[65 minutes. Unrated. Director: Jorg Buttgereit]
Sometimes – okay, a lot of the time – I question the logic that drives my physical-media collection. Why are some DVDs more disposable and trade-worthy than others? Why are others as immovable as Stonehenge? There are films that sit on my shelves, never leaving the shrink-wrap; and others that are so mood-specific, I only re-watch after a passage of years. Salo is a great film, no question about it, but two hours of feel-good vibes it most certainly ain’t.
The same applies to the work of director Jorg Buttgereit.
After a string of shorts, his career began proper with the worldwide-controversial Video Nasty Nekromantik, which took a semi-comedic approach to a young couple’s desire to bring a rotting corpse into the bedroom. While a fine showcase for Buttgereit’s low-budget ingenuity (including some sick – and sick-funny – practical gore effects), the film was little more than the sum of its shock value (and I liked its labored, cheap-looking sequel even less).
The director fared much better with two other efforts: 1990’s actively oppressive Der Todesking (English translation: The Death King), which follows a group of unfortunate souls who fall victim to a lethal chain letter over the course of a week. The film is devoid of hope, and its experimental nature (more anthology than conventional narrative) creates a detachment from the characters that is deliberately cold. One can imagine Buttgereit’s intent: “This is humanity with the forced pleasantries and rule of law removed – see it and weep.” Continue Reading
WELCOME friends to a new year of “In Review.” As you no doubt have guessed, this year we’re running the gauntlet with Slashers & Serial Killers. To say we’ve got our work cut out for us would be an understatement. Thus far the review count looks to be well over 150 different movie reviews all spread throughout 2018 with our usual break in observance of the holiest of horror holidays, Freight Fest. Why such a high review count? There’s the love of course…the utter romanticism of this particular horror sub-genre–knowing the killer in us all by living vicariously through onscreen murderers and villains. Beginning as early as Psycho in 1960 and continuing on all the way into 2018, slasher and serial killer movies are alive then as they are today with hundreds of different movies to choice from. To kick things off, my movie of choice may seem a bit odd…allow me to explain. Continue Reading
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Tim Burton musical that debuted back in 1993. The movie begins with Jack Skellington and the rest of Halloweentown performing their yearly masterpiece, This is Halloween (“This is Halloween! Everybody, make them scream!”)—but Jack has gotten bored with performing the same old shtick year after year. One thing that could definitely shake Jack out of the doldrums is Sally, a rag doll kept locked up by a mad scientist (that’s not creepy) who’s crushing on him, but he’s so self-absorbed he doesn’t notice her.
Jack and his ghost dog, Zero, go for a walk and end up in a remote part of the woods, where different trees correspond to different holidays. Jack goes to Christmastown and is amazed at the inherent magic of the holiday. So what does he do? He hatches a plot to take over Christmas. He recruits some creepy kids to kidnap Santa (Sandy Claws), enlists the townsfolk to whip up decorations…and proceeds to ruin Christmas as best he can. What else would you expect from an animated semi-demonic skeleton?
All in all, The Nightmare Before Christmas is ninety minutes of fun and very singable songs. It does get a bit hairy when the kids turn Santa over to the Boogeyman, but it’s all in good fun. Or gore. Either way, you’ll be singing about feet all rotten and covered in gook for weeks, and who doesn’t want that around the holidays?
Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Connect with her online at http://authorjenniferallisprovost.com
With all the hoopla going on, in anticipation of the return of Dana Skully and Fox Mulder in the 6 episode event starting up in January 2016, I though it’d be a good idea to revisit not just the television show, but also the movies. Here, I want to focus more or less on Fight the Future, the 1998 cinematic debut of the X-Files from boob-tube to movie theaters. Personally speaking, and I’m sure many of you will agree, the X-Files defined my 1990s television experience, introducing ideas in a compelling narrative about two FBI agents who couldn’t be further apart, but are yet drawn together through circumstance, all-the-while, the outside world seems to be encroaching upon them, where friends are rare and trust is precarious.
As the show airs in 1993, we are guided into the dark and deary basement office of one Fox Mulder who has been, more or less, red flagged for his strange and unorthodox methodology and theories. Fox, in his own words, believes he is “the key figure in an ongoing government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. It’s a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power, that reaches down into the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet, so, of course, no one believes me. I’m an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. They call me Spooky. Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it’s gonna be the shit-storm of all time” (Fight the Future, 1998). Dana Skully acts as his counterpart, the yin and yang so to speak, of the duo. She’s the rationalist, balancing the supernatural and keeping Mulder rooted. As Fox says regarding the relationship, “But you saved me. As difficult and frustrating as it’s been sometimes, your God-damned strict rationalism and science have saved me a thousand times over. You kept me honest. You made me a whole person. I owe you everything, and you owe me nothing. I don’t know if I want to do this alone. I don’t even know if I can” (Fight the Future, 1998). And as we can extrapolate from his tone in the 1998 movie, their relationship develops over time. Dana started out as an outside perspective, brought in by the higher-ups to report back on Agent Mulder’s case files, aka the X-Files, to basically debunk his work. But through the course of their investigations, she caught glimpses of things she (or science for that matter) could not explain. And let me say right here and now, Fight the Future and the show has some of the best scriptwriting I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching play out on screen . So, now that the players have been set up, lets talk a little about the movie and where it fits in the lexicon.
Fight the Future was released in 1998, fitting between the end of season five and six. The show aired by in 1993 with some of the more darker episodes and best creature features. With the show, we’re given a central story arc mixed with “filler” episodes, episodes which typically have nothing to do with the main story. While the main story plots are intriguing, for the X-Files, I’m more of a fan of the fillers, the go-betweens. In these episodes, you’ll find more of the scares, the darker stories intermingled in the global conspiracy ones. Some of the best in this category include: Home, Squeeze, Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, The Host, Die Hand Die Verletzt, Folie à Deux, etc etc, just to name a few (and these few are some of my favorite episodes). If you have a Facebook account, you can follow the day to day episodes on the official X-Files page. They’ve also included some very unique fan made mondo posters to par with each episode. Between “filler” and “central story,” Fight the Future was part of the main story arc. Its counterpart, I want to Believe, released in 2008, was the filler equivalent to the shows, which doesn’t mean it was bad because of it, though I don’t think it found much footing with fans in 2008. Maybe they were hoping for something more to the central lexicon than a filler, but as I said before…
Looking at Fight the Future as a stand alone would be confusing, I think. To watch this movie and understand what’s going on, you’d have to be a fan of the show. Though, Carter did throw in some clues here and there. Still though, I still think if I watched Fight the Future without ever having watched the shows, I’d feel as if I was missing some insider joke. I’m a really happy they did it that way, while not leaving a newbie out of the loop entirely, the movie was made for fans of the show. Consider Serenity, the movie based on the cult-loved Firefly. They made that movie so that anyone can walk in off the street and understand everything going on. Sure, they might miss a few relationship side jokes, but overall, the movie was a restart on the show. I feel it would have been better, had they ignored the noobs and made the damn movie for the fans. Does that make sense, or am I going crazy? Sure, maybe Josh what’s his name was just trying to finish his show knowing Firefly would never return to television and the story he came up with was the best he could do…
Back to the X-Files…
Fight the Future is a fast paced movie; which is rare, to be a 2 hour movie based on a television show which airs for roughly 45 mins. From the very start, we’re drawn in to this global event, from the Ice Age opening credits to the black blood virus to team Fox and Dana working the bomb threat in Dallas, all the way to the conclusion and those sinister bestial aliens the story whips us and keeps us glued to the set. There is a small lag near the middle, but even so, there you’ll find some damn fine writing, my favorite is with Mulder at the bar, as part of the quote above with him describing himself to the bartender and why he’s drinking so much. And then there’s the moment between Skully and Fox in the hallway when Fox tells Dana how he feels and they ALMOST kiss, an adolescent teen-girl expectation, I know, but one that had been built up over time…had someone walked in on the movie at that moment without ever knowing the events in the show, it would have seemed silly. But for those in the know, the romance between the two has been a slow and methodical build up, finally realized towards the end of the show and actually acknowledged in I Want to Believe.
If you haven’t seen Fight the Future, even if you’ve never seen the show, I think its a safe bet to assume there are enough clues for you to understand what’s going on. And if you’re a long time fan and haven’t seen this movie…well, I’m not sure what to say to you… FOR SHAME!!!
My Review: 5/5
During the summer months in 1993, in the small village of Roanoke, Virginia, my father, mother, sister, and I had trekked 10 miles to Valley View Movie Theater to watch the latest Spielberg film, Jurassic Park. AND IT WAS AMAZING. Ever since, I’ve been in love with this movie and have dutifully watched its progression over the years (decades…ugh..). Jurassic Park is a true classic. How so? Sure, the film strays away from Michael Crichton’s novelization, but lets be honest here, who actually read the book before the movie? Not many, I’d wager. Despite its wandering from its predecessor, the movie has lasted the test of time in that its effects are not completely ridiculous….at least not yet. The movie was also well casted with amazing actors and actresses, such as: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Samuel mother-f***ing Jackson, Wayne Knight, BD Wong, and the Goldblum. Jurassic Park is also a true classic because it was the first movie to give audiences and dino-fanatics alike an actually well put together production without using traditional claymation (50’s-60’s era); instead, Jurassic Park used a combination of to-scale puppetry and CGI. And considering this is a 90’s movie and just about all 90’s movies with CGI look damn ridiculous by now, and Jurassic Park has yet to cross that threshold, also says a lot about the production value and how good sci-fi can be done with a golden ration between traditional effects and CGI. If you’ve read a post or two here, you’ve no doubt heard me rant a time or two regarding the issue with CGI, so…i’ll take a step back from my soap box for now. Another thing that makes Jurassic Park even more amazing (if that’s possible!!) is that its a movie my wife and I both love!! This alone sales me on the classiness of Jurassic Park.
Jurassic Park has enjoyed three films with its title over the years…..some not as good as the others, some not bad. Now a forth installment called Jurassic World has begun filming and the rumors have been spinning over what this new dino movie will be about. Here is what Geek Tyrant has discovered regarding the new Jurassic Park:
Some new SPOILER filled details from Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World have emerged thanks to our friends at JoBlo.com. I’m really looking forward to being reintroduced to this world that Steven Spielberg created in 1993. Not a lot has been officially revealed about this newest film, but there’s some really interesting and cool info for you that you should check out if you’re excited for the movie. Of course, the info may contain spoilers, but it’s not confirmed, so is it really a spoiler? I’m treating all of this as rumor for now, but I hope some of it turns out to be true. Here we go!
Jurassic World will be a real running theme park that comes complete with a monorail that was teased in some previously released concept art. And no theme park would be complete without shops, rides, and shows. The report goes on to say that it’s the most popular family destination. People have to take a high speed shuttle boat from Florida to get there, and some of the activities include a dinosaur petting zoo (because that’s a good idea!), as well as a hologram info center where you can learn about the methods they are using to create dinosaurs. I’m sure it’s a much better version than the one made in ’93. The park also has a ride called the “Gyrosphere” that allows riders to travel through the park and get up close to some of the dinosaurs.
How Things Go Wrong:
All good things must come to an end at the successful park, and the executives start to come up with new ways to keep customers coming back. One of the ways they do that is by splicing Dino DNA with other dino species. This doesn’t turn out too well for them, especially when they splice together the DNA of a T-Rex, raptor, snake, and cuttlefish. This creates an insane new dino that ends up breaking free and terrorizing the park. One of the dinosaur consultants on the film, Jack Horner, teased the beast in a previous interview, saying that we’ll want to “keep the lights on” after seeing it.
It should come as no surprise that we will see dinosaurs fighting each other in the film, but the site’s source explains that there will be “lots of dino on dino fighting, as some of the dinos are ‘good guys’ that are trained by Chris Pratt’s character.” The source goes on to say that the raptors and T-Rexes are among the “trained” good dinosaurs. As for the evil dino they created, it’s described as having “instant camouflage abilities, like the cuttlefish, so he blends into the background, is smart like the velociraptor, uses his jaw like a snake, and can terrorize like the T-Rex.” That sounds like a pretty hardcore beast.There’s some really great stuff here that the filmmakers have to play with if it’s true. I just can’t wait to see what this new breed of dinosaur will look like! It sounds like it will be pretty terrifying, though. As a long time fan of this franchise, I’ve been feeling really good about what I’m hearing about the movie so far. What do you think of the details that have been revealed here?
The movie is currently shooting with stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Omar Sy, Ty Simpkins, Irrfan Khan, Ty Simpkins, Judy Greer, and Nick Robinson. It’s set to be released in theaters on June 12th, 2015.
So…what do you think? Personally, I’m having a few concerns. However, having a fully functional theme park sounds pretty amazing, as we only got a test drive back in 1993 with the first installment. And having things go wrong…well…it wouldn’t be a “Jurassic Park” without something going wrong. Here is where it gets weird…the spliced Dino (at first) sounds iffy. But first, lets consider the theme of Jurassic Park, especially in the first film, which is basically taking the then current pop science of mapping DNA and cloning and throwing in the inevitable human calamity to create the classic “science gone wrong” motif. Considering the classic science gone awry motif, splicing doesn’t sound that far off base in terms of what these movies and the books have always been about. In 2014, DNA mapping and cloning isn’t as mysterious as it once way, mutation and genetic splicing on the other hand, does (while also maintaining a classic story trope in itself, see Island of Doctor Moreau). Plus, do we really need another “rescue from the island” story? Heavens no! The last two films, Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 have beaten that horse into mash; its time for something new.
So…while some of the rumor regarding Jurassic World seems iffy and makes us Jurassic Park nerds a little nervous, lets reserve judgement until we actually get to watch this thing, or at least until a decent trailer comes out. Until then, my friends, I leave you with this little gem to take you back to 1993 and a very fond childhood memory: