Friday, October 27, 2006

Random Fragments o' Fright and F@#kery

Damn Blogger. A server issue kept me from posting this last night, so my Blog-a-day deal with the devil has been effectively scuttled by the deficiencies of modern technology. Oh, well, I wasn't using my soul this week anyway.

Random bits of goodness:

My friend (and fellow Blogger) Sarah stumbled upon a fun little Zombie Quiz in her 'net explorations--go here for a look-see. Sarah knows well the value of a good sopping-gooey gory zombie flick, having braved a late-night showing of Lucio Fulci's Zombie with me a few years back (and take a look in the archives of her Zeitgeist blog while you're at it--her wry wit merits repeat viewings).

The Fuse music cable channel aired the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards recently, and I caught about 30 minutes of the telecast this morning. It was an interesting, sometimes disheartening view at what's currently in vogue with horror culture (when Hollywood pretty guy Jared Leto wins the 'Prince of Darkness' award for fronting his run-of-the-mill emo band 30 Seconds to Mars, something's rotten--or not rotten enough--in the state of Denmark). The host, Jamie Kennedy, displayed the same unfunniness that makes most of his cinematic ouevre tops in the must-avoid category in this quarter. Sadly, I missed the flashback footage of Clint Howard using Kennedy's toilet, but at least Showtime's Masters of Horror series (showcasing short films directed by old pros like Joe Dante, John Carpenter, and Dario Argento among others) won a Chainsaw.

Speaking of chainsaws, one of the blessings that accompanies the release of a crummy horror sequel, remake, or prequel is that entertainment conglomerates/movie studios regurgitate older fright flicks in spiffy new-and-improved fashion like Brundlefly in a three-piece suit. Thus, in the wake of the reputedly lousy Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel's theatrical bow, the rat-bastards at MGM have put out a deluxe Gruesome Edition DVD of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. If you're a fan of the movie (and regular Petri Dish visitors know that I am), this 'un sticks to the ribs better than a bowl of Pa Sawyer's famous Texas chili. Deleted scenes, multiple still galleries, two separate audio commentaries (one with director Tobe Hooper and documentarian David Gregory, the other with actors Bill Moseley and Caroline Williams alongside makeup god Tom Savini), and a 90-minute documentary make for some good eatin'. It's nice to be reminded (via the aforementioned doc) that TCM2's screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson also wrote the script adaptation for Wim Wenders' indie classic, Paris, Texas.

And in the realm of interesting ideas worth a look in the coming months:

Grindhouse is the talk of the fanboy crowd, an attempt to reproduce the golden age of seventies drive-in cinema by directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Each director filmed an hour-long horror flick of their own, then glued together their segments with made-up trailers for fictitious exploitation flicks, and the whole mess is due to hit theaters next year. A certain Hollywood insider/friend says that the script for Tarantino's movie, um, sucks, but the clips of the overall product that I've glimpsed (sadly, yanked from You Tube for copyright infringement) give me some hope. Wikipedia's description of the project, in the meantime, offers an intriguing sampler.

After Dark Films is releasing 8 horror films simultaneously in November as part of its first nationwide Horrorfest. I can't vouch for the quality of any of the actual product, but After Dark's promotional strategy rivals the old seventies exploitationeers with its forbidden-fruit chutzpah ('too shocking for general audiences,' growls the trailer) . If any of these flicks come close to measuring up to the marketing this could be a good white-knuckle theatrical ride.

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