Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

This time of years we see any number of old favorites- whether they’re television shows or classic holiday films -filling out the TV listings each and every night. TV programmers are fairly reliable over the holiday season when it comes to packing everything from Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree to the Grinch and his sleigh and everything else into the weeks between Thanksgiving’s last belch and the first frenzied tearing of wrapping paper on Christmas morning. And, of course, who can forget the annual tradition that is the terror attack/robbery at Nakatomi Plaza? While some of the programs I’m going to touch on are starting to fall into the list of reliable holiday programming, some of them still haven’t reached (and may never reach) the “TV Tradition” stage. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t track them down and see if they fit nicely into your holiday season must see lists.

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So, we so far served you up two turkeys this month. We’ve given you The Ghost Galleon, but, at best, that’s a minor bird. It may be the film where it was obvious that the Blind Dead franchise was heading off the rails, but it’s still a hugely enjoyable horror film with an absolutely amazing looking threat in the Blind Dead themselves. We then gave you The Bermuda Depths, a much larger bird by far. Despite its saving graces, it is certainly deserving of the label ‘Turkey’ and then some. This week, we give you a giant, prehistoric turkey in the form of The Last Dinosaur.

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Some ongoing news popped its head up into the social media world this last week, and fandom suddenly felt its heart grow three sizes that day. Unfortunately, this was one of those things where fandom really needed to stop and think and maybe play the part of the Grinch a little more. Outside of seeing some interesting speculation with regards to some Marvel properties (which was what most of the people I saw salivating over this were initially talking about) I saw little about this that made me think it was a good idea. Even seeing the Marvel properties “go home” to Disney- while that could open up some interesting possibilities for the next phase of Marvel films -might not ultimately be the great thing some initially thought it could be. To be honest, perhaps the only good thing in such a deal would be straightening out a lot of the remaining issues around Star Wars: A New Hope.

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After two rather successful forays into the world of the Blind Dead, Amando de Ossorio decided to change the formula up a bit and introduce some new twists into the mythos. Not all of this worked as well as he had hoped it would. The Ghost Galleon (also more commonly known as Horror of the Zombies in the 50 films for $20 public domain movie DVD sets) would move our decaying blood drinkers out of their scenic Spanish countryside home and into a broken down vessel drifting on the ocean waves. It also tried to introduce the weird, paranormal pseudo-science that was showing up in a lot of low budget (and the occasional bigger budget) horror films of that time. The former concept was actually enjoyable on a cheesy, so bad it’s good level once the film got past all of the mumbo jumbo buildup of the latter concept, but, still, enjoyable as hell or not, this film was a turkey and then some.

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The first episode of The Assignment Horror Podcast. On Soundcloud now, soon to be on iTunes. We’re a little rough around the edges on the first one, but we’re still getting our rhythm as a team.

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“11:55, almost midnight. Enough time for one more story. One more story before 12:00, just to keep us warm. In five minutes, it will be the 21st of April. One hundred years ago on the 21st of April, out in the waters around Spivey Point, a small clipper ship drew toward land. Suddenly, out of the night, the fog rolled in. For a moment, they could see nothing, not a foot in front of them. Then, they saw a light. By God, it was a fire burning on the shore, strong enough to penetrate the swirling mist. They steered a course toward the light. But it was a campfire, like this one. The ship crashed against the rocks, the hull sheared in two, masts snapped like a twig. The wreckage sank, with all the men aboard. At the bottom of the sea, lay the Elizabeth Dane, with her crew, their lungs filled with salt water, their eyes open, staring to the darkness. And above, as suddenly as it come, the fog lifted, receded back across the ocean and never came again. But it is told by the fishermen, and their fathers and grandfathers, that when the fog returns to Antonio Bay, the men at the bottom of the sea, out in the water by Spivey Point will rise up and search for the campfire that led them to their dark, icy death. “

That is, of course, the opening to John Carpenter’s The Fog, and the late John Houseman doing one of the best versions of the traditional old man around the campfire telling ghost stories and scaring the spit out of the children type of character. Depending on how old you may be and where you grew up; that scene may have been something you actually grew up with in real life. Stories of the local spirits roaming the material plane just waiting for you to wander unknowingly into their path and become their victim were plentiful for many a generation’s upbringing. They were a part of our childhood, they were something that created the local color of a region, and they were a great deal of fun back in the day.

The local ghost story still exists even as it seems like the interconnectivity of the World Wide Web is making more and more ghost stories and paranormal urban legends less local in nature. However, even the old local stories, as much as I loved them, were originally really not quite as local as they seemed to us back then. As a matter of fact, the truth is that many of them were just variants of stories brought over from the old countries by settlers and immigrants and remade into a local legend. Some would start as stories from back in the home country, but, eventually, they would incorporate local settings and characters into their telling and end up being told by people who swore that they knew the sorry souls involved or knew the now old man or woman who knew those sorry souls way back then or witnessed it with their own eyes in their youth. Then the years of “witnesses” and “documented events” (sometimes complete with names, ranks, and serial numbers) would enter into the tale, and the story would become firmly rooted in the area you lived in.

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In online discussions, the term “mansplaining” is fast becoming nothing more than the same kind of copout in discussions that “TLDR” has long been used for. You often see it used by intellectually lazy or cowardly people who can’t defend an incorrect statement made when faced with facts and don’t have the integrity to simply say they got it wrong. But it’s also become a way to attempt to skew the argument from the very start or to attempt to create a situation where what’s being presented cannot be argued against. I’m not sure if that’s what Max Landis was attempting to do or not with his tweet, but either way it’s a shame as it undercuts a rather interesting possible discussion about the inspiration of an iconic character’s look and the occasional basic human failings when it comes to recollection of events.

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