Once upon a time there was an out of work writer. So he, with the pushing of his wife, decided to start a blog and share some of the weird things that run through his head.
Then said writer got really sick with a very nasty virus, and was down for the count for three weeks, and he stopped writing.
Then because said writer likes having a roof over his head and eating and playing games and having an internet connection, said writer got a job.
Said writer is getting used to his new job, and has had little time to write, but said writer's wife will continue to nag him incessantly until he begins writing again.
Sadly, said writer has not one but TWO new video games, and so he is engrossed.
Hopefully said writer will start writing again. We shall see. We shall also see if said writer finally gets rid of his wife for nagging him incessantly to write.
- Signed the One With the Hump (not said writer)
Apparently SYFY, the fuckers responsible for Sharknado, are soon to be giving us a Banana Splits Horror movie. No, I am not joking and this is not an Onion headline. The Banana Splits, the Sid and Marty Kroft characters are coming back in a horror film. No lie
Nothing scarier than a man in a beagle costume, I admit, but still seems a bit silly. Why is this happening? Who knows, but here we are folks, sitting around waiting for a Banana Splits themed horror film. Ain't life grand?
I would get mad but Gingerdead Man and Killer Bong are also movies that exist, so I guess it can join their ranks.
First of all, sorry to my readers out there. Been sick.
But I am back baby, and do I have a doozy. Tourist Trap was a 1979 horror film where a bunch of kids do the dumbest things possible, get picked off by a killer, blah blah blah yakkity schmaikkity, tell me if you have heard this one before.
But it's a little more surreal than that. The killer has telekinetic powers. He can animate the mannequins at the little roadside museum that is the tourist trap of the title. He dresses himself up as the mannequin's as well, like a Dollar Store Leatherface. It starred Chuck Connors, and I can only imagine that was because ol' Chuck was strapped for cash.
Tourist Trap was a staple on cable when I was a lad. The joke used to be that HBO stood for "Hey! Beastmaster's On!" Well, Tourist Trap was usually playing right afterward. I must have watched it 100 times when I was in middle school and hardly remembered a thing about it until re-watching it today. Still, it is a weird, trippy and surreal bit of 70's horror and you might want to give it a shot.
Here at 52 Bad Stories, I consider it my job to watch bad movies so you don't have to. And with today being New Year's Eve, I just watched a real stinker. You're welcome.
Filmed in 1980, New Years Evil was part of the wave of cheesy slasher films that followed on the heels of Halloween where the murders were centered around a particular date on the calendar (Cf Silent Night, Deadly Night, April Fools Day, My Bloody Valentine, etc,) This one, of course, centers on New Years Eve. It follows a killer who is calling into New Years Eve punk rock call-in show (oooh, so edgy) and commits murder as New Years falls on each US Time Zone, promising the host that she will be killed at midnight Los Angeles time. He does exactly that, and then there is a big twist ending (which one could have guessed about 15 minutes into the film) where we learn who our killer is and a set up for a sequel that never came. Pretty standard early '80s slasher fare.
It starred absolutely no one you have ever heard of and the only person you might recognize is the host of the show, who was played by the same actress who played Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days a few years earlier.
It was a terrible movie, full stop. However, it wasn't without some redeeming qualities. The first is that the killer seemed to be very human, it was weirdly realistic in that aspect. He didn't go around in a mask (the trailer shows him in one, but there was a reason for that), he made mistakes, he wasn't bulletproof and he couldn't magically teleport to always be in front of his victims. At one point, he has lured a victim into his car under false pretenses and has a definite look of exasperation on his face as she babbles on incessantly about Transcendental Meditation and other such subjects. He also gets annoyed at his schedule being thrown off. He is definitely not some superhuman murder machine like Jason or Micheal Myers, and frankly, I appreciated that.
And the end doesn't come down to some virginal "final girl" killing him at the end a type of ending that was already well on its way to being a cliche even in 1980. Nope, the person he was threatening actually (GASP!) called the cops, and the police did their job and figured things out, and THEY took care of the problem.
Would I recommend this movie? Not really, I mean not as an "Oooh, this is some classic that any horror fan must see" anyway. But if you want to watch a bit of 80s slasher cheese that is thematically appropriate for a night like tonight, check it out.
Happy New Year from 52 Bad Stories and More.
I usually talk about horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies on this blog. But today being Christmas Eve, I think I will talk about how It's a Wonderful Life is the most Humanist Christmas Movie ever made.
For the three people out there who may be unfamiliar with the movie, It's a Wonderful Life is the story of George Bailey. George is a young man with big dreams who life seems determined to keep in his tiny town of Bedford Falls, despite his dreams of traveling the world. He ends up running his family's Building and Loan and when his absent-minded uncle misplaces some money just as a bank examiner comes to look over his operation, becomes distraught and suicidal. An angel (in training) named Clarence comes to his aid and shows George what life in Bedford Falls would be like if George had never existed. Eventually, George decides he wants to live and the whole town rallies to help him out of his predicament. Clarence gets his wings, the end, Roll credits
Now, some of you may be thinking "Humanist? It's a movie about an angel, sent by God to prevent a suicidal man from carrying through. It's as religious as hell," and on the surface, you would be right. But really, the angel and the God stuff, those are all plot devices and little else. Clarence could be a genie or a Time Lord, and it would only change the film on a superficial level.
What the film is really about is how George made the world a better place by his actions. George saved his brother's life when they were kids, and his brother went on to save the lives of others on a troop transport in WWII. Young George prevented the pharmacist he was working for (distracted because of the death of his son) from killing someone with the wrong medicine. George took risks with his Building and Loan to make sure that as many people as possible in Bedford Falls had a roof over their head. And so on. And he did these things not because of some vague cosmic reward for being good, not because he was inspired by God or the inherent goodness of the universe, but because he was just a good man and these were the things a good man should do.
And in the end, because he did these things and despite having no expectation of reward, when his own hour of need came, the many many people he had helped and befriended came to his aid. Happy endings for all, even the trainee angel who finally earned his wings.
Now, those among my readership who know me personally know that I am not an optimistic man. And I realize that the real world does not work out so nicely cut and dried as it does in a hopeful Christmas movie. But still, the idea of just being good, for goodness sake, is still a laudable goal, attainable or not. And if we all strove to do it, maybe life would be, if not wonderful, at least less shitty. And that my friends, is what Christmas should be all about.
Merry Christmas everyone, from all of us (ok, both of us) at 52 Bad Stories and more
I have sidelined with the flu all week and am doing some Christmas prep today, so no story this week. We will resume regular service on Monday. I have something a little bit different planned for Christmas Eve.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas to one and all and enjoy this fine piece of acting from Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2. Someone is definitely going on the naughty list.
With 2018 swiftly drawing to a close, I thought I would look ahead to the movies I am most looking forward to in 2019. Yeah, I know some/most/all of them are bound to disappoint me, but hey, hope springs eternal and all that. And I am feeling kind of David Letterman-esque, so I will do this as a top 10 list.
Just had the first serious snow of the season here at Bad Story HQ. So that has me in a Christmassy mood. So I present to you, my favorite Xmas Carol...
Weirdly, this short little take of of It's Begninning to Look A Lot Like Christmas is a condensed but otherwise accurate of one of my favorite Lovecraft stories, The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
Enjoy, and I will be back with the second part of Murder in Space on Friday.
I can't believe I have run this blog for four months now without a shout out to the pinnacle of Bad Movie appreciation. Mystery Science theater 3000. If you are not familiar with it, the premise is that a mad scientist is forcing a guy to watch bad movies (as part of some vague scheme for world domination). The guy (there have been three 'test subjects' over the years) has several robot companions, two of whom watch the movies with him. It's all an excuse to make wisecracks at the expense of some of the worst movies to ever "grace" movie screens. It's a consistently hilarious show.
In March of 1986, Highlander exploded onto the screen, creating a sprawling franchise with some terrific high points and terrible lows. Okay, make that one high point and a shitload of lows. It was a decent action movie with swordfights, A Queen soundtrack and Sean Connery in a supporting role as a Spanish Swordsman with a Scottish accent. Good times.
The movie details the struggle between immortal warriors who can only die by being beheaded. They are trying to kill each other because there is some ill-defined "prize" for the last surviving one. As they say multiple times in the movie, "There can be only one." The bulk of the story takes place in then-modern (1985) New York City. The Immortal population has dwindled to a handful of individuals and of course by the end of the film it is down to just the titular Highlander, Duncan McLeod (played by a crosseyed Christopher Lambert) and the over muscled and enormous "Kurgan" (Played by a scenery-chewing Clancy Brown). Fate eventually draws them to a showdown atop a building dominated by an enormous neon sign. Of course good defeats evil yadda yadda yadda and credits roll. An entirely satisfying end to a perfectly good popcorn movie. Roll credits, cue Queen, the end.
Of course, it is never the end if a movie makes money, and that was just as true in the 1980s as it is today. And that's where things got weird. FIrst came Highlander 2. I would say that it wasn't bad as sequels go, but that would be a lie. It was TERRIBLE, even by sequel standards. It posits the immortals as aliens exiled to Earth and never quite manages to mesh with the original in any logical or meaningful way. The best thing one can do with it is to give it a miss.
But wait, there's more. In subsequent years we also were given two more forgettable sequels, a moderately entertaining TV series, a second, far less entertaining TV Series (Highlander the Raven) an anime, a comic book series, a shitty even by late 80s standards computer game, and a failed attempt at an MMORPG. A reboot has been in the works since 2008, but it seems to be languishing in some deep dark, dismal circle of development hell.
None of that makes the original movie any less fun. Sure Clancy Brown as "The Kurgan" muahahas his way through the film and leaves no piece of scenery unchewed, but that's part of his charm. And Christopher Lambert spends the movie gazing into the middle distance with his eyes ever so slightly crossed while speaking with an accent so indefinable that it is even commented on in the film. Apparently, he is EXTREMELY nearsighted and filmed the whole movie without his glasses. So that wasn't an affectation, that was him trying to see WTF was going on. And the accent was French, which is his first language. That makes him seem more human, IMO.
And though he isn't the star, Sean Connery deserves mention in any movie in which he appears. One of the most enduring images I have of the film is him riding up and telling McLeod that his name is "Ramirez" in his thick Scottish Accent. Sean Connery is like a Scottish honey badger; he doesn't give a fuck. I have this mental image of the director yelling "Sean, you're Spanish in this film. Try to sound Spanish" and him telling the director "Funny, thatsh what your mom shaid" and continuing to use his brogue.
Highlander is definitely some 80s cheese, but cheese has its place. If you haven't seen it in ages, or haven't seen it at all. Give it a look. You can ignore the rest of the franchise though, just remember "There Can Only Be One."