Monday, January 31, 2011

The Hoth Effect

Worcester, Massachusetts.  We currently have 56 inches of snow and now they're telling me that there will be another 18 inches over the next few days.  So....74 inches of snow.  That's about 6 feet of snow.  What the friggin friggity frack?  I mean HOLY HOTH HELL! 
My snow speeder is in the shop and I really don't wanna have to drive my AT-AT to work tomorrow.  Plus is Hoth Wampa season.  FML.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Death, Errands and a Super Computer

Many apologies to anyone who was waiting for Neon Maniac's Friday Midnite Madness.....I was not up at my usual wee hours of the morning, due to the fact that I was sadly attending a dear friends funeral.  Saturday did not yeild much of a chance for me to sit down and write and article just as today flew by in the blink of an eye.  HOWEVER, I am happy to announce that it will now be a bit easier for the Ol' Wizard to write his articles during the week, because he just picked himself up a shiny new laptop.  YAY!  I feel like Gus Gorman in Superman III when Ross Webster agrees to build his supercomputer in exchange for tricking the oil tankers to hang out in the middle of the ocean.......all except that one li'l boat who would go where they were supposed to and thus suffered the consequences of Evil Superman......but I digress.  Yes friends, it will now be much easier for me to bring you articles on all things Wizard of Vestron-y. 

Speaking of Superman III, you can look forward to an article soon dedicated to the unsung female villians of filmland, including Vera Webster (who then becomes a robo-cyborg-thing thanks to Gus's Supercomputer.  So stay put kids and The Wizard will be back up to his old tricks by tomorrow! 

So till then, enjoy this video which I think will terrify you and make you laugh all in a period of three minutes.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Death is a Smiley Face

Evil Otto.  Just saying the name gives me shivers.  I'm haunted by this bastard.  I can't see a smiley face of any kind without breaking out in a cold sweat.  Todays kids may see this and or course will think of The Comedian from Watchmen.  Well, lemme tell ya, there was a time when this little guy was more than just the calling card of a mentally ill "super hero". 

Evil Otto first appeared in the arcade game Berzerk (1980), which was then ported to many other gaming systems including the Atari 2600.  Players controlled "The Humanoid" who had to navigate endless mazes filled with deadly robots armed with lasers.  Everything is better with lasers, don't you think?  Anywhoo....Evil Otto here would appear out of no where, shouting "Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert!"  and would then proceed to chase after you.  This guy could move through walls, he had absolutely no regard for his minions, because he'd destroy any standing in his way just so he could get to you!  Evil worse, Otto was completely unstoppable.  He was a virtual killing machine that could not be reasoned with and could not be destroyed.  Like an evil bouncing yellow smiley energizer bunny from hell.

Now you may be asking " it was The Smiley what?"  Well, beyond being listed as #78 in IGN's list of the Top 100 Videogame Villians as well as #1 in's 10 Most Terrifying Video Game Enemies of All Time, Evil Otto has the distinction of being in the first video game to be directly related to not one, but TWO deaths!  In January of 1981, Jeff Dailey (age 19) died of a heart attack after acheiving a score of 16,660 points in Berzerk.  Hold on...can we look at that score again? 

16,660  Points

No, I'm not making that number up.  That is the score that Jeff got before he died.  Okay, so quite possibly Evil Otto is Satan.  Victim #2 died in October 1982.  Peter Burkowski (age 18) also died of a heart attack after making the Berzerk Top Ten High Score List twice in 15 minutes.  Apparently Evil Otto don't like being messed with and if you REALLY piss him off he WILL kill you for real!   

Hey, you know what that made me think of?  Rememeber an anthology movie from the 80's called Nightmares?

The segment I'm talking about was called The Bishop of Battle and starred a young Emilio Estevez.
Take a look at these screen shots and tell me if anything looks kinda familiar:

Hhhhhmmm.....looks a little bit like our ol' pal Otto, don't it?  If you are unfamiliar with the film, The Bishop of Battle is about a teen video game whiz (Estevez) who is trying to beat the video game of the same name.  The game has thirteen levels, but no one can seem to get past the twelfth (que 80's spooky music).  Well, after getting kicked out of the arcade for causing a ruckus and getting into a fight with his parents, he does what anyone would do.  Goes back after hours, breaks into the arcade and fires up The Bishop.  Well, he manages to get to the thirteenth level and the game comes to life.  Literally.  Video game enemies come out of the machine and the arcade itself becomes the final stage.  Cool, huh?  I wonder if the filmmakers had heard about the Berzerk deaths and decided to play upon that.

Okay, so originally this was gonna be just a quick piece on one of my favorite video games and how it fits into the horror lexicon and it's turned into one of those stories that you tell while you're in the pub with some friends on a dark and stormy night....with the lightning crashing and the rain pounding on the windows.....folks clinging to their beer with both hands and jumping when you tell them poor Jeff's final score.  It feels like Mr. Jeff Dailey's story should end with something like "....and when they found his body, Stairway to Heaven was playing on the radio...."

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this disturbing little article off the beaten path.  Let this article be a warning...if you are going to play Berzerk and you are going for high score, please for the love of God, think twice.  Evil Otto is watching.......with a big ol' grin on his face.

I will leave you with a video demonstrating the creep robot voice synthesis of the arcade version of the game.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top Ten Goofy Lookin' Aliens

Mondays.  The baine of my existence.  So what better way to end a long Monday than to compile a list of some of the goofiest damn extraterrestrials to grace the celluloid format!  I know, I need to thank me.....the good Wizard loves you and wants you to have these kind of nice things.

But lets just jump right into this list and get this party rolling

In no particular order:

#10)  Poop Head - Bad Channels

This guy's head pretty much looks like a pile of crap with a porthole in it.  This dude, along with a little robot guy with a visible brain in his glass dome head take over a radio station in a small podunk town.  Using radio frequencies they target young women, cause them to hallucinate that a rock band is playing near them and then as they prance around as if in the band's music video they're zapped into a tiny glass bottle at the radio station.  Say what?  Yeah.  I know.  It's awesome.  After getting sprayed with some Lysol, Sir Poop Head here turns into a long that looks like a reject from Fraggle Rock.  If you like cheesy ass aliens, seek out Bad Channels!

#9)  The Thing In The Basement - Fright Show

The Thing in the Basement was the final short in the anthology movie called Fright Show (aka Cinemagic).  This guy crash lands on earth....right through a guys house and into his basement.  Having been disturbed from thier poker game due to the ruckus, the guys decide to go investigate.  Being a rather impulse fellow, The Thing blasts him with some animated yellow energy balls.  Turns out he's not such a bad guy after all though, because he feels bad for killing thier friend and joins in thier poker game.

#8)  TAV - Attack From Mars

I really didn't know what else to call this guy.  He looks like a mobile vagina with appendages.  He stalks the patrons on a small hick town movie theater while they watch a sci-fi movie called Space Patrol.  While the movie with-in the movie is going on, TAV munches on the theater staff.  Conveniently for the folks at the theater, he doesn't eat the projectionist until after the movie has ended....then bursts into the theater itself.  Now this is why I call him TAV.  It stands for Tasty Alien Vagina.  Why?  Because a rather large woman with a very healthy appetite eats it.  Yep.  You read that right.

#7)   The Evil Overlord  -  Howard The Duck

Oh boy.  Where do I start with this guy.  Okay so, first he possess Dr Jennings (Jeffery Jones...who does a good job of being creepy and corny at the same easy feat, I assure you!)  And as you watch the possessed Dr Jennings grow in power, you start to think to yourself "Whoa!  Evil Overlord must be a pretty wicked badass!"  Nope.  He's not.  He looks like the love child of a lobster and a potato.  I dunno. When we finally get a look at this goober, it is definitely NOT what we were expecting.  Still a cool movie.....just a goofy friggin alien Evil Overlord!

#6)  Claymore and Harryhausen  -  Laserblast

So these two geniuses (whom I named myself) accidently leave a high powered alien laser weapon in the desert after vaporizing some alien/human hybrid that was running around the desert blowing shit up.  Another kid, rummaging around in the desert finds said weapon, becomes the same kinda green faced weirdo and blows more shit up.  These two make a galactic U-turn and zap him too.  These guys get points for being stop motion animated....but they're still insanely goofy lookin.  I mean seriously....they're like bipedal turtles with no shells and golden gloves and boots.  Some how I can't help that feel that Kevin Eastman saw these guys when he was doodling and thus the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were born.*

*Of course I know this wasn't the case.....simply a fanciful daydreem.

#5)   The Nightbeast  -  Nightbeast

Is it me or does this dude kinda look like a hair-less Rawhead Rex on steriods?  And by "on steroids"  I don't mean like pumped up and badass...I mean more like brainless and wetting the bed.....with possible a high voice.  Do you think that perhaps his mouth ever dries out because it's perpetually open?  I mean seriously....he's got to get some serious cotton mouth!  Can you imagine accidentally biting your lip or the inside of your cheek with those friggin chompers?  Well, now that I think about, that would explain why he never closes his mouth.  I don't think he blinks either. Oh yeah, and he runs around in a silver jogging suit........

#4)   Alien Bigfoot  -  The Alien Factor

An extreterrestrial-inside-out-bigfoot-thing.  Yep.  And he's one of the good guys!  I like to believe that this is what the people of Jupiter's Seventh Moon, Ganymede look like.  It's farther away from the sun, and usually hidden in the shadows of the 62 other moons (not to mention Jupiter itself), which explains the glowing eyes.  And the gravity is all messed up being around so many other moons, which turned it's denizens inside out.  So you see, it really was a no brainer figuring out where this mutha-trucker was from.  Although looking at the hair, he could be confused with Gene Simmons as a severe burn victim.......

#3)  Tiny  - The Day Time Ended

This goofy bastard appears after a flying vacuum cleaner starts attacking a family at a secluded desert home.  Between the his mostly toothless mouth, and his vacant stare, you can't help but think that he rode the short bus on the way to alien monster school.  He probably had his lunch money stolen and got beaten up on the playground on a fairly regular basis.  In high school, he never did his homework because he was too busy with his Dungeons and Dragons group.  After graduation, the only job he was qualified for was Z films.  Such a shame.....perhaps if there were a Sylvan Learning Center on his planet he could have grown up to be in a much more expensive movie and could have gotten some help with his looks.   Poor Tiny.

#2)    Xenobia  -  Dr. Alien

Xenobia here came to Earth with her assistant Drax looking for a cure to her planets problem with impotent males.  Well, I'll tell you what....if the chicks on Earth had a giant bulbous blue head and reptilian eyes, I would probably be having problems having Commander Winkie stand at attention as well.  Of course then again, if that was what they looked like, I'd probably be used to it.  Maybe she's actually really hot.  Hhhhmmmm....the silver space suit definitely isn't helping. 

#1)  La Carcagne -  The Giant Claw

This has got to be, hands down one of the goofiest looking creatures ever to grace the silver screen.  When the film starts, we're told of various UFO sightings....something "the size of a battleship!".  Well as it turns out, the UFO turns out to be a Giant Antimatter Space Buzzard from another galaxy. HOLY CRAP!  This sounds totally insane, I know.  Visions of Hollywood summertime blockbuster movies fill your head.  There's a pretty big build-up.....until finally we see.......this.  What the holy hell is this?  It's a muppet on a rampage!  It's like Jim Henson's version of The Brood....only with Giant Antimatter Space Buzzards from another galaxy.  I just like the way that sounds.....Giant Antimatter Space Buzzard from another galaxy.  I think I just convinced myself that this movie needs to be remade......Rob Zombie directing, with a script by Guillermo Del Torro and starring Angela Bettis and Danny Trejo.   I'd watch that!

So there ya go....some truly goofy aliens for your enjoyment!  I should note that just because thier goofy, doesn't mean that I don't love 'em, cause I do!  You should seek out each and every movie on this list!  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Attack of the Video Clips!!!!!

Man, I miss the TV of my youth.  It was so much more colorful.  Gone are the days of such shows as TNT's MonsterVision, USA Up All Night, Night Flight, Commander USA and USA's Saturday Nightmares.

I can remember stay up many a late night on Friday and Saturday nights to get my fix of the late night lunacy that these shows provided.  Everything from straight horror films to Troma flicks to some truly great TV shows!  Enjoy these clips from some of my favorites!

Ad from TV Guide
Ah yes, Shadow Theater!  This was an extremely short lived show on USA.  Primarily a film clip/interview show, it was hosted by the legendary Robert Englund.  It ran on the USA Network in the early 90's.  The show was huge for me when I was knee high to a cactus.  Back in the early 90's is when I first discovered Fangoria Magazine and I really fell into lust with horror movies.  This was my first taste of actually watching parts of the movies that I'd started reading about. 

USA Up All Night, hosted by Gilbert Godfried and *drool* Rhonda Shear.  If I remember correctly, Up All Night used to be on Fridays AND Saturdays....Rhonda hosted on Fridays and Gilbert on Saturdays.  Caroline Schlitt host the Friday night show originally ....but I wasn't watching back then.  I can remember many a late night watching flicks such as The Toxic Avenger, Vice Academy and Meatballs.  They showed everything from crazy Troma flicks such as A Nympoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell to classic comedy like Young Frankenstein and everything in between.  Horror, Sci-Fi, Explotation, Sexplotation, Cult, Comedy it was all in there!  Of course being a network station all the good stuff was edited out....but once in a while someone would slip up and a boob would go unscrambled or an F-bomb would go un-bleeped.  Those of you who remember this show will remember USA's "scrambling" of naughty bits.....basically pixilating the "offending" part of the picture.  Sometimes you could almost make out a nipple!  Sure that doesn't sound like much in this day and age of internet porn, but for a 12 year who's only access to naked women was National Geographic, it was pretty awesome!

Commander USA's Groovy Movies
From his secret HQ under a shopping mall, Commander USA would usually show a double feature on Saturday afternoons.  Usually of the B- Z Grade variety of Sci-Fi and Horror films.  I'm gonna be honest with ya on this one.....of all the shows I'm talking about, I remember this one only vaguely.  However, I did find segments from his one and only Halloween Special, so you can go ahead and enjoy the heck out of those!

Creature Double Feature!  The ONLY place to get your monster movie fix on Sunday afternoons!  CDF stopped running when I was quite young, but I still have quite vivid memories of sitting in front of the TV and watching Godzilla battle it out with Megalon.  As a matter of fact, I can remember that I loved that movie so much that my parents bought if for me on VHS for Christmas.  The VHS art was absolutely awesome.  Godzill and Megalon fighting on what appears to be the Twin Towers.  Don't believe me?  Here check it out!  See!  I told ya so!

USA Saturday Nightmares was on Saturday nights starting at 8p.m.  It would usually consist of a movie followed by an episode of The Hitchhiker, Alfred Hitchcock Presents or Ray Bradbury Theater.  The intro segment was a cool computer animated tour through a house with "paintings" that either showed movie monsters or had a quick clip from a movie.  Most of the movies shown were from the same lot of films as Commander USA pretty much.  I'll talke more about The Hitchhiker and Ray Bradbury Theater at another time...both those shows are so awesome they warrent thier own articles!  The announcer is awesome on this one too!

Okay you know what....this is going to warrent it's very own article.   Yes, it's THAT awesome.  So consider the above intro video a teaser for an upcoming article!    Best. Show. Ever. Period.

Night Flight.....this was a show that could have only existed in the 80's.  Four hours of pure madness.  Movies, shorts, music videos and everything in between.  I think this is going to warrent it's own article as well.  There's just too much awesomeness to try and cram into an article already overflowing with video goodness!  Trust me, it'll be worth it's weight in Pizza Rolls!


I can think of no better way to send you off than with this clip from 1986's Neon Maniacs.  One of the greatest cheezy horror movies ever made (and the namesake of my new weekly Friday Night article!)  The battle of the bands segment of the movie is 100% pure 80's filtered onto celluloid and perfectly preserved for future generations to marvel.  The song is titled Baby Lied by Rick Bowles.  Enjoy. 

Neon Maniac's Friday Midnite Madness

Hey Ho!  It's Friday Night!  Time for the first ever Friday Midnite Madness!!!!  This is just a little something extra from your old pal The Wizard!  Every Friday night you can expect to find some new random bits of madness.  Who knows what will turn up.  It wouldn't be madness if there was a rhyme or reason to it, now would it?

Tonight, let's peer in the window of a little cabin out on beautiful Camp Crystal Lake for

                         Jason's Pajama Pillow Fight!

Oh yeah baby!  It don't get much better than Mr. Vorhees holding Mickey Mouse hostage.  Let's just sit here a moment and take it all in, shall we?  Shear awesomeness.  I just happened to find this little gem while on a Bing image search for Jason Vorhees and hit pay dirt!  I mean, holy crap!  Who would have thought that there would have been a photo out there that PERFECTLY fit my topic tonight.  By the way, big Thank You to my lovely wife for the absolutely brilliant idea to have Jason host a Pajama Pillow Fight! 

So what's this all about then?   Well, Slasher Movies involving slumber parties, of course!  Ah yes....nubile young flesh parading around, so painfully unaware that come morning, their parents will come home to find their daughter's entrails in a bowl of Cheetos.  Tasty! 

Naturally we've gotta start with the classics!  The Slumber Party Massacre Trilogy!  The first film was released in 1982.  Ah....1982...what a great year for films!  Seriously!  E.T., Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Creepshow, Porkies and Blade Runner to name just a few!  Anywhoo,  this one is about a girl who invites some friends over for a Slumber party.  She invites the new girl, who lives across the street, but there is friction between here and the other girls so she opts to stay home with her little sister.  Anywhoo....don'tcha know that a serial killer with a serious fetish for power tools has escaped and has his sights set on the party.   

In Part II, the younger sister of the "New Girl" from the first
movie is all grown up and now has an all female rock band.  She has nightmares about the events of the first film and of her sister, who is warning her that the killer is coming back for her.  So, naturally she does what anyone would do.  She goes away for the weekend with her band and some boys for a weekend of rock music and debauchery.  Turns out the dreams she was having about Big Sis start to come true and teens start to disappear and turn up dead.

Part III.....has absolutely nothing to do with the first two films.  This really could almost be looked at as a remake of the first.  A girls parents are going to be selling their house and are off looking at another one, leaving her home alone.  Hhhmmm...what's a girl to do?  How 'bout call over your girlfriends for a slumber party!  SHYEAH!  So as the teens (naturally played by 30 year old actresses!) frolic about the house, a killer has managed to drag a large drill inside and starts to dispatch them with his big ol' phallic drill.

I should note that there is another movie that some consider to be a part of the series.  2003's Cheerleader Massacre was originally written as Slumber Party Massacre IV.  This time around some cheerleaders decide to rent a cabin out in the woods.  Gee where have I heard this one before?  I digress.  Shock! Horror!  A whole new Massacre starts anew.  Personally I don't count this one in the series.  It doesn't feel anything like the others and came about almost a decade after the third one. This is pretty much just a case of trying to cash in on a brand name.  There is a sequel to this film, but I have not seen it.  Cheerleader Massacre II, from what I've gathered has to do with some girls being picked off in the desert.  There's not a whole lot of info on the film that I've found....but I'm sure I'll track it down sooner or later.  I'll probably be sorry I did...but hey, someone's gotta check this stuff out!  So if Cheerleader Massacre was to be Slumber Party Massacre Part IV, then I suppose that Cheerleader Massacre Part II could be counted as Slumber Party Massacre Part V.  But then that doesn't really make sense, does it?  A slumber party out in the desert isn't a slumber party.  That's camping.  It's totally different. 

The Last Slumber Party is a low budget flick from the late 80's.  Shot for about the price of a Big Mac, this little slice of celluloid hell is pretty much a hacked up rip off of Slumber Party Massacre.  The budget being what it was though, a drill was definitely not affordable so the killer gets a Fisher Price Scalpel.  He lurks about the house killing guys and gals.  Something that I couldn't quite understand was why the girls kept referring to the guys with derogatory gay slurs....yet they are constantly trying to seduce them and get laid.  Whatever.  I really don't recommend this to anyone unless you, like myself, are a true glutton for punishment and truly enjoy the worst that horror films have to offer. 

I was going to end that segment there....but I just have to get this out.  The title drives me nuts.  OF COURSE IT'S THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY!  Usually when a killer shows up and slaughters everyone, it pretty much kibosh's any chances of those folks having another party!  Even if someone manages to survive the carnage, do you really think that they would want to have or go to another one?  I'm not sure why this title bugs me....I'm sure there are FAR more stupid movie titles out there.....but just something about this one makes me want to tie myself to a chair and kick myself down the stairs.   There I said it and I feel better.  Movin' on!

Slumber Party Slaughterhouse is an "Interactive Movie" using trivia.  It involved a nerd who after a fatal laptop/bubble bath incident sells his soul to a demon to avenge his death against his former friends.  So basically every time it gets  to a scene where the guy is gonna kill one of his friends, you are asked a horror movie trivia question.  If you answer correctly, you're treated to a gory kill scene as the nerd wastes his former friend.  Answer wrong and you're sent to hell, unavenged.  Bummer. 

Well kiddies,   I hope that you've enjoyed this little soiree.  If you haven't seen any of the Slumber Party Massacre films, please do yourself a favor and check them out.  It's pure 80's goodness.  Okay...well the first one is.  Part II is okay, but an interesting side note in the series is that Parts II & III have significantly less gore and nudity.  Which makes absolutely no sense.  I mean come on.  Why would you have next to no gore and nudity in a film titled Slumber Party Massacre?  That should be wall to wall blood and boobs.  And Cheetos.  Gotta have the Cheetos.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movie Sequels: Roman Numerals vs. Natural Numbers

Being a fan of the classic slashers, sequels are no stranger to this cinephile.  Today I thought I'd voice my opinion and a few items pertaining to sequels.  In particular, their titles.  Let's talk about the most important part first.  The number itself.  Personally, I prefer when a sequel utilizes Roman Numbers in their title. 
Let's take a look here....let's create a movie title.

Would you rather watch:

Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy 4


Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy IV

See what I mean?  The Roman Numeral just looks cooler!  It adds a touch of class, doesn't it?  Not only that, but I think that it makes it somehow seem more of a continuation of the source story than perhaps just a film that was slapped together to cash in on the original film.  I mean, seriously.  Harry the Homicidal Bag Boy 4.  Great.  It's gonna be the same thing dressed slightly differently.  Surely it's interchangeable with parts 2 and 3.  Even if that IS the case, it at least makes it look a bit more respectable with a Roman Numeral!  Which brings me to my next point.  The word "Part" should always be used in genre sequels, in my opinion.  Here again, it suggests more to the viewer that this film is a continuation of a story already in progress.....not a flick that has NOTHING to do with the prior film(s), which was then billed as a sequel to cash in.  Again....perhaps this IS the case....but at least the title looks classier.  Let's go back to our Movie Title:

Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy IV


Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy Part IV

See that?  See what just one little word does?  It changes the whole context of the film in the mind of a potential viewer.  Harry the Homicidal Bag Boy IV......a step above just HTHBB4......but still.  Now, we've got PART IV!  Well, this surely is a continuation from Part III!  Remember how in Part III, Jenny and Steve were trapped in the back of the grocery store and cornered by Harry?  Then Steve was able to run Harry over with the floor buffer and then toss him into the trash compactor....but when the police got there...there was no crushed Harry in the compactor.......whoa.....he must have gotten out somehow before getting crushed! 
If it were just Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy IV.....well.....gee whiz...they made another Harry movie.  Hoo boy.  Nothing we haven't seen before.  Just Harry slashing up nubile teens in a grocery store.  Joy.  Again, this may indeed be the case, but at least try to sell it as something more, people!

This brings me to my final bit of insight into the world of movie sequel titles.  The sub or secondary title.  I think that it helps to add a little flavor to your title.  Especially if you're planning on franchising out your film.  This will make it easier for folks to discuss a particular film in the series as opposed to just using the number.  So let's go back to our movie title in progress:

Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy Part IV


Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy Part IV: 
 Cashier Bloodbath

WHOA!  Not THAT is a friggin movie title!  Look at that beast!  Can you honestly tell me that you wouldn't get in line to see this sucker? *  I mean seriously!  We've done some pretty awesome stuff with the title here to ensure that as many people as possible will want to see this bad monkey.  Now when folks are discussing the series that coversation won't be AS confusing. 

* I'm assuming of course that if you are reading this blog, then this type of film would be up your alley!


Chris "Did you ever see  Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy Part IV?"

Tony "Is that the one where Harry gets frozen in the walk in freezer and then they smash him to tiny pieces and ship him to the arctic?"

Chris "No, that was Part VIII......Part IV is the one where he stalks the cashiers on thier weekend party trip"

Tony "I thought that was Part V"

Chris "No, Part V was the one that had the guy pretending to be Harry.....and it turns out to be the bread delivery guy"

NOW.....if Chris had said Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy Part IV: Cashier Bloodbath, Tony would have had a much better chance of of remembering the particular film to which Chris was referring.  He would have also remembered that  Part VIII:  Snowcone Slayer was the frosty installment in question and that Part V:  Deadly Delivery was the one invovling the imposter.

We've come a long way.....let's take a look at what we started with and what we've ended up with:

Harry The Homicidal Bag Boy 4


Harry The Homicidal Bag Bay Part IV:  
Cashier Bloodbath

With just a few words, we've transformed a generic slasher rip-off into an epic sounding gore-fest of boobs, blood and produce!  So there you have it....irrefutable proof that Roman Numerals, Secondary Titles and the word Part make movie sequel titles 1,476 times cooler!

Now, I would like to take a moment to bitch and moan about something that I absolutely HATE.
The use of Natrual Numbers to replace a letter in a movie's title.  For instance.   Se7en.  Great movie.  I HATE the way the title is written.  5ive Girls is another offender.  Ugh.  Please people, this isn't clever, it's not cool....and quite frankly, it's highly annoying.  There have been a few instances where I've found that it was actually okay to do this....and guess what?  The titles had ROMAN NUMERALS in them!
The best of these being the fourth Phantasm film......Phantasm Oblivion.   Now the clever thing in here is that they actually incorporated a Roman Numeral right into the title.  Check this out:

See that?  Now THAT'S clever!  I will even forgive the fact that the word Part was not used simply based on the fact that this is one of the greatest movie titles ever.  Seriously.  It accomplishes everything it should and manages to do it in two simple words.  It's like the Christopher Walken of movie titles.  It's short.  It's to the point.  You're not going to question it.  BOOM.  It's Phantasm IV.  OblIVion.  Period.  End of story.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fangoria's 300th Issue!

This month marks a pretty amazing landmark for horrorphiles.  This month marks Fango's 300th issue! 

A brief history of Fango's humble beginnings......

Fango started it's life as a fantasy magazine.  Originally conceived to be the "fantasy sister" to Starlog magazine.  It was originally to be called Fantastica, it was changed after Fantastic Films brought suit on an "unfair trade" basis. stating that consumers would be confused by the two magazine titles.  Thus it was rebranded Fangoria.  The first six issues were considered to be failures, loosing the publisher about $20,000 per issue! That's not a small chunk of change!  However, there was a great response to an article in issue #1 about Tom Savini's Special FX work on Dawn of the Dead.  Also, with the publisher sure that failure was imminent, they allowed editor Robert "Uncle Bob" Martin to reshape the magizines focus in a direct that he belived would work......which was focusing on horror.  Issue #7's cover featured Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, with ol' Jack's face glaring at us!

This is where Fango really started to take off!  Thank God Uncle Bob listened to the fans who wrote in tellin' him what they wanted!  My first issue of Fango was #113, which sported the Alien3 cover.  It was love at first sight!  I'll never forget browsing through that issue for the first time.  Being a video game geek as well, I went nuts over the article Horror In Gaming.  As a matter of fact, a recent conversation with my brother in law spurred me to break out my back issue collection and re-read that article.  Subsequently, I've been trying to track down many of the games mentioned in that article.  But that will be a blog for another time!   

Since that fate ful day in June, 1992 I've been hooked on this magazine.  Ninteen years and 187 issues later, I still anxiously await each new issue.  Especially now that the reigns have been shifted again, this time to one Chris Alexander.  The Schizoid Cinephile himself....the man who faced Dr. Uwe Boll in a boxing match and lived to tell about it!  See before Chris took over the magazine was feeling a bit strained....and was getting perhaps a bit wonky.  Not that wonky is a bad thing....some of my favorite movies are wonky........Killers From Space, anyone?  I digress.  After Mr. Alexander took over, he started to breath new life into the mag.  He brought in some new ideas that not only made the magazine seem fresh and new yet also brought a warm nostalgia back to the magazine.  All your favorites are still there....Monster Invasion, Dr. Cyclops, Nightmare Library.....but there are also some new columns in "The Gravy".  The Trash Compactor, Sound Shock and The Monster of the Month are all excellent new additions that remind my why I fell in love with the magazine in the first place!  

What can you expect from issue #300?  It is crammed from cover to cover with the 300 greatest horror films composed by the Fango staff as well as some guest writers from the genre world.  I'm only about halfway through the mag (been a bit busy lately) but I can tell you that ever title listed is indeed a fantastic movie.  It's not meant to be a list of definitive all time great movies....but rather a list of the movies that these folks hold near and dear to thier hearts.  I respect that.    That is why I continue to love Fangoria and I'll be eargerly awaiting the next 300 issues!


The Wizard Returns!

Hey Gang!  I'm back at long last.....I don't know if anyone even stops by here anymore, but I'm returning to my little slice of the blogosphere.  So should anyone pop by, send out the word, The Wizard has returned and shall be posting on a regular basis!  Huzzah!