Colin Timothy Gagnon (sacredspud) wrote,
Colin Timothy Gagnon

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Weekend Update: Scared Stupid

Every Halloween "costumes in good taste" are allowed at work. No, I'm not dressed up, but somebody in our customer service department is dressed as (I think) Tammy Faye Baker. It's not a costume most people would recognize (since it's not 1988 anymore), and I'd like to tell her that I get it, but I'm afraid that she might not actually be dressed up.

Ah, well. That's today. Let's talk about my weekend. As usual I'm going to try and fail miserably to be brief ('cept for that I'm putting under the cut).

Thursday is not really part of the weekend, but I didn't talk about it last week, so let's do it here. offBeat performed in Cambridge. We had a good-sized audience and they really liked us. Ellen and her mom showed up, as did my parents and a couple of their friends. We're getting more gigs soon, so keep an eye out here for information. We'll be performing again at the Mill Street Inn & Pub this Thursday at 7:00.

Friday was the annual Halloween party at devianttouch and wendybyrd's. Lotsa people, good company -- Ellen, r3507, jinxedkisses, and others. I did poorly at Apples to Apples, and personal politics were discussed. If you have some suspicion of what "personal politics" might mean, then you're probably right. Nothing I want to discuss here, except to say that I'm thankful to be on good terms with everybody.

Saturday I went to my parents' house with my sister and her boyfriend, and then made us leave early so's I could practice stuff for Rocky Horror with the cast. 'course, said practice was going on in a basement with no cell phone reception, so I didn't get ahold of anybody until late. The visit with Mom and Dad could have been more leisurely.

Later on I met up with agaysexicon and fuzzyinthehead and went to the theater for Rocky. The downtown area was much less crowded and unpleasant than I'd expected thanks to the cops being out in force (and then some). I gather that everything wasn't perfectly happybambifluffybunny, but what problems occurred must have happened during the movie and after we left. The crowd inside the theater was small for a Halloween show, especially given the unprecedented volumes they've had the last couple of weeks. The cast was worried about starting on time and (minus a couple of snags involving the lights) managed to pull off the tightest Halloween show I've ever seen. As a pre-show Nick sang The Lumberjack Song, and I did backup with the male members of the cast. The audience was responsive and I think everybody had a good time. It's worth a much longer writeup, but Keith and Nick talk about it on their journals, and they do a better job than I would.

Sunday was matt_william's bad movie party. evil_jim and crabmoon were there, along with our friend Sarah and a guy named Jeff whom I don't actually know. I learned that I can watch seven movies in one sitting, though it's exceptionally tiring. Discounting breaks between movies, we spent roughly 11 1/2 hours sitting down, which requires just as much stamina as being on one's feet for that long (I've done both in the last year, so I can say it with conviction). Here's what we watched:

The Fantastic Four -- No, this is not the movie that came out this year. This movie was made in 1994 for $2 million, and is only available as a bootleg, never have seen any official release. There are a couple of conflicting stories surrounding the reasons for that, but the one I believe is that the studio had been sitting on the rights to use The Fantastic Four for some time, and that they threw the film together on the cheap to maintain the rights in order to buy time make the better version which finally saw fruition this summer. Either way, my position on the 1994 version is that there was probably a good movie hiding under the mess. I understand that it's a better adaptation of the comics than the 2005 version, and the film's biggest sin is being too ambitious for its budget, which I blame on producer Roger Corman.

I like a lot of Corman's work (especially his early stuff), but he's in filmmaking for the money, and it shows. He works very cheaply so that a profit, however small, is guaranteed. Even as ugly and under-realized as it was, a proper theatrical release would have returned double its budget in profits on opening weekend (less once people knew how lousy it was). As it stands, it looks ten or fifteen years older than it really is, and honestly, that's 90% of what's wrong with it. The dialogue is clunky and silly, but a rewrite of the script would have fixed that along with the worst of the plot. I can't recommend The Fantastic Four, but if the studio had taken it more seriously, it could have been on par with the other (non-Batman) superhero movies of the early '90s, which, admittedly, are pretty cheesy. Oh, and the soundtrack is interesting, borrowing heavily and obviously from Jurassic Park and Superman.

Alone in the Dark -- Not as bad as I'd been led to believe, but not very good either. Uwe Boll keeps directing these movies inspired by video games, and it keeps not working, but hardcore gamers keep paying to see them anyway. The story is a messy version of every heavily-armed-team-wipes-out-monsters movie you've ever seen, which is too bad because the plot of the most recent game (which is merely referenced) could have made an interesting movie. I usually describe it as "The Island of Dr. Moreau if it had been written by H.P. Lovecraft," and I'd have loved to see somebody do something great with that. Instead we get a painfully boring reminder that the things that make a game enjoyable make a movie tedious and repetitive.

Plan 9 from Outer Space -- Long considered by many to be the Queen Mother of All Bad Movies, Play 9 from Outer Space is wonderful because its problems have more to do with poor production values than anything else. Sure, everything about it is mediocre, but it's no more evil than the major B sci-fi pictures of the 1950s. Bad science abounds (sunlight is made of atoms, huh?), the dialogue is ridiculous, but in the right company it's not an unpleasant experience.

Enter Zombie King -- This is exactly the sort of thing that comes to mind when I think of the phrase "bad movie." It's a Canadian movie set in the near future after the world has acclimated to the consequences of a George Romero-style zombie attack. Mexican wrestlers have apparently emerged as the new leaders and politicians of the world, and we're doing our best to deal with the zombie menace which hasn't been eliminated but which does no longer threatens daily life. It's really weird but not (as far as I know) commercially available, which is all you need to know about it.

Attack of the The Eye Creatures -- Not sure about that superfluous "the" in the title, but we watched the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this film. This is an awful film, "better" in some ways than Plan 9, but harder to sit through without the commentary of Joel and the bots. Not one of the better MST3K episodes I've seen. Fun, but not one I'd buy if it came out on DVD.

Road House -- I had never seen Road House, and I wasn't under the impression that it was considered a bad movie. Having sat through it, I can say that the bias against Road House has everything to do with it's being a very obvious product of the time in which it was made. Meh. Nothing I haven't seen before, nothing I couldn't sit through. It's your standard shady-good-guy-cleans-up-town/bar/whatever-and-clashes-with-the-local-tyrant story, which has the added bonus of featuring Sam Elliott in a non-cowboy role. I have always considered westerns to be a punchline, but there are a few good ones out there, and Sam Elliott stars in almost all of them (then again, he was also in The Quick and the Dead).

Road House was well-liked when it came out, but these days it plays almost as a parody of its own style. Perfectly watchable, though. Works on a lot of the same levels as Plan 9 without actually being poorly made. Incidentally, I know this sounds terrible, but once -- just once -- I'd like to see a movie like this where at the end, instead of killing the bad guy, the hero breaks all his limbs, ties them behind his back, and then nurses him back to health and tortures him in the basement for the rest of his life.

House of Wax -- This is the only major Vincent Price horror film I hadn't seen before. Matt wasn't showing it as bad movie, but rather as his own Halloween tradition, much the way evil_jim listens to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds every year. Like Christopher Lee, Vincent Price was perfectly happy being pigeonholed into a particular genre, which is something most actors try to avoid like the plague. Both Price and Lee's names are synonymous with older horror films, and both actors tended to outshine the overwhelmingly negative aspects of the films they starred in. I tend to seek out Vincent Price movies because although they tend to be kind of crappy, he is so good.

Anyway, House of Wax is not brilliant, but far from being a total mess. It's one of those movies in which the characters use slang out of the 1950s even though they're living in 1902. Despite this, the performances are good and the filmmaking is as good as any horror movie from 1953. Vincent Price is great in his usual role as the twisted genius, and screenwriter Crane Wilbur really knows his stuff (or did great research) as far as the intricacies of wax sculpting, which is a nice little bonus for people who actually know about waxwork. Now I'm curious about the original 1933 version, and the recent remake.
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