05 October 2008

6WH: Saturday, October 4th

The Blob (1958) directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. & Russell S. Doughten Jr.
Dig that '50s scene, man. Young, rebel teens (like 28-year-old Steve McQueen) -- in-between making out in lover's lane and backwards drag racing -- struggle to convince square adults that an alien glob of goo is eating people. This is one of the few horror movies from the 1950s that I actually like (my favorite being Invasion of the Body Snatchers). The film pops in dreamy Technicolor -- Criterion's transfer on their DVD is excellent -- with the stereotypical '50s pallet of pinks and blue-greens tickling the eyeballs. It features a truly original alien monster: no need for aliens who happen to look like humans and speak English here. The special effects are great for the era, particularly when the blob is dog-sized. Its movements at that size look quite bizarre. The concept is actually pretty dark for the time: there's a thing rolling around Smalltown, USA digesting people. Off-screen, it consumes an entire bar filled with a Friday night crowd. This movie has to have one of the highest body counts for this decade. I dug it, man. Happy 50th, Mr. Blob. (7/10)

Beware! The Blob (1972) directed by Larry Hagman
Dig that '70s scene, man. The rebel drag racers are replaced with really annoying hippies and Steven McQueen is replaced by the weenie who played Charlie X in the Star Trek episode of the same name in this wacked-out sequel. A man brings home a frozen sample of the blob he found while working on a pipeline in the arctic. It gets out, eats a cute kitten and hilarity ensues. There's quite a bit of fun to be had with this one. For example, the blob attacks a fat, bald Turkish guy taking a bubblebath, who proceeds to flee down the street buck nude, gets picked up by the police, and insists on making his one phone call at the station still in his birthday suit. Or, there's Dick Van Patten as the exasperated, no-nonsense scoutmaster who is tormented by scouts with clackers. Or, Burgess Meredith as a hippie-hating hobo sharing a drink with the director. Definitely a good-bad movie (though I imagine serious fans of the original must froth at the mouth at its very mention). (6/10)

After my Blob-a-thon, the missus and C joined me. T, from week 1, ain't ever coming back. Not a guy who understands horror, I'm afraid.

Masters of Horror: "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" trailer (2005)
Martin trailer (1977)
Johnny Bravo: "Frankenbravo" (2000)

Tales from the Crypt: "King of the Road" (1992) directed by Tom Holland
Another Two-Fisted Tales story without a hint of horror. Brad Pitt stars as an arrogant drag racer who tattoos the names of the people he defeats on his arm. He discovers a local police officer used to be a famous dragger in the '50s until he killed someone in a wreck. By seducing the officer's daughter, he blackmails him into dragging one more time. Long-story short: the boomer defeats the punk '90s kid. This, I'm sure, in no way made the director, writers and producers feel better about aging. I'm glad this is the last of the Two-Fisted Tales in Crypt: gimme some horror. (5/10)

The Thing (1982) directed by John Carpenter
My wife loves this movie. Year-round, she's always suggesting it as something to watch. My response is usually "I don't want to watch it until there's snow on the ground." I like watching The Thing in the winter; it just makes the movie more effective when I, like the characters, could freeze to death if I got stuck outside. A few days ago, though, I got the blu-ray version in the mail. C and I both wanted to see this flick in HD, so I asked the missus: "what's that one movie that you always want to watch and I say we can't until something happens?" She knew right away what it was. Needless to say, she was thrilled with the pick.

Rant: despite what people always say, The Thing is not a remake. Sure, there was a movie called The Thing from Another World made in 1951, but it wasn't the original source of this story. That's a novella called Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. Calling Carpenter's movie a remake is like saying Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings is a remake of the Bakshi cartoon, or The Passion of the Christ is a remake of The Last Temptation of Christ.

The Thing is my favorite movie of all time at the moment. It's exactly my kind of movie. (10/10)

Satan's Sadists trailer (1969)
Satan's Cheerleaders trailer (1977)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror: Clown without Pity" (1992)

The Blob (1988) directed by Chuck Russell
Now this is a remake. And this is exactly how to do a remake: wait a respectful three decades, create a similar but original story that touches on the big moments from the original (like the movie theater sequence) and amp the puppy up to match the times. This is the type of blob movie I really wanted. None of that demure cutting away once of the blob attacks… let's see what really happens to people inside of it. It ain't pretty. In fact, it's some of the nicest gore effects you'll fine in the '80s. People dissolved in half, people melted down to ooze-covered skeletons, people exploding from inside with the blob. Nice work. Gotta love the '80s Cold War element, too. "This'll put U.S. defense years ahead of the Russians." This time, the blob is a mutated bacteria created by the U.S. government, meant for the Ruskies. An oft-overlook gem of an '80s horror movie. (8/10)

The Halloween Jones Soda flavor of the week was Lemon Drop Dead, the last of the repeats from prior years. It still tastes like carbonated, powder lemon drink. It's fine, I guess. Fake lemonade isn't bad, though the enormous amount of citric acid in it is kind of heart-burny.

Lil K was not at all posed with Halloween stuff for this photo.