What's this? What's this? It's what Jack Skellington might have actually sung, were he not trapped in a Disney movie.
Coincidentally, it's also what I say every time I hear about whatever remake it is Tim Burton's doing next with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
Inspired by an oft-reblogged Tumblr post, Jack's signature song is now called "The fuck?" And it is a thing of beauty.
Watch after the jump, but don't play it aloud at work or anything.More >>
Screamfest, L.A.'s premiere festival of horror films, hasn't made it to its 13th year by sheer luck. From humble beginnings right around that 9-11 period when nobody really wanted to see violence onscreen - or so Hollywood assumed, perhaps falsely - it's become known as the place to see tomorrow's cult hits first, from Paranormal Activity (which screened with its original, ruling-out-a-sequel ending...ah, those innocent days!) to Trick 'r Treat and The Human Centipede, whose plot I felt bad even trying to describe at the time.
It's getting tougher nowadays than it used to be for a horror fest, not because horror is dying out, but because everyone wants in. Relative newcomer Fantastic Fest has used the clout of Alamo Drafthouse, Harry Knowles, Badass Digest and an extensive media outreach to become the popular kid on the block. Meanwhile, mainstream festivals like Toronto and even Sundance use a robust selection of midnight movies to help bring in audiences who might see more obscure fare once they're there. Screamfest has responded by becoming more diverse and international: Indonesia, Switzerland, Spain and Israel are among the countries represented this year. Screamfest also has a DVD distribution label now, with previous entries Thale and American Mary represented.
It makes it more challenging for a writer to see everything, though I did fairly valiantly. Here's the lowdown on the six Screamfest films I did see, and the five I most want to. Why should you care if you're not local? Because given the track record here, they'll be coming your way shortly thereafter.
Bought a violent video game.
It was as a work expense.
Isn't that awesome?
OK, my Haikus suck and the game in question is Flying Wild Hog's Shadow Warrior reboot.
Seeing as how I have a little bit of time right now while it downloads, I may as well get a few things out of the way while I wait. I have two personal objectives with this list: to write it in one weekend, and to write it using no obscenities. Considering that (A) it usually takes me an entire week to to proofread, (B) I could give Denis Leary a run for his money, and (C) I have a head cold ... this final result should be interesting.More >>
It's hypnotic, this. Last month at Gamescom, a time-trial level of Super Mario Bros. was played by 974 people at once, causing a swarm of miniature Italian plumbers that must have made Bowser feel like Brad Pitt in World War Z (talk about a good news/bad news situation!).
True story - in 1982, at the age of eight, I was in Rome the night Italy won the World Cup - and we were caught on the opposite side of town from our hotel. This is as close as I've come to a flashback in many, many years.
Click the jump to watch and be mesmerized.More >>
If not for a minor copyright technicality, the zombie as we know it today - flesh-eating, rotting, transformatively biting, only killable by headshots - would still be entirely owned by George A. Romero, and the lives of people like Robert Kirkman and Zack Snyder might look very, very different. Romero is often praised for his social commentary, but a lot of modern viewers don't necessarily know what he's commenting on - this new documentary produced by indie horror maven Larry Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix firmly situates it in the climate of 1968, with the peace and love era culminating in the Vietnam war and race riots.
I'm more of a Dawn guy, myself, but of course that would never have happened without the Night. Though it won't be long before kids are watching the former and going "What the hell's a 'shopping mall'?"
Check out the Romero doc trailer after the jump.More >>
World War Z: Unrated Cut - You may not be able to give this Brad Pitt zombie action flick much credit for sticking to Max Brooks' novel, but give them props for delivering the "unrated" version right out of the gate rather than double-dipping later on. The marketing oddly avoided ever mentioning zombies, but if you can manage to ignore any preconceptions you may have about how the shuffling undead ought to be portrayed, there's some decent fun to be had in watching rabid hordes quite literally throwing themselves into action. Also features Peter Capaldi as a doctor for the W.H.O., as many fans were quick to point out when he got his most recent, high-profile job.
Arrow: The Complete First Season - The CW's superhero show fit for a Queen finally comes home, allowing viewers to judge for themselves whether or not it really is better than Smallville. At the very least, it's getting Ollie into costume quicker than Clark, which seems a positive step.
Scenic Route - Imagine if The World's End had been less funny, only featured Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (this time played by Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler), and put them on a road trip through the desert. You'd have something like this brutal little piece of human horror that deserves a look, as both Fogler and Duhamel stretch in ways they've never been allowed to before, and Gen-X anxieties about middle-aging explode with rage.
Day of the Dead: Collector's Edition - Hardcore horror fans almost certainly have a version of this already, but if you want an all-new transfer, cast and crew commentary and a feature-length making-of doc, you'll want this version too. In what was once - and probably should have stayed - the final chapter of George Romero's original zombie apocalypse series, military scientists try to experiment on the undead in an underground bunker. A corpse nicknamed Bub may hold the key, but in Romero's world, happy endings rarely happen.
Dracula: Prince of Darkness - Christopher Lee. 1965. Buckets of blood. Any questions?
Those are my top Blu-ray picks for today. What are yours?
Remember Mark Hill's list of Nine Reasons the Zombie Fad Must Die? You must - it's the second most-popular TR article since I've been here. And this quote from Mark's piece came to mind today:
"Remember, kids, Something Popular + Zombies = Success. No creativity needed! So go ahead and mindlessly contribute to the zombie takeover of all pop culture. "That's a thing I recognize, but as a zombie! Wow!!" your friends will say, after you become the thousandth person to zombify the Mona Lisa instead of doing something productive with your life.
So guess what just got its own zombie parody?
In this dead-on parody of a children's classic, The Very Hungry Zombie (Skyhorse Publishing, October 2012), tells of a zombie who eats his way through a variety of his favorite foods, including clowns, astronauts, rock stars, fingers, and brains.
With vivid, playful art and amusing text, The Very Hungry Zombie will appeal to picture-book lovers of all ages. Adults will catch its slightly demented humor. Older kids who grew up on classic board books will love the fun of the parody. And because the art leans toward humor rather than truly graphic grossness, a new generation of little ones may just grow up loving a creepy zombie whose gluttony earns him a bellyache.
Oh, I get it - "dead-on" because it's a zombie. Maybe I'm misunderestimating the marketplace, but I'm not sure who the actual target audience will be.
If it's you, you can find it on Amazon right now. Though if you actually know of any book stores, do patronize them to help bring the dead (market) back to life in a good way.
When I was a kid watching cartoons, I always wondered why Popeye's baby Swee'Pea had no legs. An encounter designer Stephanie Davidson had at a party involved a guy who was thinking along similar lines...
From behind me, a baby crawled out onto the porch and the guy chatting with me gave a start, cutting out mid-sentence. He then exclaimed, "PHEW, I thought it was a torso-only zombie." It was gold, and that night, the idea for Zombabiez, the torso-only zombie baby Halloween costume, was born.
Remember, kids, zombie babies can't bite you if they don't have any teeth yet. And even if they do, odds of their not breaking your skin are pretty good (watch every parent correct me now with some terrifying anecdote about gushing blood in comments below).More >>
Older readers may remember a distant past when less than 90% of all pop culture was dedicated to zombies, but much like the walking dead themselves, zombie pop culture is spreading exponentially. It's an infectious disease that won't rest until we're all eating zombie themed ice cream, watching How I Met Your Zombie and making love with zombie flavored condoms. Here's why we need to put a bullet through the head of this phenomenon, before it's too late.
9. Zombies Aren't Scary
Gage Skidmore "Oh no! Quick, start walking at a moderate pace, it's our only hope!"
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown, and also maybe that of a serial killer with chainsaws that can somehow shoot sharks for hands," said H.P. Lovecraft, more or less. In pop-culture terms, the less we know about a monster the scarier it is, because how can our heroes hope to defeat something if they don't even know what it looks like?
Conversely, we know so much about zombies that the average child learns how to defend against them before they learn how to do long division. Not that's it hard to figure out, because a single, shuffling zombie can be outwitted with a casual stroll - it's only when there are dozens or hundreds that they're intimidating. Hell, World War Z had to throw 20 quadrillion at viewers to elicit anything other than yawns.
Well guess what? Anything is scary when you're being attacked by a horde of them. Holy shit, five thousand used car salesmen are rampaging through downtown! Lock your doors, the lobsters of Red Lobster are loose...and out for revenge! Baseballs have gained sentience and, angry at being hit around all the time, have started hitting back. When's Brad Pitt going to fight off millions of flying, demonic baseballs in Moneyball 2: Fastball to Hell? Never, because if your monster's only scary in numbers you've made a crappy monster.More >>