Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time to grab a Twinkie and nut up or shut up!

Zombieland (2009)

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Amber Heard, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

"You're like a giant... cock blocking robot, like developed in a secret fucking government lab."

I loves me some zombies. I've watched so many freaking zombie movies and I have yet to tire of them. And now days there seems to be no shortage of films featuring the flesh-eating undead. With Shaun of the Dead and the return of George Romero and now this film's success zombie films appear to be a hot ticket for the time being. So is Zombieland any good? More on that in a minute.

After a really decent opening telling us how the world fell apart. And a sweet credits sequence featuring "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica we're introduced to Columbus (Eisenberg) nerdy collage student and loner by choice. On the road he meets Tallahassee (Harrelson) another surviver. Tallahassee on a quest to find some Twinkies whilst kicking lots of zombie ass. Pretty soon they run into con-artist sisters Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin) who steal the guy's car and guns. Eventually they decide it would be better to team up and the four head off cross country trying to live through the zombie apocalypse.

That's basically the story in a nutshell. Four people on a road trip during a zombie apocalypse. There's not much more to it then that. That in and of it's self would not be all that bad, but midway through the film that's not a whole lot of zombie action. The beginning and the end a brimming with it, and it's really well done. But it would have been nice to maybe have some zombie action during the midsection. That being said I liked the characters, Harrelson's Tallahassee steals the whole damn movie. Emma Stone is incredibly gorgeous and plays her streetwise con-artist character incredibly well. She's like a female Han Solo. There's also a great cameo that comes close to making up for the slow middle. The zombie effect a well done and there's some zombie gore, nothing on a par with an Italian gut-muncher though.

The DVD features a commentary with actors Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, director Ruben Fleischer, and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. A couple of short but good behind-the-scenes featurettes, seven deleted scenes and five theatrical promo trailers.

Seeing the television promos and the trailer I thought this would be a film I'd really love. And I wanted too, but in the end it's a good not great zombie flick. I liked it. Wasn't wowed by it. But a good zombie film is always welcome. Zombieland doesn't take you anywhere new but it's fun while it lasts.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Femme Fatale Friday

Giallo goddess Edwige Fenech here for you this Friday...

No Sex, a bunch of lies and videotape

Well, as per receiving a Kreativ Blogger award you have to list seven interesting things about yourself. So, I've had the old super computer in my evil lair running day and night trying to compute seven interesting things about me. After many a crash and reboot (Damn Windows!). I came up with seven somewhat (Not really) interesting factoids about me. So here they are...

7) Growing up there were three things I really wanted to be...An archaeologist like a certain Dr. Jones, a super villain like Dr. Doom or a ninja.

6) I love painting but don't find enough time to do it. Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso are favorites.

5) My ipod is a strange mix of music, everything from Johnny Cash to Goblin. The Clash and Ramones to Depeche Mode and Guns N' Roses.

4) I have collected way too many DVDs over the decade, something like 2000!

3) I've got a groovy autograph from the one and only Bruce Campbell adoring my wall.

2) I'm totally addicted to Italian crime films.

1) I have a total man crush on David Tennant (The best Dr. Who!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

After Dark Films Horrorfest 4

This years titles are: Dread, Lake Mungo, The Reeds, The Graves, Zombies of Mass Destruction, The Final, Kill Theory and Hidden. The Ultimate Horror Event HORRORFEST 8 FILMS TO DIE FOR—In Theatres January 29th-February 4th.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting to the nitty gritty: A conversation with Gary Kriss

by indrid13

I first became aware of the incredible music of Gary Kriss from his contributions to the soundtrack of award winning independent horror film Sphere of the Lycanthrope. I was immediately hooked by Gary’s back to basics, hard rockin’ sound. I recently had the pleasure to talk with Gary about his band Reckless, his music for Sphere, and more!

Tell us a little bit about the recording of your classic album, No Frills. 

GK: RECKLESS was signed to Valentino / ATCO - Atlantic by Senior VP Phil "The Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla" Carson. Phil Carson also signed AC / DC, Bad Company, Twisted Sister, Yes, Foreigner, to name a few. Phil was on his way to Robert Plant’s house when he heard the RECKLESS demo; you know, the lead singer from LED ZEPPELIN. Phil dug the demo, and so did Robert. After getting a phone call from Phil in England, where he was based, I got a call from a JJ French, one of the TWISTEDS, about to take the stage on their "Stay Hungry" tour opening for Iron Maiden. JJ told me that Phil loved the demo and wanted JJ French and Mark Mendoza (TS) to produce our next demo and sign RECKLESS to his record label. Phil also made plans to see RECKLESS, in the states, because he was going to be on the road for a while, managing Jimmy Page’s band "THE FIRM".

The "NO FRILLS" album was recorded at Boogie Hotel, in Port Jefferson NY. The studio was once owned by FOGHAT and the mixing board was John Lennon’s from "Imagine". .......Talk about name-dropping; but this is really cool stuff!....... We lived there, in the studio, while we recorded the album, which was very cool. There was no set schedule - just inspiration - scantily clad inspiration -and there was plenty of that..... The album was mixed in L.A., where we shot our first video for our first single "Nitty Gritty", and mastered at Sterling Sound in NYC.

How did you and Reckless come to be involved with Sphere of the Lycanthrope?

GK: David Stay, Keith Grening and myself were long time friends - all with a variety of creative drives. David , acting and screen writing, Keith, writing and directing, and myself, writing music and performing live, as well as writing screen plays. The RECKLESS album, "NO FRILLS" was released on Valentino / ATCO-Atlantic Records shortly before the movie went into production. "NO FRILLS" was produced by two of the Twisted Sisters, Mark "The Animal" Mendoza, and JJ French.

Over the past 18 years, our careers and lives have bifurcated, some of us took the path less taken; but we all remained partners in crime. When David and Keith started the 'beginning -of- the-end' of post production for Sphere, it was pretty much a no-brainer that I should write the songs for the soundtrack. I was intimately involved with Sphere; I lived and breathed it.

What was the time frame like for your work on the film? 

GK: I was working on the film while RECKLESS was touring and while I was writing new material. These new songs that I wrote, are on the soundtrack. "Sin City", "Ball Of Confusion, "Angelica", "She Looks Like Hell". "Voices In The Night" were written for the "NO FRILLS" album by myself and RECKLESS singer, Chris Cintron. The version of "VOICES" in SOTL was re-recorded while David Stay was finalizing the post production of Sphere.
That was a real coincidence.

The planets were beginning to align. I had just gotten RECKLESS back together. We had just returned from playing ROCKLAHOMA, a 5 day 80's music festival, for over 200,000 people in Oklahoma! Wicked cool! Everyone from Ratt, Poison, Skid Row to Lita Ford, Dokken, LA Guns and Queensryche. RECKLESS played on the final day, after Ace Frehley of KISS, and before TESLA. The weather was about 110 degrees and the rock chicks were all there, showin’ a lot of skin and doin’ what they do best..... but that’s another story!

I wanted to record a more current version of "Voices In The Night". I had some great new ideas for the song, and RECKLESS, at this point, is sounding better than ever. I hooked up with engineer / producer Chris Petro at URS Studios in New York, and RECKLESS was back in the studio. On my way to the studio one night, I got a call on my cell from David Stay, updating me on the 18 years of progress and talking about using my songs for the soundtrack. That was when I told him what I was doing with RECKLESS, in the studio at that very moment ! So we recorded "VOICES" with SOTL in mind, and I then wrote the music for all of the werewolf fighting scenes.

I have to admit, the songs in the film were KILLER! Will they be available to the public? 

GK: Thanks for the props on the soundtrack! It was an amazing time! The Big Hair 80's.....For all of us with excessive personalities, it was just like being a kid in a candy shop, and nobody watching how much you took......I just had a flashback...L.A, 1990, Sunset Blvd, Seventh Veil... yea gotta love it...and that my friend, was, and still is, my inspiration....Back to the question... I am currently working on a distribution deal for the songs I wrote for Sphere. I'm also working on releasing another CD called " Pull Your Pants Down and Party", featuring the songs from SOTL plus 5 or 6 more tracks. If you dig the songs in the movie, then you'll want to own the RECKLESS CD, 'NO FRILLS", which is available at RETROSPECTRECORDS.COM for 11.99 plus S&H, or you can get an autographed copy from me at for the same price.

Has there been any talk of your involvement in the proposed sequel to Sphere of the Lycanthrope?

GK: Aaahhh yes. The sequel...David Stay is brilliant at getting the job done. I am anticipating a phone call from David with the green light. David Stay has a vision, and that vision includes Gary Kriss... and RECKLESS......I'm honored and proud to be a part of any project of David Stay’s.

Going back a bit. Who would you say is your greatest musical influence? 

GK: Good question....I always believed that a rock concert was an event, a show, a carnival and a reason for the fans to get away from their daily 9 to 5 routine and become a part of something larger than life, to become a PART of the show. For one hour, have a kick-ass time and forget where your reality is; and join ours. I think Gene Simmons and KISS were a very strong influence on me. I remember as a kid, sneaking out of my room and hitching a ride to a KISS concert, watching Gene spit blood and breath fire; Ace, shooting flares out his smoking Les Paul, the androgynous Paul Stanley being Paul Stanley (whatever that is), and the Peter Criss’ drum kit swallowed by smoke and fire, reaching the sky, exploding the entire way up; and feeling like a part of something REALLY BIG! That is what RECKLESS brings to it's fans also. A private party that everyone is invited to. Get on board the freight train, cause it's leavin’ the station! We’ll rock your socks off and you'll sweat your ass off, all while having the time of your life!

Musically, of course there was Black Sabbath, AC / DC, Aerosmith, and Johnny Thunders and The New York Dolls. A down and dirty, gutter glitter feel for some raunch n roll. Ain’t nothin’ better than Street Metal!

For all of our musician readers...Tell us about your gear!

GK: Hey man, it's rock n roll - as long it was loud, it was good...and mine goes to 11! I was endorsed by Marshall Amplifiers. They were free, so they were great. I also like AMPEG power with SVT bottoms. And every now and again - I "KRANK" it up!. Don’t forget to add a few subs too. As far as basses, I've played and owned pretty much all there is, but my fave is my BC Rich Mockingbird original neck thru with GHS bass boomer medium gauge strings. The strings are an endorsement too and sound unbelievable on the Mock. Yea - some of you are goin’ it’s a piece of S#%', but dude, it sounds thunderous. I play left handed, so this bass was custom made for me. Listen to the bass track in "Voices In The Night" on the soundtrack, and then tell me what you think.

What was the craziest show you ever played? 

GK: Dude - ALL the shows are wild - but the real madness and mayhem happen after the shows!

Any final message for the fans? 

GK: The Fans are the reason I do what I do! I want to say THANK YOU to all our fans throughout the world -from the US to England; France, Belgium, and Germany, to Japan, Australia and Canada!

Believe in yourself and don’t let the bastards get you down.
Reach the unreachable - touch the untouchable - and think the unthinkable!
You, and only YOU, can make your dreams come true - You really can!
Don’t dream it - BE IT!

AWESOME! I want to thank Gary for being so gracious with his time and granting us an interview! I strongly urge everyone to check out and order a copy of “NO FRILLS” today, you won’t regret it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Movies I love: Tenebre (1982)

Tenebre (1982)

"The impulse had become irresistible. There was only one answer to the fury that tortured him. And so he committed his first act of murder. He had broken the most deep-rooted taboo, and found not guilt, not anxiety or fear, but freedom. Any humiliation which stood in his way could be swept aside by the simple act of annihilation: Murder."

If there was only one of Dario Argento's films I could take with me to a desert island this would be it. The first time I saw this it was under the name "Unsane" on VHS. I liked it but didn't know that the "Unsane" version is missing a bit of footage. Later I picked up the Anchor Bay VHS and then a few years ago the DVD release. There's that opening with the killer reading the passages from the novel. The insane tracking shot up and over a house, it's breathtaking and has to be one of his best moments. Then there's the insane murders. Especially that blood spurting ax to the arm towards the end of the film. The walls literary get painted with the red stuff. And of course that's the rocking score by a few of the former members of Goblin. Plus there's the always wonderful John Saxon and a great bit with his hat.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trick or Treats: A few thoughts on Rob Zombie's Halloween films or how I learned to stop bitching and enjoy Rob Zombie's Halloween

I'd been putting it off for a long time, dreading it. Having seen the trailers, read about all the changes and after reading many negative reviews, I figured It'd be nothing but pain. But after reading some really good analysis of the second film. Here and here. I decide to give them both a try in a one night back to back viewing blitz.

I never saw the original Halloween till after the second. I came across Halloween II on HBO way back in the 80's and loved it. Wasn't till a few years later that I saw John Carpenter's original. It may be blasphemy but I still like Halloween II better. Carpenter's is great and all but it's not my favorite film of his or of the Halloween franchise. I love the hospital and full on rambling Loomis of part two. The whole sister thing never bothered me because this was my first dip in the Halloween pond. I really dig the Mikeless third for it's own charms (Silver Shamrock!) and four is a pretty sweet return to Myersville. Five has actually gotten better over the years. Six, well it depends on the mood I'm in. H20 is fair (Too many cheap jump scares though.) and Resurrection...well mostly sucks ass. When I heard they were remaking the first thought was really? Is that needed?

As far as Mr. Zombie goes? I'm not a Rob Zombie hater. Far from it. I got hooked on his music back in the White Zombie days. His music and love of horror was the right combo for this Fango loving fiend. When he went solo, I was right there. I've seen him in concert a few times and bought more then my share of Rob Zombie stuff. I liked his first two cinematic outings, though I haven't watched them in years. But when I heard he was remaking Halloween and making all these crazy changes. A white trash origin? Making The Shape human? No thanks. So I stayed away.

Because I'm a completest with stuff I love. Be it TV or film series. I have to get the whole damn thing. So I bought both of Zombie's Halloween films when they came out. Never really sure if I'd watch them or just own them as part of the Halloween series.

After October I'm a bit burned out on horror for a few months. But like one some slasher movie killer it always comes creeping back to me. So as I said after some reading I actually got a bit excited to see Zombie's second Halloween film. And of course that meant watching the first one. I was prepared to be mad, to curse Rob Zombie's name and to be generally disappointed.

But I wasn't mad after seeing them, nor disappointed. There was no cursing. No, while there was enough, especially in the first film I could have done with out. The consent swearing, I'm no prude but c'mon. I've never meet anyone that cursed that much. Could have done without the redneck rapists as well was the whole white trash Myers clan. Humanizing Myers into a serial killer takes a bit away from his menace and mystique. I always liked the fact that he just snapped, no reason, no explanation. Of course the later films came up with some bullshit reasons themselves. In H2 as it's sometimes called I found the white horse dream thing got a tad overused.

But a bunch of credit has to go to Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif for really making the most out of their roles in both films. McDowell's Loomis is totally different then Loomis of old. His scenes with young Micheal Myers in the first film were pretty damn good. The surrogate father angle was something new that I'm surprised was never used before in the series. Danielle Harris really made me care for the Annie character, especially in the 2nd film. Speaking of the 2nd film, Dourif made the sheriff an incredibly human character. I liked Scout Taylor-Compton's Laurie and her arc in both films. Making her a totally messed up and having her scared in H2 was an interesting story idea that isn't used enough in horror sequels.

While far from perfect I found that I sort of like the first Zombie Halloween, though it's got more then a few warts. And the second one I found myself digging on. I've had my faith somewhat renewed in Zombie as a filmmaker and wouldn't mind seeing him take a third swing at old Micheal Myers.

Femme Fatale Friday

The dark, dangerous beauty of Asia Argento...

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