Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Morning Mystery

Ain't It Cool News called it Scooby Doo meets Evil Dead...
I'm in!
On VOD on July 17th and in theatres August 19th.

Why Did God Make Me So Poor?

Super 7 has released the Alien toy line originally to launch from Kenner back in '79. The figures go nicely with Kenner's Star Wars line, down to the cool packaging. It's too bad these were never released but Super 7 gets props for finally doing it.
 I just saw these yesterday at my local comic shop-DAMN! I love the Twilight Zone and Mego figures. These are incredibly sweet.

Everett Hartsoe Readies A New RAZOR Graphic Novel

Bleeding Cool  has a report about Everett Hartsoe bringing back his underground heroine Razor in a new graphic novel and checking out Kickstarter it looks like he's made his goal! Pretty damn cool.
I discovered Razor back in the early 90's on one of my pilgrimages to Clinton's Cards, Comics, and Collectibles in Clinton, TN-an amazing shop. Being a huge fan of Quinn and Vigil's Faust and devouring any underground horror comic I could find, the sight of a leather clad chick with big ass Wolverine blades was of course going to grab my attention.
I've since lost my original collection of comics and all those old Razor books along with it. Considering that I had issues with covers by Tim Vigil and James O'Barr that I'll probably never replace just breaks my heart.
Anyway. Congrats to Hartsoe! That's bad ass to know Razor is coming back. The art looks better than ever. I'm definitely on board for some new slicing and dicing!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

King Vulture's Sound Attack 6.12.13

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)
Love's A Loaded Gun
Clones (We're All)
Department of Youth
Poison (Uncensored NSFW)
I Am The Future
Dirty Diamonds

VHS Monster Massacre

King Vulture 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Breaking Down Texas Chainsaw 3D (SPOILERS in effect)

"Welcome to Texas, mother fucker!"- Nikki
Synopsis from IMDB; After the first massacre in 1974, the townspeople suspected that the Sawyer family were responsible. A vigilante mob of enraged locals surrounded the Sawyer house, burning it to the ground and killing every last member of the family. Decades later a young woman named Heather learns that she has inherited a Texas estate from her grandmother. she decides to bring her friends along on the road trip to invesitgate her inheritance. On arrival she uncovers she has inherited a mansion but is yet to uncover the terrors that lurk in the basement below it. Written by Tom Thomas
Tobe Hooper gave us Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974, a shocking, disturbing, gritty film that redefined cinema and raised the bar for every horror movie to follow. We were introduced to Leatherface, a horror icon so intimidating and frightening he has remained nearly peerless in the realm of slasher films. A big brute who wears a mask of human skin and wields a chainsaw. Inspired by real life mad man, Ed Gein (also the inspiration behind Psycho's Norman Bates), Leatherface has slashed, chopped, and hammered through six films. The three original sequels don't deviate from the original TCM much, they always hit the major touchstones (chainsaw chase, meat hook, dinner scene, etc.) with wildly varying degrees of success and failure. The original four films break thusly;
1; Classic, a must see. More than just a slasher flick, this is society on the brink, a desperate frightening film.
2; Semi-classic, Hooper upped the black comedy alienating some fans, but the film holds up well today. Dennis Hopper is top notch in this twisted retelling of Alice in Wonderland.
3; Great script by David Schow, personally my favorite version of the family and Ken Foree is awesome. Darker and scarier than 2, but for all it's dread it's rather light on violence. And for the ladies, Viggo Mortenson.
4; Ambitious but flawed. I can't say I like it, but I have sat through it four times, so...
Remake; Not bad, but I feel like it misses the point. It's brutal, gory, and sleazy and yet I feel very safe watching it.
Remake prequel; Maybe better than the remake by a smidge, but I still feel like it misses the mark, what makes TCM interesting.
Now, one thing I'll say is that I've had a personal rule that I wasn't going to waste my time writing negative reviews. What's the point? My time is better spent focusing on things I love. I do not love Texas Chainsaw 3D, but I do believe it's the best TCM we've had since part 3.
Let's get the negative out of the way first; Texas Chainsaw picks up moments after the original (1974), and continues in 2012, but focuses on a young woman who couldn't be older than 23. To that point, Leatherface must be in his 60's. Also the film seems to take off on it's own continuity completely ignoring all other sequels. And the 3D shots were incredibly silly. There are other smaller gripes to be had for sure, but let's move on.
The film opens with an amazing montage from the original, really compressing the dread into a bitter pill to rev you up. We next have Sheriff Hooper (Thom Barry) arriving on the scene to arrest Leatherface, aka Jed Sawyer. Jed's dad (played by TCM 2's Chop Top Bill Moseley), at the urging of other family members,
decides to turn Leatherface over to save the rest of the family. But it's too late for that, because a lynch mob of local rednecks, led by Burt Hartman (Paul Rae) have shown up to get some justice Texas style. A shoot out erupts and and in the melee the Sawyer house is burned to the ground, no survivors. Except a young woman with a baby. Skip the details, the baby (Heather) is adopted and grows up not knowing who she is, until a letter from a lawyer arrives stating that her REAL grandmother has died and she's inherited the old dear's estate. So we're off to Texas! Young friends in tow, in a van no less, and hey look, a hitchhiker! Get to the mansion (???) blah blah blah, secret room behind a steel door, TA-DA! Leatherface! Body count, body count, body count (this is mostly very good by slasher film standards, Dan Yeager makes a striking Leatherface and only Tania Raymonde's Nikki is annoying enough to not miss, not to diss Miss Raymonde, fine actress, awful character). There's some good gore and all the classic TCM touchstones are, er, touched for better or worse, but it's towards the end of the second act when the film finally does something very interesting.
Remember the lynch mob at the beginning of the film, they massacre the Sawyer family. They pose for
pictures in the aftermath, holding up a severed foot, claiming Leatherface's chainsaw as a trophy, etc. Very gross, very redneck. They see themselves as heroes, we the viewer don't see a difference between them and the Sawyers. Heather discovers the truth behind her history, that she was a baby in her mother's arms in the midst of the slaughter and that the giant skin wearing, chainsaw wielding maniac that killed all her friends is her cousin. Heather's grandmother has taken care of him all these years, hiding him from the world. Leatherface is said to have the mentality of an eight year old. Furthermore, he has known all these years that he has a cousin out there and that someday she would return to the family, or what was left of it.
In previous films we've seen different sides of Leatherface, monster, cross dresser, man child, dutiful son. All the while being a lacky, sometimes verbally abused by various family members, but one thing that never wavers is his undying loyalty to his blood. In a way he's a burdened monster, a product of his environment and duty bound-gotta help feed the family. From that perspective, is Leatherface actually evil?
In Texas Chainsaw 3D, we're given no indication that Leatherface has continued killing and eating people in the year's since the end of the first story, as I said 3D picks up moments after the first film, then seemingly ignores everything that came after it. So if we assume Leatherface has been nothing
more than the weird dirty secret living in grandma's basement and his return to killing is because he didn't understand who was now in his grandma's house, we now have a whole new Leatherface on our hands. The first original idea with the character since 1974. He's now a twisted version of Lennie Small from Of Mice and Men. Proven in his emotional outburst when he realizes Heather is his long lost cousin at which point she becomes the George to his Lennie and they, silly as it may sound, team up to get revenge on the Hartmans. That made me like this film. Something human in the midst of a totally inhuman situation.
Of course, if he hasn't been killing all these years, why is his lair outfitted with meat hooks, butcher tables and all kinds of blades? Why does he still live in the skin masks? Are they part of his psychosis like they were for Ed Gein? And what about grandma (played by the original's Marilyn Burn's)? Grandma was part of the family, she knew what her kin did, she knew what Jed was. Did she spend the ensuing years hiding Leatherface's crimes while eating the human flesh he prepared in his room?
No indication of that what so ever. Grandma fed him, took care of him, and he apparently protected her and her home. I think the Of Mice and Men comparison stands. In no way do I make the case that Leatherface/Jed is not a deplorable human monster, but a monster like Frankenstein's that needs to be set apart from society, because he could never, even as a prisoner or mental patient, fit in the confines of our world. He needs a protector, a mother, a George, to protect him from society as much as protect society from him. The film would have benefitted with more scenes of Leatherface and Heather together as family as well as more scenes building on the Sawyer/Hartman family feud. There's a diamond in the detritus with Texas Chainsaw 3D. Buried beneath the need for a body count and cool kills there's a deep, psychological, gore fest begging to get out.
The original TCM, like the original Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th (the Mt. Rushmore of horror there) is important and effective because of how it changed horror films and how it affected audiences by holding up a fun house mirror to the American family, I mean family values are well in place with the Sawyers, they take care of their own. It's one of the many unsettling elements of that film. Making the monster human helps save Texas Chainsaw 3D by eliciting compassion for a gruesome beast who can casually hang a man on a meat hook and cut him in half with a chainsaw with as much regard as a butcher would pay a dead pig.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Help Get HG Lewis's ZOMBIFICADOR Made

Hershel Gordon Lewis, the godfather of gore, the seminal splatter maestro, needs your help to get his new anthology film ZOMBIFICADOR off the ground. Chop Top Bill Moseley and The Hills Have Eyes star Michael Berryman are anticipated to star.
Lewis promises this will be his goriest, grossest film of all. We all want to see that right???

Bluetrane Productions Brings Us "Murder Ballads"

Big congrats to my pal Jeff Martin on this!

(from Better Geek Than Never)
Bluetrane Productions is pleased to announce the beginning of pre-production on their first feature length film production, MURDER BALLADS, a horror thriller in which a mysterious killer murders their victims in gruesome ways that resemble the lyrics of traditional folk songs.
Co-writer/Director James Branscome describes it as a “hillbilly giallo.”
“I got my fascination about the songs from my grandfather,” Branscome said. “He grew up listening to bluegrass, folk, and country music and played the banjo. I didn’t appreciate it right away, but once I did, I really got into it. As I did my research, I discovered I was drawn to certain songs. More often than not, those songs were the most morbid lyrically. And I started getting ideas of doing something based around the songs.”
“I’ve always loved gialli (Italian murder mysteries),” Branscome continued, “especially the films of Dario Argento, Sergio Martino, and Lucio Fulci. James DeHaven and I talked about wanting to write one for years, but we could never find the hook. Then I thought about the folk songs and suddenly it all came together.”
“Since we’ve been working on projects over the years, I’ve always felt we were headed towards something great,” co-writer James DeHaven says. “I’m excited to be a fan of genre films, especially knowing that ‘Murder Ballads’ is so close to becoming a reality. We haven’t been given anything new in a long time. I think ‘Murder Ballads’ is going to fill a gap that genre fans have been longing to be filled. It’s a smart, gory horror movie. This isn’t your mother’s ‘Sound of Music.’”
Creator of the horror fiction series, “The Elders Keep Projekt,” and film essayist Jeffery X Martin helped bring the story together. “I knew James from his earlier work, a comedy web-series called ‘Pumpkin Morgue Paranormal Investigations.’ I pitched him some stories and wrote a couple scripts. Collaborating with James was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. We saw eye to eye on almost everything right away. We’ve been working together ever since.”
Martin is also a fan of gialli. “I know some people have tried to make American giallo films,” he says, “but they’ve always seemed to be missing a couple of elements. ‘Murder Ballads’ captures those great giallo aspects while making it something uniquely American, specifically the American South.”
“Murder Ballads” combines a compelling murder mystery, filled with shocking gore and suspenseful set pieces, with a story that plumbs the depth of the history of American music.
“We want nothing more than to share the things we love with the rest of the world. Folk music, giallo movies and horror that doesn’t insult anyone’s intelligence,” Martin says. “It’s an ambitious project, and we can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
“At the end of the day, we’re fans,” Martin concludes. “We want to make the kind of movie we would want to see as fans. Hopefully, that will resound with other fans and make this a special event.”
With the first round of casting done, Bluetrane Productions is preparing to reinvigorate the horror genre with “Murder Ballads,” an official selection in the Screenplay Competition of Fright Film Fest 2013.