The Wicker Man, Teletubbies Edition

Sorry for the long absence, I didn’t mean to neglect you so.

My sanity wasn’t devoured by bad SyFy movies, but I was quite ill for most of the Spring and early Summer and it’s taken me much longer to get life back to something even close to resembling normality.

Wouldn’t want things to get too normal, though, so while I continue to sort things out, here’s a hypnotic re-edit of the ending of The Wicker Man.

The brilliant 1973 version, not the abominable 2006 remake starring Nicholas Cage. Not even the powerful ancient magic of the Teletubbies could make that thing watchable.


Neeson Season

As soon as I opened wordpress to post Liam Neeson: The Musical, our furnace made a terrible shrieking sound. An additional dose of oil seems to have placated it (for now) but it’s 12 degrees and I’m a little nervous.

This wouldn’t be the first time Liam Neeson has menaced our furnace on a cold night in February. See also: Wrath of the Titans (Or, this movie sucks so much it will break your furnace).

I’ve been trying to update my theme and redesign the site, but it hasn’t been going terribly well. If my blog breaks over the next few days, I plan to blame Neeson. Or call him to rescue me. One of those.

Alone in the Dark (2005)

Alone in the Dark is a 1982 horror movie starring Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence and Martin Landau.
51HWw+Euc1L
Unfortunately, that’s not the movie we’re watching.

We’re watching Alone in the Dark, a 2005 supernatural/archaeological horror movie starring Tara Reid, Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff.

If that doesn’t give you a sufficient idea of how terrible this movie is, perhaps because you’re drunk or otherwise incapacitated, allow me up the ante: this movie was directed by Uwe Boll.

Uwe. Boll.

And it’s based on a video game. It’s one of Boll’s video game movies. The only movies on earth more awful than Boll’s “original” movies are Boll’s movies based on video games.

Allow Wired’s Chris Baker to sum up Boll’s abilities:

Like a modern-day Ed Wood, or a poor man’s Michael Bay, Boll appears competent in every aspect of filmmaking except the actual making of the film. His movies are haphazardly scripted, sloppily edited, badly acted and, most crucially, brutally received.

There are mild spoilers in this post, but with a movie like this, it’s better to be forewarned.

The movie begins with a crawl. Narrated by Slater, who sounds as though he’s drunk or otherwise incapacitated, this crawl is a prodigious display of word-vomit that provides a video-game-esque amount of backstory that leaves you fervently wishing that the poor man’s Nicholson would just shut up already.

Blahblahblah. 10,000 years ago a tribe known as the Abkani opened a gate between the worlds of Light and Dark. Blahblahblah. Something evil slipped through the gate, possibly Uwe Boll. Blahblahblah. In 1967, a bunch of miners found dangerous artifacts left behind when the Abkani disappeared.Blahblahblah. Something about the government’s Bureau 713, a paranormal research agency run by an archaeologist named Lionel Hudgens. Hudgens has a secret lab. Blahblahblah.

“There, he conducted savage experiments on orphaned children in an attempt to merge man with creature.”

Wait, what? What kind of archaeology is that? What creatures?

Me: Isn’t that also the plot of that Kevin Smith movie we just saw a trailer for? Tusk? The one where the guy tries to turn the other guy into a walrus?
Husband: No. This is different. That guy was a podcaster, not an archaeologist!

Thankfully, while we were bickering about Tusk, the crawl ended. Unfortunately, that meant the movie began.

Edward Carnby (Christian Slater), one of the 20 surviving experimental child-creature subjects, has grown up to be a paranormal investigator. He also knows kung fu. Or maybe the artifact he keeps in his leather jacket pocket gives him super-powers. Who can really say? Actually, Lowrent Nicholson will probably say eventually, because it appears he’s also going to be narrating this steaming pile of cinematic stupidity.

Seriously, what kind of science was Ludgens supposed to be doing? You understand that creating human-demonmonster hybrids is not archaeology, right? Right?

Ludgens is still a working archaeologist. Not a respectable archaeologist, obviously, because he works for the same museum that hired Aline (Tara Reid) as an assistant-curator. Let’s be clear here: I’m not mocking the idea of Reid as a scholar because she’s young and dewy and pretty. I’m mocking the idea of Reid as a scholar because she can’t deliver a convincing line to save her life. She can’t even walk convincingly.

Archaeology movie trope alert: Aline is under pressure to finish the blockbuster exhibit about the Abkani for the major museum at which she is the assistant curator.

A bunch of stuff happens.

Sample dialogue:

Edward: Every culture’s got a story about the end of the world, doesn’t it?
Aline: But not every story starts by coming true.

Oh, hey! Sex scene in an exotically appointed artifact-laden warehouse. I guess Edward and Aline live in this warehouse? Oh no! Now Edward and Aline are being attacked by a monster, who chases them around the warehouse.

Luckily, Bureau 713 arrives with an entire platoon of soldiers and they all open fire on the monster in the dark warehouse while heavy metal music throbs and lights strobe and everyone grunts a lot.

No, really:

Now there are zombies.

Where did the zombies come from? I have no idea. I wasn’t paying attention because I was reading about the 7th Alone in the Dark game (Illuminations), which is scheduled for release this year. Husband, who was paying attention, also has no idea.

We both agree that the games are way, way better that this movie.

We also agree that they should dub Reid’s dialogue. Even if it wasn’t dubbed well her performance would be more convincing. Maybe they could spare Reid the effort of memorizing all of those words. Her dialogue coach could just smear peanut butter on the roof of her mouth like they do when they want to film animals moving their mouth in a way that approximates human speech.

Sweet cheezits! I was just searching my archives for a post I wrote about Boll’s epic vampire hunter flick Bloodrayne (“not as bad as getting your eyelid caught on a nail”) and discovered that we’ve already watched this movie.

Husband: Well, I believe we should commend ourselves for doing such an excellent job of repressing it!

He makes a good point.

Hang on…the braintrust of Aline, Edward, and Bureau 713 Commander Burke (Dorff) seem to have lead Bureau 713’s special forces to the ancient Abkani temple those miners found in 1967.

No sign of zombies. Lots of monsters, though. And a big battle.

Damn, while I wasn’t paying attention the three stooges opened the door between the worlds of Light and Dark and went into whichever one they weren’t already in. Dark, I guess. Or Light. Who knows?

Some “dramatic” things happen and the movie ends.

I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, so I haven’t described the B story, in which we learn the consequences of the child-creature experiments. You should be grateful I decided not to describe it. Grateful on oh so many levels, the least of which is that you’re avoiding spoilers.

In summary: archaeology plus secret experiments involving human-creature hybrids never end well, not when you’re on deadline to open a blockbuster museum exhibit!

Someone edited Alone in the Dark down to 2 minutes, complete with director’s commentary and a guest appearance by Howard Dean!


I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to watch Alone in the Dark II!

Alone in the Dark 2 Trailer:


I don’t know what it means when JunglePete & I start sharing dreams

Yikes, it’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve neglected you all for months and I should probably be writing something profound about the new year (or something snarky about resolutions). Instead, I’m posting a draft that’s been hanging around since last New Year’s Eve.

I’ve been a little disorganized this year.

Last year, we drove to Florida and spent a few weeks with my mom for the holidays. The night before we set out on our journey, I had a nightmare.

A terrible, crazy nightmare.

A wake-up-drenched-in-sweat nightmare.

Here’s what I remember: Husband and I were driving on I-4 in Orlando, near Gatorland. There was a huge traffic jam and we weren’t going anywhere.

Suddenly, Harrison Ford sprinted by the car. We leaped out of the car and ran after him to help. It was the (dream) logical thing to do.

Ford was being pursued by Florida Governor Rick Scott, who was in the process of shedding his human skin and turning into a giant Chupacabra-like monster.

Now, in real life, I’d recently presented a conference paper on archaeology in feature films. Gatorland was on my mind because it was used as a location for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Also, because it’s awesome.

Clarification: Gatorland is awesome. Temple of Doom was kind of a stupid yet lovable mess of a movie. The racism, however, not lovable.

I went back to sleep after my heart-rate returned to normal and didn’t give the dream a second thought in the morning.

Until I got a text from JunglePete.

JunglePete was a bit disturbed about the dream he had that he was stuck in traffic on I4 and Rick Scott turned into a Chupacabra.

I have no explanation for this shared brainwave. We’ll be visiting him again in a few days so I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

One year later….

We never did figure this out. The only logical explanation is that the Governor is a Chupacabra.

image: meanlouise

image: meanlouise

I know, I know – my photoshop skills leave much to be desired.

{update January 30, 2015} This post apparently went into the draft file even though I really meant to publish it. Then my blog had some sort of wordpress meltdown. I guess I’m just going to have to get my act back together and quite neglecting you all!

Interstellar does not look stellar to me.

We saw a lot of movies in the theater this summer. An unusually high number (for us).

I quickly reached the point where I could only endure the trailer for Interstellar by imagining all of the characters who go into space (for no apparent reason) eventually crash land on a planet of apes.

If I see the trailer too many more times I may have a psychotic break, because there’s something about it that irritates me. A lot. I don’t know what the movie is about. I don’t care.

Husband’s plot summary is good enough for me. Granted, it’s also based on seeing the same trailer too many times. Everyone’s a critic these days.

According to Husband, the plot of Interstellar is this: “Matthew McConaughey loves his children but he hates wheat. He probably loved baseball, but not as much as he loves his old truck and his children. People play too much baseball which results in all of the old trucks in the world being covered with dust. This endangers humanity, and possibly the wheat, so Alfred must send Catwoman and Matthew McConaughey into space. McConaughey is sad to leave his children. How sad? Really fucking sad. But he’s got to go, because we need a new planet to play baseball on. But he’s really really sad anyway.”

Here – in case you’ve managed to miss it:

The Ricardo Montalban Time Travel Paradox

Escape from the Planet of the Apes

image: Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

We spent Christmas quality family time with the 5 original Planet of the Apes movies. (Seven months later, I found this post in my drafts folder).

You’d think we’d have these movies memorized by now, but when you’re dealing with such a sprawling franchise things get a bit hazy, even for Highly Trained Professionals such as ourselves.

After all, we’re not dealing with a mere trilogy. The first film, Planet of the Apes (1968), was adapted from a French novel, Pierre Boulle’s La Planete des Singes (1963) and was followed by 4 sequels in 4 years: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

Plus, there were 2 TV series (1 live-action and 1 animated), 1 execrable reboot (2001), 2 prequels – (Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) – and a whole bunch of comic books.

Plus, there’s time travel. Time travel that contradicts the time line established in the narrative – a narrative that’s already a bit nonsensical to begin with, to boot.

The 3rd film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, may be a terrible movie, but it’s also terribly entertaining. And it’s got Ricardo Montalban and Eric Braeden giving the scenery a pretty thorough chew, so there’s that.

There’s a delightfully nutty scene in which Presidential Science Advisor Dr. Otto Hasslein (Braeden) goes on the nightly news and explains time travel. I couldn’t find the full scene on youtube, but I did find a remix called “A Lesson in Regression” that does it justice:

You really should watch Escape from the Planet of the Apes, if only to be thankful that the new prequels forego time travel in favor of something slightly more science-y and slightly less what-the-fuck-y.

Still the old films have something the new ones never will: 70s fashion. And, of course, Ricardo Montalban.


Jaws 3D

jaws-3d-image

Orlando Weekly: “They deleted the subplot where Dennis Quaid searches for an antiperspirant that works.”

I hate myself for wanting to drag the the Jungle Pete family to Sea World next week because Blackfish was deeply disturbing. Plus,The tickets to the park are shockingly expensive. At the same time, we just watched Jaws 3 as part of a 4th of July marathon and now I feel like we HAVE to go.

Still…Jaws 3D. The movie where Orlando is RIGHT ON the ocean. The movie that sucked so bad that entirely different actors were cast as the Brody sons in the next movie. And their professions were changed so we could 3 never happened. That movie that makes Jaws 3 seem like ART because it really ups the ante on its badness but acknowledges that we’re all in this together so we might as well bring Michael Caine along for the ride.

Don’t worry, in a few days I’ll have lost all interest in going to Sea World.

I hope.

Bermuda Tentacles

Like all battleships that venture into the Bermuda triangle looking for the President of the United States, the heroes of Bermuda Tentacles have a worm scientist on board. This is useful when the convoy of ships are beset by giant worms reaching out of the water to menace them.

I’m making it sound an awful lot better than it is.

Admiral Linda Hamilton asks Dr. Worm Science Guy Played by Jamie Kennedy: “Do they seem hostile?”

He replies: “I don’t know…they’re worms. (dramatic pause) They do seem angry.”

Huh.

In addition to the questions I was forming about that scientific assessment of the situation, I wondered why a movie called Bermuda Tentacles would be about worms.

Later, I sort of got my answer, but by that point I was of the opinion: “Worms. Tentacles. Who the hell cares?”

Linda Hamilton makes a commanding Admiral, but each of her scenes ended with her looking like she was going to angrily turn her agent into a chew toy as soon as the camera stopped rolling. And well she should, this movie was more crap than craptacular.

Bermuda Tentacles

Godzilla Countdown

kingkongvgodzilla

I recently finished a draft of an article about Pacific Rim (2013) that required re-watching both Gojira (1954) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956).

Criterion remastered both movies and put them together as a BluRay set (also available on some streaming services). It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Gojira, I was surprised how much I’d forgotten. This is probably because I’ve seen Godzilla so many times it’s pretty much over-written the other movie in my brain.

It’s fascinating to watch them back to back. Both are melodramatic and slightly nonsensical, but Gojira is quite artistic, while Godzilla is generally just silly and over-wrought.

More than 1/3 of the original movie was cut to make room for the insertion of new scenes featuring American actors, and, to be fair, it’s impressive how well Godzilla works. It’s also interesting to see how much of the story was changed, re-arranged, or simply obscured through the omission of the original dialogue.

AFI screened Gojira a few weeks ago, but I was working on my paper and didn’t have time to go. I know, I know…

Here are Criterion’s 3 Reasons to Watch Gojira:

After you watch those two movies, you’ll be ready to move on to Godzilla Raids Again (1955), which is a delightfully insane piece of movie-making. I’m certain the original movie must be insane, but it’s the epic amount of narration added to the American version that truly elevates this movie to instant camp classic status.

Godzilla Raids Again makes a perfect double feature with King Kong versus Godzilla, which was re-edited to make a strange movie even stranger, although I’m not entirely certain that was the intention.

The actor playing the American scientist doesn’t pronounce reptile properly. He keeps saying “reptull,” which is odd since he’s supposed to be a specialist in reptulls, er, I mean, reptiles.

The plot: someone decides it’s a swell idea to go get a giant gorilla and bring him to Tokyo to fight a giant prehistoric dinosaur. Sure, why not? And then there’s the whole pharmaceutical company subplot, the racist depiction of natives in the King Kong acquisition scenes, something involving hallucinogenic red berries, and a giant octopus attack.

Don’t miss the Interpretive Kong Dance Extravaganza!


Husband and I are definitely ready to see the new Godzilla Thursday. I’m going to be very sad if it sucks like the 1998 Godzilla did. It’s okay for a Godzilla movie to be Bad, but it should never be boring and stupid.

That movie was boring and stupid and let us never speak of it again.

Here’s the Official Godzilla (2014) Trailer:

If you want to know more about the evolution of the Godzilla movies, William Tsutsui’s Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters is an entertaining and informative read.

neither mean nor louise