Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Sometimes I like to pick up a movie based entirely on the poster. Rumpelstiltskin is easily one of those times.

So how does the movie stack up to a poster like that? Well, not very well at all! But this time you don't have to take my word for it. If any of my readers have Netflix, you can find this one available on their streaming service! You can join in on the fun!

The film begins "Somewhere in Europe - 1400s." That's so damn vague. Somewhere in that one hundred year period, somewhere in this massive continent. That is where our film begins. A hunchbacked ferengi has stolen a baby, and villagers that can only speak in stock crowd noises aren't happy about it. Odo is nowhere to be found, so instead they just take to waving torches at him. Thankfully, the ferengi gets distracted long enough while eating some fat guy's eyeball that they're able to take the baby back. This guy really needs to work on his priorities. So, a magic old gypsy puts a thousand year curse on him, says Rumpelstiltskin three times, throws glitter on him, and this causes him to turn into a very large stuntman in a heavy suit on fire. That's a pretty cool trick. Then she turns that stuntman into a big green turd. That's not as good of a trick. ...and then she throws that into the sea. Wouldn't it be a better idea to bury it?

We get our title screen, which clarifies the film is infact Ruiiiplestiltskin, the three i's being replaced by fingers which are clearly not connected together. The credits also alert us that someone named Ulrich is in this movie. I'll keep my eye out for drama queen drummers. There's a couple of cops on patrol, and by on patrol I mean focusing on talking aboutnone of the cop's wife's new baby's name. We can already assume the cop and his wife will probably be heroes, since Rumpelstiltskin has that baby obsession. I'm confused, though. The prologue was set in the 1400s, the curse lasts 1,000 years, this isn't the 2400's, this is the 1980s. Anyway someone tries to carjack someone in broad daylight right next to a cop car, leading to a shoot out between the carjacker and a cop, which also serves as a montage of stock sounds. The cop, for some reason, avoids shooting the carjacker until he's already been hit multiple times, waiting until the carjacker is fleeing to shoot him in the back of the head. Y'know, like cops are supposed to do. Anyway this serves me right for assuming things, as the cop ends up dying in the hospital, but this at least means I was half right!

The film skips forward in time, yet again, so that the main character has given birth already. ...also the baby is named John Stewart. I'm not even joking. I just heard "I'm looking for baby John Stewart" and did a spit-take. Also the mom's friend is Ms. Grotke from Recess. Wow. I had to check out imdb to verify it, but it is, and it sounds just like her. Also I swear to god on this one, I promise you. ...I was joking about the ferengi references, I just thought he looked like Quark. Rumpelstiltskin is played by Max Grodenchik, aka Rom from DS9. Wow. I love that in low budget horror movies, when you run across recognizable faces like that, like Jennifer Aniston in Leprechaun, and that hot chick from American Pie in Jack Frost. Also we get a chekov's gun in the form of some bad talk show with an obnoxious host.

Anyway the green poop statue apparently isn't in the water anymore, it's in some sort of mystical magical newage shop that is, for some reason, covered in cobwebs. It's not abandoned, it's an actual shop, someone works there. Also we get a random shot of a puppet that suddenly moves. The movie won't address this but that's gonna bother me. That puppet is alive and we're just gonna ignore it. The puppet is alive! Burn it! BURN IT! It's like when in The Rock they make references to files relating to the government making first contact with aliens, and I'm like "Fuck this movie's plot, focus on that! I wanna hear more about that!"

The mother picks up the poop statue, and tells us that it looks like jade. No it doesn't. It looks like poop. Seriously, it looks like poop. It's turd shaped, and it's got that ugly green color that some animals leave behind. Anyway she buys it, and puts it by a photo of her husband taken during the opening scene. Seriously, it's super obvious that someone took that photo of him in the first scene, I love that in movies. She has a heartfelt conversation with the photo, which causes her to tear up, and as we've learned in so many kids movies, tears have resurrection powers. One tear hits the green poop statue, and Rom is back to life and ready to do some business.

Anyway her cop husband comes back to life, they get it on so the film can have a gratuitous sex scene, ...and then her husband turns into Rom! You had sex with a ferengi! She kicks him in the head, but obviously she was supposed to kick him in the nuts because that's how he reacts. She tries stabbing him a bunch of times, but when this proves useless, she decides that a broom is the ultimate weapon, because y'know. A broom. This manages to at least incapacitate him long enough for them to drive to safety!

...only to come back home the next day, with cops. She gives the baby to Ms Grotke to take care of, and they invite a psychiatrist friend over for dinner! ...who brought a dog? There wasn't a dog anywhere else in this movie, so I guess she brought it with her. Anyway the psychiatrist tells her the story of Rumpelstiltskin, because apparently there are people out there in America that have never heard of that before. Ms. Grotke also informs us that Mrs. Stewart's last name was Miller originally, meaning she's a Miller's daughter, like in the story! Thanks, Ms. Grotke.

We get a false scare, before Rumplestiltskin decides to be the Kool Aid Man and burst through the wall. He tries to reason with them, saying they could just make another baby, I guess he kinda has a point only her husband's dead now. Mrs. Stewart escapes in her car again, leaving her friend to get decapitated by Rom. Seriously, she just stands there and lets him grab her neck and snap it. We also get a really cheesy sequence wherein she briefly has his arm, cut off from his body, attached to the car, and the hand gives her the finger. It's like I'm really watching an even crappier version of Leprechaun! Kenny Rogers drives by on his motorcycle, as he often does, only to be thrown off... and he lets off that hilarious, never fitting, Howie Long YOUAAAAARGH scream. I love that stock scream so much. And yes, this means we get Rom playing a deformed hunchback midget on a motorcycle. ...and he has sunglasses for some reason, even though Kenny Rogers wasn't wearing any.

Sadly, the above sequence doesn't last that long, as Rom is a terrible driver. He crashes the motorcycle, a big rig river stumbles upon his body, big rig guy predictably gets killed, and now we have Rom as a trucker. East bound and down, loaded up and truckin', Rom's gonna do what they say can't be done! Anyway she ends up running into... surprise surprise, the obnoxious talk show host! Even I find this guy irritating. He tries to sound witty about finding a girl in her underwear, and he doesn't really sound like a real guy. Also we get, for some reason, "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls. Also it turns out the obnoxious talk show host even knows who Rumpelstiltskin is, obviously our hero is just a retard.

...Rumpelstiltskin just said "I love it when a plan comes together." You are not Hannibal, Rom! You are not! You aren't even in a van! You don't know how A-Team works at all! ...Oh god and he has a cigar too. Jesus Christ. This movie is the bastard child of Jack Frost and Leprechaun. We get a little Road Warrior car fight sequence which sort of becomes a battle of the hams between Obnoxious Talk Show Host and Rom, Rom easily wins, athough OTSH does slip into George Costanza mode which is pretty amusing. He's like if Knox from Burton's Batman merged with George from Seinfeld, that's all I can think.

This movie is just so insane. I'm seriously watching Rom driving an 18 wheeler chasing after Knox Costanza who is driving in a tiny brightly colored go kart thing. This is just... what. It's like we've entered Mario Kart territory or something. What the hell is going on anymore? This is just so damn wacky. Anyway Rom still sucks at driving, so he ends up going off a cliff, driving down a hill, shouting "Fucketh me!", and then... very slowly tapping a tree, which causes the entire truck to explode. Knox Costanza ends up doing the same thing, only he just blacks out instead of exploding, I don't get why he blacked out, but I -really- don't get why the truck exploded. Anyway a cop magically shows up to help both of them.

The next bit... is a head scratcher. Rom's still alive, Knox and the mother run off leaving the cop. Rom takes off his own head, puts it to the cops neck, cop drops but... isn't wounded so I don't know, then Knox shows up to bop Rom's head with a pipe, which causes Rom to blackout for some reason. ...okay. We also get more wackiness with a slap scene that uses a stock whip sound for said slap. Jesus this movie. Also more zany antics as Rom's body tries to find Rom's head using the hot and cold game. Wacky!

They try to hold up in an abandoned gas station, only for dozens of cops to show up and arrest them for the murder of that cop that just kinda blacked out earlier. I guess he did die? I don't know, most of that scene didn't make sense in the slightest. As you'd expect, while the two are stuck in a stereotypical jail cell inside of a police department that looks more like a cheap office building, Rom goes on a killing spree and murders all of the cops one by one. He doesn't have that hard of a time, as there's only like 4 cops and they're all in different rooms. I can only imagine how many breakouts they've had with that system. We also get more stock screams, hooray!

Anyway they team up with the old woman that owns the newage shop that she bought the poop statue from in order to find a way to defeat Rom, who has stolen baby John Stewart. It turns out they need straw in order to guarantee that future generations will get to enjoy The Daily Show! Also it turns out that Rom can remotely kill people with this mind, something he didn't bother doing until now for some reason, and he decides to use this on the old woman after she tells them how to kill him. Why not kill them too, Rom? Seriously. You just pulled a superpower out of your ass, why don't you use it on them!? Also here's a question. Rom is only immortal because he has no soul. He only wants the baby for its soul. So that way... Rom would die and the baby would live forever? Am I getting this right? That's... kinda odd. Does Rom only want to die?

Rom raises a bunch of zombies from the grave to fight them, zombies with electrostatic powers for some reason. ...only they're quickly defeated in like 30 seconds, and so he decides to just throw a lightning bolt at the ground infront of them instead. What. Dammit Rom stop pulling powers out of your ass. Anyway due to pure luck there's a barn right next to the graveyard! What a coincidence! So they gather up some hay, put it in a bulldozer, set it on fire, and driver the bulldozer over to him. I'm not making this up. They scoop him up in the fucking firey hay filled bulldozer, say his name multiple times, and he burns to death. I wish I was joking. He survives for awhile longer, slowly falling to bits before she remembers to say his name three times., causing him to turn back into a big green turd statue. She gets her baby back, Knox tosses the turdstatue like a football into a nearby lake, they both hook up and decide to go on a date, and the movie ends, finally.

...or not! We get some text saying "three years" later, and some kids find the green turd statue in that very same lake. They take it to their mother, who is holding a newborn baby. Fuck you movie, you don't get a sequel.

This movie was... awful. It was trying to be like Leprechaun, only it managed to somehow be something far worse. Something far wackier, less entertaining, and with a far more retarded ending. Still, I laughed a few times, and any Rom fans will want to check this out just to see him chew the scenery.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cellar Dweller

Today's film is Cellar Dweller, a b-grade horror film from 1989. I decided to do this because this film is actually kinda special to me. This is the first low budget horror film I remember watching as a kid. I had a worn, recorded VHS tape with it that I used to watch constantly between the ages of 3 and 6, but I lost it and couldn't even find the film again until I was 16 due to my not being able to remember the title, the film not getting a DVD release, and the VHS for the film being -extremely- rare. In fact, the only way to watch the film now is to go on ebay for a copy of the VHS, or dig around torrent sites for a VHS rip.

Our movie starts out as many bad 80s horror films do: With Herbert West. He's in this movie for some reason, and has top billing on my copy! Anyway he's drawing a black and white comic about a big hairy monster with a pentagram on its chest, and its hugging some 1960s chick. Also the camera lets us know something is after him, as we see a quick POV shot! Anyway Dr. West reads frm the necronomicon to help him draw his comic, as comic writers often do. That's why Dilbert's tie is perpetually levetating after all, it is Nyarlatotep's will.

Anyway the thing in the comic becomes real, and I've gotta admit for a low budget movie it's kinda awesome looking. It's like a more gorilla like Harry if he ate the Hendersons and converted to devil worship. Dr. West, having been in so many horror films, realizes the best thing to do is get an axe. I know it's weird to keep calling him Dr. West but for fuck's sake he has a labcoat on, and a white undershirt, and a black tie... that's on top of it being the same damn actor. Anyway he sets fire to the comic he drew, which sets fire to the monster, only Dr. West forget that he was also pretty damn flammable, and isn't too happy being surrounded by fire, so unhappy that he dies. So... he stars in this in the same way that Jamie Lee Curtis starred in Halloween 8. Good to know. Sad too, I love Jeffrey Combs.

The opening credits are kinda nice. The music's well done, and it's the camera slowly panning over a bunch of black and white drawings from the comic. It's nice, feels kinda... classic, though that feels odd to say. It's classic in a horror movie sense, I guess I mean to say, that and I love anything that's inspired by old EC horror comics, like the always awesome Stephen King & George A. Romero classic Creepshow.

The film skips forward, and we meet our hero: Artist McLady, also known as Whitney Taylor. Dr. West's house is apparently now filled with artists that are there to discuss their work. Our hero's a big comic fan, especially of Cellar Dweller (we have a title!), the comics Dr. West did before his unfortunate accident involving propane and propane accessories. We also find out that people have labeled Dr. West's death a suicide, I guess it kinda was. We also find out this artist colony thing doesn't have TV or telephones, giving us plot reasons why people can be killed and no authorities will show up.

Our hero decides to go downstairs, wherein she sees a topless woman suddenly lunge forward and scream three times... seriously they repeat it from multiple camera angles, also there's a zombie guy with an axe! ...but it's all a dream because she never went downstairs. ...okay movie. What was the point of that? She also meets potential love interest Phillip, who is a god awful artist. Seriously. I have no artistic skill at all and even I can top him. Everyone else sees it as art though. "Elegant!" "Powerful!" It's just random brush strokes, like something a kid would do in preschool. Then suddenly a mustachioed man with a gun comes in, holds an artist hostage, and demands the paintings. Only the hero guesses that he only had one bullet in there, because the gun he uses only holds six bullets, and she somehow knows there was only one bullet in there. It turns out he's an ex private eye, and everyone else was in on it. ...What the hell, movie? What was the point of that? What was the point of any of that? Did M. Night Shymamalama write this?

Anyway it turns out the lead woman and the only other woman there are against our lead woman, because... plot. Seriously, there's no reason for it. They just are. Conflict for the sake of conflict. Another woman pops up to be her friend though! And they meet when she's found outside screaming at the top of her lungs for no reason at all. ...I feel like I'm gonna be saying "no reason at all" a lot more. Thankfully the conflict is explained a bit more: It turns out Mrs Brigs and Hateful Bitch are just jealous powerhungry people. Okie-doke. Also we find out that Dr. West is actually named Collin Childress. The alliteration is nice but I'm still gonna call him Dr. West.

Oh hey she's going back down stairs again. Will this also be a dream? Is anything in this movie not in a dream? Is this the real finale for St. Elswhere? Well its not a dream, and Philip decides to scare her because "I heard you like to be scared." Thanks for the crappy excuse of a cat-scare, movie. We get some really creepy ghost noses, but they don't actually seem to care, they jokingly refer to it as just being the pipes. Those are fucking ghost noises. They find Dr. West's necronomicon, which politely locked itself in a chest to avoid being burned, and our hero starts reading from it.

Anyway she decides to start working in the cellar, giving us a big cleaning up montage set to smooth jazz, then she goes back to reading from the necronomicon. She decides she wants to continue Dr. West's work and draw something with the big monster from the start of the movie. Since I know I'm gonna be referring to it more, I'm gonna go ahead and name it Kevin Peter Hall, or KPH for short. As she's working on this, the meanspirited chick from earlier videotapes her for some reason. Also drawing the creature brings him back to life, as we see in a brief shot. Also sneaky detective guy is wandering around randomly jotting stuff down in a notepad in a stereotypical detective kind of way. He needs a trenchcoat and a cigar.

Spiteful Bitch is still spying on our hero, for some reason. She's caught, and the two yell at each other for awhile while Not Columbo jots notes about it all.
We finally find out what Spiteful Bitch is up to: She's trying to frame her for plagiarism somehow. But our hero draws Kevin Peter Hall attacking her... and her tripping on a banana peel, both of which actually happen. Also the doorknob vanishes complete with a cartoon "Boi-oi-oi-oing" sound effect, because she drew it to happen. It's like a cartoony Death Note.

We get a bunch of closeups of drawings of our cast alternating between Kevin Peter Hall casually eating his food. Really casually. Seriously it's not really scary, he's just kinda... hangin' out, eating his lunch, which happens to be someone's arm. Just chillin'. He seems happy and calm.

Also the detective decides he's suspicious of Whitney, thinking she killed Amanda/Spiteful Bitch, who is now missing. He's also got a cigar now. Seriously. Also he's got a small office where jazz music plays as he drinks bourbon and types on a typewriter. ...seriously. It's like he's from some 1930s noir mystery-crime movie.

Anyway we also get to see the kind of art the screaming chick does. ...interpretive dance set to really bad synth music, combined with popping ballons with a knife. ...y'know, art. She also takes plastic baby dolls, throws them down, and says "Death is saaad" in a really retarded valley girl way that just made me snort.

The detective gets his hands on a video of the death of Amanda, sees the monster, and... this causes the monster to come out and bat his head clear off in a really silly looking scene. This magically causes a comic to pop up with drawings of it.

It wouldn't be a b-grade 80s horror film without some gratuitous nudity, so we get to see the interpretive dancer chick naked in the shower for awhile before the monster rips her to shreds. Our heroes realize this is the case when they find comic panels showing her being killed before it happens. We get to hear some really, really awful screaming over the same footage from earlier of the monster eating someone, it's the same damn footage! However, both Witney and Philip witness the monster, and rush down stairs to read the necronomicon to find out how to destroy the beat, since now there's only three humans left: Them and the old bitch that runs the place. They try to set fire to the comics, but the monster pulls Philip into it in a move that made me want to just start singing "Taaaake ooooon meeeeee."

We get a really hilarious sequence where Whitney thinks she's talking to the old bitch, but it turns out it's the monster wearing her clothes... for some reason. This is just so fucking hilarious to me. Why you do this, movie?

Anyway she starts throwing stuff at Kevin Peter Hall, until she accidentally spills white out on the comic, which causes him to vanish. I'm honestly so fucking surprised it took her that long to think that would work. Drawing brought him to life, erase him! Also we get some good looks at her own drawings, which are just... awful. Seriously, all of her faces are so damn durpy I can't not laugh when I see them. Anyway she draws Philip escaping into reality and chaining Kevin Peter Hall up, which means they actually happen! Reality warping!

So she draws everyone back to life. Then she gets the bright idea to take all of the drawings, put them in a metal can, and burn them in order to destroy the monster. All of the drawings. ...all of them. Of course, the monster burns, but so does everyone else because she drew them back into life, and she put their drawings into the can too, because she's a dumb bitch. Way to go, everyone's dead now. ...also the monster is still alive for some reason, it kills her, and we hear her get eaten as the credits roll. The end.

What the hell.
That movie was so damn random and so silly that it just... why. So many purposeless scenes, so many things happening without explanation or without cause, it's just a mess.
Don't bother watching this movie unless you're a die hard Jeffery Combs fan, and even then just stop it after he dies.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

10 Creepy WTF-Enducing Commercials

I'm of the belief that, for the most part, advertising has gotten insane lately. Commercials become weirder and have less and less to do with their products, anti-drug PSAs are so damn weird that they -had- to have been on drugs to have even made them, and in general it just seems like a lot of marketing groups have no idea what they're doing anymore. Sometimes this works out, because a commercial becomes so weird people talk about it. Sometimes it doesn't, because we only talk about the commercial and nobody has a fucking clue what it was selling.

#10 : Protect the environment, or we'll blow you up!

Okay, I'm used to environmental ads being either insane or offensive. Not to say that I'm against the -message- they mean to convey, but let's face it, a lot of these groups just end up painting a negative view of causes.
This though... just... what?
I... seriously have no idea what to say, ad. Seriously. I don't know how any of that seemed like a good idea for a PSA.

I was actually split between that ad and one Greenpeace did, but I think this one bothers me more. Still, here's the other ad that tied for #10, I'd like to hear others' thoughts on this.

One just really has to question the thought process behind ads like these. Was someone in marketing eating a kit-kat and decided "Hey, these are kinda like fingers. I could work with that."

#9 : Orville Redenbacher will swallow your soul

I've thrown around the term uncanny valley a lot in my time, but I firmly believe this is easily one of the best examples of the effect. Ever.
I've never been so scared by someone in a fucking bow-tie. The dead, soulless eyes, the awkward, jerky movement, the mouth... Jesus Christ. Orville Redenbacher should not be that frightening.
The worst part is that, in all honesty, OR's my favorite popcorn. I've got a box here and I can't look Orville in the face anymore without thinking back to this damn ad. I feel like Chuckie from Rugrats and his fear of the Quaker Oats guy.

#8: Lamisil wants you to feel uncomfortable

It took so much restraint to not make this #1. I accept this is probably just me but... this is an ad I can't even look at. Seriously. That... thing lifting someone's toenail and going under it. That pushes way too many buttons for me, I feel so damn uncomfortable and creeped out looking at it. It's worse than that scene in Zombi 2 where a chick gets a splinter through the eye.

#7: Australia is Hell

This is part of a larger campaign, but sadly most of the videos I can find of them have embedding disabeled. I don't really get why any dickwad would disable embedding, nor do I ever want to work in Australia after seeing these ads.
Each one starts the same way. Just normal people, doing normal jobs... then suddenly something horrible happens and at least one person is horrifically injured in an unpredictable way. People being sliced up by glass, a nailgun somehow firing a nail out back which goes through some guy's eye, skin being melted off by boiling water/grease... it's insane.

#6 : If you weren't afraid of bears, you are now.

Yes. Smokey the Bear skinned a woman and wore her like a suit, like Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. Just remember that next time he tries to tell you about forest fires.
Maybe he's just worried that, without thick forests, he'll have to seek alternative places to dump the skinned corpses of his many victims? Surely Smokey could just move to Florida, buy a boat, and start dumping his bodies in the water?

#5: G4 has little to do with gaming but a lot to do with nightmare fuel

I really, really don't get the point of these. Midnight Spank was basically a block from back before G4TechTV sucked, and had some Japanese shows, a show dedicated to weird cinematics, etc. It was a fun block, but it wasn't the nightmare fuel you'd expect from these commercials.

#4: When PSAs out Final Destination Final Destination 2

First off, my apologies to anyone that couldn't sit through that. I myself was honestly shocked the first time I saw it. I mean I'm used to PSAs going to extremes to scare people out of doing things, but this is just... wow. Seriously.
I hope that whoever is responsible for this ad got fired, I really do.
Also I want to bring up something: Despite the emphasis being on the texters being in the wrong, I want to point out that the family car had ample opportunity to stop or slow down, and they didn't.

#3: Nokia presents Zalgo

Because nothing makes people want to buy cellphones like horrible reality breaking demonic things. I mean come on, The Ring was obviously just a two hour long commercial for CRT TVs after all. "Our TVs unleash evil little girls, do yours?"
On top of that, even before Zalgo there, we get a look at what is supposed to be I guess cellphone market research, only it looks more like a confession sequence from some crime movie. You're not exactly painting your company in a good light, Nokia.

#2: K-Fee hates you, and so do your friends.

If you've never seen one of those before, well. I'm sorry. If you have, no doubt you were linked to them by someone talking about how relaxing they were, or how calming they were.
I've gotta say, unlike most of the ads I've talked about, this one is at least fitting. It's an energy drink of sorts, and you certainly feel a bit pumped after seeing one of these the first time.

#1: Sloche gives everyone Coulrophobia



Seriously what the fuck?

Jesus Christ! What the fuck am I watching? Is this some weird clown version of Hostel or something?
Sloche is a Canadian slushee company based in Quebec, and that answers absolutely no question I have about this. Seriousy... -what-. -What-.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Top 15 Favorite Creepypasta

I love creepypasta, a lot. I've collected a fairly large archive of it over the years, and even written a few of my own, so hey, might as well put up what I feel to be the 20 best creepypasta I've ever read.
First off though, I want to get something out there. I detest two things that tend to bring a lot of creepypasta down.
First, you've got instructional creepypasta. Do this, do that, don't do that, etc. I hate these so much. They aren't scary whatsoever, they're just crappy fictional to-do lists. Fuck them, and fuck the holders.
The other thing I greatly detest is purple prose. A good example would be the popular "Guardian Angel" creepypasta wherein we realize that the reason a horribly disfigured thing that stalks the main normal guy of the creepypasta is because the guy is destined to get in a car accident and end up like that. A nice idea, but it's brought down by the author's constant need to lovingly describe in detail everything deformed about the narrator, it's like scary equivalent of a porn fic writer that writes one handed, then goes back through with a thesaurus to make it sound smarter.

The gray wolves of Virginia were made extinct over a hundred years ago. According to the regular surveys by the National Forestry service, no sign of any such animal has been found since 1900. The occasional reports of large predators, just after dusk or late at night, usually by the occasional hiker or party of campers in the Stillwood (residents of Lower Alethia, nearest the woods like myself, know better than to try), receive the same tired reply from Animal Control.

"There are no wolves in the Stillwood.”

When a pet gets lost in the dark of the Stillwood and never returns… or worse is found, mauled, the blame falls on the usual suspects: foxes, wild dogs or teenagers with too much time and too little compassion. A few years back, when the Bradleys, a little family brand new to the Falls, had their boy David go missing from their own backyard, never finding more than scraps of his jacket and a little blood at the edge of the forest, the official response was adamant: this was a kidnapping, not an animal attack. Old-timers like me just shook our heads and muttered to ourselves:

“There are *no* wolves in the Stillwood.”

So, if you want to sleep at night this close to the forest, keep your doors locked tight and your shutters closed fast, if just to buy some peace of mind, to stop you from catching a glimpse of the Stillwood late at night. And should you somehow find yourself walking near, or God forbid through, the woods some evening, head home as quick as you can. Try to ignore the sounds of the night wind, howling as it does… it will only make your imagination run wild, after all. And should you see what cannot be polychrome eyes, shining through the mists from the underbrush or somehow in the branches above, should you be blessed enough to make it safely home, take what comfort you can in this thought.

There are no *wolves* in the Stillwood.

It’s about 9:35 at night. The show on your TV is silent, the volume turned down. Maybe you’re one of those people that has to have a static noise and picture, even when listening to or watching something else.
The living room light is on. Two of the five bulbs have burnt out. The one in the back seems the next to go, but you don’t think much about it as you stretch out in your chair.

Something begins gnawing at the back of your mind. It’s just a normal Monday night, the rain outside a steady drizzle that freezes as it hits the road. Something that makes you want to look out the large pannel window beside you, covered up by a Harley Davidson blanket to keep the warmth in the house.

You try and distract yourself, turning on your favorite band. Maybe it’s Collective Soul, or Rammstein, or anything. Something to take your mind off of it. It’s only 9:37 now, just a few minutes later, and you still have this urge to turn around and look out that window, shrouded by a black and orange blanket. You hear a slight tapping on the glass, like a fingertip trying to get your attention. You turn the music up louder, trying to drown it out. It becomes louder and more insistent now, faster and faster, still trying to draw your attention.

“It’s in my head, I’m just worked up, too little sleep. Last night was crazy.” You tell yourself. The rapping on the window ceases, and you begin to settle back in. It’s 9:41. You turn your attention back to the TV, commercials flooding your brain.
The tapping returns. A simple, sharp tap. Curiosity overwrites fear, and you lift up the blanket with your left hand, expecting to see a stray limb from a tree smacking the window from the wind outside, or maybe nothing at all.

A long, pale white tongue drags across the window, smacking back with another tap. Your heart stops as you look up, seeing two great, white staring eyes bulging from an elongated face, lacerated with boiling cuts and keloid scars, coated with burns, it’s face nearly as long as your window itself. It’s upside down, hanging from your ceiling. It’s mouth is lined with razor-sharp teeth, there may be thousands or millions of them. Several are rotten and pulsating, and it keeps staring at you. It’s cavernous mouth seems to be smiling. Like it knows something you don’t…

When I was a child I lived in a rented two-floor house.
Both my parents worked so I was often alone when I came home from school.
One early evening when I came home the house was still dark.
I called out, “Mum?” and heard a voice say “Yeeeeees?” from upstairs.
I called her again, and again got the same “Yeeeeees?” reply.

I felt she was calling me and climbed up the stairs.
When I reached the first floor I called her once more and the voice “Yeeeeees?” came from the furthest room.
I felt both uneasy and a strong urge to see my mother and started to walk towards the room.

But just that moment I heard the front door downstairs open and my mother come in, carrying a lot of shopping bags.
‘Honey, are you home?” My mother called in a cheery voice.
Hearing her voice made me feel instantly better and I turned back to go downstairs at once – but not before I had a quick glance towards the room.

While I watched from the top of the stairs, the door to the room slowly opened a crack.
For a brief moment I saw something strange in there.
It was an unnaturally pale face staring at me.

It’s a simple enough thing. It’s all a part of the body’s sleep processes. Sleep Paralysis, right? No big deal, really. Your body produces a chemical that paralyzes your body during R.E.M sleep to prevent you from hurting yourself by thrashing about during your dreams. No big deal.
Okay, so, you opened your eyes and you can’t move your body. It’s the chemicals. Oh, you can keep trying to wriggle those toes, but it’s not happening. Forget it. Just relax. It’ll go away. It’s fine. It’s normal.
Oh, now there’s something pressing on your chest, real hard, it’s making it hard to breath. It’s heavy, so very heavy, whatever’s on your chest. Chemicals. It’s all chemicals. Stop trying to scream, it won’t work. Your throat muscles are paralyzed too. You still can’t breath.
You are staring at a blank ceiling, you can’t stare anywhere else. Shadows flit across your vision, forming shapes you try not to think about. A clawed hand, a flash of jagged, shadowy teeth. All images from your subconscious. A face forming above yours, leering through black void eyes. You think you
hear sibilant whispering. Angry hissing, like a snake that’s been disturbed.
Suddenly, a sharp white light briefly flares in the room as a car pulls down the street, dispelling the shadows. The weight is gone. You can breath, your hands clench sheets.
You feel an eternity has passed by but it was all the work of a moment. You wriggle, just to prove to yourself you can. You sit up, take a deep breath and then laugh a little at yourself. Sleep Paralysis. Stupid.
You turn to shake your spouse awake, eager to share your experience. You feel paralyzed again, but it has nothing to do with Sleep Paralysis. You stare at the blood, the jagged wound in her throat, her wide, staring eyes, mouth opened in soundless scream.
You survived your Old Hag Syndrome.
She didn’t.

You feel an itch in your throat.

You try to cough it out, but it just won't come.

You struggle with forcing yourself to vomit. You drink lots of water, but whatever it is, it’s just stuck there.

You reach for the carton of milk in the fridge and sneeze as you raise it up. Something hits the floor with a rattle. You look at the floor and see a small button with a flowery design
on it.

Then you look up. On the milk carton, you notice a missing kid. Her blouse shows the same buttons.

In Berlin, after World War II, money was short, supplies were tight, and it seemed like everyone was hungry. At that time, people were telling the tale of a young woman who saw a blind
man picking his way through a crowd. The two started to talk. The man asked her for a favor: could she deliver the letter to the address on the envelope? Well, it was on her way home,
so she agreed.

She started out to deliver the message, when she turned around to see if there was anything else the blind man needed. But she spotted him hurrying through the crowd without his smoked
glasses or white cane. She went to the police, who raided the address on the envelope, where they found heaps of human flesh for sale.

And what was in the envelope? "This is the last one I am sending you today."

When I was a kid, we used to have an old couch in our house. It was old and pretty tacky. My mom had gotten it at a garage sale or something. One day we decided to up and out the
couch. It was when I was young but I remembered it.

Anyhow I was talking to my mom and we brought up the old couch and she told me about something I hadn't remembered for years.

When I was young, maybe four or five I was playing near the couch and a withered black hand reached out to me holding a crumpled paper bag with an unfamiliar hardware store logo on it.
I was scared shitless and I didn't touch it. After a few seconds the hand went back under the couch, bag and all.

When I had originally told my mom about the incident she had freaked out and gotten rid of the couch. It turned out it's last owner was an old woman who had died on the couch.

Now is where it gets weirder. I was in town the other day and a grocery store I often visit I noticed a bag with the same logo that was under the couch. No old shriveled hand was
holding it so I had the balls to open it up and look inside.

It was a bag of razorblades.

Coffins used to be built with holes in them, attached to six feet of copper tubing and a bell. The tubing would allow air for victims buried under the mistaken impression they were dead. Harold, the Oakdale gravedigger, upon hearing a bell, went to go see if it was children pretending to be spirits. Sometimes it was also the wind. This time it wasn’t either. A voice from below begged, pleaded to be unburied.
“You Sarah O’Bannon?” Yes! the voice assured.
“You were born on September 17, 1827?”
“The gravestone here says you died on February 19?”
“No I’m alive, it was a mistake! Dig me up, set me free!”
“Sorry about this, ma’am,” Harold said, stepping on the bell to silence it and plugging up the copper tube with dirt. “But this is August. Whatever you is down there, you ain’t alive no more, and you ain’t comin’ up.”


You just moved into your new apartment, in a very big city. After a year of this life, you have almost given up hope of making any friends; be it at work or any other means. You feel very lonely. After looking for a peaceful place to spend your time, you find a quiet diner on the outskirts of town. The waitress is very attractive. Also, she seems to be the only employee there, ever. You never see anyone else eat there either, ever. The place is perfect for you.

Making love to her becomes a routine. You go there every night for dinner, and then to see her.

You eventually make other friends, and eat at the diner less and less. After some time you stop going completely.

At a bar with your best friend, you tell him about the fun you had with the waitress at the diner. He says he absolutely must see her. You take him there one night, but the building is in a state of ruin. The front door barely opens. The grimy insides of the diner are disgusting, and, behind the counter, is moldy corpse, reeking of pus and rot.

When the police come to the scene, they interview both you and your friend. You are shocked to hear that the body is of a runaway girl from another province. The police tell you this is a homicide, and that she was also raped dozens of times, after she was killed. The police say they can get a match for DNA and eliminate you as a suspect. You are suddenly very worried.


You're at work alone, when you suddenly hear the copy machine start up. You walk out to take a look at what's going on and see several copies filling the tray. Picking up one of the
pieces of paper you discover that it is a copy of a picture depicting you sitting in your office chair, dead, with your eyes torn out and your throat cut. The others are the same
picture, but taken from increasingly bizarre angles.

There is no original picture in the copy machine. In fact, the machine has been out of toner for a week.

Normally you sleep soundly, but the thunderstorm raging outside is stirring you from your slumber. You begin to doze, then another crash jolts you awake. The cycle lasts most of the
night. So you lay there, eyes open and outward, looking at your room stretching out before you in oblong shadows. Your eyes move from nameless object, to object, until you reach your
mirror, sitting adjacent to you across the room.

Suddenly a flash of lighting, and the mirror flickers in illumination. For a scant second the mirror revels to you dozens of faces, silhouettes within its frame, mouths open and eyes
blackened. They stare out at you, their black pupils fixed upon your face.
Then it is done. Are you sure of what you have seen? Unsettled, you don’t sleep for the rest of the evening.

The next morning you remove the mirror from your wall and toss it in the trash. It didn’t matter if the vision you had seen was of truth or falsehood, you wanted to be rid of that
mirror. In fact, you scrap every mirror in your house.

Weeks pass and the event of that night falls into passive memory. You are spending the day at a friend’s house. It’s time to use the bathroom. While you are in there the faucet starts
to run without you prompting it. Taken aback by this, you do not yet act, trying to reason with your paranoia in your mind. The water starts to steam and a skin of moisture covers the
mirror up above. You’re watching intently as words form:
“Please return the mirrors. We miss watching you sleep at night.”

I am currently sitting in front of my computer, scared witless. Any moment now I am going to be killed.

Today a friend of mine told me a story.

His aunt had taken care of him since he was a small boy, and she told him last night about how his parents died. He did a very fair imitation of her (I knew them both pretty well):

"They were doing mission work in some nasty little south American country when a man burst into the mission hospital one night, terrified out of his mind. He told them that his sister
had been killed by a Muerto blanco, and that he was certain that it was coming for him next. What is a Muerto blanco? Apparently it was some sort of bogey-man, something like that dumb
chupacabra or whatever. They called it the White Death or the White Girl, because it was the soul of someone who hated life so much that they came back in their shrouds to kill those
who told of them.

The man had been told about the vengeful spirit by his sister hours before her death. It was a girl with dead, black eyes that wept bile. The thing moved without ever actually moving
its legs, and it stalked its victims back to their homes. Now, if you weren't already aware that this thing was following you, once it got back to your house, it would start knocking
on your door...

Once for you skin, which she'll use to patch her own decaying flesh.

Twice for your muscle, which she'll gnash her teeth on between victims.

Thrice for your bones, which she'll make knives to pick her teeth and kill her victims.

Four times for your heart, which she'll wear around her neck.

Five times for your teeth, which she'll polish and keep in a box.

Six times for your eyes, which she'll see the faces of your loved ones through.

Seven times for your soul, which she'll eat whole - you can never pass while you're in her stomach.

She has to repeat this on any mirror or door between you and her.

You can try to outrun her, but she's faster than the fastest man. And if you leave your home while she's knocking on your door, she won't be so courteous when she catches up to you.

Now the man was certain that this thing had killed his sister, that he had tried to tell the police, but they would not listen. Next he had tried to tell his priest, but the priest
turned him away when he saw that the thing was following him now - oh, that's right, I forgot about that - it can only get you if you tell someone else about it, or you saw it kill
someone else. The man, after finishing his tale, stole a car from the mission, and was never seen again."

Apparently his mother and father had immediately called his aunt about this when it happened. They were found in the morning, skinned and dismembered. Their bodies were covered in
tiny, child-like handprints."

His aunt was really drunk the night before, and had told him about that. He told me this story early in the morning today at school, before the cops arrived. His aunt had been murdered
that night. I called him later that night, and he told me that he was being chased by someone, and now they were knocking on his door. I told him to stop shitting me.

He held the phone away from his face for a minute, and I could hear slow, deliberate knocking. A moment later, I heard the door rip from its hinges and the dying screams of my friend.

Then a little girl's voice spoke over the line: "WITNESS." I hung up.

Three minutes ago someone started knocking on my door. She has to knock 28 times on my front door, 28 times on the mirror in the hall, and another 28 times on the door to my bedroom.
She's doing it slowly... I think she wants to scare me some more, let me know that my death is just moments away. I will not run - I couldn't get to my car in time anyway. She started
knocking on my bedroom door a minute ago, she should be done any moment.

Nice knowing you guys, it's been f

It's early morning. The sun won't be up for another couple of hours. You're fast asleep in bed, lost in a dream, when the phone rings. Rather than waking up, you roll over and cover your head with a pillow.

Hours pass. The sun rises.

The phone is ringing.

When you wake up, your alarm clock is blaring and the phone is ringing. By the time you will yourself to turn the alarm off, the phone has stopped ringing. You realize that it's been ringing all morning.

You slide out of bed and press the blinking red button on your phone as you stumble into the bathroom. The phone beeps, followed by the friendly, electronic voice.

Hello. You have six hundred and sixty-six new messages. Message one. The phone beeps again, and you're not prepared for what comes next.


You spin around, thinking that she's standing right behind you. There's pure terror in her screams, accompanied by other disturbing noises. You stand there, horrified, for about ten seconds. Screaming gives way to hysterical, garbled crying before dying out with the sounds of spilling meat and tearing flesh.

The phone beeps again. You're shaking.

Message two.

You were out of town for the weekend. When you came back to your apartment, your mailbox was stuffed full. At least 30 letters. Letters with no return address, several of them felt soggy and heavy, as though they were recently wet, or perhaps contained a liquid. All of the letters have your name and address written on them, and many of them had your name scratched all over them in red in. They don't smell nice, they smell like rotting meat and old garbage and you're reluctant to take them back to your room, but curiosity gets the better of you.

So you manage to cart them all back to your room, you dump them in your kitchenette sink because you don't want them smelling up the rest of the apartment. You grab one that doesn't seem damp and isn't covered with writing, and open it up. There's pictures inside. Pictures of people you don't know, with their eyes torn out, teeth missing, unhinged jaws hanging open, throats ripped out.

You're horrified and yet you can't help but wonder what's in the rest of the letters. You open more, and more to discover increasingly gruesome photos of dead
people. Piles of bodies with limps missing, splayed open corpses on operating tables with their vital organs removed, hanged bodies that have been gutted and bled dry.

Some of the soggy letters had blood and other fluids in them. The more letters you open, the more you notice that not all of the people are strangers. Some of them were people you see at work, others people you went to high school with. By the time you get to the last few letters, the pictures are of the mutilated bodies of your close friends and family members.

Eventually you reach the last letter. You don't want to know what's in it, but it's not like you have a choice now. You peel the letter open, and it's a picture of yourself. Not dead, eyes intact, no limbs missing. It's a picture of you entering your apartment building earlier that day, shortly before you collected your disgusting letters. As you hear a door elsewhere in your apartment open, you suddenly find yourself paralyzed with fear.

NetNostalgia Forum – Television (local)

Subject: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Does anyone remember this kid’s show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7. I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don’t remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
it seems really familiar to me…..i grew up outside of ashland and was 9 yrs old in 72. candle cove…was it about pirates? i remember a pirate marionette at the mouth of a cave talking to a little girl

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
YES! Okay I’m not crazy! I remember Pirate Percy. I was always kind of scared of him. He looked like he was built from parts of other dolls, real low-budget. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn’t belong on the body. I don’t remember what station this was! I don’t think it was WTSF though.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Sorry to ressurect this old thread but I know exactly what show you mean, Skyshale. I think Candle Cove ran for only a couple months in ‘71, not ‘72. I was 12 and I watched it a few times with my brother. It was channel 58, whatever station that was. My mom would let me switch to it after the news. Let me see what I remember.

It took place in Candle cove, and it was about a little girl who imagined herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate ship was called the Laughingstock, and Pirate Percy wasn’t a very good pirate because he got scared too easily. And there was calliope music constantly playing. Don’t remember the girl’s name. Janice or Jade or something. Think it was Janice.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Thank you Jaren!!! Memories flooded back when you mentioned the Laughingstock and channel 58. I remember the bow of the ship was a wooden smiling face, with the lower jaw submerged. It looked like it was swallowing the sea and it had that awful Ed Wynn voice and laugh. I especially remember how jarring it was when they switched from the wooden/plastic model, to the foam puppet version of the head that talked.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
ha ha i remember now too. ;) do you remember this part skyshale: “you have…to go…INSIDE.”

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Ugh mike, I got a chill reading that. Yes I remember. That’s what the ship always told Percy when there was a spooky place he had to go in, like a cave or a dark room where the treasure was. And the camera would push in on Laughingstock’s face with each pause. YOU HAVE… TO GO… INSIDE. With his two eyes askew and that flopping foam jaw and the fishing line that opened and closed it. Ugh. It just looked so cheap and awful.

You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i honestly, honestly thought the villain was pirate percy. i was about 5 when this show was on. nightmare fuel.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
That wasn’t the villain, the puppet with the mustache. That was the villain’s sidekick, Horace Horrible. He had a monocle too, but it was on top of the mustache. I used to think that meant he had only one eye.

But yeah, the villain was another marionette. The Skin-Taker. I can’t believe what they let us watch back then.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
jesus h. christ, the skin taker. what kind of a kids show were we watching? i seriously could not look at the screen when the skin taker showed up. he just descended out of nowhere on his strings, just a dirty skeleton wearing that brown top hat and cape. and his glass eyes that were too big for his skull. christ almighty.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Wasn’t his top hat and cloak all sewn up crazily? Was that supposed to be children’s skin??

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
yeah i think so. remembered his mouth didn’t open and close, his jaw just slid back and foth. i remember the little girl said “why does your mouth move like that” and the skin-taker didn’t look at the girl but at the camera and said “TO GRIND YOUR SKIN”

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
I’m so relieved that other people remember this terrible show!

I used to have this awful memory, a bad dream I had where the opening jingle ended, the show faded in from black, and all the characters were there, but the camera was just cutting to each of their faces, and they were just screaming, and the puppets and marionettes were flailing spastically, and just all screaming, screaming. The girl was just moaning and crying like she had been through hours of this. I woke up many times from that nightmare. I used to wet the bed when I had it.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i don’t think that was a dream. i remember that. i remember that was an episode.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
No no no, not possible. There was no plot or anything, I mean literally just standing in place crying and screaming for the whole show.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
maybe i’m manufacturing the memory because you said that, but i swear to god i remember seeing what you described. they just screamed.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Oh God. Yes. The little girl, Janice, I remember seeing her shake. And the Skin-Taker screaming through his gnashing teeth, his jaw careening so wildly I thought it would come off its wire hinges. I turned it off and it was the last time I watched. I ran to tell my brother and we didn’t have the courage to turn it back on.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i visited my mom today at the nursing home. I asked her about when I was little in the early 70s, when I was 8 or 9 and if she remembered a kid’s show, candle cove. she said she was surprised i could remember that and i asked why, and she said “because i used to think it was so strange that you said ‘I’m gonna go watch candle cove now mom’ and then you would tune the tv to static and juts watch dead air for 30 minutes. you had a big imagination with your little pirate show.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I had a bit of a nostalgic moment today when I heard the title "My Stepmother is an Alien" the other day, only to realize I've never seen the film. I remembered seeing some movie about a kid whose stepmother is an evil monster, and after some searching, I found it.
Stepmonster. So how does a movie that I haven't seen since I was 5 stand up? We'll see!

Our movie starts us off with art supplies for some reason, and some dramatic music. During this we get a few surprises: Alan Thicke, John Astin, and Corey Feldman. In -my- bad childhood movie? It's more likely than you think. Well it turns out the art supplies draw an EC Comic knockoff that we zoom into, giving us some family vacation: With Alan Thicke as the dad!

Also the film introduces us to "tropopkins." They see a sign saying you can't hunt them, and the kid of the family just happens to have a comic detailing what a tropopkin is. What kind of a name is a tropopkin? Also his mom's got a weird sense of humor and suggests that the sign could mean only tropopkins can hunt. Stop saying tropopkin, movie. It sounds like some weird greek or slavic food. I want to eat a tropopkin. Maybe they're like popplers.

Almost instantly we hear the roar of a tropopkin. This film has no sense of pacing. I'm only like 4 minutes in. He doesn't see the delicious tropopkin, but he does find a giant chicken footprint, which matches the tropopkin footprint in his comic.
Just then a random sexy woman appears. Right off the bat she's extremely suspicious, and seems to be flirting with Alan Thicke, who knows her. She doesn't look like the food item I figured a tropopkin would be. The movie's already let us know that the stepmother is the monster just in its title, so we can assume the actual mother dies, and is replaced by random sexy suspicious woman. It's like naming Sixth Sense "The Kid Who Saw Dead People" or Friday the 13th Part 5 "Friday the 13th: Revenge of the Amublance Driver."

We also realize that Alan Thicke is a terrible dad. This doesn't surprise me, as someone that actually used to watch Growing Pains. He's a humorless, irritating, super-serious asshat there, and he seems to be playing the same generic grumpy 1950s dad here. I haven't seen Alan Thicke lately, outside of timeshare commercials. Maybe that's why.

The movie then decides that around 9 minutes in is the perfect time to kill someone, as we say goodbye to the mom. Also we see pages from the comic, which... for some reason details what's going on? Also we see the monster, and it looks... retarded. Ever melted one of those little green army men? It looks like a puddle of army men goo hardened together into a deformed, cheap mold of Satan from Toxic Avengers 3.
Well, all that was apparently a dream? Todd, our hero sadly, wakes up and is living with his grandparents after the incident, and apparently his mom's body was never found. We also get a scene of an old man staring at a bouncing teenager's breasts. Because, y'know.

Anyway, as one would expect, Alan Thicke has hooked up with suspicious sexy woman from earlier. I WONDER IF THE STEPMOTHER IN STEPMONSTER IS GOING TO BE A MONSTER? I'm still sad the tropopkin isn't some bite sized food. Maybe it's the "pop" in the name, but I stand by that I could totally see someone selling bite-sized tropopkins.
I'm kinda confused how the kid didn't know they were dating. Did Alan Thicke just abandon the kid for a long time or something? Alan, this is why one of your kids grew up to be the most annoying creationist ever. Even the kid's grandparents end up chewing Alan Thicke out. Also we find out that it's been six months. So I guess Alan's been dating Whatsherface for six months, and for that entire time Todd got left with his grandparents. "Hey son, your mom died, so I'm gonna leave you for six months."

We get a short little heartwarming scene between the kid and his grandpa, filled with random sports metaphors. It feels like Sisko from Deep Space Nine, how everything is like baseball, or how everything ties into baseball. Maybe a tropopkin is like some Cardassian delicacy you cover in yamok sauce.

There's some more random suspiciousness with the stepmother, as she's seen gnawing on a bone by Todd, who saw a tropopkin do the same thing in that magical comic book that details various things we've seen before. Also the stepmother has some tiny creature in a box she talks to, and feeds it a live fish. Alan comes in, notices a missing fish automatically, and blames his kid for it. Seriously Alan, are you gunning for a father of the year award?

Just in case you were tired of hating Alan and the stepmother, we cut to Todd being a peeping tom and watching his female neighbor strip down. This ties into the plot though, because he catches the stepmother eyeing a jogger at night. Did I mention I love the pacing in this movie? She flirts with some fat, bald, middleaged jogger who follows her, steps in a gooey dog mess leftover from a -pet dog she just ate-, doesn't find this suspicious at all, and continues following her. I repeat. Sexy woman hits on fat bald middleaged jogger who finds a half eaten dog with her shoe, and he doesn't find this at all suspicious.

Surprise surprise, headline the next morning states that his body was found, eaten by a "dog." Keep in mind, this is the next morning. That scene happend that night. How. What. Speedy fucking journalism there. That scene happend really late at night, and this is really early morning.

The parents decide to go out, giving us a chance to get an additional character when they hire a babysitter, played by the neighbor that Todd was peeping on earlier. As one would expect, we get the Cassandra Truth treatment. If you don't know what that means, it's that irritating cliche where someone spends most of a movie telling the truth in a hard to believe way and nobody believes them.

Her boyfriend comes in, and sounds suspiciously like a ninja turtle. Robot Chicken taught me Feldman was one of the turtles (REAGANOMICS!), so I have an easier time recognizing Feldman. I always get the Corey's confused. Corey also keeps saying little dude, and just generally sounds like a fucking ninja turtle. I can't take him seriously. He's even got a god damn headband, which I keep expecting to slide down to reveal eyeholes.

Anyway, the turtle turns out to be suspiciously smart. He goes on about how the stepmonster is waiting on the summer solstice to do her thing, he knows this because he also reads comic books. It turns out the summer solstice is the same day as the wedding. Thanks, Donatello.

Cut to the nex tnight. The stepmonster is following a young paperboy around, but this time Todd is there to watch her become Melted Army Man Satan. He watches her eat a little kid alive, tries to take photos, doesn't try to help the kid, and runs off. Our hero.

The movie won't stop hitting us over the head with its chekov's gun: The stepmother hates violin, and his dad repeatedly tells him to practise his violin. Over, and over, and over.

Anyway, the kid proves to be a moron. He gets the photos developed and shows them to his friend/babysitter without looking at them. They're all photos from when he was peeping on her. Dumbass.

Also it turns out the thing she keeps in her box is a giant bat thing that looks like it got ripped out of Gremlins. Come to think of it, she herself looks like a giant version of one of the Gremlins. Alan Thicke needs to stop feeding her after midnight. The kid goes after it with a bat, breaks a bunch of things, and as you'd expect gets in trouble with his dad over it.

He tells his dad that the thing is a harpy (it's a bat, not a harpy), and that harpys help tropopkins. His dad just gets angry, grounds him, and throws away his comics. As you'd expect. His dad goes off because plot, leaving Todd alone with the tropopkin. Due to this, Todd runs off to tell his grandfather all about tropopkins, but of course, his grandfather doesn't believe him. We then get a montage of the evil monster... forcing him to do chores. ...okie-doke, movie. Chores are scary!
This just serves to set up Todd making some big Home Alone style trap to catch the stepmonster in her monster form. Predictably, she turns back into a human the second Alan Thicke comes back.

Todd gets taken to see a psychiatrist, who works in the biggest skyscraper ever. Y'know, as psychiatrists do. He tries to tell the psychiatrist the truth, and she predictable ignores it all and assumes that he's just exaggerating things and that the two would get along if Todd gave her a chance. The stepmonster's then sent to go see the same psychiatrist, and predictable, she turns into a tropopkin and eats her. So many surprises in this movie.

Todd's grandpa takes him out to a comic shop run by a flamboyant, cleanfreak Spock-like guy, and they look for a comic on tropopkins so Todd can find out how to defeat them. Sadly, the comic is $500. So there's only one issue of one comic ever about Tropopkins?

Todd then goes to peep on her neighbor, but sees his stepmom going after her. He goes to warn her, sees her in her underwear, she freaks out as you'd expect, but then the monster bursts throug her door. Thankfully it freaks out when its covered by a blanket, it runs away. At least now someone believes him.

He hates a plan to sell his violin to buy the $500 comic, but his dad gets angry and threatens to throw it away. Upon finding out he sold the violin, he decides that the best thing to do would be to rip up a $500 comic into tiny shreds. Alan Thicke: Father of the Year and a complete genius. Well, the universe really fucking hates Todd, because it turns out that they find all but the piece of the comic that reveals its one weakness. Honestly, maybe he should wait for the monster to eat his dad before defeating the monster, then go live with his grandparents. It seems like a smart move, considering his dad is too dumb to live, and is a complete jerkass on top of all that.

We get a shot of the stepmother, in monster form for some reason, in her wedding dress, using a deep voice which Alan Thicke doesn't find suspicious at all. At the same time, Todd sets up another weird, zany Home Alone scheme involving floor wax and a camera hidden beneath a couch pillow. Zany!

It turns out today's wedding day, and the priest is... fucking Gomez Addams from the old Addams Family TV show, John Astin. But all is not well, as the stepmonster falls down the steps and... is completely fine. That was a dumb scheme, kid. Seriously dumb. You just waxed the floor and hoped she'd fall? John Astin does his best to steal the screen as best as he can, and I don't blame him. I wish Donatello did the same earlier in the movie. Just then, firemen come, being told there was some problem. More crappy schemes from this kid. Seriously, it's obvious where he got his intelligence from, he's just as retarded as his father. The wedding goes off without a hitch, and John Astin sadly leaves us. Why couldnt he and Donatello be the stars?

Thankfully, by coincidence, the kid manages to find the piece of the comic with the weakness: It turns out the weakness is Chekov's Violin from earlier. Now they just need to get the violin back. Also thankfully, we get more Donatello! Also apparently Alan Thicke doesn't believe in a honeymoon, as they never leave the house on their wedding day. The wedding happens -in the house-, the honeymoon is a romantic dinner -in the house-. Horrible person, horrible father, horrible husband: Alan Thicke is a triple threat.

But don't worry! Donatello's brought a bunch of amps, and is there to play music to defeat the beast. Sadly, Vanilla Ice is nowhere to be seen. I'm a sad reviewer. Also apparently Todd's grandfather now believes him, as he's there helping blare violin music to defeat the beast. Alan Thicke finally witnesses his wife transform. She doesn't kill him though, only knocks him out with a whine bottle before running outside and being incapacitated by the violin music.

But it's a trick! She gets back up, goes after Todd, and her "harpy" gremln-bat comes to destroy the cords that connect the amps, stopping the violin music. Just then Alan Thicke decides he has to make up for being a douchebag the entire film, comes out with a violin, and plays it at the beast. The grandfather's non-sequitor baseball reference earlier turns out to be useful, as the kid ends up killing the gargoyle-bat-gremlin-harpy with it. I'm hereby renaming Chekov's Gun to Sisko's Baseball.

Cue sappy ending wherein the kid and his dad makeup, go hiking in the area from the first film, and find the kid's mom a-okay. She was just stuck in a cave. We also get Alan Thicke pronouncing Aquaman as "Ackwaman". As a fan of the god awful 60s Aquaman toon, this made me smile. ACKWAMAN! And he says it repeatedly!

Altogether, the film's not that as as a kids film, only it's PG13 due to some gore and the neighbor chick being in her bra and panties in a few scenes. Still, a good kids film. The effects aren't bad for what it is, and the acting isn't that bad outside of Alan Thicke and the evil stepmother.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Scary Stories to Traumitize Your Children

I'm working on what is going to be a very length review of a series right now, so putting up a non-review article again.

Do you remember Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark? If you said no, you're either lucky or suffering from repression. They were a trilogy of short scary stories for kids, only the stories tended to be quite disturbing, and the art is some of the scariest things I've ever seen.
So... let's have the top 10 scariest images, from Stephen Gammell's illustrations of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy!

Before we do that, though, I'd love to give a big shout out to MoonRaven09, who has done some pretty good animations for the stories, mostly using audio from the audiobook release which featured the Heat Miser as the narrator.

Give 'em a watch sometime, I strongly recommend it.

#10 : The Little Black Dog

What the hell is wrong with its feet? I never noticed it the first time I saw the picture, but I felt something was off.
The story itself is actually pretty lame, but god damn that picture. Basically someone shoots someone else in a gunfight... somehow from behind... the dead guy's dog goes up to his body and gets shot by the guy too, then follows the guy around until he dies in the snow. ...Alrighty then.

#9 : Sam's New Pet

This is from the old urban legend of someone that somehow mistakes a dog for a rat, somehow. That... thing up there is neither a rat nor a dog, but some horrible monstrosity.

#8 : Boo Men

Technically not from a story, but holy fuck what the hell. Scary Stories 3 starts with a random assortment of scary ink drawings, I just chose my favorite of them.

#7 : He Heard Footseps Coming Up The Cellar Stairs

Also not from a story, but from a section of stories with a similar theme.
This... "thing", man or beast, is sort of the mascot for the first book, and appears in a bunch of other drawings. He just scares the living crap out of me. He's like some ragged, decaying zombie with a big smile.

#6 : Is Something Wrong

What the fuck is that? It's like some flying fetus tentacle monster with a gigantic skull and a bleeding eye. Seriously. What the hell? Stephen Gammell, the artist behind all of these, just... god damn. He's like the illustration equivalent of H.P. Lovecraft. The man needs to do more horror work instead of children's books.

#5 : The Haunted House

This picture proves that even when drawing something more conventional, Gammell makes it more frightening than you'd expect. "Hey Gammell, draw an undead girl for me." And he gives us this. I often hear this labeled as the scariest of the drawings, but personally I believe he's done far scarier.

#4 : The Dead Hand

Like this.
The story's about to be about someone that doesn't fear some haunted woods everyone else in his town fears, goes off at night, and a haunted tree rips his hand off. The drawing... I don't even know. I see the trees to the right, and I guess... just... gah I don't want to keep staring at it. This pictures used to give me nightmares.

#3 : O Sussanah

I don't even... what?
The story's about a girl who is kept up at night by her roommate humming Oh Susannah, only it turns out that her roommate's been decapitated, and she decides to go back to sleep and hope that it's all a dream.
Please, tell me dear reader. What the hell does the art have to do with any of that?
Doesn't stop it from being a horrifying mindfuck, though. I want this as a poster.

#2 : Harold

This is one of the few times where the art directly connects to the story, and makes the story god damn frightening because of it.
In short: Two farmers are bored, so they make a scarecrow, name it Harold, and abuse it. Harold comes alive, scares them off. One of the farmers goes back because they forgot some important stool that is apparently very expensive, the other farmer comes back to look for him only to find that Harold skinned him alive. You know, in a kid's story.
And finally, the scariest image from the books...

#1 : The Dream

This is, without a doubt, the scariest image from my childhood. I sued to be afraid that she was outside the curtain when I was showering, and would peek in when I had my eyes closed, or that if I opened the curtain I'd be face to face with her. Seriously, that fucking face.
Think it couldn't get worse? Click the picture.

Sadly, for the book's upcoming anniversary, it's getting all new replacement illustrations from someone else. This honestly really pisses me off, as Gammell's art was easily the most important thing in these books. Not to say Alvin Schwartz did that bad of a job, but Gammell's art is what people remember, and it's just... amazingly horrifying.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hatchet I & II

I needed to watch another slasher film that would leave a less awful taste in my mouth after Halloween's remakes, so here we go!

Hatchet starts off as any movie should. With Freddy Kreuger as a harpoon wielding redneck hunting for gators with his son before they both get killed in an over the top gorey fashion.
You see, Hatchet is kind of like the comedy equivalent to Rob Zombie's Halloween. Sure it's over the top, but it's portrayed in an exaggerated and completely unrealistic way, and in a tongue-in-cheek comedic way reminscent of Feast.
The film quickly cuts to a credit sequence made up entirely of bare breasts and Marilyn Manson. That's such an odd sentence. Basically, it's Mardi Gras, and nothing says Mardi Gras like a song about fans not giving a shit about the lyrics or meaning of a song, only happy that they get a song to sing along to and bob their head with. ...actually, that really works well with the theme of this movie. Hatchet is pretty much a huge, exaggerated caricature of modern slasher films that also appeals to the same people that really love modern slasher films.
We get our cast, which is still largely a bunch of slasher film stereotypes. We've got The Normal Guy who is our hero, played by that nerdy guy from Avatar and Dodgeball. He's got Black Friend, they've got a Stoner Friend that we quickly lose. There's Two Sluts, The Asshole, we've got two Old People that I swear were in Office Space.
The film's also full of cameos. I mean within the first ten minutes we get both Robert Englund and Tony Todd, it's like Urban Legends all over again. Maybe I should do the UL movies next...
Englund and Todd are two actors I wish I could see more of in actually good movies. Same goes for Dourif and McDowell back from the Halloween films. I mean, I heard McDowell's in the new Silent Hill film (before you ask, I thought the film was alright as a special effects film, subpar in every other respect) but that doesn't really say anything positive about the new movie. I mean on the plus side, he's in it, so I'll like his scenes. On the negative, he's in it, and he's almost never in anything that doesn't suck.
In the first 15 minutes we already get two major horror cameos, plenty of gore, at least 25 pairs of breasts, vomiting, and girl-on-girl kissing. I think this is the kind of movie Rob Zombie would do if he was put on meds, and wasn't trying to be the grindhouse answer to Quentin Tarantino.
The plot's pretty simple: Two dimensional 20-somethings (and two old people) go on a haunted tour and hear the legend of something that turns out to not be a legend, and kills them one by one. Of course, this isn't the kind of movie you watch for plot.
I do have something of a complaint already: They do kinda hit you over the head with the fact that it's a parody film early on. I guess I can get why, it's often hard to tell if a bad movie is genuinely bad or if it's a parody of bad films. Doesn't help that many directors claim that their film was a parody only -after- it bombs.
At one point I even considered that maybe Rob Zombie's Halloween films were just a parody, but I kinda doubt that. The few comedic moments were the typical "rednecks saying offensive things and dying" bits and various references (and the Weird Al Cameo), that and the fact that all of Rob Zombie's movies are exactly the same fucking way.
Also, unlike Halloween, I've already laughed several times watching this. The old couple (especially the Jumping to Conclusions guy from Office Space) and the tour leader just steal this movie.
Sometimes I think the horror genre is still a bit sexist and racist. I mean most horror films depend at least on the former. We always need the random tit shots, we still see a lot of bimbos and sluts... When we do have a female protagonist these days they tend to be either completely unlikable (Drag Me To Hell comes to mind), or at best we get a Whedonesque "sexy scrawny chick kicks the ass of some big hulking masculine thing" like in the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (or we get the Resident Evil series, which has less to do with the video games and more to do with Milla Jovovich acting like Neo). We need a new Ripley. Ripley was badass, likable, and looked like she could make you her bitch. I'd recommend this new Ripley-type character be played by Michelle Rodriguez, just because she's like fucking Vasquez from Aliens defictionalized. I'd also honestly love to see people turn away from the need for constant sex appeal. Hell, I remember seeing a horror movie poster, maybe a reader could point me towards it, a couple years back that was basically "Here's a chick's pantied ass, also she's looking into an evil mirror."
Sorry that I went off on that tangent, but this movie does -constantly- show off bare breasts, to the degree that it's irritating.
Also I want to address a common complaint about a certain horror trope. I hear people complain all the time that it's hard to find that many places where you don't have cellphone coverage, and how dumb it is that in horror films nobody ever has bars when they need them. I'm in the Bay Area of CA, and I use AT&t. I have to either walk outside for a bit, or go to one small corner of this house to make a call. Cellphone coverage is still pretty awful depending on where you are (even in some major cities. AT&T's about as useful as a walkie talkie in most of CA), despite what the maps in their commercials would make you think.
Moving along...
The backstory for the big killer of the movie is hilarious, and features Kane Hodder. If that name doesn't sound familiar to you, he's easily the biggest name in terms of horror movie stuntmen. He's also easily the best Jason actor, and a really awesome guy if you ever get the chance to meet him.
This movie almost makes me think of some sort of superviolent Scooby Doo film. It's hilarious, clichefilled, and uses several gags that Scooby uses. I pray to god the Harlem Globetrotters pop up in the sequel. Man now I'm craving the Harlem Globetrotters episodes of Scooby.
Seriously. The nerdy Avatar guy is Shaggy, token black guy is Scooby (he even clings to a tree branch in fear and rants about how scared he is and they have to talk him down), the badass chick with a gun is like if Freddy and Daphne merged into one.
The death scenes in this movie are hilarious. They're all over the top, unrealistic, and just funny as hell looking. One person gets their jaw pulled all the way back so that the back of their head is behind them, and they have an unnaturally long tongue swinging up above them. It's all very cartoonish, but very well done. It's the kind of thing Tom Savini would do, and that's easily the highest compliment I can give horror film gore effects, as Savini is the -king- of gore.
The film's ending is marvelous, and completely takes you off guard. I love it.
Altogether, this is a fantastic horror-comedy and I'd pretty highly recommend it.

Now for Hatchet II!

...which takes place immediately after 1 apparently!
Right of the bat this film is just as hilarious as the first film, if not moreso. I laughed my ass off at the scene where someone goes through the footage Shapiro shot with his camcorder.
We get some obvious cliche thrown in where the lead female and sole survivor of the first film has a meaningful name. You know that whenever someone pauses after someone else reveals their name, that it means they're the Chosen One or something. It's kinda irritating, and although they always wait until later to reveal it, it's almost always obvious what the reveal is going to be.
Anyway, she goes to talk to Tony Todd from the first film to find out this big family secret involving her dad and Victor Crowley, and I brace for cliches. Instead, I get some more hilarity, and an Evil Dead homage. Thanks, movie.
Kane Hodder has a gigantic neck. I just needed to get that out. It's more like his head is directly connected to his body, just stretched upwards. Also during all of this we get one of the most hilarious stock screams ever. That one that's like "Uhwaaah, uhwaaah, waaaah!" It's like my third favorite stock scream, after Howie Long scream and Wilhelm scream.
The female lead from the first film is kind of irritating here. She slips in and out of a thick southern accent that keeps alternating between various southern accents, also for some reason she's stuck in this sort of quizzical expression with one eyebrow perpetually raised. One could argue this is caused by the small cut on her face, but it just looks odd. Like she's constantly questioning everything.
By the 35 minute mark we get our plot: Rev. Zombie (Tony Todd) offers a reward of $500 to go out and retrieve his boat and kill Victor Crowley, while at the same time the lead woman from the last film has to uncover more about Victor Crowley because... because. Much like the first film, it's more or less an excuse plot to get a bunch of comedic characters out in harm's way for some creative deaths. This time we've got a bunch of rednecks and biker types though. Also Lloyd Kaufman's got a quick cameo. Yeah. Lloyd fucking Kaufman, of Troma. The man behind Toxic Avenger, Nuke 'Em High, etc. We also get a quick reference to Leslie Vernon and Jason Voorhees, god I love this movie already. This feels like a bunch of b-grade horror geeks just got together and made a tribute to slasher films, and it's just great.
Continuing the Scooby trend of the first film, the large mob ends up splitting into pairs, to make it easier for Victor to kill them. This is actually lampshaded, complete with a character outright comparing it to Scooby Doo.
The film's a bit slower with its kills than the first film. It's 53 minutes into it and so far only one death. ...and boy the second I point this out, Crowley goes on his rampage. ...Wilhelm scream! Oh god. We're 2/3 away from the holy trinity of stock screams.
The deaths in this film are even more insane and over the top than before, all done in an exaggeratedly cartoonish manner. We get axe-to-the-vagina people getting chainsawed in the crotch until their balls drop off, one guy gets curb stomped... it's just hilarious.
The film's pretty damn good too. It's not quite as awesome as the first to me, as it's a bit too wacky at times, but it's still quite hilarious and a must-watch to anyone that liked the first film.

There's a third film in planning right now, I'm curious how it'll work out. We'll see in 2012!