Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tru Blood beverage: This had better mix with liquor

So we just got a bottle of Tru Blood in the mail from the delicious folks at HBO ... just in time for Unemployed Homosexual Cocktail Hour (Part 1 of 7, daily)!

I'm intrigued by the flavor (blood orange), a bit disturbed by the nutritional content (mammamiadassalotta niacin and B12 ... is real blood high in these, I wonder?) and convinced that even if it tastes more like actual blood than fruit, it will still be more appetizing than Red Bull.

We're going to crack open the bottle and taste it on our next Blood Work! True Blood vlog, so be sure to check back next Tuesday to find out what O-Positive tastes like.

And if you can't wait for our review to pre-order your own (the drink ships out in early September), head on over to the Tru Beverage website and order up a 12-pack.

Like this one!
Or that one!

Or this one!
Or that one!
Note: You cannot actually order Ryan Reynolds, gun cases, or reality star douchebags from the Tru Blood site. Did I mention that I'm already wasted? Wheee!

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Review: "Orphan" is the pick of the litter

Ladies and germs, the shark movie of the summer has arrived.

Let me back up a skoodge: A decade ago (Really?! Put a fork in me!) a bona fide cinematic gem swam into theaters almost entirely under the SONAR. That gem was Deep Blue Sea, and it was the sleeper hit of the summer thanks to the combined forces of smarts, Thomas Jane in swimming trunks, one of the best surprise kills in movie history, and the most important point of all: No one outside of the production staff ever had the slightest inkling that a movie about intelligent sharks who kill people indoors could be anything other than a steaming heap of direct-to-video crapola.

Orphan, the bisected corpse of Samuel L. Jackson welcomes you and all your twisty, nervy, OMG-I-can't-believe-they-fucking-just-did-that gorgeousness to the fold. And fans of solid, out-of-left-field genre entertainment, rejoice: This summer's shark movie may very well be the most fun you'll have being suckerpunched by a tween all year. Is it trash? Sure. But it's trash that knows exactly what it's doing, which is more than I can say for some movies with ten times its budget and none of its balls.

"Pounder? I don't even know 'er!"

A wonderfully tense wolf-in-sheep's-clothing mystery about a distraught couple who adopt a creepy talking Russian doll after losing their own unborn child, Orphan starts off with a bang - or, rather, a splat - in the form of the most disturbing childbirth nightmare since The Fly 2. Only this time, instead of Daphne Zuniga it's The Depahhted's Vera Farmiga in the stirrups. So it's ... you know, watchable.

We quickly learn the basics: Kate (Farmiga, which sounds more and more like a gourmet cheese the more I have to say it) and John Coleman (adorable bear-in-progress Peter Sarsgaard) have two children, pre-teen Daniel and wee Max, an impossibly adorable little girl who is also deaf and mute. (Not that that's going to end up being important or anything.)

Turns out Kate miscarried the couple's third child, Jessica, and also had some issues with the bottle and almost killed Max by accident, or something. And there's a pond. I don't know, it gets a little Don't Look Now (for more reasons than I'll get into) but it's all good because before you know it, the Colemans are off shopping for a new kid, and for some ungodly reason settle on Esther, a Russian 9-year-old who sits in a room painting all day and singing songs from Beaches to herself.

"I said no more chocolate pudding!!!!"

Esther is played by 12-year-old Isabelle Furhman, a DC native who does a killer job with both the role and the accent, which would have tripped up actors three times her age. I can't get into too many details without spoiling the Big Twist, but I give this little chicklet mad props for pulling off a virtually unplayable role very convincingly both before and after the character's big secret is revealed.

Anyway, back to what I can talk about: Kate starts to think that There's Something Wrong With Esther but her hubby doesn't see it, and of course it starts to tear the family apart, which is exactly what Esther wants. Why does she want it? Well, figuring that out is part of the fun. And how far will she go to get what she wants? Farther than many filmmakers would dare, which is what makes the movie such a hoot to watch.

Again, without spoiling anything major, Orphan manages to squeeze in a host of evil-kid standbys (playground "accidents", treehouse mishaps, nasty drawrings) and then raises the bar by adding in some extremely intense and graphic murders. It's all in terribly bad taste, really. But you know what? It kind of works. And what's more, I'd already been accidentally spoiled on the Big Twist going in, so I knew what was going on from scene one and I STILL had a blast watching it all unfold.


And for that I credit Farmiga, Sarsgaard, and Furhman (extra credit for the always-glorious Margo Martindale, although she has almost nothing to do as the couple's therapist), who somehow make this tawdry, nasty little package actually believable. It just goes to show that if you get actual actors to play these roles, you can make what otherwise might have been a laugh-off trifle into a legitimately creepy, intense bit of fun.

Will you see every plot turn (and possibly even the Big Twist) coming? Sure you will - they're not re-inventing the bloody tricycle wheel here, and anyone who has seen The Omen, The Bad Seed, The Good Son or numerous other bad-kid movies will know exactly what's coming next. But the actors somehow make the sickening inertia of it all palpable and just real enough to work, without making it so believable that you'll be unduly concerned about the young actors involved (because be warned, there are LOTS of inappropriate moments for these kids).

Once the secret is out and the blood has dried, it's clear that in the end this wasn't really about Esther or her wacky neck and wrist ribbons, it was about what makes a marriage tick. And for balancing well-rendered melodrama with an impressively ballsy genre flick, Orphan is the pick of the litter.

(out of 5)

Alternate review title: "John and Kate Plus Hate"

For more horror movie reviews from a picky sissy, check out the Reviews repository.

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Video: "Troll 2": You don't piss on hospitality!

In discussing yesterday's post about the upcoming screening of Best Worst Movie, my pal Lee pointed out that some sick sunofabitch over at Hulu (my words, not his) had posted Troll 2, in its entirety, for your viewing pleasure. Yes, the uninitiated or the proudly masochistic can now enjoy the worst film ever made in the comfort of their own cubicles.

I'll embed the whole movie below, but here's just a taste of the chickenhawkish magic, in the form of the famous "underage hero pisses on his family's dinner" scene. The little scamp!

Update: Hulu's being a total bayotch about embeds, so you can access the clip directly here. And if that isn't enough for you, here's the whole movie. Don't blame me, blame Lee!!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Troll 2" documentary "Best Worst Movie" screening this Friday in Brooklyn!

Those of you who have been around a while likely know that there is a special place in my diseased husk of a heart for 1990's Troll 2, a film that I lovingly called "shit at 24 frames-per-second" in one of the first reviews I ever published on this here site.

Well the shit is finally hitting the fans (nyuk!) with the release of Best Worst Movie, a documentary that explores the insane fanbase of Troll 2 lovers/haters who have embraced the ill-advised (and even iller-executed) sequel as one of the worst movies of all time.

The film, which was directed by now-grown-up Michael Stephenson (who played the child lead in the film that memorably pissed on dinner and uttered the immortal line "They're eating my mother!"), is currently making the festival rounds and is apparently pretty damn adept at walking the line between hilarity and pathos as it catches up with the people in and behind Troll 2 and the fanbase that adores them for being so awesomely bad at what they did.

This Friday night in my nabe of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Rooftop Films is screening the doc on the lawn of the Automotive High School (which sounds oddly appropriate in and of itself) and both director Stephenson and George Hardy, who played the father in the film and is now a dentist, will reportedly be there for the screening (for more info, check out Rooftop's website). The $9 ticket price also includes an open bar afterward at Matchless, and trust me ... you'll need it.

I wish that director Claudio Fragasso would be there so that I could ask him about casting gay porn legend Jeff Stryker in Zombie 4, but you can't always get what you want, right? Instead, enjoy this trailer for Best Worst Movie:

Afterthought: Am I the only one pleasantly surprised at how adorable Stephenson turned out? I'd totally hit that (after a once-over with the Dirt Devil):

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blood Work! "True Blood" video blog 2.6: "PussyCat Blues"

Betcha didn't know that apart from being a vampire, a skilled pumpkin-carver, a doting husband and the self-appointed captain of Team Bill, Andy is also an accomplished megaphone crooner.

It's true! Andy lets his old-timey colors (or lack thereof) show in the latest installment of Blood Work Too!, in which we discuss the croontastic latest episode of True Blood, "Hard-Hearted Hannah".

Will the pussycats get sober? Will we run out of gin? And will we ever get the color back in our apartment?

Watch to find out!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

The Camp has been renovated!!

It's true: After 6 years (holy eff!) of the same-old same-old, I've called in the hot men in acid-washed jeans to tear down the drywall and give the mess hall of CampBlood a long-overdue makeover.

Inspired by the Totem Pole design that ... er ... "Chuckie" created for our newest t-shirts (COUGH! AVAILABLE NOW FOR ONLY $13.99! COUGH!), I've reimagined the site's main page as the announcement wall of a somewhat dilapidated and very bloody summer camp. Don't worry, all the content pages (Features, Reviews, Homo Horror Guide, Movies of the Weak) are still there (with the addition of the Blog and the Shop) and can be accessed by mousing over the characters on the totem pole. Neat, huh? You'd think I actually knew what the Christ I was doing behind a keyboard!

Some other new features include Staff bios (TBD - we go through more counsellors than you can imagine, as you'll find out), an Activities bulletin that showcases some of our favorite new content, and a Campers bulletin that highlights you, our dear readers (right now it's a Facebook widget that displays the shining faces of our fans but it will rotate as camp progresses).

Plus, the graffiti on the walls will no doubt change as we try to keep up on the cleaning (those pesky kids and their Sharpies!) and there will be other subtle interactive tricks in store, so be sure to visit and poke around often! (Which, oddly enough, was on my calling card back in college...)

I know, it's kind of a bummer to not be greeted by the anguished warbling of Barbra as you enter the site, and for some it may seem like the end of a classic, albeit text-heavy, era. But rest assured that it's all in the name of bigger and better, and "Prisoner" won't be gone for long.

There's also an email link on the main page - please feel free to send me any comments (or of course leave them here on this post) or tip me off to any bugs, as I truly don't know what the fuck I'm doing here.

Thanks, and happy camping!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Anna Paquin on the "True Blood" triangle: "Man-love is a really beautiful thing"

EW's Ausiello sat down with Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgård at San Diego Comic Con to discuss True Blood's growing popularity and the budding Bill/Sookie/Eric triangle.

The trio delivered some cute and non-committal banter on the topic, with Stephen suggesting, "Eric and Bill definitely get together" and Anna responding, "man-love is a really beautiful thing". Ahhhhhh we should only be so lucky.

And don't forget to join us after the show tonight on Loving True Blood in Dallas to discuss all the latest developments!

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Join us Sunday night on "Loving True Blood" Blogtalk radio!

Stephen Moyer and Mariana Klaveno

That's right, the lovely and talented Dallas of the Loving True Blood blog and radio show has invited us back on to discuss tomorrow night's Big Bill Episode of True Blood, where it looks like everyone's favorite pasty-delicious Civil War vet will reconnect with his vampire Mama, Lorna Doone. (Lorraine? Loofah? ... Okay, it's Lorena.)

I'll post the widget here tomorrow night prior to the 10:30EDT start time, or you can pop over to Loving True Blood in Dallas in the meantime and check out all the vamp-lovin' awesomeness there.

And here's the widget for the show, which we'll be on shortly. Join Usssssss!!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The 7 Best Animated Lafayette GIFs

Hey, Hookah fans! Over on the Video page I've posted seven of the best animated GIFs that I could find of everyone's favorite sass-slingin', afghan-lovin' fry cook, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis). (Note: It may take the page a minute or two to load due to the sheer ghetto fabulousness contained therein.)

I'm also in the process of cleaning up the Blood Work Too! vlogs and adding some embedded video where once were only download links (technology is advancing faster than a staph infection at a David Barton Gym!). Unfortunately, the now-legendary Stephen Geoffreys Intimate Portrait will likely never find its way onto a video streaming site, for obvious reasons ... but it's still ripe for downloadin'!

And yes, as many of you have kindly pointed out, the Season 1 Blood Works that once lived on the video page are no longer working, so I've had to remove all the embeds (as helpful commenter Ian pointed out, you can still view the videos over here). I have no idea what the deal is there, but so be it. We sally forth. Heck, sometimes we even Mary Worth!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Children Shouldn't Play Doctor with Dead Things!

Zoe Daelman Chlanda in I'll Bury You Tomorrow

Here's a little Horror Movies 101 for the chilluns in the room: How does a horror filmmaker know when he or she has officially "arrived"? When a nutbag necrophile name-drops you in a trial as inspiration for his attempts to rape a corpse!

Of course, non-consensual sex with a dead body is no laughing matter. Just ask Catherine Zeta-Jones. But when a 23-year-old graverobber from Wisconsin used my dear friend Alan Rowe Kelly's film I'll Bury You Tomorrow in his trial defense as the inspiration for his nocturnal skullduggery (skullfuckery?), I have to admit I nearly laughed myself into an Activa-sponsored shit-fit.

Yes, Nicholas Grunke credits Kelly's funeral home-set grindhouse potboiler as the reason that he dug up the corpse of a recent motorcycle accident victim and set up a romantic evening with her, complete with a tarp, duct tape, a crowbar, and a box of condoms. Well at least he practices safe corpse-fucking! Although next time some scented candles might be in order (for obvious reasons).

Alan Rowe Kelly

At least the guy didn't get away with it, and apparently the real stir about the case was caused when lawmakers realized that there are no laws against pulseless booty-calls in the great state of Wisconsin. Although notice that Iowa news outlet KCRG makes a point of noting, apropos of nothing, that screwing dead people is a class D felony in the Hawkeye State. Them's my uppity bitches!

Anyway, huge ups to Alan Rowe for making it into the headlines in Cheddarville in such an unsavory and fabulous manner. You've arrived, hooker!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blood Work! "True Blood" video blog 2.5: Tubthumping!

That's right, ladies and germs: We're back with the latest installment of Blood Work Too!, our very own True Blood recap vlog.

This week we discuss bathtub handjobs, hotel porn, the voluptuous horror of Ed Quinn, and whether or not Bill has to "warm it up" before he and Sookie play hide-the-stake. So basically it's like your typical episode of The View, only in our case the undead isn't limited to Barbara Walters.


Enjoy it all below!

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Come see the Camp tonite in Williamsburg!

If you happen to find yourself in Williamsburg, Brooklyn tonight ... well, I'm sorry. And yes, those homeless people do, in fact, have trust funds.

But if you find yourself slumming in hipsterville, come visit the Camp at the Summer Kamp - Wicked-Pissah! comedy series at Metropolitan Bar, where I have been known to hang out a wee bit too much. My pal Garry Hannon is hosting the gay standup series and this week has invited CampBlood to pitch in for a horror-themed evening, which will involve slaughtered campers, sack lunches, a handmade, one-of-a-kind Care Package for one very lucky guest, and of course free comedy and cheap drinks.

Fore more details, check out the Facebook page. Please to join!

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Trailer Fabulous: "Wicked, Wicked"

I don't know what unholy cross-pollination of Private Parts, Psycho and California Suite resulted in the 1973 slasher gimmick Wicked, Wicked, but damn I wish I'd been there to see the upper-fueled pitch meeting that brought this puppy to life.

Filmed in Duo-Vision (the whole movie was split-screen, for no apparent reason), this MGM horror comedy was apparently a stinker of the highest order, but I'll be dipped in shit if it doesn't have one of the HOTTEST TRAILERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE!!!

Just try to tell me it ain't:

Oh, and did I mention that the writer/director happens to be named Dick Bare? HAWT! Plus, lead detective David Bailey is pretty much the textbook definition of Seventies Handsome, and it's nice to see Kingdom of the Spiders' Tiffany Bolling not introducing herself as Diane Ashley every five fucking seconds.

There's lots more on this little gem over at Vinnie Rattole's. Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Videodrama: Lauren Tewes, Demon Dialer!

Here's a bit of CampBlood video mashup silliness to get you through this agonizingly beautiful summer day. It seems that Eyes of a Stranger (and The Love Boat) star Lauren Tewes has holed herself up in her Shanghai brothel-inspired bedroom with a fresh pack of bitch sticks, a mountain of blow and unlimited local calling.

Will the unlucky ladies who take her calls make it out alive?!

(Note: An earlier version of this vid popped up on CampBlood a few years back but this is way better, if I do say so m'self.)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Orphan": Alright, so what the ^#$*@ is wrong with Esther, already?

I don't know about you, but the "WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THE EVIL AND PERFECTLY SYMMETRICAL LITTLE GIRL???" ads for the new horror flick Orphan went from intriguing to annoying faster than Lady Gaga on rocket-skates.

So for the good of all, I'm going to offer my five guesses as to what is, indeed, wrong with Esther, so that we can all go back to our empty, echoing, unfulfilled lives and forget this ever happened.

5 Things That Could Be the Fuck Wrong With Esther

(Possible SPOILERS follow, although not to this movie.)

1. She's Lester. Yes, in the biggest Surprise Pickle! since The Crying Game, little Esther is revealed to be a boy who, after being forced to watch Sleepaway Camp nonstop by a sadistic orphanage worker, has discovered his inner Angela. Snips and snails and organs of males: That's what this little girl is made of!

2. She's Edward Norton. Actually, this Fight Club-inspired Big Twist was supposed to be that the orphan Esther winds up being the split identity of lead actress Vera Farmiga, but the producers realized that no one gives a fuck about Vera Farmiga and brought in Edward Norton at the last minute to reprise his role (luckily, Norton was in-between jobs squinting at his co-stars and was happy to help). And BTW, I love Vera Farmiga, but didn't she already make this movie only it was called Joshua?

3. She's a sled.

4. If you take that ribbon off her neck, her head falls off. Okay, that doesn't even make any sense, but does anyone remember that ghost story about the guy who marries the chick with the ribbon around her neck and she says he can never take it off and one night when she's asleep he does anyway and her head falls off and he realizes he'll have to have sex with a headless wife and will probably get stared at a lot when he takes her out to eat in restaurants from that point on? No? K, never mind.

And the REAL thing that's the matter with Esther ...

5. She's never even heard of The Bad Seed.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Review: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"

Confession time: I've burned off the brain cells where I once stored my Harry Potter knowledge. Granted, given that I'm a thirtysomething gay man who categorizes the age of anyone under around 20 or so as either "walking" or "crawling", the continuing adventures of the most put-upon little can-do in Hogwarts aren't exactly designed to stick in my particular grey matter.

But even I was shocked at just how little I remembered about the storyline of the sixth novel, which arrives on screens this week. Heck, I'd even forgotten who the titular Half-Blood Prince turns out to be (hint: he wasn't in Purple Rain). But either because or in spite of my fuzziness on the details, I enjoyed the film quite a bit. And while the plucky child-wizard cash cow isn't specifically a horror series, per se, I thought it deserved mention here because of the horrific quality that the franchise has taken on in its later installments ... and no, I'm not just talking about some of the acting. (Emma Watson FTW!)

Much like its equally solid predecessor, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is dark, violent, loaded with startlingly scary images (spells that make people bleed from their skin, zombies, hexings, Maggie Smith in close-up) and on the whole a pretty big downer - and not just because of the Very Bad Thing that we all already know closes the chapter. Although the film is quite an investment (it clocks in at over two and a half hours), it's an impressive and troubling work, boasting a dark and nightmarish undertow that many more "adult" or "legitimate" films attempt but fail to achieve.

This installment also has an epic quality that the series hadn't achieved to this point. Everything seems grander, more urgent and as profound as a mythology that features chocolate frogs and obsessive-compulsive elves has any right to be. Much as the characters' relationships mature significantly in this installment (including two important central romances), their awareness of their own mortality seems to have really hit home at last ... which is no small feat considering that they've all cheated death about a dozen times apiece already.

At this point the series is pretty much critic-proof, so it's all the more exciting that the producers are continuing to challenge themselves and their audiences with these characters and stories. Really, go back and watch the first two movies after you see this one and you'll wonder that they're even related.

The tone here is pervasively somber (much time is devoted to the moral fall of Draco Malfoy, who is finally explored as a deeply tormented person and not just a one-note schoolyard bully), the production values are stellar (there are huge scenes of widespread disaster and panic), and the emphasis on loss (of innocence, of loved ones, of the good fight) is consistent and deeply disturbing.

Freddie Stroman plays Cormac McLaggen

It's also a fairly fun and satisfying ride, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit to myself that it's a lot easier to enjoy these films now that most of the supporting cast is in their twenties and kind of hot (Cormac McLaggen, CALL ME!). And a beloved character is finally given a moment of pure majesty that will likely affect fans very deeply (I know it's going to be a lasting image for me).

In all, Half-Blood stands up alongside The Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Pheonix as challenging, visionary mainstream entertainment that more than lives up to the fan fervor, merchandise and Value Meal-ing surrounding it. While you probably won't walk out of the theater with a smile on your face, you won't be cursing the ticket price, either.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Blood Work! "True Blood" video blog 2.4: "Shake and Fingerpop"

Yes, we're back to recap the latest episode of the increasingly horny HBO vampire show, True Blood, with our sexed-up take on 2.4, "Shake and Fingerpop".

Find out what happens when Andy lets me drink Yoo-Hoo, our thoughts on sploshing, and with whom we'd Like to Do Bad Things this week, below!

(Note: No cats were harmed, emotionally scarred or impregnated in the making of this video.)

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Harper's Island" Finale: Well .... THAT happened!

Yowch! Well, you gotta give the producers credit for delivering on their promise: By the end of the 13-episode series, a murderer was exposed, a mystery was solved and an entire David's Bridal collection was shredded to ribbons.

In the two-part finale we learned which member of the wedding party was a secret psycho, spilled a lot more blood, and wrapped up what was, in retrospect, a decidedly mean but pretty damn tidy little horror story. I wasn't terribly surprised to learn that my guess as to whom the killer would be was totally wrong, because I am the worst sleuth since Inspector Gadget. But if you'd rather not be spoiled as to the identity of the murder and the way things played out, stop reading now.


So yes, Henry the groom-to-be was John Wakefield's son and he orchestrated the entire wedding as a way of getting Abby back to the Island ... not because he wanted revenge on her for getting the life and family that he was denied, but because he wanted to play house with her forever in a spread from Northwest Living magazine.

It's actually ridiculously obvious, when you think about it. And yet for some reason I didn't think that it could be that easy, so when it played out I was pretty satisfied. I also loved the way that the show jumped to the mainland (Shaye and that horrid little girl were the only two people to get off the Island) and made you think that everyone else had perished, just like Henry wanted us to. The whole "keeping Jimmy alive so he could take the fall" thing seemed a bit unnecessary and convenient, as I would rather have seen brother and sister face off one-on-one, Laurie Strode-style. But Abby got her vengeance, and I guess her and Jimmy's ride off into the sunset is the show's half-assed way of redeeming itself for being what was otherwise pretty much the most misanthropic and sadistic 13 weeks of television I've ever seen.

So what'dya think? Anyone stick with it to the end? Did you guess right? And overall, was it a successful serialized slasher experiment? This guy says "yes".

And OMG, how horrible was this whole thing for poor, dead, dirty-dressed Trish? (A little club soda will get that out!) I didn't really like her to begin with, but Lordy did that girl get the short end of the stick!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trailer Fabulous: "Jennifer's Body"

When I read eons ago that Diablo Cody was making a horror movie about a cheerleader possessed by a man-eating demon I was cautiously optimistic. Then I actually saw Transformers and realized that Megan Fox is about as interesting to watch as a bowl of oatmeal, so my hopes were dampened somewhat.

But this red-band trailer for the movie (which also stars Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody and OMG Amy Sedaris!) is actually pretty fun, if not a bit too similar to Ginger Snaps for its own good. (Seriously, it's pretty much the same movie, from the looks of it.)

Thoughts? Oh, and one more thing: Maybe the studio should come up with another poster idea that isn't, ohIdunno, EXACTLY LIKE THE SEASON ONE POSTER FOR TRUE BLOOD?

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Why I will be watching the "Harper's Island" finale alone

This coming Saturday CBS will be airing the 2-hour finale of what might be the most daring horror-related network television experiment ever, the self-contained slasher opus Harper's Island. Now, if you haven't even heard of the show, you're not alone: since the bloody, Ten Little Indians-style mystery was banished to Saturday nights at 10PM early on, it never stood much of a chance.

But if, like we have, you've been sticking with the increasingly nasty little serial killer tale week after week, you might be looking forward to finding out how things will wrap up (they've promised since day one that they'll solve the mystery after killing pretty much everyone off) this weekend.

Well, let me adjust that slightly ... because as of last week's episode, the viewership in our household went from "us" to "me", and probably for good reason. To find out why (and to hear my completely off-base prediction for the solution to the mystery), continue through the SPOILERY waters below... (Note: If you haven't seen the show but want to catch up before the finale, you can watch every episode so far in full on and on Prime Time On-Demand!)

Here's Episode 11:

In last week's episode, "Splash", boomerang baddie John Wakefield (who is alive and well, we know now) essentially killed off the only likable characters left of the show, the newly-engaged Cal and Chloe (the blondes). Introduced as disposable, vapid pretty people, the mismatched couple had somehow managed to survive to the 11th (of 13) episode, and along the way proved themselves to be wonderfully spunky and lovable characters. When browbeaten Cal was finally able to propose to Chloe in the last episode, it seemed that this budding love might be the show's way of injecting some hope into its tragic setup (a wedding becoming a slaughterhouse) and that they might be the "Final Couple" of the series.

Um ... no.

Instead, the couple was tortured and given the most prolonged and anguished sendoff thus far, with Cal being impaled right in front of Chloe and Chloe committing suicide before Wakefield could get to her (sighing, "You can't have me" before letting go of the bridge rail and falling to her death). It's not a particularly new twist, sure - heck, it was the ending of Open Water, more or less. But in that case you'd spent 90 minutes growing to detest the two victims, and in this case you'd spent 11 hours actually coming to like them.

It was a pretty mean move, and one that might have turned a lot of people off in the 11th hour (literally). Andy actually walked out of the room the minute the spike met Cal's chest and announced that he wouldn't be watching any more of the show, that they'd just gone too far. I can't really argue with him, although I reminded him that the show did pretty much promise to kill everyone off before it even started. But honestly, couldn't that annoying little kid have been the next to go, instead?

On Saturday the last two episodes ("Gasp" and "Sigh" ... notice that all the titles are the death sounds of the wedding guests? Neat...) will air, and the mystery will be solved. My call? Since Episode 4 ("Bang") I've been convinced that Booth (the friend who shot himself by accident and whose body disappeared) had faked his own death and had been aiding Wakefield in secret, likely because he's his son. They're of course casting suspicion on the fishy boyfriend now (I Know What You Did Last Summer-style) but I think it's a red herring (nyuk).

It's pretty safe to say the killer isn't Uncle Marty (Harry Hamlin)

If this is the twist, it means that the writers did their homework, as it would borrow from both And Then There Were None (someone faking his own death to move about in secret) and Death on the Nile (a fake shooting), two Agatha Christie whodunit classics.

Any theories? Is anyone even still watching?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Videodrama: The Voluptuous Horror of Karen O

Since a lot of folks in the States are coasting through the day before the holiday starts tomorrow, I thought I'd post a few fun horror-related music videos from one of my favorite bands, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

In an oddly prescient move, the band opted for some Michael Jackson imagery for the video for their latest single, "Heads Will Roll", which also features some wonderfully grand guignol moments near the end.

It's not the first time the band has mined horror tropes for its videos. Back on their first album, the Yeahs brought video wonderkind Spike Jonze on-board to direct the wonderfully creepy evil kid party for "Y Control":


Bondage imagery and entomological horror made the video for "Pin" one of the creepiest stop-motion pieces I've ever seen:

And their concert DVD, Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow, has old-timey horror monsters as its central visual theme.

So it shouldn't be surprising that True Blood is on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs party bus, having used their song "Phenomena" (off of Show Your Bones) in one of the promos for Season Two:

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