Apr 30, 2014

MUGSHOTS

Pretty sure these come from the Historic Houses Trust from Sydney (as posted originally here), but, found these vintage mugshots on another site:







Source/More.

Apr 29, 2014

THE OCEAN

I never saw the ocean until I was nineteen, and if I ever see it again, it will be too damn soon. I was a child, coming out of the train, fresh from Amarillo, into San Diego and all her glory. The sight of it, all that water and the blind crushing power of the surf, filled me with dread. I’d seen water before, lakes, plenty big, but that was nothing like this. I don’t think I can describe what it was like that first time, and furthermore, I’m not sure I care too.

You can imagine the state I was in when a few weeks later they gave me a rifle and put me on a boat. When I stopped vomiting up everything that I ate, I decided that I might not kill myself after all. Not being able to see the land, and that ceaseless chaotic, rocking of the waves; I remember thinking that the war had to be a step up from this. Kids can be so stupid.

I had such a giddy sense of glee when I saw the island, and its solid banks. They transferred us to a smaller boat in the middle of the night, just our undersized company with our rucksacks and rifles. We just took a ride right into it, just because they asked us to. The lieutenants herded us into our platoons on the decks and briefed us: the island had been lost. That was exactly how he put it. Somehow, in the grand plan for the Pacific, this one tiny speck of earth, only recently discovered and unmapped, had gotten lost in the shuffle. A singularly perfect clerical error was all it took. It was extremely unlikely, he stressed, that the Japanese had gotten a hold of it, being so far east and south of their current borders, but a recent fly-over reported what looked like an airfield in the central plateau.

We hit the beach in the middle of the night. I’d heard talk of landings before, and I’m not ashamed to say that I was scared shitless. I don’t know quite what I expected, but it wasn’t we got, that thick, heavy silence. Behind the lapping of the waves and the wind in the trees, there was… nothing. No birds, no insects, just deathly stillness.

Another hundred yards deeper into the eerie tranquility of the jungle, we stopped in a small clearing for the officers to reconvene, and it was obvious even they were spooked. I wasn’t a bright kid, but I knew enough to know that something was very wrong. It was like the whole island was dead. I remember I could only smell the sea, despite the red blossoms dangling from the trees.

It wasn’t an airfield, on top of the plateau. I can’t tell you what it was, because I’ve never seen anything like it, and I don’t think anyone ever will. It was sort of like the Aztec pyramids, but turned upside down, so that it sank, like giant steps, into the earth. You’d get the basic idea of it, but that somehow fails to capture the profound unearthliness of the structure.

There was no sign of individual pieces in the masonry. It appeared to have been carved out of a single immense block of black rock into a sharp and geometric shape. It was slick and perfectly smooth like obsidian, but it had no shine to it. It swallowed up even the moonlight, so that it was impossible to see how deep it went, or even focus your eyes on any one part of it, like it was one giant blind spot.

Our platoon drew the honor of investigating the lower levels, so we descended the stairs as the rest of the company surrounded the plateau. We took the stairs slowly and carefully, after the first man to touch one of the right angle edges cut his hand on it.

At odd intervals down the steps, there were several small stone rooms: simple, empty, hollow cubes of stone with one opening, facing the pit in the center. There was no door that we could see, and with the opening being four feet off the ground, you’d have to put your hands on that black razor sharp edge to climb into it.

We circled the descending floors, shining our lights into each of the small structures. They contained the same featureless black walls and nothing else; no dust, leaves, or foliage from the jungle. The whole monument was immaculate, as if the place was just built, but that couldn’t be right. The whole structure felt incalculably old to me, somehow.

Down near the bottom, you could see that it simply sloped away into a darkness that swallowed the flashlights. We tossed first a button, and then a shell casing down into the pit. We waited in the unearthly silence, but no sounds returned. No one spoke. We simply turned away from the yawning abyss and continued our sweep of the bottom rung and the last of the small structures.

The body in the back corner was almost invisible at first in the thick shadows, but the long spill of drying blood reflected the light of our flashlights, and it led right to him. He was coiled tight, arms around his thighs, and his face tucked into his knees. You could see that he was badly cut. His clothes opened in ragged bloody tatters to reveal the pale skin and bone beneath it. He may have been dressed in a Japanese uniform, but it had been reduced to ribbons. I only had a few seconds to look at him before we heard the first shots.

It echoed in the still jungle, swallowed almost instantly by the blanket of quiet. By the time we reached the top, the rest of the company had vanished. There were shell casings on the ground and the hot smell of gunpowder in the air, but they were gone. The trees were deathly quiet around us, and there wasn't a trace of the nearly fifty other men that had come ashore with us. I could taste bile rising in my throat as panic threatened to cripple me. I felt crushed between the yawning pit and razor edges on one side and the dead jungle and the pounding ocean on the other. The silence rang in my ears and I struggled to still myself.

They were just inside the jungle, waiting for us. They came out from between the trees with all the sound of a moth, simply sliding into our view.

I can try to tell you what I saw, the same as I did to the army doc on the hospital ship when I first woke up (and half a dozen other various officers over the following months), and you’ll have the same reaction they did; that I was a dumb country rube suffering from heatstroke and trauma. That I was crazy.

You know me. You know I’m not crazy. And I remember every second of that night with crystal clarity.

The thing, the first one that caught my eye, was wearing the skin of a Japanese soldier, all mottled with the belly distended from rot. The head drooped, useless and obscene on the shoulders, tongue swollen and eyes cloudy. I could see where it was coming apart at the ill-defined joints, with ragged holes in the drying flesh. At the bottom of each of these raw pits was blackness, deeper than the stones of the buildings; a darkness that seemed to churn and froth like an angry cloud.

The thing moved suddenly, the head snapping and rolling backwards as it dashed toward us. I had my rifle clasped tightly in my hands, but it simply didn’t occur to me to fire. All I could do was gape silently at the macabre sight bearing down on us, and think absurdly of my mother’s marionettes.

A gun went off beside me, and I turned to see a dozen more of the horrors darting silently in on us. Among them were a few more rotting and swollen forms, but the majority wore the same uniforms as us, and were pale, fresh, and soaked in blood. More bullets zipped through the air, and I saw the grisly things hit again and again, but they never slowed. I caught a glimpse of the First Sergeant’s vacant, glassy eyes as his head dangled limp from his shoulders. I saw the great ragged wound in his back and the shuddering darkness that inhabited his corpse when he leapt just past me without a sound, landing like a graceful predator onto the soldier beside me. The others around me began to drop in a silent dance of kinetic energy and blurred motion

I was on the track team in high school, and it could have got me to college. I didn’t need an invitation. I just ran. I ran blind through the jungle, bouncing off of tree trunks. I ran until I saw the ocean, and it struck a new ringing note of terror in me. I don’t remember actually deciding to swim, but when I turned back to the tree line, I saw one of the white and bloody things emerge, running on all fours, the hands splayed wide and the back contorted and cracked in an impossible angle.

To this day, the mere thought of the ocean still brings on a cold sweat, but that night I let it embrace me. I let the tide drag me out to sea, if only to bring momentary relief from the impossible monolith and terrors on the island. The days I spent drifting offshore and blistering in the sun were a welcome release from the silent island.

I never saw the war. They sent me home as soon as I recovered.

It was comforting in a way, when I thought no one believed me. It allowed me to believe that it never happened, that it was a product of my mind. However, as I got older, I’ve found that it is pointless to lie to anyone, especially yourself. I know what I saw.

Someone else believed me, too. I’ve seen maps of where they tested the hydrogen bombs in the South Pacific.

Story source.

Apr 28, 2014

TRICK R TREAT 2

Apparently, they're making it.

Awesome, I say.

Welcome back, Sam.


GARFIELD ALONE

One storyline, which ran the week before Halloween in 1989 (Oct 23 to Oct 28), is unique among Garfield strips in that it is not meant to be humorous. It depicts Garfield awakening in a future in which the house is abandoned and he no longer exists. In tone and imagery the storyline for this series of strips is very similar to the animation segment for Valse Triste from Allegro non troppo, which depicts a ghostly cat roaming around the ruins of the home it once inhabited. In Garfield’s Twentieth Anniversary Collection, in which the strips are reprinted, Jim Davis discusses the genesis for this series:
During a writing session for Halloween, I got the idea for this decidedly different series of strips. I wanted to scare people. And what do people fear most? Why, being alone. We carried out the concept to its logical conclusion and got a lot of responses from readers. Reaction ranged from 'Right on!' to 'This isn't a trend, is it?' 


Apr 27, 2014

REVIEW: DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL


What was the last theatrically released torture movie to crash and burn? Was it Captivity? Hostel 2? I honestly can't say/remember, as that was a brief detour for the horror genre that I absolutely detested. The Saws, the Hostels, the ass-eating Human Centipedes - all the direct-to-video rip-offs that soon followed; they were all an absolute waste of time, money, resources, and in some (but few) cases, talent. Only so many horror films can be released per year by a major or mini-studio. And for every film released that involved someone being strapped to a table or wheelchair while their organs were removed, that was one film that could have eschewed that easy, go-for-the-throat mentality and instead tried to earn its audience's discomfort and fear. I'm not against the torture movement; in theory, an engaging story with well-rounded characters can surpass any gimmick or technique, and that goes for the torture movement. It's just...that hasn't really come along yet.

Though Derek (Michael Thomson) is separated from his wife, Stacy (Allira Jaques), and his business is failing, at least he still has his beautiful little daughter, Georgia. That is, until she goes missing one night and is eventually found brutally murdered on the beach. Derek does not take it well, scream-blaming his ex for not having fixed Georgia's bedroom window, and lying around having conversations with the voice of his daughter that resides entirely within his head. He hears disembodied sounds of her laughter behind closed doors and seeing hallucinations of her in the tub, as if she never left. In an attempt to reconvene with everyday-life, Derek goes back to work and even attends a party thrown by his brother, Tom (Christian Radford). It's there when he discovers the first "clue" - the first indication of what really happened to Georgia. This revelation sets Derek on a path of revenge, which includes heavy research into the act of torture. The individual responsible for Georgia's death is going to know Derek's anguish, one exacting slice at a time.


The first half of writer/director Chris Sun's Daddy's Little Girl is a drama/thriller, which depends entirely on Thomson's performance to hook the audience and get them to feel what he is feeling. And we do: we feel his sadness, guilt, and anger; it's easy to empathize with someone who endures what Derek has endured. Thematically, we've sorta been here before, with Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left (of which I am not a fan, though I do laud Dennis Iliadis' redo - don't punch me!), but where that was a one-by-one revenge killing spree, the latter half of Daddy's Little Girl is nearly one long, non-stop torture sequence. Were it not for Fangoria Magazine's screaming warning across the film's marketing materials, I never would have guessed that this is where we would have ended up. 

Other reviews I've read for Daddy's Little Girl show a lack of patience with the film's first half, and almost awe for the "brutal" and boundary-pushing second. What does it say about me that I preferred the first? Why did I find the first half engaging and dramatic, but instantly bored the minute the "villain" was strapped down to the table having his digits removed one by one? Because maybe once we've reached that point in any film that includes this subject matter, there's nowhere else to go. All we can do is sit back and see our "hero" become just as vicious as the killer. Because at what point do the "good" become as bad or worse than the villain? You know, that whole thing.

Perhaps I'm not the best person to review something like this - it would be tantamount to me reviewing the new Pussy Riot album, or a scholarly volume about the collected works of Jane Austen. I'm, frankly, not particularly interested in these things, so how could I provide a fair evaluation?

If you're into this sort of thing, the low-budget independent approach is refreshing and well handled. Thomson's performance - when either mourning or manic - really is fantastic. Even the musical score, usually the least dependable when it comes to low budget genre stuff, is emotional, stirring, and involving. 

Did you enjoy the Saws, the Hostels, and all their imitators strictly for the sheer carnage? If so, that alone makes Daddy's Little Girl nearly a sure thing. After a while, there are only so many things you can cut off a human body, and while Daddy's Little Girl cuts off all those same things, it does it better than its  inspirations that came before.


Apr 25, 2014

RAKE

During the summer of 2003, events in the northeastern United States involving a strange, humanlike creature sparked brief local media interest before an apparent blackout was enacted. Little or no information was left intact, as most online and written accounts of the creature were mysteriously destroyed.

Primarily focused in rural New York state, self proclaimed witnesses told stories of their enounters with a creature of unkown origin. Emotions ranged from extremely traumatic levels of fright and discomfort, to an almost childlike sense of playfulness and curiosity. While their published versions are no longer on record, the memories remained powerful. Several of the involved parties began looking for answers that year.

In early 2006, the collaboration had accumulated nearly two dozen documents dating between the 12th century and present day, spanning 4 continents. In almost all cases, the stories were identical. I've been in contact with a member of this group and was able to get some excerpts from their upcoming book.

A Suicide Note: 1964

"As I prepare to take my life, I feel it necessary to assuage any guilt or pain I have introduced through this act. It is not the fault of anyone other than him. For once I awoke and felt his presence. And once I awoke and saw his form. Once again I awoke and heard his voice, and looked into his eyes. I cannot sleep without fear of what I might next awake to experience. I cannot ever wake. Goodbye."

Found in the same wooden box were two empty envelopes addressed to William and Rose, and one loose personal letter with no envelope:
"Dearest Linnie,

I have prayed for you. He spoke your name."

A Journal Entry (translated from Spanish): 1880

I have experienced the greatest terror. I have experienced the greatest terror. I have experienced the greatest terror. I see his eyes when I close mine. They are hollow. Black. They saw me and pierced me. His wet hand. I will not sleep. His voice (unintelligible text).


A Mariner's Log: 1691

He came to me in my sleep. From the foot of my bed I felt a sensation. He took everything. We must return to England. We shall not return here again, at the request of the Rake.

From a Witness: 2006

Three years ago, I had just returned from a trip from Niagara Falls with my family for the 4th of July. We were all very exhausted after a long day of driving, so my husband and I put the kids right to bed and called it a night.

At about 4am, I woke up thinking my husband had gotten up to use the restroom. I used the moment to steal back the sheets, only to wake him in the process. I appologized and told him I thought he got out of bed. When he turned to face me, he gasped and pulled his feet up from the end of the bed so quickly his knee almost knocked me out of the bed. He then grabbed me and said nothing.

After adjusting to the dark for a half second, I was able to see what caused the strange reaction. At the foot of the bed, sitting and facing away from us, there was what appeared to be a naked man, or a large hairless dog of some sort. It's body position was disturbing and unnatural, as if it had been hit by a car or something. For some reason, I was not instantly frightened by it, but more concerned as to its condition. At this point I was somewhat under the assumption that we were supposed to help him.

My husband was peering over his arm and knee, tucked into the fetal position, occasionally glancing at me before returning to the creature.

In a flurry of motion, the creature scrambled around the side of the bed, and then crawled quickly in a flailing sort of motion right along the bed until it was less than a foot from my husband's face. The creature was completely silent for about 30 seconds (or probably closer to 5, it just seemed like a while) just looking at my husband. The creature then placed its hand on his knee and ran into the hallway, leading to the kids' rooms. I screamed and ran for the lightswitch, planning to stop him before he hurt my children. When I got to the hallway, the light from the bedroom was enough to see it crouching and hunched over about 20 feet away. He turned around and looked directly at me, covered in blood. I flipped the switch on the wall and saw my daughter Clara.

The creature ran down the stairs while my husband and I rushed to help our daughter. She was very badly injured and spoke only once more in her short life. She said "He is the Rake".

My husband drove his car into a lake that night, while rushing our daughter to the hospital. He did not survive.

Being a small town, news got around pretty quickly. The police were helpful at first, and the local newspaper took a lot of interest as well. However, the story was never published and the local television news never followed up, either.

For several months, my son Justin and I stayed in a hotel near my parents' house. After we decided to return home, I began looking for answers myself. I eventually located a man in the next town over who had a similar story. We got in contact and began talking about our experiences. He knew of two other people in New York who had seen the creature we now referred to as the Rake.

It took the four of us about two solid years of hunting on the Internet and writing letters to come up with a small collection of what we believe to be accounts of the Rake. None of them gave any details, history or follow up. One journal had an entry involving the creature in its first 3 pages, and never mentioned it again. A ship's log explained nothing of the encounter, saying only that they were told to leave by the Rake. That was the last entry in the log.

There were, however, many instances where the creature's visit was one of a series of visits with the same person. Multiple people also mentioned being spoken to, my daughter included. This led us to wonder if the Rake had visited any of us before our last encounter.

I set up a digital recorder near my bed and left it running all night, every night, for two weeks. I would tediously scan through the sounds of me rolling around in my bed each day when I woke up. By the end of the second week, I was quite used to the occasional sound of sleep while blurring through the recording at 8 times the normal speed. (This still took almost an hour every day)

On the first day of the third week, I thought I heard something different. What I found was a shrill voice. It was the Rake. I can't listen to it long enough to even begin to transcribe it. I haven't let anyone listen to it yet. All I know is that I've heard it before, and I now believe that it spoke when it was sitting in front of my husband. I don't remember hearing anything at the time, but for some reason, the voice on the recorder immediately brings me back to that moment.

The thoughts that must have gone through my daughter's head make me very upset.

I have not seen the Rake since he ruined my life, but I know that he has been in my room while I slept.

I fear that one night, I'll wake up to see him staring at me.

Apr 23, 2014

WRECK

In 1975, a man riding a moped in Bermuda was accidentally struck and killed by a taxi. One year later, the man’s brother, riding the very same moped, was killed in the very same way by the very same taxi driven by the very same driver -- and carrying the very same passenger.

Apr 20, 2014

ONE MORE STORY...

 
"In five minutes, it will be the 21st of April. One hundred years ago on the 21st of April, out in the waters around Spivey Point, a small clipper ship drew toward land. Suddenly, out of the night, the fog rolled in. For a moment, they could see nothing, not a foot in front of them. Then, they saw a light. By God, it was a fire burning on the shore, strong enough to penetrate the swirling mist. They steered a course toward the light. But it was a campfire, like this one. The ship crashed against the rocks, the hull sheared in two, mars snapped like a twig. The wreckage sank, with all the men aboard. At the bottom of the sea, lay the Elizabeth Dane, with her crew, their lungs filled with salt water, their eyes open, staring to the darkness. And above, as suddenly as it come, the fog lifted, receded back across the ocean and never came again. But it is told by the fishermen, and their fathers and grandfathers, that when the fog returns to Antonio Bay, the men at the bottom of the sea, out in the water by Spivey Point will rise up and search for the campfire that led them to their dark, icy death."

CREAPSTER


Apr 18, 2014

Apr 17, 2014

BLACK SPOT

Filmmaker Luther Bhogal-Jones, whose previously shared with me his short film, "Creak," reached out to me to share another short film made by himself and his merry band of miscreants. Called "Black Spot," it is a six-minute homage to the deranged and mentally unbalanced films made at the height of 1970s madness. Personally, I had The Last House on the Left in mind the entire time I watched it. It's available to watch in three different formats: traditional 3D, stereoscopic 3D, and plain-old 2D. The 2D version is embedded here:



“Black Spot” F.A.Q.

What was the inspiration for the story?
 
Luther was looking for a scenario that would let him test the device out against landscapes, but also a compact interior. He didn't want to film something entirely set in a house, as it felt somewhat limiting on scope.  Luther isn't too sure where the actual inspiration for setting the film around a broken down car came from – possibly as a result of his day job travelling around as an account manager – but also it references back to his previous short film “Stranded” which involved a broken down car in one of the three storylines.

 There was definitely a desire to give the film a 1970s horror feel – not necessarily the now cliched grindhouse style but something that felt relentless, grim, trashy...

What was the budget of the film?

 Removing the “cost” of the camera from the film's budget, "Black Spot" was made for less than one hundred and fifty pounds, with all cast and crew working for travel and food expenses only. Specific props and clothing were required for the film which was where the majority of the expenditure went.

Where can people see the film?

The film is available online with 3 formats available to view – in 3D with red/cyan glasses as Luther intended the film to be seen, in stereoscopic 3D for those with 3D TVs at home and, lastly, in a 2D version for those who cannot view the 3D versions.

The film will also be submitted to various horror festivals around the world over the year.

 What's next for Faster Productions and Sincerely, Psychopath?
 
“Black Spot” comes under the umbrella name of Sincerely, Psychopath which is used by Faster Productions for the films of a more horror/ fantastical nature. The next film to come under that brand will be “Knock Knock,” which is a short horror showing the mental breakdown of a woman terrorized by a knocking at her door.

The next offering from Faster Productions will be “Pick-Ups,
which is currently in post production, and is a short drama with a comedic sting in the tale about a man gives up everything and travels to Eastern Europe to be with the woman who he thinks is “the one.”

VIDEO: YIKES

Apr 16, 2014

SHITTY FLICKS: PIGS aka DADDY'S DEADLY DARLINGS

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis. 

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.


Pigs
, released in the '70s as Daddy's Deadly Darling, remains three things: amateur, boring, and about pigs. This is seriously one of the most boring films I've ever sat through. This is like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but with pigs. Any film that was ever made that involved pigs in any way, like Babe: Pig in the City and Charlotte's Web, is automatically better.

There's even a movie called Pig Hunt. I've never even seen it, and it's allegedly pretty stupid.

You know what? Better.

In fact, there is a scene in Hannibal in which a man is eaten by a large group of pigs, and the pigs begin to eat the man's cock and balls, and what that must feel like in real life - to have your cock and balls being eaten by a bunch of pigs, and you probably get pig shit all over your face - is still better than just sitting down and watching Pigs.

There have even been better historical political pig-related fuck-ups, like the Bay of Pigs. That crazy fucking redneck in Canada who killed a bunch of people and fed them to his pigs is better than Pigs, and while that's exactly what this movie is about, that redneck killer is better. So many more things in this world are better than Pigs that I am thinking of starting a blog called Hairy, Spiked & Boiling Shit in My Cheeks And It Plays Rihanna 24/7: Better Than Pigs.

US!

Crazy Lynn, a girl locked up for murdering her rapist father, looks on from the small window on her asylum door as a nurse and doctor make weird love in the middle of the hallway. Crazy Lynn rolls her face around the window, hair mussed and plastered to her forehead, as she longs for the day that she will be able to make weird love to a doctor twice her age in a busy hospital. This couple, distracted in their lust dance, isn’t keeping watch, and the lonely girl escapes. None of the cells in this insane asylum are locked, I guess. She easily steals a car and motivelessly drives, seemingly directionless, to a farm out in the middle of nowhere.

Upon getting there, she is haunted by the over-modulated squeals of pigs that we can't see. The squealing of pigs layered over footage of people looking lost and confused will occur occasionally throughout the film, and it is genuinely unnerving.

Lynn meets Zambrini, a lonely old man who owns a farm but wears a leather vest and whose voice betrays that he is clearly from the Bronx.

Zambrini questions Crazy Lynn as to why she drove so far into a dead area looking for work, and though she doesn't answer, he is satisfied with her boobs and shows her to her new room.

Later in the film, we meet Ms. Macy, an old busy-body who shrieks to Patrolman that Zambrini feeds corpses to his pigs. What's weird is that it's understood by pretty much everyone in town that Zambrini feeds dead bodies to his pigs, but as Patrolman says, "I don't think that's against the law." What's even weirder is that Zambrini is NOT a murderer. So where does Zambrini get these dead bodies?

Shrug.

Crazy Lynn works for Zambrini in his café as people near and far come to snack on Old Man Zambrini's White Non-Descript Food.

Lynn had a rather unorthodox way of letting
people know her parties were over.

Crazy Lynn runs afoul of Brown Teeth Man who likes to flirt and eat Zambrini's Pure White Triangle-Shaped Food while simultaneously grossing out the audience and validating the Southern stereotype.

Despite Crazy Lynn's clear repugnance over this foul dolt, the two later go on a date that ends in forced kissing and blue balls (for Brown Teeth Man). Lynn establishes her status of a strong, independent woman and fights off the disgusting man’s advances, but then relies on another man to get her out of this fix.

Enter Patrolman!

Crazy Lynn is rescued by Patrolman and he drives her back to Zambrini's café. From here on out, the movie actually becomes interesting; not because of plot twists or character metamorphosis, but because the editing of the film becomes abruptly terrible. New scenes will begin, and once established, will suddenly begin again, reestablishing what's already been established.

Example?

EXT. FARM - DAY

A dog jumps over the fence.


ZAMBRINI
Wanna see--

SUDDEN CUT TO:

EXT. FARM - DAY

A dog jumps over the fence.


ZAMBRINI
Wanna see my pigs??

This altering of space and time will occur at the start of every new scene until the end of the film. Was this purposely done in an artistic way to convey to us a question which we should endlessly ponder? Are we all stuck in one place at one time, unable to escape our fates as our lives encircle us; suffocating us; cutting us off from society and perhaps the world?

Or is this just a terrible directing debut, and appropriately a swan song, for director/star Marc Lawrence...?

...Huh?

Oh.

It's a terrible directing debut by Marc Lawrence.

Marc Lawrence could appreciate a fine set of
double-Ds, even if they were his daughter's.

Crazy Lynn makes frequent phone calls to her dead father throughout the film as Zambrini attempts to help Crazy Lynn pick up the insane pieces of her insane life and help her to move on. Lynn begins to murder random men, and what else can Zambrini do but feed them to his pigs?

Lynn appreciates his heroics in her own way, making him safe from any future psychotic breakdowns on her part. Why, Zambrini has been really the only caring figure that she’s ever had. Caring…and almost father-like. Wait, her father?

Uh-oh!

Crazy Lynn freaks out and kills Zambrini, feeding him to his own pigs.

We then reach the resolution of the film, which is carried out in three parts:
  1. Lynn peels off her clothes.
  2. The camera focuses on Lynn's delectable breasts.
  3. Lynn alludes to also feeding herself to the hungry pigs.
It's kinda weird that Lawrence makes the audience think that she is committing pig suicide, but then we find out seriously two minutes later that she had faked her death and driven off into her psychotic sunset.

A crowd of three people soon gather at Zambrini's farmstead and Patrolman and everyone else agrees that Crazy Ol' Lynn has fed herself to the pigs and look into it no further, even though her car is clearly missing.

Sure, Timmy could fight, but it was his lackluster
dance moves keeping him from joining up with The Jets.

Director Lawrence, as if daring the audience not to laugh at his film one last time, employs a scene in which a random farmer at the crime scene gets in his truck and drives it off-screen. Once the truck is clearly well on its way into the distance do we then hear poorly applied sound effects of a truck starting its engine and pulling away. About five seconds off there, Lawrence.

I laugh.

The movie ends. The credits roll. The credits are as badly edited as the rest of the film, and once the cast list is in progress, it begins again.

I laugh again.

What I Learned From Pigs:

  • Boobs.
  • Everyone knows the following: Zambrini feeds dead people to pigs. Zambrini slaughters said pigs for food. Zambrini runs a successful café, in which some of the menu is pig-based. Everyone eats there, anyway.
  • Breasts.
  • Filmmakers don't audit their films for errors before before releasing them to the public.
  • Fathers who cast their daughters in trash will feature their boobs very prominently, but only inside bras.
  • Editing is really hard.
  • (Boobs.)

Apr 14, 2014

IMAGINATION

There it goes again. Something definitely moved this time.

It was very brief, but out of the corner of your eye, you saw something. But wait. All the doors are locked, no pets, and your parents won’t get home until 10. So there’s no way something moved. It’s just your imagination getting the best of you. Sitting alone in your room, the only light emitting from the monitor of your computer, you stare into the darkness for several minutes. Just to be sure. 
Now you feel silly. What were you thinking? Of course there’s nothing there. What are you, 6? Go back to what you were doing.

15 minutes later, as you prepare to go to bed, you’re in the bathroom. The shower curtains shift. Wait… no. Stop spooking yourself. It’s just an overactive imagination, filling your head with what isn’t really there.

You gaze into the mirror at yourself. You say it to yourself, slowly and clearly, “Imagination.” With a sigh, you turn the lights off and head towards your room.

Laying in bed, you stare at your ceiling, dark and foreboding, only the motion of a small fan disturbing the calmness of the night. A shadow from the light in the hall shifts. No. No, no, no. Stop it. It’s your imagination. Just that. Go to sleep, you fool.

But then, just when you’re about to drift off to sleep, at the phase no one remembers when they wake, you sense something in the darkness. It’s your imagination, leering down at you.

With a jagged, macabre smile.    

Apr 12, 2014

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? 1x2: THE TALE OF LAUGHING IN THE DARK

If you were a budding horror misanthrope in your early teens during the ‘90s, then you not only remember, but cherish, this long-running Nickelodeon series about a group of variously ethnic kids meeting in the woods at night to trade spooky tales. Perhaps you remember President Gary's opening remarks during the first episode: "We're called The Midnight Society. Separately, we're very different. ... But one thing draws us together: the dark! Each week, we gather around this fire to share our fears and our strange and scary tales." The stories were creepy, corny, fantastic, or pretty stupid, but we all remember that nervous knot in our stomachs beginning to tighten as the legitimately eerie opening title sequence began (which includes that awful clown-doll from which I used to avert my eyes). You didn’t know if the groundwork for nightmares was being laid, but you sat, rapt, waiting to see.  So grab your weird bag of magic dust and toss it in the fire. It’s time to see if you’re still afraid of the dark.



The Tale Submitted For Approval:

"The Tale of Laughing in the Dark"


The Submitter: Betty Ann

The Current Midnight Society Administration: Gary (President, Glasses); David (Vice-President, Administrator of the Useless); Kiki (Secretary of War/Ass-Kicker, Name-Taker); Eric (Director of the Office of Management and Budget/Minister of Looking Smarmy); Betty Ann (Ambassador to the United Nations/Gary’s Unspoken Mistress); Kristen (Trade Representative/Socialite); Frank (Intern/Socialite).


The Jist

A very red boy named Josh is having a wonderfully '90s time at a nearby carnival called Playland. He's there with his two friends, Weegee and Kathy, who appear to be brother and sister, and who appear to have been dressed by their parents. While there, Josh chides his two friends for not having the balls to go inside the Laughing in the Dark Spook House, which legend says is haunted, but the creepy pin-striped host manning the entrance of the place (Aron Trager, in a rare and beardless non-Dr. Vink appearance), attempts to shame Josh inside to prove he's not a puss.

He doesn't go in, though, and the kids piss off home, where Weegee does some digging and discovers that the Laughing in the Dark Spook House rests on top of a previous incarnation of a haunt, which burned down after a worker named Zeebo the clown stole the payroll in order to pay off clown college, but after being chased inside, he accidentally set the place on fire ]with one of his own cigars and killed himself because he was a real clown.

Weegee gets tired of Josh NOT believing in the spirits of dead clowns and officially dares Josh to go inside, and Josh agrees, even saying he'll steal the nose off the clown dummy (that legend suggests is infested with the displaced spirit of Zeebo, I guess) to prove he made it all the way through. Well, he does, and Josh enjoys his triumph for about two seconds before the clown soon comes calling, eager to get his nose back. 

"Joke's over, Luke Perry. Take off my dad's church clothes."

The Reaction

"AYAOTD" was still finding its footing here, so the episode begins right in the "tale," complemented by some Betty Ann voice over, instead of the usual opening of the episode with the Midnight Society beginning to gather or already gathered around the camp fire. A quick interruption to the story, so we can set up member Kristen's immense fear of clowns, occurs before it's right back to the tale, complete with handful of magic sand.

Huge props to whomever named Josh's friend Weegee, as of all the possible references to real-life people (Weegee was a famed crime photographer, amongst other proclivities), this was the most obscure to use. (Seriously, he took this.)

The episode uses the "less is more" approach, in that anything creepy is either suggested or occurs off-screen. There is no man in a clown costume chasing Josh around, and no bad pre-CGI special effects to bring to life a large clown monster.

As far as the tale itself, to me this is quintessential "AYAOTD." It's a well directed episode with a simple but interesting concept. It doesn't talk down to its kid audience like some of the other episodes soon will. Ultimately, this episode is a morality tale, and that's the most important thing, as that's a theme that "AYAOTD" will explore again and again. These damn kids need to learn their lesson now and then.

(Last, am I nuts, or does anyone else remember this airing NOT as an  "AYAOTD" episode, but originally as a one-off Halloween special that Nickelodeon produced for the hell of it before co-opting it as an "AYAOTD" episode?)

Is It Scary?

It's certainly creepy. Laughing clowns, shady carnies. The established back history of dead Zeebo drapes the whole affair with a pleasant ominous feeling. The idea that this clown ghost is after Josh is more effective than there actually being one physically in frame with him. Plus I love that scene were Josh calls Weegee, thinking all the creepy stuff that's happening is because of him, when he hears a click on the phone line, and Weegee tells him, "We only have one phone. It's got to be at YOUR HOUSE."

Terror.

Is It Corny?

Only a little. I mean, the episode ends with Josh returning the nose to the clown and apologizing. That's kinda cornball. (Plus how'd a kid manage to buy a whole box of cigars?)

Is It Stupid?

If you're on board with this show's concept, not at all.

How Bad Is The Acting?

Josh and Weegee do just fine. Less fine is Kathy, the little sister, but given her age, I'll let it slide. She doesn't have that many lines, anyway.

Do The Kids Deserve Their Terror?

Josh totally does. He's that snide, pompous, show-off kid every single one of us has, or once had, as a friend. He's the kind of character you want to see cower in fear from a carnival clown because he's totally asking for it. Plus he steals a clown's nose, and from what I understand, that's like stealing an opera singer's larynx. They're useless without it. 

Why Does That One Kid Look Familiar?

Christian Tessier as Josh has been acting forever. He made numerous appearances on another Nickelodeon show, "You Can't Do That On Television," played on the original incarnation of "The Tomorrow People," and even appeared in the haunted camera episode of "AYAOTD" rival "Goosebumps." And that motherfucker will next be seen in the mega-budgeted mega-casted Godzilla remake.

How Canadian Does Everyone Sound?

Josh sounds full-on Canuck."There's no such thing as ghoosts!" "Is this a jooke?"

Final Thoughts

To me, this is what "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" is all about. A solid episode.

Also, I am very tickled that Josh learns his lesson about torturing his friends about being scared of something, but then the episode ends with the Midnight Society torturing Kristen for being scared of clowns.

That'd be called irony, folks.

Run screaming.



On the Official Gary Creeper-Shot Rating Scale...



I Award "The Tale of Laughing in the Dark..."

 

5 Gary Creeper Shots

 

I declare this meeting of the Midnight Society closed. (Splash sound.)

Apr 10, 2014

MEREANA MORDEGARD GLESGORV

There is a video on YouTube named "Mereana Mordegard Glesgorv." If you search this, you will find nothing. The few times you find something, all you will see is a 20 second video of a man staring intently at you, expressionless, then grinning for the last 2 seconds. The background is undefined. This is only part of the actual video.

The full video lasts 2 minutes, and was removed by YouTube after 153 people who viewed the video gouged out their eyes and mailed them to YouTube’s main office in San Bruno. Said people had also committed suicide in various ways. It is not yet known how they managed to mail their eyes after gouging them out. And the cryptic inscription they carve on their forearms has not yet been deciphered.

YouTube will periodically put up the first 20 seconds of the video to quell suspicions, so that people will not go look for the real thing and upload it. The video itself was only viewed by one YouTube staff member, who started screaming after 45 seconds. This man is under constant sedatives and is apparently unable to recall what he saw. The other people who were in the same room as him while he viewed it and turned off the video for him say that all they could hear was a high pitched drilling sound. None of them dared look at the screen.

The person who uploaded the video was never found, the IP address being non-existent. And the man on the video has never been identified.

 

Apr 9, 2014

NO ONE WAS HOME

A mother and father decided they needed a break, not having much alone time in the almost a year since their young son, Toby, was born. They wanted to have a night out, dinner, maybe a movie, and the honeymoon suite at a local hotel to possibly give Toby a little brother or sister. They called their most trusted babysitter, who unfortunately was already engaged for the evening. But she did refer a good friend of hers, Opal, who she swore could be trusted. They spoke with the new babysitter and agreed to have her arrive no later than 6:30 so the parents could get an early start.

As the parents got ready to paint the town red, Toby lay on the floor, gnawing on his teething ring in the den off to the back of the house. At shortly after 6:20 the father walked past the open doorway and saw an elderly woman sitting in the rocking chair facing the child, her back to the doorway. The father was slightly startled as his wife hadn't mentioned the sitter had arrived. He spoke to her as he straightened his tie in the mirror on wall opposite the doorway.

"Oh my, I'm sorry; I didn't hear you come in. We appreciate you coming on such short notice. My wife put some a chicken in the oven for you. The numbers for the restaurant and hotel are on the counter if you need to reach us. We will be home around 9 tomorrow morning. Goodbye Toby, I love you."

He hurried down the hallway as his wife was coming down the stairs, meeting her at the bottom his wife asked, "What were you saying, dear?"

"Oh nothing, I was just giving the sitter instructions. We should hurry so we can make our reservation on time," he replied grabbing his coat as he unlocked the front door.

They went to the car and were in such a rush they didn't notice the car pull into the drive way not 15 seconds after they pulled out. They proceeded to have the best night out they could remember. The wife become somewhat concerned shortly after arriving at the hotel when she called home and no one answered. The husband calmed her as he pulled her into bed, kissing her neck.

"Don't worry dear, she's an older lady and it's almost 10, she must have gone to bed after putting Toby down."


The next morning after a nice breakfast they arrived home to find a note on the door. It read:
 
I arrived at 6:30 as agreed, but no one was home.
If you had made other plans, I would have appreciated if someone had called me. 
Opal
The husband gave his wife a confused look as she put a hand to her mouth and her face turned white. She threw open the front door calling out for her son. There was no reply, in fact there was no sound at all in the house, just the smell or some burned meat. She ran up the stairs as her husband raced to the back of the house the find the kitchen filled with smoke. He turned off the stove and used pot holders to grab the smoldering pan or charred meat and drop it in the sink. His wife came into the kitchen crying into her hands

"He's not here! Toby's gone! She took him!"

The husband then took her in his arms as she cried. It was then that he noticed blood on the lid of the trash can. A pit formed in his stomach as he left his wife and opened the trash can. He exhaled as he realized that it was only the chicken his wife had made. It was then that his eyes shot wide open as his wife let out a fresh scream of horror. As he turned toward her, he caught sight of the melted remains of the teething ring on the bottom of the open oven.