Archive for Horror

Here comes the story of The Hurricane

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

Forgive the delay between this post and my last. Readjusting to my relentlessly fast-paced, action-packed New York lifestyle has required me to briefly avert my attention from blogging, but I have an announcement that I believe will instill in my readers joy to sufficient compensate for whatever feelings of neglect they may have suffered on my account. 

As many have come to know through experience, deep sadness can oftentimes compel one to, in desperation to distract oneself from the source of that sadness, enact somewhat impulsive behavior. Though said compulsion most commonly manifests as binge drinking, regrettable sexual misadventures, or some combination thereof, those afflicted, even when of a perfectly contented disposition, by a profound lack of responsibility in regard to the management of fiscal assets, such as that one must possess in order to judge the purchase of the domain name ‘omgabat.com’ to be a good idea, are often susceptible to inducement by sorrow to carry out exorbitant monetary expenditures. There exists perhaps no evidence that better legitimizes the latter idea than that represented by the 200 dollar fog machine presently sitting on a chair in the 7’x7′ chamber I generously call my kitchen.

Behold:

 

This glorious device possesses a 1,000 watt heater, allowing it to be primed for fog production, which it carries out at a nigh-unbelievable rate of 5,000 cubic feet per minute, almost immediately after activation, and a 1.4 watt tank, along with a warning light that signals impending fuel depletion, ensures all but perpetual function. Unfortunately, despite these impressive capacities, the utility of even such an masterful work of engineering within the context of my life is almost entirely nil. Thus far, I have been unable to cogitate a use to which The Hurricane might be turned, beyond providing atmospherics for a kickin’ party, encapsulating the entire effects budget for a mid-20th century British Horror Film, or the blasting of fog into the faces of new acquaintances into order decrease even further the rate at which I make friends.
Undaunted by the unshakeable sensation that I may have dedicated my resources to a somewhat reckless end, I am resolved to not relent, and to reflect, a year from now, on the day I bought my fog machine with minimal regret. Any willing to offer suggestions as to how I might achieve this goal would earn my gratitude. 
– 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 care: Revenge of the Creature

Posted in Films, Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

Of Universal Studios’ ‘classic monsters’, Gill-Man, the marine humanoid more commonly known by the epithet attributed to him by the title of the film in which he first appeared, 1954’s Creature From The Black Lagoon, is doubtlessly the most consistently overlooked. When Halloween rolls around, you might be able to dig up a cardboard mummy somewhere, but if you want a Gill-Man garbage bag to fill with dead leaves, you’re fresh out of luck.  Personally, I feel this is a grievous injustice, for, as a consequence of the nautical menance’s nearly total absence from popular consciousness, even I, whose affection for vintage horror is attested by my having viewed 1931’s Dracula 30-odd times, passed the majority of my life without experiencing any substantial compulsion to familiarize myself with the fiend’s filmography, to say nothing of normal people who don’t ever have thoughts to the effect of “Hey, I gotta get on seeing that horribly dated monster movie” at all, and this is, in my view, a profound shame, for, after finally seeing the three movies that spotlight Gill-Man, I swiftly developed the opinion that everyone, everywhere, should do the same. My argument as to why will focus on 1955’s Revenge of the Creature, my personal favorite of the trilogy comprised by that film, its predecessor and the original, and its 1956 sequel The Creature Walks Among Us. If you didn’t catch that, folks, yes, it’s three consecutive years of awesome, with this bad boy sandwiched in the middle: 

 

The movie’s plot is no winding labyrinth. Humanity, demonstrating a lack of foresight I wish I could claim was exaggerated, decides that to capture Gill-Man and take him to Sea World is a good idea, and in a shocking twist, turns out to be wrong. Indeed, Revenge of the Creature is the spiritual progenitor of Jaws 3– it, along with the other installments in the saga, was even originally in 3D. Its nuances, however, completely transcend this deceptively simple framework. John Agar stars as an asshole scientist who takes it upon himself to ‘test’ Gill-Man’s ‘responses to stimuli’ by poking him with a bull-prod multiple times. I find this to be fascinating implementation of the scientific method, especially on the part of a man who, given that he’s among a handful of individuals dispatched to investigate a discovery with unprecedented impact on our understanding of natural sciences, must be one of the world’s top professionals. To electrocute the sole member of a previously unknown species, an evolutionary marvel,  in order to assess how quickly it figures out that bull prods hurt seems to be a somewhat ill-conceived plan by my standard, but I only got a three on my bio AP. Regardless of what I may think, Agar is compassionate enough to earn the affection of a fellow scientist, portrayed by Lori Nelson. The pair’s whirlwind romance flourishes quickly through exchanges such as this one, sizzling with passion:

Lori: It’s nice to get away, to lay in the sun.

Agar: Strange talk coming from a dedicated scientist.  (apparently Agar thinks scientists are vampires.) Have you forgotten your mission in life? 

(Lori doesn’t respond. I can’t blame her, as I wouldn’t quite know how to do so either. Agar quickly diverts the subject from his difficulty with logic.)

Agar: I’ll be leaving soon. I’m gonna miss you.

Lori: You know, sometimes I wonder how I ever got started on all of this. Science, fish, ichthyology. Where will it all lead me? Most of the kids I went to undergraduate school with are already married and have children! 

Agar: Is that what you want?

Lori: I don’t know. I- I just don’t know. 

Agar: But surely you-

Lori: What do you want?

Agar: Well, it’s different with me. I’m a man, I don’t have to make a choice. 

Lori: But I do?

Agar: It’s tough on you gals. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just a fact.

Lori: It doesn’t seem right.

Agar: But you haven’t told me what you want, what you want most out of life. I’d like to know before I leave. It’s become important to me.

Lori: Very? 

 

They almost kiss then, but a dog comes up and ruins it. Outside of the apathy towards institutionalized sexism, I’m actually kind of feeling Agar here, as I’m also with a girl who doesn’t know what she wants and thinks she shouldn’t have to make choices, but even in spite of this shared plight, I’m still feeling a bit more sympathy for Gill-Man. Dude’s been ripped from his home, put in a tank, tortured for a reason he probably can’t deduce any more than I can, and now he has to listen to this retarded approximation of flirting. Needless to say, he busts out, without expending much effort, and makes his way into the nearby ocean. However, rather than ‘go back to the Amazon’ as the brilliant men who have studied him imagine he will, the Creature elects to carry out some eponymous Revenge and go fuck with Agar, coming upon the good doctor as he stands on a pier, engrossed by his indecisive paramour’s inarticulate ruminations.

Lori: You know, scientists are funny. We probe and measure and dissect, invent lights without heat, inspect a caterpillars’ eyebrow. But when it comes to really important things we’re as stupid as the caveman.

(Great set up for a Geico ad, if nothing else.)

Agar: Important?

Lori: Mhm. Live love. Makes the world go round, but what do we know about it? Is it a fact? Is it chemistry, electricity? (Electricity?) Once, when I had a crush on the captain of the football team, I looked it up in the dictionary, and love, according to Mr. Webster, is ‘a feeling of strong personal attachment, induced by sympathetic understanding.’ Have you ever heard such nonsense? 

(Pretty moot question when posed to a guy who said “I’m a man, I don’t have to make decisions.)

Agar, in reply, demonstrates his literacy by quoting from a poem he once read. He recites,

“Love is such a mystery/I cannot find it out/For when I think I’m best resolv’d/I then am most in doubt.”

Research has confirmed that this verse was indeed penned by someone other than Revenge of the Creature’s screenwriter, namely a Sir John Suckling, author of “I Prithee Send Me Back My Heart”, which reads in its entirety: 

“I PRITHEE send me back my heart, 
    Since I cannot have thine : 
For if from yours you will not part, 
    Why then shouldst thou have mine ? 

Yet now I think on’t, let it lie : 
    To find it were in vain, 
For th’ hast a thief in either eye 
    Would steal it back again. 

Why should two hearts in one breast lie, 
    And yet not lodge together ? 
O love, where is thy sympathy, 
    If thus our breasts thou sever ? 

But love is such a mystery, 
    I cannot find it out : 
For when I think I’m best resolv’d, 
    I then am in most doubt. 

Then farewell care, and farewell woe, 
    I will no longer pine : 
For I’ll believe I have her heart 
    As much as she hath mine.”

I guess no one wants to be Mrs. Suckling. At least he has his knighthood, though I imagine the Queen cracked up during the conference thereof. Not a Suckling fan, the Creature grabs Agar’s girlfriend and runs off with her for a while, but is promptly shot rather unceremoniously by a cop, as the devoted and compassionate Ichthyologists look on.

I’ve read that Gill-Man’s aesthetic is based on the notion of the Uncanny Valley, which is essentially the idea that we are most frightened not by that which is totally alien to us, but by that which most completely approximates humanity without fully achieving it. I don’t disagree with this idea- I envision a remake of Revenge of the Creature wherein the title character looks just like a guy with webbed fingers and a skin disease, to accentuate what uncompromising jackasses comprise the human species. In fact, he’ll even talk, saying things like “Hey, could I go home now?” and “That hurts! Cut that shit out!”, but the Agar surrogate will continue to assault him with the bullprod as though his pleas for mercy and understand are unintelligible grunts. I often wonder why I’m not making multi-million dollar Hollywood movies right now. In conclusion, I think I’ve seized upon the reason for which Dracula has appeared in more movies than any single character excepting Sherlock Holmes while Gill-Man didn’t even get to be one of The Munsters. In Dracula, we see what we want to be- rich, sexy, capable of transforming into mist, always one step ahead of the inept losers who attempt to come between us and our multiple brides- while in Gill-Man we see what we are- lonely, ugly, and wet.   

– Gothicus Maximus