Conference going (and organizing) and such haven’t slowed down my movie-watching much but they’ve slowed down my blogging. While I get caught up, and while my Grimm post is still hanging around on the front page, I thought I’d bring two related items to your attention.

First up, Neely Tucker has an intriguing review of The Annotated Brothers Grimm, which is edited by Harvard scholar Maria Tatar:

Once upon a time, fairy tales were not as nice as they are now.

Mother and Daddy dear — not an evil stepmom — take Hansel and Gretel out in the woods and leave them to starve. Little Red Riding Hood does a striptease for the Big Bad Wolf. Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to force the mangled stumps into the glass slipper.

Ah, childhood. Ah, the Brothers Grimm.

It has been 200 years since the German siblings and folklorists published their landmark first volume of “Children’s Stories and Household Tales,” and it becomes clear in scholar Maria Tatar’s “The Annotated Brothers Grimm,” published this week for the bicentennial, that the modern tellings of fairy tales have gone soft.

[read the rest of the review at WashingtonPost.com]

If you’re in the Philadelphia area, the fantastic Mutter Museum has a new exhibit, “Grimms’ Anatomy: Magic and Medicine: 1812-2012”.

Which reminds me that I never got around to seeing Terry Gilliam’s The Brother’s Grimm. I put it in the Netflix queue. I think it has witches and wolves in it, so that should put things back on track here….

I recently made the acquaintance of the TV show Grimm (now in it’s 2nd season). Last year, it was on against Fringe and Supernatural. Having only a dual-tuner Tivo and already loving Fringe & Supernatural, I decided I’d watch Grimm online because I was intrigued by the premise. That didn’t really work out. I caught the first few episodes, then I fell behind. My low tolerance for Hulu’s ad-model further conspired against me & Grimm hooking up, but I finally netflixed the discs at the end of the summer and now we’re all caught up on the new season.

Both witches and werewolfish creatures figure into this modern-day fairytale show, so it’s perfect for this month’s theme.

When I woke up this morning, I decided to dump this month’s theme and go with “I want my mummy” but after my 1st cup of coffee I decided to save that one. Mid-way through my second cup I wavered after noticing Overlord II recorded Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy for me. Later I again decided to save mummies for another time and forge ahead as planned.

Back to Grimm.

David Greenwalt is one of the creators of Grimm. As he was an executive producer for Buffy and Angel, I doubt it’s coincidence that the revamped title sequence for season 2 seems to be a blatant parody of the hokey Buffy opener. I think it’s a hilarious homage.

In a nutshell, Grimm is about a detective in Portland, Oregon who discovers it’s his destiny to stand against the forces of darkness. Actually, it’s not clear yet what he’s supposed to do or why or what his powers are yet, which is (so far) part of the show’s charm. Detective Nick Burkhardt is living a somewhat charmed life with his adorable veterinarian girlfriend. He has a racially diverse wisecracking partner and his Captain, who is of course secretly part of some sort of sinister cabal, supports his unorthodox methods. Then, one day, out of the blue, he starts seeing people for the otherworldly creatures they actually are. Said creatures all have hilarious made-up Germanic species names.

I really like the show, although it’s sometimes so viscerally gross it makes even me squeamish. (The guy force-feeding the bird lady with a tube? Yikes).

It’s set in Portland, Oregon, so it makes a great companion show to Portlandia. If a Portlandia skit starts to show it’s SNL roots by lagging, or worse, lapping it’s own punchline, you can distract yourself by contemplating what kind of mysterious Old World fairy tale beast the characters actually are.

Well, I can, anyway. I think some of you are suffering from a failure of imagination.

Just try it.

This Portlandia skit in the coffee shop stopped being funny 6 minutes ago. Wait, what’s that? They can’t stop obsessing over their failed lives because they’re all secretly Hexen Beasts? That’s hilarious!

Yes, fine, you’re right. Not hilarious.

Back to Grimm….

Armed with an inherited trailer full ancestral Grimm journals, Nick battles the forces of evil or whatever it is Grimms do while angsting about destiny and his dead parents. His sidekick is a reformed Blutbad (a Big Bag Wolf) who helps him in his secret mission to battle the forces of evil or whatever it is that Grimms do.

Okay. Look. I was going to write a silly review making reference to ancestral journals (Charmed, Buffy, Supernatural) and mentor-moms who aren’t really dead but are actually super-powerful underworld figures (Alias, Chuck) and conspiracies (X-Files et al) reformed monsters with hearts of gold (Angel, Vampire Diaries) perfectly multi-racial police departments (every cop show since the 80s) and Portlandia and, well, you get the idea. But the fact is, I like the show and I think it’s silly and it’s fun and it doesn’t take it’s self too seriously. And I’m lazy. That’s good enough for me.

Plus, witches and werewolves.

Happy October 1st! It should come as no surprise to regular readers that I’m kicking off the first day of the Official Halloween Season with a post about a movie that is about neither witches nor werewolves, the erstwhile theme of this year’s horror-consumption plan.

Don’t tell me you’re surprised.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil stars Tyler Labine (co-star of the sadly short-lived Reaper) and Alan Tudyk (co-star of the sadly short-lived Firefly and Arrested Development and the less-sadly short-lived Dollhouse).

Tucker and Dale is stupid and gross and hilarious. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it to kick off the Halloween season.

Tudyk and Labine play a pair of hillbillies, possibly my cousins, who are mistaken for a pay of deranged killers. Wackiness ensues as the pack of stupid sacrificial teenagers die bloody in the woods. The (alleged) teenagers are all played perfectly and with great scenery-chewing joy by a half-dozen actors you absolutely know when you see them. Many of them appear in other movies that I have queued up for this month that are actually thematically correct, so I’d like points for that, please.


[embedded: Tucker & Dale vs Evil trailer]

There’s so much annoying stuff like life and school that’s always threatening to interfere with the highlight of the year: Halloween. I mean, really.

I will not be deterred. I’ve been contemplating a theme for months, although I haven’t had an easy time making a definitive choice.

I don’t know if I can be as ambitious as I was with 2010’s 31 Ghosts, but still, October 2012 needs a theme and Halloween is too generic.

I was thinking witches or werewolves, probably because my Tivo, Overlord II, keeps recording The Craft and Ginger Snaps every single time they’re on. A witch-themed October runs the risk of aggravating me because most movies about witches are filled with misogynistic bullshit or superfuckingannoying new agers, and that will distract from the fun. Drunken ranting mixed with critical theory? Never ends well.

I thought I’d covered Werewolves, but I was mistaken. I considered it in 2009, but clearly didn’t get very far.

Then I thought, what the hell? why not Witchcraft and Werewolves?

Just for the record, I don’t think this is a binary topic, Witchcraft OR Werewolves. I think there’s an interesting intersection of the werewolf and witchcraft genres in movies (or TV shows or books or graphic novels) where people transform into non-lupine creatures. Come on, you know there are going to be tangents and random selections made by Overlord II and things like that, anyway, so let’s just build in a little flexibility into the system and be done with it. There are loads of great examples, if you don’t believe me:

Wolverine? Maybe.

Maybe not. Probably not, because that was a terrible movie.

Cat People? Yes!

Plus other movie examples I’ve forgotten in the time it took me to type the last sentence and look up the links to both the 1942 and 1982 versions of Cat People and then spend a few minutes contemplating that Ronin Tunney is the girl in The Craft, which I looked up on IMDB a few minutes ago when I linked my earlier reference to it, and Robin Tunney looks familiar because she’s the boss on The Mentalist, which is a deeply stupid show I can’t stop watching even though I find Patrick Jane incredibly unsympathetic and the entire premise of the show a farce and the repetitive incidental music annoys the hell out of me and why the fuck has that show been on for FIVE seasons? This is the SIXTH season? Does the devil own Bruno Heller’s soul? Apparently not, since he was one of the producers of the failed Bionic Woman reboot. Not even, he was only the producer of the unaired pilot of the doomed series. But still, what the hell?