Archive for Film

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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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

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

Review of a film about which only I and a number of fat lonely fangirls care, and about which no one should care: The X-Files: I Want To Believe

Posted in Films, Television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

I have, in at least two prior posts, professed my passionate hatred for the Francis Ford Coppola film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and though that hatred broils within me now as fiercely as ever, I find that I can in no way  describe my feelings upon viewing The X-Files: I Want To Believe more effectively than I can through allusion to that object of my unadulterated revilement, particularly to the prologue sequence wherein Dracula returns from waging war in the name of the church to discover that his wife has committed suicide and thus been deemed condemned to damnation by ecclesiastical authority, this revelation prompting him to fly into a frenzy, scream “IS THIS MY REWARD FOR DEFENDING GOD’S CHURCH”, plunge his sword into a stone cross, and become a vampire. 

Chris Carter, is this my reward for 17 years of unflinching dedication to the franchise you created? I renounce The X-Files! I will rise from my death to avenge this disappointment with all the powers of darkness!

The subtitle of the New X-Files is resonates with a new poignancy in retrospect. The attitude I maintained in anticipation of this movie is most succinctly conveyed thusly: I wanted to believe it would be good. I wanted to believe that a script penned by some of the series’ most accomplished writers would contain compelling dialogue and engaging characters. I wanted to believe that Chris Carter would learn from the mistakes he rendered in his first effort to translate the show’s atmosphere to a feature film. I wanted to believe that production team would valiantly resist the compulsion to retread the very path that lead to the show’s decline in order to appease chubby, lonely fan girls. Even as negative reviews poured in like a torrent of truth surging forth from out there, I wanted to believe I could find some way to enjoy it. As Agent Mulder said once, “I wanted to believe, but the tools had been taken away. The X-Files had been shut down. They closed our eyes… our voices have been silenced…. our ears now deaf to the realms of extreme possibilities”. 

The question as to how this project went so horribly wrong is one that utterly baffles me. I feel as though any pubescent boy instructed to write a movie script about ‘two FBI agents who work together to solve cases judged unexplained by bureau proper- an eccentric whose sister’s abduction by mysterious forces when he was eight years old provokes him to obsessively pursue supernatural phenomena, and uncompromising skeptic who doggedly challenges her partner’s beliefs’ would produce a composition superior to The X-Files: I Want To Believe. Every component that made the television series fantastic was somehow excised from this installment in the saga. Mulder and Scully don’t investigate a crime but rather are dragged along, blathering about “the darkness in their lives” as other people do so. The case itself is barely even paranormal in its nature, to the extent that when Mulder demonstrates a belief that forces beyond mortal comprehension are at work, he isn’t chastised for ‘spookiness’ but rather respected for his legitimate opinion. Scully is too entrenched in an inane, trite, lifetime movie of the week worthy subplot involving a boy with a terminal illness to actually serve as her former partner’s foil. The convoluted mystery, involving a pederast who experiences psychic visions of his former victim’s attempts to perform illegal head transplants, is unraveled not by intuition or cunning on the part of any character, but rather by happenstance as Scully stumbles upon the seminal clue after conducting a google search on Stem Cell Research in hopes of aiding the ailing young man in whom she has become emotionally invested.  Even Mulder and Scully’s simmering sexual tension has vanished. With what does Chris Carter seek to fill the empty husk that remains once these elements are stripped away? A fuck-ton of fanservice and rapper-turned actor Xzibit.

I know that a number of people will enjoy this movie, and I know just what sort of people will comprise that number. Lonely, socially maladjusted, most probably obese women who only value the legacy of The X-Files insofar as they want its two central characters to fuck, who squeal rather than choke back vomit when Scully grumbles cutely about Mulder’s ‘scratchy beard’ on her face. These individuals don’t care that cuddling in bed and exchanging “I Love You”s mutilates the chemistry these characters previously shared, they care only about projecting their own sexual frustration onto fictional personages. When confronted with my perspective on the matter, people of this kind will likely allege that I’m opposed to ‘evolution of the characters’. That idea isn’t entirely wrong, especially if the characters evolve into shitty boring people whose show would have never been picked up in the first place. 

What would I have done were I at the helm of the new X-Files movie? I would have taken a page from mainstream American comic books and implemented a major fucking retcon, that is to say, for those unfamiliar with the term, I would have reorganized continuity entirely. Perhaps Chris Carter is so tremendously deluded as to believe that sensible people want his show’s last three seasons to be anything but entirely erased from history, but I am not so misguided. I would have put Mulder and Scully back in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in their cramped basement office, solving unexplained cases. One such case presents itself, Mulder thinks the supernatural is involved, Scully doesn’t. Maybe the perpetrator of the crimes turns out to be Satan, or a werewolf, or a genetic mutant who needs to extract livers in order to survive, or all three, I’m flexible as long as it actually possesses some of the palpable menace that head transplanters distinctly lack. Somehow, the simplicity of the formula I’ve just delineated alluded screenwriter Frank Spotnitz.

Don’t misunderstand me, this movie isn’t entirely without merit. It facilitates some excellent Xzibit jokes. At one point, Mulder asks Agent Xzibit to “get a car ready”. You couldn’t do better if you tried. 

-Gothicus Maximus

Improving Movies Through Limited Sensory Deprivation

Posted in Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

I’m presently in the process of developing a bold and potentially controversial hypothesis, this hypothesis essentially the idea that certain films can actually be made more enjoyable if either their audial or visual component is eliminated. Already, I have summarily concluded that 1976’s The Omen is substantially more frightening if viewed while one is blindfolded– possibly because the kid portraying the Antichrist is, despite the best efforts of the filmmakers to negate this fact, simply too cute to be accepted as a threat– and that 2005’s screen adaptation of the stage musical Rent is utterly transformed from the mediocre drama that it is to the exceptional comedy it was meant to be when played on a muted television. Moreover, I expect that M. Night Shyamalan’s recent thriller The Happening is hilarious to those made blind, but have no means by which to confirm this until I’m able to view the film without paying money to do so.

I hereby conscript you, readers, into my research squadron. You are urged to experiment independently and report your findings.  

-Gothicus Maximus

OMG A BATman: Part II

Posted in Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

I intended to post a comprehensive review of The Dark Knight upon returning from seeing the film as I just have, but unfortunately I find this task impossible. I cannot at present view this movie as anything less than a quintessence of raw cinematic majesty, its masterfully engineered components so seamlessly integrated that I cannot scrutinize them separately. Though I’m sure that eventually I’ll be able to pierce the proverbial veil and perceive The Dark Knight’s inner mechanism, for the time being that feat is beyond me. I am able, however, to share with OMG A BAT’s readers the opinion that this movie is fucking supremely awesome- if it were 80 years long and maintained the length to awesomeness ratio it presently demonstrates, I could most probably spend the rest of my life watching it and die with very little regret. Previously I was as unconcerned with Heath Ledger’s death as I am with those the thousand people who passed from this world in the short period during which I wrote this blog post,  but, in seeing his final film, I’m powerless but to be immensely grieved by the knowledge that no one will likely be able to do what he did in this movie as well as he did what he did in this movie. Gary Oldman’s likewise impressive performance has redeemed him completely for the abomination discussed previously in the annals of OMG A BAT, which I will not name so to avoid indirectly associating it with, and thereby savagely insulting, the subject of this post. 

Ultimately, while I’m certain that The Dark Knight possesses some flaws of which I could make fun in order to render this tirade more interesting, I won’t detect them until subsequent viewings allow me to more completely process so overwhelmingly tremendous a picture. I do hope that a sequel will match or equal this achievement, but at once I suspect that it will mark the apex of Batman’s career as a pop culture icon for some time. It kicks ass. 

On a related note, the tantalizing trailer for the screen adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen features a song originally composed by The Smashing Pumpkins for Batman & Robin, the stain on comic book movie history perhaps best remembered for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mr. Freeze. I love those Smashing Pumpkins, they’re so wacky. 

-Gothicus Maximus