.

I trust that the majority of individuals who posses a reasonable familiarity with contemporary cinema have experienced the exhilarating sensation of utter astonishment induced in a film’s audience when that film introduces a certain actor, song, or oblique reference in a context in which he, she, or it seems gloriously out-of-place, the sensation inspired by a young Clint Eastwood’s small role in Revenge of the Creature, or by David Duchovny’s voiceover work on the video game Thirteen. I project that Repo!: The Genetic Opera will embody the quintessence of this feeling. The following trailer will corroborate my assertion:

Less than a second into the preview, we observe that this rock opera is produced by Twisted Pictures, the enterprise responsible for gore-porn franchise Saw. Repeat the end of that sentence to yourselves: “this rock opera is produced by Twisted Pictures, the enterprise responsible for gore-porn franchise ‘Saw'”.  Even before the girl from Spy Kids appears, I’m shitting bricks.

Astoundingly, former child star Alexa Vega is the member of this cast least likely to elicit an audible ” ‘the fuck?”. Anthony Stewart Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame attempts growling vocals and dons on a glowing helmet. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ex-wife and originator of The Phantom of the Opera‘s lead female role, Sarah Brightman, conceals an alabaster face with a goffik hood. Nivek Ogre of seminal industrial band Skinny Puppy, singing opposite venerable horror player Bill Moseley, has someone else’s face paper-clipped to his. Though this was difficult for me to determine at first due the black wig she wears, the woman who conducts a drug deal with a man as he is ensconced within a dumpster is, in fact, Paris Hilton, whose appearance in this film nearly seems the result of some divinity’s sense of humor, as I can’t conceive of any reason for which anyone would involve themselves in Repo! The Genetic Opera beyond genuine interest or desperation, neither of which I imagine to be an influence on that particular wealthy heiress. Moreover, as goth as I am, I must note that David J and Daniel Ash of Bauhaus contributed to sound production.  

I suppose most would consider me remiss were I not to provide some elucidation as to this movie’s plot, but I’d rather just refer my readers to more absurdity: 

Check out that overdubbing on Paris. Hopefully, that this picture is only screening in a few theatres will prevent related merchandise from being sold at Hot Topic, so that I can still love it and be cool at the same time.

-Gothicus Maximus

I would gladly trade my copy of Halo 3 to own Imagic’s Dracula for Intellivision

Posted in Dracula, Video Games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

Those bold souls who actually read this blog on a consistent basis might recall that, as an addendum to the post I authored in anticipation of Castlevania Judgment, I conceptualized a video game in playing which one assumes the role of Count Dracula as he roams the streets of Victorian London and preys upon the denizens thereof. As a result of my ignorance in regard to video game history, I neglected to note that this concept is not utterly unprecedented. In 1983, the now-defunct peddler of electronic entertainment Imagic released Dracula for the Intellivision console, a game whose player controls the eponymous vampire as he goes about his nightly feeding. Behold:

Whoever directed the Photoshoot for this cover clearly didn’t waste resources on models, he seems to have just grabbed a middle schooler off the street on Halloween. 

Dracula’s gameplay demonstrates a simplicity characteristic of yesteryear’s video games. The count moves along a linear path, encountering as he does so joggers whom he must bite in order to satiate his bloodlust and policemen whom he must avoid by means of transforming into a bat, for they apparently possess the ability to end the preternaturally mighty warlord’s reign of terror with their nightsticks. After a period of near total freedom to wreak mayhem, the sun begins to rise, and Dracula must race the dawn, represented as a white wolf in a manner I daresay honors the expressionist tradition of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, to the safety of his coffin.

A few screen captures:

A palpable terror radiates from the Count’s prospective victim here. 

 

Is this the Dracula/White Fang crossover about which I’ve had wet dreams? Or perhaps a precognition of White-Wolf game studio, who years later would produce Vampire: The Masquerade?

 

Birds will apparently swoop from the sky and attempt to eat Dracula while he’s in bat form. So much for command of nature’s meaner beasts.

This game, along with an Intellivision console on which to play it, officially occupies a position on the OMG A BAT holiday wishlist. Even should my readers unanimously choose to be lousy friends and not devote considerable time and monetary resources to procuring video game machines that haven’t been carried by retailers since the late 80’s in order to entertain me for an hour and a half, I am resolved to eventually play Dracula, regardless of whatever expense might be required to do so, for I have no sense of financial responsibility. 

-Gothicus Maximus

Review of a film about which only I care: Dracula A.D. 1972

Posted in Dracula, Films, Horror, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

I didn’t intend to compose two consecutive entries in the “reviews of films about which only I care” series, but unfortunately I failed to anticipate that the X-Files: I Want To Believe would be so miserably unworthy of anyone’s concern as to demand inclusion in this piteous library. I remain utterly depressed by that foresaid fact, by the by. 

Moving on to the matter at hand, I’ve been watching a fair amount of That 70’s Show recently and have consequently come to feel that the 1970’s may not have been an odious decade in which to grow up, this feeling most probably accountable primarily to the fact that, for a reason that’s entirely beyond me, I find known Scientologist Laura Prepon compellingly attractive. I order to cure myself of this affliction- by which I mean failure to recognize the 70’s as loathsome, not the Laura Prepon thing- I turned to one of the more embarrassing chapters in Hammer Horror’s catalog of films starring Christopher Lee as Count Dracula: Dracula A.D. 1972.

If I may I’d like to address that tagline for a moment. An eye for hot pants? Declaring that Dracula is scoping out for short shorts doesn’t make the monster sound sinister, just pervy in a way that makes the audience uncomfortable. I can only assume that by ‘everything’ the individuals responsible for marketing meant ‘blood’, as the conventional definition of the term makes woefully little sense in this context, connoting that in 1972 Dracula has a mild foot fetish or something.  

However, I digress. The premise of the movie is rather easy to infer from its title– one hundred years after his most recent defeat at the hands of Cushing’s Van Helsing, Dracula has returned to wreck general havok while avenging himself upon the descendants of his foe, particularly the bellbottom-clad teen Jessica Van Helsing. Despite this rather pedestrian storyline, Dracula A.D. 1972 may very well be notable as the only motion picture ever to implement the act of resurrecting an undead nobleman as a metaphor for drug abuse.

When Renfield surrogate Johnny Alucard (somewhat relatedly, Dracula direly needs to sharpen his cryptography skills) proposes that he and his friends conduct the dark ritual in question, the ensuing conversation transpires in a uncannily familiar fashion, “Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it” countered with “Well it’s dangerous isn’t it?” this idea in turn parried by “come on, it’s only a giggle”. In leading the black mass, Johnny turns on some trippy base-heavy music, which his peers proceed to ‘dig’ by gyrating slowly and demonstrating magnified sex drives as thick smoke, presumably produced by obsidian candles, swirls through the air. This analogue becomes wonderfully amusing when extrapolated to being unable to study because your roommates hotboxed the room with Dracula gas.

While Peter Cushing is superb as usual in the role of a 20th century heir to the Van Helsing name who is incidentally the spitting image of his ancestors, the capacity of the teenage gang on whom the film focuses to endear the audience leaves much to be desired. Without a great deal of exertion, I arrived upon a strictly superior concept for a Dracula movie set in the 1970’s: 

draculavst7s.png picture by xplus

 

I know Christopher Lee has said he has no intention of portraying Dracula ever again, a reservation for which I can scarcely blame him after Dracula A.D. 1972, I think once he hears this pitch he might reconsider. Perhaps to say this is a bit bold, but I believe this idea could potentially develop into the best film ever to feature Ashton Kutcher. 

– Gothicus Maximus

Castlevania Judgment: A Dream Realized for at least one Person

Posted in Dracula, Video Games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

The recent E3 conference has left many video game enthusiasts disappointed by the somewhat ineffectual efforts of each major game manufacturer to allay doubt that, in the upcoming year, those who have purchased a given video game console will reflect on that investment with satisfaction. Nintendo, in particular, has been made the subject of censure for its failure to even grasp, much less fulfill, the desires of the demographic often referred to as ‘hardcore gamers’, this underscored by their professed belief that an installment in the ‘Animal Crossing’ series will appease those on whom was built the success of ‘Gears of War’. Nevertheless, though many of those who, in their childhoods, passed countless hours playing Yoshi’s Island may feel betrayed as the former kingpin of virtual entertainment gradually shifts its focus to casual players, my faith in the men and women who brought us Super Mario World remains steadfast, for their obligation to me as producers of the Wii console I own has been completely resolved by a single act, this act being the announcement that CASTLEVANIA JUDGMENT will be released sometime this fall, exclusively for the foresaid system. 

As one may be able to surmise from the fact that I have included ‘Dracula’  among the broad categories to which topics discussed in this blog can typically be attributed, others of which are ‘movies’ and ‘literature’, Castlevania is the video game franchise of which I am most fond. Although I am of the opinion that, since the 1997 release of its 13th installment, Symphony of the Night, the series has become entrenched in a swiftly staling gameplay formula derivative of Metroid and an irritating art style derivative of anime, the opportunity to conquer the sanguinary Count in a spectacular fashion, often involving the use a whip aptly named ‘Vampire Killer’, draws me back, without fail, each time a new title is released. Of late, Castlevania’s legacy has perpetuated itself primarily through side-scrollers for Nintendo’s handheld systems, all of which have been profoundly similar in execution, and 3D adventure games for the Playstation 2 and XBOX, all of which have been both profoundly similar in execution and profoundly mediocre in quality, so ergo my enthusiasm for successive iterations of this pattern has understandably waned. Though the property has certainly spawned good games in the last eight years, these games have failed to truly excite me as I’ve known precisely what to expect. Judgment promises to bring this trend, be it for better or for worse, to an end, for two primary reasons- the release is a Wii exclusive, so a unique control scheme is all but guaranteed, and it’s a fully 3D fighting game, Castlevania’s first entry in the genre. Beyond this, the most inarguably awesome element of Judgment as we now know it is DRACULA’S PLAYABILITY. The chance to play as the man himself, rather than some mopey progeny or flamboyantly-clad reincarnation thereof, is one rarely offered by video games, a first for even Castlevania if I’m not mistaken, and this irresistibly cool opportunity all but ensures that I’ll purchase the game should it prove anything but irredeemably awful, which possibility is always extant. Connectivity with the next handheld episode in the saga, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, provides me with a greater impetus to acquire that game as well. In conclusion, I applaud you, Nintendo and Konami– while my peers may turn their backs on you, and while the majority of people may think I’m demented for being pleased by the directions you pursue, you still know how to make me happy. The below awesome fucking logo may be tentative, but it’s leagues cooler than those of any other Castlevania games, as it most closely resembles Alien Sex Fiend’s. 

    Castlevania Judgment Screenshot

On the subject of playing as Dracula, I have just been stricken by a superb idea: free roaming Dracula game, a la Grand Theft Auto. As Dracula, you roam through the streets of victorian London, preying on the city’s unwitting denizens and transforming them into your Un-Dead brethren. Needless to say, each of the Count’s myriad powers are at your disposal- command of the Earth’s meaner creatures, the power to take the form of a bat, a wolf, mist, or elemental dust in the moonlight,  matchless cunning in drugging the servants of noblewomen. By strategically distributing your earth-boxes throughout the game-world, you advance your aim of extending your influence to entail the whole of the metropolis, though canny mortals may intrigue against you in hopes of thwarting your diabolical designs.  Of course, missions would be available in order to provide the game some sort of framework, though I cannot at this time cogitate any idea as to what those missions might be as, on the whole, Dracula is too cool for tasks outside of blood and conquest. Holy shit, that I am merely recording my opinions concerning video games rather than receiving limitless funding with which to engineer my own is a travesty.

– Gothicus Maximus